COQ10 and cardiomyopathy
- Dear List - Several people have mentioned that they''ve heard that CoQ10
"Strengthens" or "thickens" the heart wall, hence is bad for HCM. CoQ10
doesn't act on the heart in that direct fashion, but allows cell mitochondria
to better utilize energy, reducing the load on the heart. Its' use has been
studied in human patients with all forms of cardiomyopathy, including
hypertropic. One study followed 424 patients for an eight-year period.
CoQ10 is found in small amounts in organ meats, soy oil, sardines, mackeral
and peanuts. The body can produce it from the amino acid, tyrosine, through
a 17-step process that requires the presence of at least 8 different vitamins
and several minerals. A deficiency in any one of these, hinders production
of CoQ10. Patients suffering from cardiac disease have very low levels of
COQ10 in their blood.
One study showed that supplementation with CoQ10 REDUCED the septal thickness
of the heart by 24%, and the posterior wall thickness by 26% in patients
with HCM (Langsjoen, PH, et al., 1996). Additional studies have shown that
it increases survival time, improves systolic and diastolic pressures,
lessons fatigue, reduces dyspnea, improves ejection fraction rates,
palpitations, edema and pulmonary rales, and reduces homocystiene levels.
The largest study, also conducted by Langsjoen treated 424 patients from 1985
- 1993. Patients on average, were taking from one - five cardiac
medications. After supplementation with CoQ10, 43% stopped between one and
three drugs, and only 6% required the addition of one drug. (An abstract of
this study is available at http://www.md-phc.com/nutrition/useful.html)
Please see: http://www.allvita.net/coq10_study.html
for a collection of approximately 20 abstracts of published papers related to
the efficacy of CoQ10 supplementation in cardiac patients.
Also for info on CoQ10, Taurine and Crataegus:
Many of the authors of these studies, use the the term "breakthrough" to
describe CoQ10's place in the treatment of cardiac disease, yet this
information is not widely disseminated in either human or veterinarian
medicine. My own roommate was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and congestive
heart failure 18 months ago, and her cardiologist, a reknowned transplant
surgeon, merely shrugged when she asked him about CoQ10, saying it couldn't
hurt. She takes about eight different prescribed med's, many of which
further zap her already-limited energy. She started taking CoQ10 about 3
months ago, and notes that her level of energy has doubled. Normally she
wouldn't be able to get out of bed until noon, but is now able to get up in
the morning, and has increased the number of hours she works.
Dr. Ray Strand, a nutritional M.D., takes an interesting position on the
failure to get the word out about CoQ10 in an article found at:
CoQ10, like all vitamins, elements and minerals, cannot be patented, hence
there is no financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to promote their
use. Moreover, promoting the use of COQ10 is a financial disincentive,
because it reduces the need for other drugs. He relates that in his 25 years
of practice, he has never heard a lecture on CoQ10 (at medical education
programs sponsored, by, of course, the pharmaceutical industry),nor known of
a cardiologist who prescribed it, despite the fact that some patients with
heart disease advanced enough to qualify them for transplantation under NY
Heart Assoc. guidelines, improved enough from COQ10 supplementation, that
they would no longer have been considered for the heart transplant list.
In my own experience, I've found that many doctors, and as I'm learning,
vet's, have remarkably little knowledge of the dangers of some
pharmaceuticals or the benefits of some nutritional supplements. A few years
ago I was treated by a team of 3 physicians, who used a potent diuretic to
relieve fluid build up on my brain and optic nerves, that resulted in violent
mood swings, blackouts, cardiac arrhymia, and extreme fatigue. After nine
months of this I discovered from another doctor, that I was supposed to have
my electrolytes, and enzymes and blood sugar tested regularly while on this
medication (which was never done.) Luckily I stopped the med's and doc's
before I had a heart attack.
Under the best of circumstances, each of us would be able to rely on our
vet's and MD's to provide us with the most up-to-date information, and to be
able to discuss the benefits and threats of any particular therapy. Sadly
this is often impossible, meaning that you may have to take the time to
locate published research on the net, and then armed with information, make
those decisions which are best for you and your pet. Based on my own
experience, I would never take rely solely on a doctor's opinion (Board
Certified or not).
One final note on CoQ10: A study was done on a small group of heart failure
patients who had all been stabilized on their heart med's, and who had shown
a positive response to long-term ( 3- 8 months) supplementation of CoQ10.
Within 2 -3 weeks of stopping CoQ10, 5/9 patients experienced deterioration
severe enough to require hospitalization and two patients died of,
respectively, pulmonary embolism and myocardial infarction. Those who
relapsed after COQ10 withdrawal, recovered after the supplementation was
reinitiated. The researchers concluded that," withdrawal may be dangerous,
especially in Class III-IV failure... that COQ10 is a lifetime therapy, and
probably lifesparing therapy, particularly for potential heart transplant
candidates." [Mortensen, SA, et al.]
I was unaware of this last study, when I cut back on CoQ10 supplementation
for my own cat, who developed a sudden aversion to med's after her initial
recovery. Immediately after this reduction, she exhibited some subtle
behavioral changes, which I now know should have been a warning sign. A few
weeks after cutting her dosage back from daily to 1x or 2x a week, she
suffered an embolism and died, without exhibiting any classic symptoms of
heart failure (lethargy, cough, etc). It is difficult to say that there was
a direct cause and effect relationship between the reduction in CoQ10 use and
her death, but if I knew then what I know now, I would never miss giving it
for even a day or two. But hindsight is always 20:20.
Sorry for the length of this message, but knowledge is meaningless if not
shared freely. Good luck to you all.
- Dear Victoria,
Thank you so much for this very clear and concise explanation of COQ10.
I think you have made a very good argument for its use. I wonder if you
know the best form and strength to take it. I heard someone on a radio talk
show - and of course, he was selling his own product, who said it was more
usable in a liquid form. I can't recall seeing it in a liquid - have you?
I am so
sorry now that I did not give COQ10 to my cat after he was diagnosed.
Actually, I did try, but he was able to sniff out anything different in his
food. I should have tried harder.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, July 12, 2001 5:36 AM
Subject: [feline-heart] COQ10 and cardiomyopathy
Thank you SO MUCH for this excellent post about CoQ10. That's exactly
what I was looking for, and really helps. (I've also heard CoQ10 helps
reduce bad cholesterol in addition to all the other great things it
does for heart function.)
I'm so sorry your kitty died. There is so much we don't know and so
much we can't control in taking care of our babies... we just do the
very best we can with what we know, as I'm sure you did. Yeah, that's
my vet's usual reaction when I suggest a supplement: "can't hurt".
(Which, apparently some, like garlic, can.)
Gail & Malcolm