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Aging | CoQ10 Benefits Elderly After Heart Surgery

CoQ10 Benefits Elderly After Heart Surgery

CoQ10 is an important nutrient in energy metabolism and also a potent antioxidant. The highest concentrations are found in tissues with high rates of oxygen consumption, such as the heart and brain. Although the exact mechanism by which CoQ10 works is unclear, the overall benefit of CoQ10 supplementation before surgery results in quicker recovery of the heart after surgery and fewer days spent in the hospital.

The authors reviewed human, animal, and test tube studies that have examined the protective effects of CoQ10 on heart function. One study involved giving participants either 300 mg per day of CoQ10 or a placebo for seven days prior to heart surgery. After surgery, those taking CoQ10 had higher amounts of CoQ10 in their heart tissue, and experienced quicker recovery of heart function and shorter hospital stays, compared with those taking a placebo. Perhaps the most significant finding was that the CoQ10 group had reduced release of troponin I, a marker of heart damage, compared with the placebo group. This suggests CoQ10 protects the heart against damage that may occur during surgery, which could potentially lead to fewer post-surgical complications, such as a heart attack.

Another study found that though older rats had poorer heart function compared with younger rats, when the older rats were given CoQ10, markers of heart function improved to the levels seen in younger rats.

Yet another study measured CoQ10 levels in heart tissue obtained from patients during heart surgery. Tissue from older individuals (greater than 70 years old) contained significantly less CoQ10, compared with tissue from younger people, suggesting that CoQ10 levels decline as people age. However, when the aging heart tissue was supplemented with CoQ10 in the test tube, there was an improvement in the ability of the heart muscle to contract after being deprived of oxygen. Though this was a test tube experiment performed in a laboratory, these circumstances closely resemble what occurs during surgery, when the heart may be deprived of oxygen for brief periods of time and the heart subsequently damaged.

People who suffer from other types of heart disease, such as heart failure, enlarged heart, and high blood pressure, may also benefit from taking supplemental CoQ10.2 3 4 Some physicians recommend taking between 90 and 300 mg per day. However, anyone with a heart condition should consult a physician before starting any nutritional therapy.


1. Rosenfeldt FL, Pepe S, Linnane A, et al. Coenzyme Q10 protects the aging heart against stress. Studies in rats, human tissues, and patients. Ann NY Acad Sci 2002;959:355–9.
2. Morisco C, Trimarco B, Condorelli M. Effect of Coenzyme Q10 in patients with congestive heart failure: a long-term multicenter randomized study. Clin Invest 1993;71(Suppl):S134–S136.
3. Pogessi L, Galanti G, Comeglio M, et al. Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on left ventricular function in patients with dilative cardiomyopathy. Curr Ther Res 1991;49:878–86.
4. Langsjoen P, Langsjoen P, Willis R, Folkers R. Treatment of essential hypertension with coenzyme Q10. Mol Aspects Med 1994;15(Suppl):S265–S272.

Darin Ingels, ND, MT (ASCP), received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. Dr. Ingels is the author of Garlic and Cholesterol: Everything You Need to Know (Prima, 1999) and Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol (Prima, 2000). He currently is in private practice in Southport, CT, where he specializes in environmental medicine and allergies. Dr. Ingels is a regular contributor to Healthnotes and Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2002 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Elderly people who take supplemental coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) before heart surgery may experience more rapid improvement in heart function afterward, according to a new report in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.1
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The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.


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