Coenzyme Q10 is a boost for the conversion of food to energy. Found in most cells in the body, CoQ10 is a very powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are chemicals that oppose free radicals, damaging oxygen ions that damage cell membranes and DNA, sometimes causing cell death.
Free radicals are widely believed to contribute to aging, in addition to a number of health conditions like cancer and heart disease. Use of an antioxidant can neutralize free radicals, reducing or preventing cellular damage. The role of CoQ10 in heart-related conditions, like high blood pressure, is thought to improve production of energy in cells, act as an antioxidant, and even prevent the formation of blood clots.
CoQ10 for Your Heart and Blood Pressure
Among the cardiac conditions that may be prevented or treated with the use of CoQ10 supplements are heart failure, heart attacks, and high blood pressure. In fact, The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database has rated CoQ10 as “possibly effective” for the treatment of hypertension.
Some experts believe hypertensive patients may have a deficiency of the enzyme. There have been several clinical studies of CoQ10 that suggest a beneficial effect in lowering blood pressure, although these studies suggest a period of treatment lasting 4 to 12 weeks is necessary before a benefit is evident.
A meta-analysis of 12 clinical studies determined a potential CoQ10 effect on blood pressure that could result in lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and lower diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg. No significant side effects were observed at doses needed to treat blood pressure to these lower numbers.
Guidelines for Taking CoQ10
If you are taking a blood pressure medication, the addition of CoQ10 supplements may allow you to decrease your dosage of other antihypertensive medications. It’s important to talk with your doctor before adding CoQ10 or any supplement to your regimen. Careful monitoring will help you safely optimize the use of this supplement.
COQ10 should only be taken by adults 19 years of age or more. Recommended dosages range from 30 mg to 200 mg daily. Most experts agree that soft gel capsules are absorbed better than other types of supplements. The enzyme is fat soluble, so experts recommend the supplement should be taken with a fat-containing meal to promote better absorption.
Potential Side Effects
No major side effects have been reported. Some patients have experienced an upset stomach. Since studies have not determined safety during pregnancy, CoQ10 supplements are not recommended for use by pregnant women. People with diabetes should be aware of the potential of CoQ10 to lower blood sugar and should consult their healthcare provider before beginning this supplement.
Drug interactions may exist that reduce the efficacy of chemotherapy drugs, so individuals with cancer should consult their oncologist before beginning use of CoQ10 supplements. Some studies show that CoQ10 supplements may reduce cardiotoxicity from daunorubicin and doxorubicin, two chemotherapy agents associated with a high risk of heart damage. Patients who are taking medications to thin blood, including warfarin and clopidogrel, should alert their doctor before taking CoQ10 supplements, as CoQ10 may make these medications less effective.
If you decide to take CoQ10 to lower your blood pressure, you should be aware that some medications can lower CoQ10 levels in your blood. Statin medications used for the treatment of high cholesterol, fibric acid derivatives like Lopid, and tricyclic antidepressants (Elavil, Sinequan, and Tofranil), may all have lower levels when used in conjunction with CoQ10.
A Word From Tips For Healthy Living
If you have hypertension, supplements may be helpful in reducing your blood pressure numbers. Although extensive research is still lacking on the effects of many supplements on blood pressure, there is evidence to show improvement with use of CoQ10 supplements.
If you are considering use of a supplement, be sure to tell your healthcare provider. Some supplements may interact with medications you currently take. It’s important to have all the facts and to monitor your blood pressure carefully when making any changes in your treatment regimen.