Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Should I Use CoQ-10 For Heart Health?

Wednesday, 21 July 2010 12:26 PM

Question: I am a healthy 52-year-old woman. I’ve read about supplementing ones diet with CoQ-10 for heart health, and I have been taking it for two years with no adverse effects. My average resting heart rate is 55 beats per minute, and I seem to recover quickly after strenuous exercise. I exercise 40 minutes four or more days a week (light-weight training, aerobics, and yoga), and eat a healthy diet. What is your advice about using this supplement?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Congratulations on your healthy diet and activity regimen. CoQ-10 's role in modern medicine is still being studied, and it seems to be a safe supplement to use in adults.

CoQ-10 is not for use in children and has several unapproved adult uses:

treating and preventing statin myopathy (muscle aches) at doses as low as 50-100 mg daily.
treating heart failure at a dose of 100mg daily in divided doses with unclear effectiveness.
slowing the progression of early Parkinson's disease at a dose of 1200 mg daily in divided doses.
migraine prevention at a dose of 300 mg daily in divided doses.
improving athletic performance. Data isn’t yet clear.
There appear to be few side effects reported using CoQ-10. Many believe that we become deficient in CoQ-10 as we age, but the data is not yet sufficient to recommend routine supplementation. Previous reports of benefits in diabetes and Huntington's disease have not been supported on repeated review. There is no evidence that CoQ10 prevents or treats coronary artery disease or stroke, so the heart health label is somewhat dubious.

Mild muscle aches while taking statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs with trade names such as Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, etc.) are believed to be induced by a statin-induced CoQ-10 deficiency.

For those with muscle aches on statins, stop your statin, have your CPK level checked, and, if normal, consider suggesting to your doctor that you be allowed to restart the statin with appropriate CoQ10 supplementation. You may be surprised what 50-100mg CoQ10 taken with your statin may do for you. All the evidence is still anecdotal, so we are still awaiting official clearance to use CoQ-10 as a preventive supplement in statin users.

While use of CoQ10 is popular now, there is little evidence to prove this supplement is important for our daily use unless we are taking other prescription medications or have one of the above conditions it has been reported to help.

Treat all your supplements as drugs. They ARE drugs. Always review supplement use with your doctor for guidance on safety issues and dosage. Never rely on the opinion of a salesperson or marketing representative with a stake in your purchase of their product. Be an educated health consumer.

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