Danish research has shown that the dietary supplement Q10 has a life-sustaining effect for patients with heart problems. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Dietary supplement Q10 lengthens lives

According to Danish research, the dietary supplement Q10 gives almost half of all heart patients a better life and helps them live years longer. ’Buy it if you can afford it,' one scientist recommends.

Around 55,000 Danes experience heart problems, which means that their hearts have difficulty pumping blood around their bodies.

This condition makes them physically and mentally tired as well as shortening their lives. 

However, a Danish led study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure shows that the dietary supplement coenzyme Q10 can help the heart muscles of patients improve considerably, when taken together with the patients' prescribed medicine.

Patients, who had been given a Q10 supplement every day for two years, have far fewer complications than other patients. Furthermore, 42 per cent fewer patients in the group taking Q10 died.

"This result is extremely positive, because the substance doesn't simply prolong life. It also improves the quality of life of almost half all heart patients, because it relieves symptoms," says the Danish lead author of the study, Svend Aage Mortensen, specialist at the Heart Centre of Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet.

Independent scientist: This is certainly good news

Mortensen firmly believes that Q10 will become an ingredient of standard heart patient treatment.

Professor Kristian Thygesen from the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University and the Department of Cardiology at Aarhus University Hospital, was not involved in the study. He is optimistic about the study.

"The outcome is encouraging and points towards possible future treatment. So it is certainly good news for people who experience heart problems. However, the result will probably have to be confirmed by a larger scale study if Q10 is to be included in the international guidelines," says Thygesen.

Dietary supplement helps weak heart muscles

420 patients with moderate to serious heart problems were examined by a team of scientists led by Mortensen. 

The test subjects were divided into two groups, with one group receiving 100 mg of coenzyme Q10 in capsule form three times a day. The other group received placebo.

The study was done over a two year period and all the patients were given the supplement in addition to their regular medicine. Here is what it showed:

  • That the group given Q10 showed 42 per cent lower mortality rate than the group given placebo. Also, they had 43 per cent fewer heart-related complications, such as breathlessness and hospitalisation due to heart failure.
  • The Q10 group experienced fewer side-effects than the other group. The Q10 supplement did not appear to have any negative effects on the patients.
Q10 is available over-the-counter

The two doctors see no reason why heart patients should not invests in Q10. The only risk they face is wasting their money.

"There are no immediate side-effects of taking Q10. However, it could be a bit expensive for the patients, because 300 mg a day is a sizeable dose,” says Thygesen.

Mortensen has advised his patients to supplement their medicine with Q10. In his experience the effect is discernible after one to three months. However, patients with heart problems should consult with their own doctor, before they start buying Q10.

“I believe it's a good idea to supplement with Q10, especially if you're taking statins, which reduce cholesterol levels, but also reduces the natural level of Q10 in the cells," says Mortensen.

Read the original story in Danish on videnskab.dk

Translated by: Hugh Matthews

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