Congestive Heart Failure
And Co Q10 Benefit

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

To better understand Co Q10 benefit in relation to CHF it is helpful first to understand what the condition is. 

When the heart becomes damaged due to any number of underlying reasons it often becomes weak and incapable of proper function. The end result is that the heart cannot adequately supply the body – especially the major organs - with blood. This condition is known as congestive heart failure (CHF). There are nearly half a million new cases of CHF each year in the US. 

Whatever the underlying cause or causes, congestive heart failure is a painful and deadly heart condition which must not be ignored

In many CHF cases the heart suffers from a lack of cellular energy. The combination of long-term heart damage and inadequate energy deep in the heart’s muscle tissues results in a heart that simply cannot keep the patient alive. 

It is this lack of cellular energy that has led many to study Co Q10 as a possible treatment for congestive heart failure.

The production of cellular energy is a primary Co Q10 benefit.

But What is CoEnzyme Q10?

As its name implies CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a coenzyme that is necessary for the proper functioning of other substances, one of the most important of which is ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

ATP is necessary for the production of cellular energy.

Without ATP our bodies cannot function properly.

Without CoQ10, ATP cannot function.

This one Co Q10 benefit has made it a very important object of study in relation to chronic disease. In many cases the presence of chronic disease is associated with inadequate levels of CoQ10. 

But no area of study has received more attention than the relation between CoQ10 and heart disease. Perhaps here lies our greatest Co Q10 benefit. There are at least two reasons for this.

  • CoQ10 is believed to be of fundamental importance in cells with high metabolic demands such as cardiac cells.
  • Heart conditions of many kinds are associated with chronically low CoQ10 levels.

Clinical trials have attempted to study the relationship between CoQ10 and many chronic diseases including, but not limited to…

  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • AIDS
But heart disease has gained the most attention; congestive heart failure being one of the primary subjects. 

Because heart muscle cells require so much energy to function and CoQ10 is at the core of the cellular energy process it makes sense to suspect thatcongestive heart failure might be linked to CoQ10 deficiency. With that theory in mind many studies like the ones that follow have been conducted. These trials are presented in thumbnail format.


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CoQ10 Benefit: A Catalog of Studies

One early Japanese trial (1972) involved 197 patients with varying levels of severity of cardiac failure. The study reported significant improvement of cardiac function supplementing with 30 mg per day of CoQ10. 

Another Japanese study demonstrated similar results with 38 patients also supplementing with 30 mg. 

In 1985 Co Q10 benefit and CHF became the subject of a U.S. clinical study. Participates of this study were prescribed daily supplementation with 100 mg of coenzyme Q10 for treatment periods of three months for patients with low ejection fraction measurements. (Ejection fraction is the measure of the heart’s ability to pump blood.)

A low ejection fraction is a classic symptom of congestive heart failure.

Again, significant improvements in heart function were reported. Other clinical trials followed demonstrating the same Co Q10 benefit for heart failure by prescribing the same level of supplementation. 

Studies in the early 1990s showed improvement for patients suffering from ischemic cardiomyopathy (a low oxygen state usually due to obstruction) with supplemental levels of 200 mg of CoQ10 per day. 

Supplementing with 100 mg per day demonstrated impressive Co Q10 benefit for patients suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart syndrome of unknown cause). 

One of the largest trials of the 1990s involves 641 patients randomly divided into two groups. The first group received a placebo. The other group received CoQ10 supplements. 

During the one-year follow-up period 118 patients in the placebo group were hospitalized for heart failure compared to 73 in the group that received the supplements. 

All of the preceding trials were relatively short-term studies. The level of improvement among patients varied depending on how long they had been suffering from some aspect of congestive heart failure. 

Through the years it has become increasing clear that the greatest Co Q10 benefit is realized in patients that have suffered from their condition the least amount of time. In other words, the longer a person had been suffering from the disease before he or she received CoQ10 treatments the less improvement was demonstrated. 

People who had received treatments early in the development of the disease showed the most dramatic improvement often returning to normal heart function. Long-term sufferers received less relief and were less likely to return to full heart function. 

Whatever the reasons for this disparity in health improvement, it demonstrates the importance of receiving congestive heart failure treatments as early as possible.

CoQ10 Benefit: Long-Term Studies

Do long-term studies show the same Co Q10 benefit for patients with congestive heart failure and other chronic heart conditions? 

In the short-term trials it was apparent that even high level supplementing with CoQ10 seemed to produce no ill effects. In order to determine if this is only true for short durations a number of long-term studies were conducted. 

In 1990 observations were published concerning 126 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. Unlike previously noted studies this one followed the patients’ progress for six years. Long-term Co Q10 benefit was noticed with no harmful side effects. Similar observations were made in a trial involving 2,664 patients treated with CoQ10 at levels up to 150 mg per day.

A study was conducted in 1994 involving 424 patients with a variety of myocardial diseases. (These are conditions involving a weakening of the heart muscle mass.) 

Among these conditions were the following:

  • Valvular Heart Disease - pertaining to dysfunction of heart valves
  • Hypertension
  • Diastolic Dysfunction - failure of the heart to properly refill itself with blood
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy - group of disorders where the heart muscle is weakened and enlarged and cannot pump effectively
  • Ischemic Cardiomyopathy - low oxygen state usually due to obstruction of the arterial blood supply

Patients received an average of 240 mg of CoQ10 daily during their treatment period. They were then followed-up for up to eight years with an average follow-up period of 18 months. 

Overall results demonstrated measurable cardiac improvements in one month with maximum improvements at about six months. With continued treatment the Co Q10 benefit was sustained in most patients. However, discontinuing the treatment usually resulted in a decline of cardiac function with eventual return to pre-treatment conditions.

CoQ10 and Diastolic Dysfunction

Of the conditions mentioned above diastolic dysfunction has gained a high degree of attention. Diastolic dysfunction is one of the earliest signs of myocardial (heart muscle mass) failure. 

Diastole is the phase of the cardiac cycle when the heart is filled with returning blood. Because this phase requires more cellular energythan the systolic phase (when the blood is pushed out of the heart) it is more dependent on CoQ10. 

Diastolic dysfunction is a stiffening of the heart muscle which naturally restricts the heart’s ability to pump. This condition is associated with many cardiac disorders. Hypertension is among these disorders. 

As the heart muscles become stiff there is often a corresponding rise in blood pressure. When the diastolic dysfunction is reversed, blood pressure tends to lower as well. 

In one study involving 109 patients with hypertension, CoQ10 supplementation was added to normal hypertension treatments. In an average of 4.4 months 51% of the patients were able stop using at least one blood pressure lowering medication. Some were able to stop using up to three medications. 

Another study produced a similar Co Q10 benefit.

In that study 43% of 424 patients were able to stop using between one and three cardiovascular drugs because of the addition of CoQ10 supplementation.

To read a great paper from which these statistics were taken please click here. 

As always in the medical community many more studies will need to be conducted to determine the future of CoQ10 treatment. However, the research to date seems to support CoQ10 as very promising among the viable congestive heart failure treatments. In addition, CoQ10 promises to be a very useful treatment for many diseases that are caused or exacerbated by inadequate production of cellular energy. 

If you are serious about heart health and the prevention of heart disease you really do want to consider CoQ10 supplements. As we get older our bodies supply less and less of this valuable substance. Do your research. Then consider adding CoQ10 supplements to your heart health arsenal. 

Return from Co Q10 Benefit and CHF to CHF Main Page.

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