The Cholesterol Panic
In the frenzied effort to lower cholesterol levels, many doctors have, of course, been prescribing certain medications. One of the top-selling cholesterol-lowering drugs is Lovastatin. Millions of people in this country currently take this drug, and additionally, it is marketed in 30 other countries around the world. I should point out that it does indeed lower cholesterol. As usual, though, with many of these “wonder” drugs, it may create more problems than it solves.
Researchers have reported that Lovastatin interferes with the production of ubiquinone or coenzyme Q10. Lovastatin blocks reaction pathways that lead to the synthesis of both cholesterol and coenzyme Q10, and this “little” side effect could be placing thousands of lives in jeopardy. I am convinced that CoQ10 is absolutely essential for maintaining life. That’s a big statement, I know, and unfortunately it’s one not shared by all. Even today, CoQ10 is a nutrient that is unknown to many cardiologists.
In addition to its important role in energy metabolism and boosting the immune system, coenzyme Q10 helps vitamin E in preventing the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol (the low-density lipoproteins or LDLs). Oxidized LDLs are taken up by macrophagic white blood cells and turned into “foam cells,” which can then become clogs in the walls of arteries.
Some researchers are now suggesting that taking additional vitamin E may help offset this loss of coenzyme Q10. No one really knows for sure, though, how well, or even if this will work. It’s another one of those instances where the drug creates a more serious problem than the one it was supposed to remedy.
Energy for Your Heart
You probably know already that your heart is the hardest-working organ in your body. It works without rest from before you are born until the moment you die. To do this, it requires a constant supply of nutrients. A deficiency of any nutrient will eventually show up as some type of problem in your heart, but certain nutrients are even more important if you currently have heart problems or are at high risk for developing such problems. One of these nutrients is coenzyme Q10. (As I mentioned, CoQ10 can even give a boost to your immune system.
Long Live The Liver
Your liver transforms other CoQ forms (CoQ1 through CoQ9) into CoQ10. This ability probably enables us to live relatively disease-free for the first several decades of life. As we age, however, the liver seems to lose its ability to make this transformation. Many feel that this decline in CoQ10 production leaves us more susceptible to diseases of the heart. Research both here and in Japan confirms that 75 percent of cardiac patients examined had significant deficiencies of CoQ10 in their heart tissue.
Normally, when a blockage in one of the coronary arteries cuts off the blood supply to the heart, the heart muscle itself suffers irreversible damage. CoQ10 can protect your heart from this irreversible damage. In laboratory studies, animals were given CoQ10 prior to blocking off the blood supply to the heart; others were given a placebo. In the placebo group, heart failure and permanent damage occurred in as little as 60 minutes. In the CoQ10 group, failure and muscle damage didn’t occur until after 90 minutes. In many heart attack situations, that extra 30 minutes could mean the difference between life and death. This alone should be enough to encourage the daily use of CoQ10. (Cardiovascular health is enhanced when the arteries supplying the heart muscle with blood remain undamaged and open.
Start to Benefit Now
You can find the dry form of CoQ10 at most health food stores. Be sure to check the bottle carefully. Do not buy it if the bottle doesn’t have a lot number and expiration date. CoQ10 loses its effectiveness in the bottle over time.
Recent studies confirm that it’s best to take CoQ10 in a soft gel capsule because it is easier for your body to absorb. Only water-soluble cells can absorb the dry form of CoQ10. But if it’s suspended in oil, it can be taken in by both water- and fat-absorbing cells. From a dosage standpoint, this increased absorption means that a lower dosage of the liquid form is equivalent to a higher dosage of the dry form.