Researcher Romualdo Belardinelli and colleagues from the Lanicisi Heart Institute in Italy conducted a study of 23 patients with stable chronic heart failure (CHF), including 20 men with an average age of 59. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study randomly assigned the participants to four groups.
The first group was treated with oral supplements of CoQ10 (100 mg, three times per day); the second group took CoQ10 supplements and engaged in supervised exercise training five times a week; the third group took placebo; and the fourth group took placebo plus exercised five times a week.
The researchers found that the group taking CoQ10 supplements experienced a significant 9 percent improvement in the heart's functional capacity, compared to the group taking placebo. The group taking CoQ10 plus exercising experienced similar results over the group taking placebo and exercising.
Blood flow to the heart also increased by 38 percent in the groups taking CoQ10 supplements, and plasma levels of CoQ10 in those groups was tripled. That benefits CHF patients because it helps increase the bioavailability of CoQ10.
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like antioxidant compound that is essential to the body's ability to produce energy in cells. CoQ10 is mostly available in supplement form, but it can also be partly obtained through the diet. Foods rich in CoQ10 include oily fish that contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, and in organ meats and whole grains.
Though most researchers are focused on the effects of CoQ10 on heart health, research is under way to examine the supplements' possible benefits for people with diabetes, breast cancer, lung and prostate cancers, male infertility and kidney failure.