Coenzyme Q10 boosts the heart health of diabetics already on statin drugs decreasing their risk of heart attack and stroke

March 31, 2009

Supplements of coenzyme Q10 may increase the vascular health of diabetics receiving statins, according to a new study from Australia. Diabetics on the cholesterol lowering drugs were supplemented with Coenzyme Q10 at a dosage of 200mg per day (with food) for a twelve-week period. Following the 12 weeks of supplementation an improvement in the blood flow was observed.

The researchers recruited 23 statin-treated type 2 diabetic patients with endothelial dysfunction or poor function of the cells lining blood vessel walls; this leads to poor blood flow and eventually to heightened blood pressure (and this leads to stroke or heart attack). The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either CoQ10 or placebo for 12 weeks in a randomised, double-blind, crossover study.

The researchers report a 2.7-fold increase in blood levels of CoQ10 following supplementation passing through the brachial artery with an improvement in dilation. According to the researchers, “Impaired flow mediated dilation is a consistent predictor of adverse cardiovascular events,” wrote the researchers. “Several interventions that improve FMD also improve cardiovascular outcomes.”

It is well known that statin drugs deplete the body’s natural stores of CoQ10, and this has boosted use of CoQ10, particularly in the US, where the popularity of statins has increased. The new findings indicate that, in addition to redressing the balance of CoQ10, supplementation may also improve endothelial dysfunction in statin-treated type 2 diabetic patients.

“The patients in our study had endothelial dysfunction despite satisfactory control of blood pressure, glycaemia and lipids, which may represent the proportion of statin-treated patients at increased residual risk of cardiovascular disease,” wrote the researchers, led by Professor Gerald Watts from the University of Western Australia.

“Our absolute improvement in [blood flow in the arm] of 1 per cent with CoQ10 supplementation may potentially translate to a 10-25% reduction in residual cardiovascular risk in these patients.” The study is published online ahead of print in the journal Diabetes Care.