When explaining the benefits of CoQ10 and Aged Garlic Extract (AGE), it helps to start with a real-life example. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which was conducted at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, looked at the impact CoQ10 (ubiquinone) had on a group of firefighters at moderate risk of heart disease. All of the firefighters underwent testing using Cardiac CT, a revolutionary imaging technology that accurately measures coronary artery calcium deposits (CAC) and plaque buildup in the arteries. C-reactive protein—a marker of internal inflammation that may contribute to a higher risk of heart attack—was also measured.
Once their risk was determined, the firefighters were given either a placebo or a combination of 1,200 mg of Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) and 120 mg of CoQ10 every day for 12 months. The UCLA researchers found that the firefighters taking the AGE/CoQ10 supplement had significantly less CAC in their arteries and lower CRP levels than those taking the placebo. And that translated to a lower risk of future cardiovascular issues.
But the benefits of CoQ10 aren’t just reserved for firefighters or other people in highly stressful careers. Since both calcification and inflammation are hidden risk factors for heart attack and stroke, taking CoQ10 daily (especially when paired with AGE) is a smart and simple way to protect your cardiovascular system.
If you are taking statin drugs like Lipitor and Crestor to lower your cholesterol levels, you are probably familiar with coenzyme Q10, or more commonly known as CoQ10. This vitamin-like substance is found in every single cell in the body, where it provides the mitochondria with the energy it needs to function. In fact, CoQ10 is so important that your cells could not survive without it! It is particularly critical for creating cellular energy in tissues that make up energy-demanding organs like the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys.
CoQ10 is one of the most powerful and protective antioxidants against free radical damage, and without adequate levels, no vital organ or system can perform optimally. Perhaps CoQ10’s most critical role however, is to protect and create energy within the cells of the heart. Since these particular tissues demand an enormous amount of energy to function properly, you will find a greater concentration of CoQ10 in the heart than anywhere else in the body. It’s so important to our cardiovascular system that low levels are implicated in virtually every form of heart disease.
There are two forms of CoQ10: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form of CoQ10, is naturally made in the body from ubiquinone as needed. As we age, the body’s ability to accomplish this conversion declines. The use of statin drugs also reduces levels of both forms of CoQ10. Here’s why: Your liver creates most of your body’s supply of Coenzyme Q10 with the help of a special enzyme. By coincidence, your liver uses the very same enzyme – known in medical circles as HMG-CoA Reductase – to produce another, more familiar substance – cholesterol. Since CoQ10 and cholesterol are both triggered by HMG-Co Reductase, using one of the popular statin drugs lowers both substances.
While you can sidestep the natural conversion process with an ubiquinol supplement—an expensive option at best—most of the research on CoQ10’s benefits has been done using ubiquinone, which is the more stable form. But what about the foods we eat, are there any food sources that have CoQ10? You’re in luck! Food sources of CoQ10 include: fatty fish like trout, herring, sardines, vegetables like spinach, cauliflower and broccoli, fruits like oranges and strawberries, legumes like soybeans and lentils, and nuts and seeds like sesame seeds and pistachios. Add these foods to your diet for an all-natural way to boost your CoQ10. And if the CoQ10 “diet” isn’t really your thing, consider taking a CoQ10 supplement, and enjoy all of it’s free-radical fighting, cholesterol lowering, heart healthy benefits.
- Budoff M, Zeb I, Ahmadi N, Nasir K, et al. Aged garlic extract and coenzyme Q10 have favorable effect on inflammatory markers and coronary atherosclerosis progression: A randomized clinical trial. J Cardiovasc Dis. 2012;3(3):185-90.
- Vitetta L, Leong A, Zhou J, et al. The plasma bioavailability of Coenzymd Q10 absorbed from the gut and oral mucosa. J Funct Biomater. 2018;9(4). pii:E73.