Vitamin E and Q10 can prevent muscle damage after a heart attack
– and that can save lives
Heart attack is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. A heart attack may cause permanent damage to the cardiac muscle and that can impair the patient’s quality of life. According to a new pre-clinical study that is published in Redox Biology, immediate treatment with vitamin E may counteract lasting cardiac damage, and the researchers believe this could represent a new and inexpensive treatment option. Earlier studies have shown that high-dosed supplementation with pharmaceutical-grade Q10 significantly improves both quality of life and survival in patients with chronic heart failure.
The heart is the body’s engine. It contracts around 100,000 times per day in order to provide all our cells with blood and oxygen. Chronic heart failure, a problem that affects millions of people around the globe, is primarily caused by atherosclerosis and narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood and oxygen to the heart. It is a slowly developing disease and according to the statistics, approximately 33 per cent of patients die within a year of being hospitalized with heart failure for the first time, and this is often because of permanent cardiac damage. It is therefore essential to take good care of your heart and possibly look into new treatment strategies after an acute heart attack.
Vitamin E counteracts cardiac damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation
It goes without saying that acute heart failure offers a huge blow to the body. The permanent damage to the heart is caused by violent inflammatory processes, oxidative stress, and cell death. According to Professor Karlheinz Peter, who headed the new study of vitamin E and is associated with the independent research institute, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, vitamin E is one of the most powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
Long-term treatment with vitamin E after a heart attack has not proven to be particularly effective for preventing the reoccurrence of heart attacks. However, it appears that acute treatment with the strongest form of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) may have a determining impact on several parameters, especially with respect to reduced white blood cell infiltration of cardiac tissue, which triggers inflammation. Also, vitamin E protects the cardiac cells against oxidative stress and restores heart function faster.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants such as vitamin E. Free radicals are highly aggressive molecules that attack the cells and instigate dangerous chain reactions in and around the cells. The more free radicals that are generated inside the body, the more protective antioxidants we need to protect our cells.
The new study is carried out on mice, and the next step is to treat patients with sustained acute heart failure by giving them large doses of vitamin E. Using MR scans and various other tests, the scientists plan to show that this will help preserve the heart function.
According to the scientists, it would be ideal if patients with acute heart failure be given their initial vitamin E treatment in the ambulance or immediately upon arrival at the emergency room prior to the conventional treatment with angioplasty and by-pass surgery
The vitamin E doses that the scientists wish to give are approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
How weak is the heart?
The New York Heart Association classifies heart failure in four different stages (NYHA classes), depending on the occurrence of symptoms such as breathing difficulty, pain, and heart palpitations
Important note: Heart failure patients lack Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is of vital importance to the human heart through all stages of life. It is primarily involved in the cellular energy turnover, and heart cells are particularly dependent on energy. However, Q10 is also a powerful antioxidant that protects cells and tissues against oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Humans produce most of their own Q10, but this endogenous Q10 synthesis gradually decreases from the age of around 20 years. Also, studies show that levels of Q10 in blood and tissue in heart failure patients is lower than it is in healthy individuals. Tissue samples taken from diseased hearts show that the more compromised the patient is, the lower the Q10 content in cardiac tissue. There is also evidence of malfunctioning mitochondria, which are the microscopic powerhouses that produce energy inside the cells. Therefore, scientists consider Q10 a potentially useful treatment in heart failure.
Q10 supplements for heart failure patients: Improved heart function and substantially fewer deaths
Now-deceased Chief Physician, Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen, headed the groundbreaking Q-Symbio study that documents Q10’s impact on chronic heart failure. The study included 420 heart failure patients from Europe, Asia, and Australia. All patients received conventional heart therapy. In addition to the standard therapy, half the patients were supplemented with 100 mg of coenzyme Q10 three times daily, while the other half got matching placebo. After 16 weeks, the scientists observed that the patients in the Q10-treated group had significantly reduced levels of NT-proBNP, a pro-hormone which is released by the cardiac muscle is constrained. Conversely, levels of NT-proBNP went up in the placebo group. The Q10 supplementation also improved heart muscle strength, making it a lot easier for the heart to pump with less effort. This improved quality of life for the patients.
After two years, there were 43 percent fewer heart-related deaths among the Q10-treated patients compared with those who got placebo. Also, the number of hospitalizations in the Q10-treated group had been reduced by 43 percent compared with the other group.
New hope for heart failure patients
Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen referred to the results with Q10 in heart failure as a shift of paradigm in cardiology. The patients were already receiving the best medical treatment for heart failure, yet the results were markedly better when Q10 was added to their daily regimen. In countries like Hungary, Italy, Japan, and Canada, doctors routinely give Q10 to heart failure patients and have seen positive results with this treatment.
Evidence also points to the necessity of taking larger quantities of Q10 in connection with acute heart failure, which is because Q10 (like vitamin E) is a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart against oxidative stress.
Q10 also has a unique ability to protect the mitochondria against oxidative stress and support the energy turnover in the malfunctioning mitochondria
When the renowned Q10 researcher, Dr. William V. Judy, sustained a life-threatening heart attack 20 years ago, he immediately started taking large doses of Q10, which his wife brought to the hospital at his request. He recovered surprisingly fast. Dr. Judy is now in his 80s and feels terrific. He ascribes this to the fact that he took Q10, something which he considers a life-saving compound and a source of physical and mental well-being. He has even authored the book, ”Coenzyme Q10 – An Insider’s Guide”, in which he writes about Q10 research and delivers his own dramatic account.
The quality of a Q10 product determines its effect
It is of vital importance that Q10 from supplements is able to enter the mitochondria. When you study Q10 as a raw material in a microscope you will notice that the Q10 molecules tend to aggregate in large, insoluble crystals, which the digestive system cannot absorb, simply because the crystals are unable to dissolve at normal body temperature. In order to overcome this obstacle of nature, the Q10 crystals are exposed to a special manufacturing technique involving different oils and a heating treatment that enables the crystals to dissolve at body temperature. That way, the Q10 molecules are free and unattached and can be absorbed by the small intestine. Q10 preparations that are manufactured using this technique are able to document their bioavailability and are therefore a far better choice than ordinary supplements.
Maria Wallert et al. α-Tocopherol preserves cardiac function by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in ischemia/reperfusion injury. Redox Biology. 2019
Mortensen SA et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-Symbio: a randomized double-blind trial. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, heart Failure 2014
Sylvia Oleck, Hector O. Ventura: Coenzyme Q10 and Utility in Heart Failure: Just Another Supplement? Pharmacologic Therapy 2016
William V. Cody. Coenzyme Q10. An Insider´s Guide. Ny Videnskab 2018
David Mantle and Iain Hargreaves. Coenzyme Q10 and Degenerative Disorders Affecting Longevity: An Overview. Antioxidants (Basel) Published online 2019 Feb
Pernille Lund. Q10 - fra kosttilskud til epokegørende medicin. 2014