A Cardiologist Looks at CoQ10

Dr. Peter Langsjoen, a leading cardiologist in the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of heart problems in the United States, owns one of three specialized machines in the world for measuring this vitamin-like substance.

Langsjoen, board certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases, says coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance produced in adequate amounts in young people but produced much less in older folks.

The University of Texas at Austin 1975 graduate in chemistry with honors, also says coenzyme Q10 is essential for the production of energy in all cells, "and because the heart muscle uses more energy than any other type of tissue it requires a huge amount of coenzyme Q10 for normal function."

Other important roles for CoQ10 are for cell wall integrity and anti-oxidation. When the synthesis of CoQ10 is reduced for any reason the side effects on the body are profound. Impairment of cell membranes from CoQ10 lack plays a major role in hepatitis, myopathy, neuropathy and rhabdomyolysis.

Lack of effective anti-oxidation from CoQ10 lack exposes our mitochondria to the full effects of oxidation, contributing to a variety of mitochondrial mutations. Interference with CoQ10's vital role in energy production results in chronic fatigue and congestive heart failure.

With recent developments, resulting in a faster absorbing CoQ10, Langsjoen started a clinical trial in 2005 for severe heart failure patients, seeing dramatic results in the first volunteers. He said as Americans grow older, CoQ10 is produced less by the body. "We have known since the 1970s that patients with heart failure have low levels of coenzyme Q10 both in their blood and heart muscle. We also have known that supplemental coenzyme Q10 improves heart muscle function in patients with congestive heart failure".

"It is very important to point out that supplemental coenzyme Q10 will not benefit heart muscle function unless the blood levels of CoQ10 are high enough to enter into heart muscle and thereby improve its function."

The implication here is that "token dosing" of CoQ10 rarely helps. The dose must be therapeutic, a level that may vary from person to person.

Dr. Langsjoen's father, Per H. Langsjoen, was a cardiologist who pioneered clinical research with Co Q10 in the United States and performed the first human double blind controlled heart failure study with CoQ10. He and his son practiced and performed research trials together up until his father's death in 1993.

"We now have here at our office in Tyler an extremely accurate high pressure liquid chromatography laboratory for measuring coenzyme Q10 in both blood and heart muscle," he said.

"We are now able to very accurately measure the quality of different coenzyme Q10 supplements and are able to much better treat patients with congestive heart failure," he added. Only two other laboratories of this type are in the world, one in Japan and the other in Italy.

Dr. Langsjoen has proved beyond a doubt both the close association of CoQ10 levels with congestive heart failure and the profound inhibition of blood CoQ10 level secondary to statin use. This effect is inevitable with statins because they cause mevalonate inhibition, a pathway that serves not only cholesterol synthesis but also that of CoQ10, dolichols and other substances vital to the body.

In other countries, including Canada, CoQ10 supplementation is strongly recommended when statins are used but not currently in the U.S

Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor


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