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Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is produced by the human body and is essential for the basic functioning of cells. Studies suggest CoQ10 levels decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, cancer, and diabetes. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoQ10 levels.

Patients with failing hearts have low levels of CoQ10 in their blood and heart muscle, and the levels fall even further as the disease advances. One study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, examined patients who had end-stage cardiovascular disease and were on the waiting list for a heart transplant. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers found most patients who took CoQ10 experienced a significant improvement.

Before using CoQ10, the average patient took up to five cardiac drugs, but after CoQ10 therapy, 43 percent of the patients were able to stop taking up to three drugs. Another long-term study found that 67 percent of patients taking CoQ10 were less tired, more active, and has less shortness of breath. In addition, their enlarged heart returned to a more normal size. When the patients stopped taking CoQ10, they got worse; when they began taking the nutrient again, CoQ10 improved their health once more.

Foods rich in CoQ10 include beef, fish, eggs, whole grains, and vegetables like broccoli and spinach.

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