CoQ10 may boost heart health of diabetics on statins

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Supplements of coenzyme Q10 may increase the vascular health of diabetics receiving statins, according to a new study from Australia.

Following 12 weeks of supplementation with CoQ10 (200mg per day) an improvement in the blood flow was observed, according to findings published in the journal Diabetes Care​.

It is well known that statins 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 per cent reduction in residual cardiovascular risk in these patients.”

According to the International Diabetes Federation, there are over 245 million people with diabetes worldwide. If current trends continue, this number will rise to a staggering 380 million by 2030. Current costs of diabetic complications are estimated to account for 5 to 10 per cent of total global healthcare spending.

Study details

In order to test their hypothesis that oral CoQ10 supplementation would improve the vascular health in statin-treated diabetics, Prof Watts and his co-workers recruited 23 statin-treated type 2 diabetic patients with endothelial dysfunction (and LDL-cholesterol levels less than 2.5mmol per litre). The volunteers were randomly assigned to receive either CoQ10 or placebo for 12 weeks.

The randomised, double-blind, crossover study analysed by brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), a measure of endothelial dysfunction since a low value is indicative of a blood vessel's inability to relax, and nitrate-mediated dilation (NMD), which relates to nitric oxide, a potent endothelium-derived relaxing factor.

The researchers report a 2.7-fold increase in blood levels of CoQ10 following supplementation, and an increase in FMD of 1 per cent. However, no changes in NMD were recorded, nor were any changes in levels of oxidative stress observed, assessed by measuring levels of compounds called F2-isoprostanes in the blood and urine.

“Impaired FMD is a consistent predictor of adverse cardiovascular events,”​ wrote the researchers. “Several interventions that improve FMD also improve cardiovascular outcomes.

“The significance of the findings in our report, however, require further investigation in a clinical endpoint trial,”​ they added.

The CoQ10 used in this study was provided by Blackmores (Balgowlah, Australia), and the study was funded by a CardioVascular Lipid Research grant from Pfizer.

Source: Diabetes Care​ Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.2337/dc08-1736“Coenzyme Q10 improves endothelial dysfunction in statin-treated type-2 diabetic patients”​ Authors: S.J. Hamilton, G.T. Chew, G.F. Watts

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