The Importance of COQ10 in Improving Hypertension and Preventing Heart Failure

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a compound found naturally in the energy-producing centre of the cell known as the mitochondria. CoQ10 is involved in making an important molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which serves as the cell’s major energy source and drives a number of biological processes, including muscle contraction and the production of protein. It is a very popular supplement in the UK, partly for its ability to boost energy, enhance the immune system, and as an antioxidant.

Clinical research reported in the journal Biofactors has now indicated that patients with congestive heart failure that were supplemented with the active form of coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinol) improved ejection fraction by 39%. Ejection fraction is a critical marker of heart function used to determine the volume of blood pumped by the heart through the vascular system. CoQ10 is essential to convert nutrients to energy and power the cellular engine, and natural production in the body declines with age.

The study conducted at the East Texas Medical Center focused on patients with advanced congestive heart failure that were classified as Stage IV, the most severe form of the disease. Patients were supplemented with 580 mg of the ubiquinol form of coenzyme Q10 daily to increase plasma blood levels by a factor of four.

The researchers found “the improvement in plasma CoQ10 levels is correlated with both clinical improvement and improvement in measurement of left ventricular function.” Prior to CoQ10 supplementation, most of the participants were considered critically ill and confined to bed or a wheel chair. After being given ubiquinol, patients typically improved to the point they were able to carry on a productive lifestyle.

This is a serious problem that affects as many as one in three adults and high blood pressure is closely associated with coronary artery closure due to plaque formation and arterial stiffening as the normally elastic vessels require more pressure to fully circulate blood to the body. The result of a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism found that coenzyme Q10 supplemented along with other potent antioxidant nutrients (vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium) significantly increased small and large arterial elasticity that led to lower blood pressure and risk of a heart attack.

Subjects in this study received 60 mg of CoQ10 for a period of six months along with moderate amounts of the other nutrients. In addition to improved arterial elasticity, researchers found a significant decline in HbA1C blood sugar levels and an increase in protective HDL cholesterol levels. The authors of the research concluded that the CoQ10 nutrient antioxidant cocktail “has beneficial effect on glucose and lipid metabolism, blood pressure and arterial compliance in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors.”

Or in other words, they made a real difference to the patients’ health.

Cocoa and high blood pressure

September 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Diets, Food & Nutrition, Medical Research & Studies


Now, I would have thought that a good cup of cocoa would certainly make you feel better but because of its high caffeine content I wouldn’t have thought of it as a treatment for high blood pressure.

But who am I to disagree with researchers from Harvard? It seems that although 3 in 10 of us in the UK suffer from the condition there is one place in the world where it is virtually unknown. The Kuna Indians live on a group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama and hypertension does not exist there. Once the islanders reach 60, they have a perfect average blood pressure of 110/70 which is something to be envied and they also have much lower death rates from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer.

So what’s their secret? It is certainly not their salt intake as that is as high as in the UK, but because they drink 5 cups of cocoa every day. WE know that the flavonols in cocoa stimulate your body’s production of nitric oxide and that boosts blood flow to your heart, brain, and other organs. If you are taking a daily aspirin to thin your blood you might like to know that one study found cocoa thins your blood just as well. Certainly tastes better, and one Harvard Medical School professor claims cocoa can also treat blocked arteries, congestive heart failure, stroke, dementia, and even impotence.

No more to be said really, but I would stick to organic cocoa and I am not sure if the islanders make it with milk or not, but if you do then make sure that’s organic too so you get the maximum benefit

Hypertension and kidney disease beaten by a pea?

April 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Food & Nutrition, Healthy Ageing


If you have high blood pressure there are several ways to reduce it naturally through exercise and diet. Now it seems you can also help by adding garden peas to the menu as recently reported by the American Chemical Society.

Researchers in Canada found that proteins found in yellow garden peas show promise as a way of fighting high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease. Peas are an amazing source of protein, dietary fibre, and vitamins and have the bonus of being both free of cholesterol and low in fat. Yellow peas are best known perhaps for their use in dhal and soups so adding them to your weekly menus could help delay or prevent the onset of kidney damage and potentially stabilise high blood pressure.

More sleep = Better health

November 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Lifestyle, Natural Medicine

As they get older, many people find they are sleeping less, but that could be a health risk. So to encourage you to try and improve your sleeping habits, if you are currently sleeping fewer than seven-and-a-half hours a night – and are over 60 – then you could be increasing your risk of heart disease.

If you don’t get a full 8 hours plus, then that is associated with a higher rise in overnight blood pressure which increases your risk. This is based on a Japanese study of older patients with hypertension, where they found that the combination of little sleep and elevated overnight blood pressure was associated with an increased risk as well.

Previous studies on the effect of lack of sleep have been done on younger patients and they showed a link to multiple health disorders, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease so they are not exempt either. This is the first study on older patients and shows a particular link with increased risk of heart disease.

If you have trouble sleeping, try a late night drink of chamomile tea, a lavender oil warm bath, or the excellent Bach Rescue Sleep. This is a new formulation that I tried recently and it contains the original 5 effective ingredients of “Rescue Remedy®” plus White Chestnut which is effective against restless mind. I certainly found it to be very effective, though rather too sweet for my taste, and am waiting to hear from the Bach Centre what that ‘sweet’ ingredient is!

Belly laughs and blood pressure

May 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, Lifestyle, Natural Medicine

When I was a child a day trip to Blackpool was a highlight of the summer holidays and my favourite thing was to go to the funfair and stand in front of an enormous machine called the Laughing Policeman.

You put your penny in the slot (it was a long time ago), and the large animated figure would rock back and forth consumed by laughter.

It was contagious: you couldn’t stand there, or be within six feet of it, without joining in. Evidently that was my first experience of knowing just what was good for me, and the foundation of my later career as a health writer! Now it seems that the Laughing Policeman’s inventor was a man who knew not just how to make people feel good, but was also unwittingly helping them lower their blood pressure too. Now a wonderful piece of research from India has shown that when 200 workers at an IT call-centre in Mumbai, India, were given 20-minute laugh-yoga sessions they had significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. I imagine that working in any call centre must be very stressful, and so this could be an ideal – and economic – way to increase the health of the workers. The study was reported by Dr Madan Kataria to the American Society of Hypertension and if you want to emulate it, then the laughter therapy involved breathing exercises along with laughter that starts as a gentle “hee, hee, hee” and builds to a raucous “ha, ha, ha.” Apparently it’s the full out belly laugh that really makes the difference. I can hear the voice of the Laughing Policeman echoing across the years in full agreement.

Of course you could always call in an expert, and I happen to know one. Anne McDonald actually follows the work of Dr Kataria and is based a little bit nearer to us in Dublin. She is a qualified ‘laughologist’ if you need one in your place of work and I can highly recommend her, though you may have a stitch in your side for several hours afterwards from being overcome by a strong case of hysterics. If you want to contact her, visit her website at for a wealth of delights, including her own artwork.

Can’t sleep? Women at risk

March 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Health, Mens Health, Wellness, Womens Health

Yesterday it was reported in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity that women with sleep problems have higher levels of biomarkers for cardiovascular disease and diabetes than do men who can’t sleep. Poor sleep patterns in this instance is defined as problems falling asleep, taking 30 minutes or more to fall asleep, or awakening frequently. Apparently, researchers at Duke University found that such women also have greater psychological distress than men who sleep poorly. The difference in gender risk is marked, as when comparing men and women with the same poor sleep patterns, they found that the women had high levels of C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and insulin, leading to higher risks of cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

The women who had the biggest risk were those who took over half an hour to fall asleep, so if this is you it could be time to look at alternative methods to aid sleep such as camomile tea, valerian or a warm, not hot, bath with lavender oil before going to bed. If those simple methods don’t help, then you might also consider looking at these factors:

Are you a late night snacker?
Avoid anything containing grains and sugars (biscuits, cakes, bread, crackers) before bedtime as they will raise your blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when your blood sugar drops back to a lower level then you might wake up and not be able to get back to sleep.

Is your bedroom dark enough?
If there is even the tiniest bit of light in the room it can disrupt your circadian rhythm and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and seratonin. If you get up in the night to go to the bathroom then try and keep any light to a minimum because as soon as you turn on a light your body responds and immediately ceases all production of the important sleep aid melatonin and doesn’t recommence that night at all.

Late night tv watcher?
Watching tv right before bed is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. If you must watch, stay in the living room and don’t have set in your bedroom. Watching tv in bed is also disruptive of pineal gland function for the same reason as light in the bathroom/bedroom.

Cold feet?
Because our feet have the poorest circulation, they often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that wearing socks to bed reduces the possibility of you waking through feeling cold.

High blood pressure in pregnancy may pose long-term risk

November 12, 2007 by  
Filed under Womens Health

High blood pressure is closely monitored during pregnancy but there is new evidence from a study at the Mayo Clinic in the USA that it is an under-recognized risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Compared with women who have had normal blood pressure throughout their pregnancies, those who had high blood pressure are at greater risk of heart disease later in life. One reason could be that having high blood pressure in pregnancy has some of the same risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as diabetes or obesity. Another theory is that hypertension in pregnancy could induce long-term metabolic and vascular abnormalities that might increase the overall risk of heart disease later in life. Anyone with a family history of heart disease is well advised to have their blood pressure very closely monitored during pregnancy.

Natural ways to control high blood pressure

As there are 16 million people in the UK with high blood pressure (hypertension), and of those nearly a third are not aware that they have the condition, it is obviously an issue that needs to be addressed. High blood pressure is defined as being at a level consistently at or above 140mmHg and/or 90mmHg and it is a both a preventable and manageable condition. You would think that as it is the direct cause of half of all strokes and heart attacks in the UK that those who have it would be regularly monitoring it, but sadly only 10% of those diagnosed with the condition have their blood pressure controlled to target levels.

Yet there is something that is so incredibly simple, that everyone can do, at no cost and no risk that will naturally help control high blood pressure. Hypertension results from the balance between two factors: how hard the heart is pumping (cardiac output) and how easily plasma can diffuse out of your capillaries (peripheral resistance) and most people with high blood pressure have a normal cardiac output but increased peripheral resistance. That resistance means you are more at risk of heart attacks and strokes and the most likely cause is dehydration.When you are dehydrated the level of blood in your body falls but the body has it’s own incredibly clever regulatory system where it prioritises the maintenance of your essential organs and shuts down blood supplies to the capillaries of non-essential areas like the muscle and skin. The effect of this is to increase your peripheral resistance and also to increase the production of histamine, a hormone-like substance, and this causes your blood vessels to narrow and this in turn further increases blood pressure. This can be also exacerbated by the fact that many treatments for hypertension include the taking of diuretics and this again reduces the amount of fluid in the body.

The remedy? Drink at least two litres of plain, still, water every day – not tea, coffee, soft drinks as a substitute but pure unadulterated water. Often the easiest way to measure is to have a full bottle by the kettle and make sure it is empty by the time you have that bedtime drink – or even earlier for preference so you aren’t then getting up too often in the night.

If you want to try and control your blood pressure without drugs, then one of the most effective supplements is Co-enzyme Q10. This is a substance which is produced naturally in the body and taking it has lowered blood pressure as effectively as prescription medications in a number of patients. Unlike some of the drugs, it’s only side effects are the good ones of lowering cholesterol and preventing diabetes and gum disease and the recommended dose for supplementation is normally between 60-120mg a day, but always start on the lower amount first and in consultation with a natural practitioner.

Extra health benefits for men

Extra health benefits for men

Over 16 million adults in the UK currently are affected by hypertension and it is certainly vitally important to control high blood pressure to help keep your heart healthy. However, now it seems that paying attention to your blood pressure can also bring other benefits, particularly for men and some of the concerns they might have around ageing. A study conducted by researchers from Harvard and the Veterans Association (VA) in the USA examined the medical records of more than 350 older men who were part of the VA Normative Aging Study, which included a range of neuropsychological tests. This is a way of looking at brain function by summarizing the results of a series of organized mental tasks such as ability to learn and retain information, problem solving ability and intelligence for example. The key finding was that as the men aged, their overall neuropsychological function declined.

That is something you might expect, but what was startling was that that decline was significantly more pronounced among men who had high blood pressure but were taking no preventive measures or treatment to control it. In particular this group showed a reduced ability to handle language so that their verbal fluency and word recall was significantly worse when compared to men who also had high blood pressure but who had it under control. So if you want to keep on having lively arguments using exactly the right words then make sure you monitor your blood pressure levels!