The real truth: antidepressants actually deplete these 3 crucial nutrients for the brain

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I experienced this firsthand.

When I took antidepressants, I felt better initially.

But then something just didn’t feel right.

I started suffering from cognitive decline, something I hadn’t experienced before.

I eventually got fed up with the medication and tried getting off them.

 But then I felt remarkably worse – much worse than I did before starting the medication.


Doctors simply told me I was experiencing a relapse of my depression and anxiety.

But that couldn’t be it, because not only were my symptoms much worse, but I also had new symptoms – symptoms I didn’t experience before I went on medication.

So, I did some research and discovered something called “drug-induced nutrient depletion”.

Studies show that pharmaceutical drugs can deplete your body of critical nutrients through multiple mechanisms, including increased excretion of nutrients, and impaired digestion, absorption and storage of nutrients. Over time, nutritional deficiencies can develop. And these deficiencies can cause additional symptoms and increase side effects. In fact, many drug “side effects” are simply nutritional deficiencies.

This is clearly a problem because nutrient deficiencies can be one of the main causes of mental illness. Being prescribed medication that further deplete nutrients from your body will make you worse. It’s an epidemic that seems to be ignored by the conventional medical system.

You may even develop new symptoms or side effects months or years after starting a medication because it takes time for nutrients to be depleted from your body. So both you and your doctor may not make the connection between the original medication and new symptoms.

These additional symptoms and “side effects” are often diagnosed as a new disease, leading to a new prescription, which further depletes nutrients.

So it’s clearly a downward spiral where you could end up being on multiple medications.

At my worst, I was on four psychiatric medications. Thankfully I’m off them all now and very healthy.

This article discusses the three key nutrients that are commonly depleted by psychiatric medication.

Your drug package insert won’t list these deficiencies, and your doctor is likely not aware of them.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzyme Q10 is a molecule found in every cell of your body and plays a key role in the production of energy.

It’s also an antioxidant and protects your body and brain from free radical damage.

Higher levels of CoQ10 have a “significant antidepressant effect” in rats because of its “well-documented antioxidant effect”. This makes sense considering the increasing amount of scientific literature suggesting that oxidative stress contributes to depression.

Unfortunately, studies show that a number of psychiatric medications, including antidepressants and antipsychotics, deplete CoQ10.

Low levels of CoQ10 can cause brain fog, mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, depression and irritability.

Other deficiency symptoms can include increased blood pressure, muscle cramps, high blood sugar, and shortness of breath.


Magnesium is a vital mineral that participates in more than 300 biochemical reactions in your body. This includes neurotransmitter, enzyme, and hormonal activity, all of which can have a huge effect on your mood and brain function.

It’s one of the most important nutrients for optimal brain health, and reduces anxiety, depression and irritability. Yet, many people are deficient in magnesium today and may experience the following symptoms because of it:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Muscle weakness, cramps, tremors, and spasms
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Osteoporosis
  • Nausea

Interestingly, these symptoms sound very similar to the list of side effects of some psychiatric medications.

In fact, research has shown that many antidepressants and stimulants do deplete magnesium from your body, increasing the likeliness of developing a deficiency.

Inadequate magnesium levels can then contribute and worsen many neuropsychiatric problems. This includes depression, anxiety, insomnia, seizures, ADHD, pain, schizophrenia, irritability, premenstrual syndrome, drug abuse, and short-term memory and IQ loss. Case studies have shown that patients with schizophrenia or major depression who have attempted suicide had significantly lower levels of magnesium in their cerebrospinal fluid.

So if you have mental health condition, or take medication to deal with it, you should consider supplementing with magnesium.

Also, you should make sure to eat lots of food with magnesium, including avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds, swiss chard, spinach, dark chocolate, halibut and beets.

B Vitamins

A number of B vitamins are also depleted by psychiatric medication, including B2, B6, B12 and folate.

Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, plays a key role in energy metabolism throughout your entire body.

As a result, a deficiency can affect the entire body, leading to low energy, weight gain, and skin and thyroid problems.

Antipsychotics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers can inhibit the absorption of vitamin B2, increasing your need for supplementation.

Lower levels of vitamin B2 have been found in people with depression, so giving them psychiatric medications can actually make them feel worse in the long run.

Healthy food sources of riboflavin include pastured eggs, leafy vegetables, beef liver, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, and almonds.

Vitamin B6 is another key nutrient that boosts mood, deepens sleep, and supports your entire nervous system.

It accomplishes this by playing a key role in the production of many neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin, GABA and dopamine.

But since psychiatric medications alter these neurotransmitters, vitamin B6 levels can be affected as well.

When I took antidepressants, multiple functional and integrative doctors suggested I supplement with vitamin B6.

This is because antidepressants and benzodiazepines have been shown to deplete B6.

Symptoms of deficiency include weakness, mental confusion, depression, insomnia and severe PMS symptoms.

Some of the best food sources of B6 include potatoes, bananas and chicken.

Lastly, vitamin B12 and folate are essential B vitamins that play a key role in methylation, one of the most important processes in your body and brain for optimal energy and nervous system function.

If you are depressed, you likely have lower levels of B12 and folate circulating in your blood, and people with low blood folate and B12 are at greater risk for developing depression.

Yet, instead of looking at folate and B12 levels in the blood, doctors often prescribe antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers that have been shown to deplete folate and B12.

B12 and folate deficiency can lead to an inability to methylate properly and increased homocysteine levels. This can worsen your depression, irritability, fatigue, confusion and forgetfulness.

Good dietary sources of natural folate include leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries. B12 is found primarily in animal foods, and beef liver is a good source.


The bottom line is that the medication that you take to manage your mental health can actually reduce nutrient absorption and rob your body and brain of essential vitamins and minerals. This can lead to unwanted side effects and declining health.

On top of this, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are actually a huge underlying cause of mental health issues to begin with.

Luckily, you can avoid side effects, and even control and overcome chronic mental disease without medication, by restoring these missing nutrients.

Unfortunately, in my case, I was given a prescription that made my underlying deficiencies worse, and dug me into a deeper mental health hole.

If you’re required to take a prescribed drug, you can offset many of the side effects and experience much better health by supplementing with the above nutrients.

So why isn’t this information passed on to patients who are taking psychiatric drugs? Because unfortunately, almost all doctors are unaware that medications can deplete nutritional reserves.

So, for now, you’ll just have to be aware of drug-nutrient depletions yourself.


  1. Drug-Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook
  2. The Nutritional Cost of Prescription Drugs
  3. The Side Effects Bible: The Dietary Solution to Unwanted Side Effects of Common Medications
  4. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition: Improve Your Health and Avoid Side Effects When Using Common Medications and Natural Supplements Together
  5. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements

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This fantastic article was written by Jordan Fallis, a brain health journalist and biohacker. We encourage you to ckeck out his website here

“The Greatest Health of Your Life”℠

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National Testosterone Restoration for Men
Wellness & Preventative Medicine

Selenium and CoQ10 Combo Cuts Heart Disease Deaths in Half

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Five year study reveals that combining selenium with CoQ10 has been found to dramatically slash the risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the developed world, killing more than 17 million per year, which is more lives than cancer claims. This is due to arterial plaque caused by poor diets, lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking.  A remarkable study to come out of Sweden shows that taking two supplements (CoQ10 and selenium) in combination may slash mortality risks by almost 50%. Researchers found that these nutrients may have many benefits including:

  • overall improved heart function
  • reduction of hospital stays due to surgeries
  • protection lasts years after stopping supplements

Swedish researchers published the study in the International Journal of Cardiology that revealed the health benefits of CoQ10 and selenium. Current studies already show these nutrients have the ability to protect damaged tissue from oxidative stress.

The Health Benefits of CoQ10 and Selenium

A study lasting five years was conducted on 443 healthy adults between the ages of 70 and 80. Half received placebos, and the other half received 200mg of CoQ10 and selenium supplements. After the five-year study was concluded, 12.6% of the placebo group had died of cardiovascular disease, while only 5.9 percent of those taking the supplements had died. The group who took the supplements also scored higher on cardiac functions after an echocardiogram examination. More importantly, they had lower levels of a biomarker NT-proBNP known as an indicator of heart failure, which is good because lower levels reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease.

The team of researchers did a 4-year follow-up study on the participants and found that the group taking the supplements reported two positive results:

  • a higher quality of life compared to the placebo group
  • 246 fewer days of hospitalization

More astonishing is that after 10 years, CoQ10 and selenium seemed to still deliver health benefits, including a reduction in cardiovascular deaths, this despite the group having stopped taking the supplements. At this 10 year mark, participants had a 49% lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart failure compared to the placebo participants. Both genders received the same level of protection.

What are CoQ10 and Selenium & How do They Work

CoQ10 and selenium work together to improve cell efficiency. CoQ10 is a type of antioxidant that helps protect the outer membrane (mitochondria) of sick cells, thereby making cells more efficient at releasing energy. Selenium is a mineral that assists certain enzymes in the body that have an antioxidant effect against free radicals.

Oxidative stress is known to accelerate the aging process and chronic disease, and both CoQ10 and selenium have been well known by researchers for their ability to protect people, especially the elderly. As we reach old age around 80 years or so, almost half the mitochondria in our cells have been depleted. CoQ10 is known to replenish the compounds in the mitochondria thus giving a boost in energy output. Because the human heart requires so much energy it is easy to see why CoQ10 is so beneficial.

Good sources of CoQ10 include salmon, tuna, liver, and whole grains. Good sources of selenium include wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, shellfish, sunflower seeds, and brazil nuts. In addition to the goal of life extension, the researchers wanted to improve people’s lives as they grow older. It appears that CoQ10 and selenium supplementation has an appreciable impact on both. In combination, these nutrients may be the answer to reducing the number one cause of death – cardiovascular diseases.

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7 Key Anti-Aging Ingredients For Your Skin And Hair

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There Are Certain Supplements Which You Can Buy, Ingredients And Or Substances Which Your Body Produces And Others Found In Your Food That Have Important Anti-Aging Properties For Your Skin And Hair. We’ve Identified Seven Key Anti-Aging Ingredients That Will Help You Look Better, For Longer


Amino acids are compounds that combine to form proteins. Along with proteins, they are considered to be the building blocks of life. According to, amino acids help our body to break down food, grow, repair body tissue and perform a number of other body functions. Amino acids are classified as: essential amino acids (these cannot be made by our body, so we need to get them through food); non-essential amino acids (our body produces these, even if we don’t get them from our food); and conditional amino acids (these are usually not essential, except during times of illness and stress).

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR SKIN:  Creatine is considered to be one of the most important amino acids for skin, as it not only keeps skin functioning properly, but also plays an important role in the production of collagen. Creatine is formed from arginine (conditional amino acid) and carnitine. Creatine also ensures that the body stays hydrated. It surrounds the cells of the skin with a thin layer of water, which protects them from being damaged by heat, UV rays and other pollutants.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR HAIR:  Methionine (an essential amino acid) plays a role in the health of your hair, helping to build stronger hair structures. Plus, research shows that methionine can assist in the reduction of hair loss. L-Lysine (also an essential amino acid) has been shown to positively affect the synthesis of collagen, which increases the strength of your hair. This is also believed to play a role in repairing the mechanisms of your hair, which can assist in the reduction of daily hair loss.


These are natural and man-made substances that help to protect your cells from free radicals, explains Paula Begoun, an internationally recognised consumer expert for the cosmetic industry, and author of bestsellers Don’t Go to the Cosmetic Counter without Me and The Original Beauty Bible. Sun, smoke and pollution all cause oxidative damage that in turn results in cell death. It is impossible to avoid free radicals completely, as the body produces them. By adding antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and vitamins to your diet, you can boost your body’s ability to fight infection, diseases and even premature aging. Some of the most powerful antioxidants are green tea, blueberries and grapeseed extract.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR SKIN: Glutamine (which is also an essential amino acid) is an antioxidant, so it aids in combating the effects of aging on the skin. If you are not getting enough of this amino acid in your diet, your body tries to pull it from your muscles. This means reduced muscle mass and less elasticity in your skin, which in turn results in sagging, wrinkles and a dull appearance. Vitamins E and D are also beneficial for skin health, is well known for it’s anti-aging properties and will help to preserve the youthful look of skin.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR HAIR: Hair’s keratin-based structures are susceptible to oxidative damage, which can lead to split ends, broken hairs, rough cuticles, frizz, tangling, lack of lustre, and even loss of colour (both natural and artificial). The sun is the biggest culprit for oxidative damage, as the rays penetrate the hair shaft and deplete the natural stores of melanin, found in the hair cortex. This also alters the protein structures of both the hair cuticle and cortex. Chemical processes (in particular, bleaching and permanent dyeing) tend to deplete the natural melanin, therefore creating oxidative damage. Treatments such as relaxers, perms, keratin treatments and heat styling all contribute to the formation of free radicals, which in turn negatively affect the lipids and proteins in the cuticle. Environmental factors such as pollutants, tobacco smoke, certain substances in our water and radiation all add to this free-radical damage. The good news is that evidence indicates that antioxidants are found in formulations for rinse-off products, leave-in conditioners and styling agents. Also look for vitamins and vitamin precursors, such as vitamin E, C and beta carotene, as these have been found to have protective effects.


Scientifically speaking, hyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan) is a glycosaminoglycan, a type of molecule composed partly of sugars, says Begoun. “Hyaluronic acid is a natural structural component of skin, and, in fact, is present in connective tissue throughout the human body.” Hyaluronic acid is found in the greatest concentrations in skin tissue (with almost 50% of the body’s hyaluronic acid found here), in both the deep underlying dermal tissue and the visible epidermal top layers. Begoun adds: “The true magic of this special anti-aging ingredient is its ability to retain moisture. In fact, one gram of of hyaluronic acid is able to hold up to six litres of water!”

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR SKIN: As we age, so our skin loses moisture, which in turn affects its elasticity and pliability. Begoun explains that this doesn’t mean that all skin becomes dry with age; it simply means that your skin can lack the amount of moisture you had in your youth, due to sun damage and other environmental factors. “Without question, you can still have oily skin in your 60s (perhaps just not as oily as it was in your 20s).” Hyaluronic acid helps to improve the skin’s moisture content, while also strengthening the skin’s barrier, which results in a softer, smoother, plumper looking skin. “We know that just about everything, from sun damage and acne to sensitive skin and rosacea, can lead to a damaged barrier, so repairing the skin’s barrier with skin-identical ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, can go a long way towards fixing, or at least minimising, those issues, which means it’s helpful for all skin types. Its lightweight texture isn’t an issue for oily skin, and it’s gentle enough that it isn’t a problem for sensitive skin,” notes Begoun.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR HAIR: Hyaluronic acid hydrates deep within the hair fibre, due to its small molecular size. Plus, it acts like a sponge, and has the ability to retain moisture, build volume and even fill in rough or cracked parts of your hair shaft.


This is the term given for the entire vitamin A molecule, explains Begoun. It is a beneficial cell communicating ingredient and antioxidant. In skincare and beauty products, it is found in the form of retinol, retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde. In prescription-only skincare products, it is in the form of retinoic acid or tretinoin.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR SKIN:  It is believed that, when applied to skin, it assists in creating better, healthier skin cells, and increases the number of skin-support substances, adds Begoun. “Retinol has been shown to increase the skin’s collagen production and glycosaminoglycan content, resulting in firmer skin with an improved texture and enhanced barrier function.” According to numerous published dermatology studies, retinol also functions as an antioxidant, and can interrupt the free-radical damage that results in the most obvious signs of aging. Plus, it promotes collagen production, fades discolouration from sun damage, and helps to build elastin. With retinol, you need to start slowly. Begoun suggests that you apply it every other day, or mix it in with your usual moisturiser to buffer against redness, flaking and irritation. This allows your skin to gradually acclimatize to this potent ingredient. You also need to be diligent with applying sun protection.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR HAIR: Retinyl palmitate provides free-radical protection, while nourishing your hair and scalp. It also adds a healthy sheen to your hair, in addition to body and suppleness. If your hair has been damaged through over processing, retinyl palmitate can help to improve texture.


HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR SKIN: As CoQ10 is found in the mitochondria of cells, it can help to prevent the formation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs are known to damage or destroy collagen and elastin, which in turn leads to saggy skin and the formation of wrinkles. CoQ10 also assists in the production of cellular energy. According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, studies have found that C0Q10, combined with other antioxidants and minerals, can improve skin roughness and fine wrinkles.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR HAIR: When used topically (such as through shampoo or a hair treatment), it is believed to enhance scalp circulation, and may even increase the rate at which hair grows. It also helps to restore shine and lustre to mature, fine or fragile hair. Plus, a 2009 study published by the Society of Cosmetic Scientists and the Société Française de Cosmétologie in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that CoQ10 has anti-aging effects on your hair.

COQ10 According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Co-enzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that is found in almost every cell in the body. This substance helps to convert food into energy. As it is an antioxidant, it fights free radicals which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA and can even cause cell death. These free radicals also contribute to the aging process (in addition to a number of health concerns, including heart disease and cancer). CoQ10 is believed to aid in reducing, or even preventing, this damage and is considered an important ingredient and


Research out of Rockefeller University reveals that adult stem cells reside in most tissues in the body. These stem cells are remarkable, as they can survive long-term, and can regenerate both themselves and their resident tissues during normal wear and tear, and following injury. The researchers explain that they exist in two distinct states: a quiescent state, in which they are not making tissue, and an active state, in which they are making tissue. When activated, they produce shorter-lived progenitors that divide rapidly and then progress to terminally differentiate, to form their respective tissue cells. Plants also have stem cells, reports lead researcher David Schmid and his team in their research paper Plant Stem Cell Extract for Longevity of Skin and Hair. However, unlike humans, adult plants contain potent stem cells with the potential to regenerate a whole plant. These stems cells are being researched and developed into skin and hair products.


HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR SKIN: The plant stem cells are, more often than not, obtained from rare Swiss apple trees. They are starting to be incorporated into anti-aging skin formulas, to repair DNA damage and protect against environmental aggressors.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR HAIR:  Research reveals that, when incorporated into hair products, stem cells can assist in maintaining healthy follicle cells, to delay the effects of aging on hair and scalp. Again, apple stem cells (the most common variety used in haircare products) contain the right characteristics to aid in hair growth. They work at a cellular level to maintain cellular renewal, and apple stem cells are believed to stimulate the activity of dormant hair follicles.


Resveratrol, a potent antioxidant found in red grapes, has been found to have preventive and therapeutic effects, according to a 2011 paper, The Grape Antioxidant Resveratrol for Skin Disorders: Promise, Prospects and Challenges. Lead author Mary Ndiaye and her team reported that studies have shown protective effects of resveratrol against ultraviolet radiation, oxidative stress and cutaneous damages, including skin cancer. “Because many of the skin conditions stem from ultraviolet radiation and oxidative stress, this antioxidant appears to have promise and prospects against a wide range of cutaneous disorders, including skin aging.”


HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR SKIN:  Researchers have found that resveratrol as an ingredient can have an anti-aging and inflammatory effect. This extract protects against UV and free-radical damage, helping to improve skin tone, the appearance of wrinkles and skin discolouration.

HOW IT WORKS ON YOUR HAIR: Resveratrol plays a role in protecting hair from free-radical damage and stimulating cell regeneration. The antioxidant feeds new cells that are forming at the root, to keep the follicle strong. This in turn creates healthier hair. Resveratrol also helps to re-balance the pH of the scalp and reverse the damage caused by environmental aggressors, resulting in healthier, shinier and stronger hair.

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First drug to improve heart failure mortality in over a decade

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Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to the results of a multicentre randomised double blind trial presented today at Heart Failure 2013 congress. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality in over a decade and should be added to standard treatment, according to lead author Professor Svend Aage Mortensen (Copenhagen, Denmark).

Heart Failure 2013 is being held from 25-28 May in Lisbon, Portugal. It is the main annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (1).

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) occurs naturally in the body and is essential to survival. CoQ10 works as an electron carrier in the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cells, to produce energy and is also a powerful antioxidant. It is the only antioxidant that humans synthesise in the body.

CoQ10 levels are decreased in the heart muscle of patients with heart failure, with the deficiency becoming more pronounced as heart failure severity worsens. Statins are used to treat many patients with heart failure because they block the synthesis of cholesterol, but these drugs also block the synthesis of CoQ10, which further decreases levels in the body.

Double blind controlled trials have shown that CoQ10 improves symptoms, functional capacity and quality of life in patients with heart failure with no side effects. But until now, no trials have been statistically powered to address effects on survival.

The Q-SYMBIO study (2) randomised 420 patients with severe heart failure (New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III or IV) to CoQ10 or placebo and followed them for 2 years. The primary endpoint was time to first major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) which included unplanned hospitalisation due to worsening of heart failure, cardiovascular death, urgent cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. Participating centres were in Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, India, Malaysia and Australia.

CoQ10 halved the risk of MACE, with 29 (14%) patients in the CoQ10 group reaching the primary endpoint compared to 55 (25%) patients in the placebo group (hazard ratio=2; p=0.003). CoQ10 also halved the risk of dying from all causes, which occurred in 18 (9%) patients in the CoQ10 group compared to 36 (17%) patients in the placebo group (hazard ratio=2.1; p=0.01).

CoQ10 treated patients had significantly lower cardiovascular mortality (p=0,02) and lower occurrence of hospitalisations for heart failure (p=0.05). There were fewer adverse events in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group (p=0.073).

Professor Mortensen said: “CoQ10 is the first medication to improve survival in chronic heart failure since ACE inhibitors and beta blockers more than a decade ago and should be added to standard heart failure therapy.”

He added: “Other heart failure medications block rather than enhance cellular processes and may have side effects. Supplementation with CoQ10, which is a natural and safe substance, corrects a deficiency in the body and blocks the vicious metabolic cycle in chronic heart failure called the energy starved heart.”

CoQ10 is present in food, including red meat, plants and fish, but levels are insufficient to impact on heart failure. CoQ10 is also sold over the counter as a food supplement but Professor Mortensen said: “Food supplements can influence the effect of other medications including anticoagulants and patients should seek advice from their doctor before taking them.”

Patients with ischaemic heart disease who use statins could also benefit from CoQ10 supplementation. Professor Mortensen said: “We have no controlled trials demonstrating that statin therapy plus CoQ10 improves mortality more than statins alone. But statins reduce CoQ10, and circulating CoQ10 prevents the oxidation of LDL effectively, so I think ischaemic patients should supplement statin therapy with CoQ10.”


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CoQ10 Combats Congestive Heart Failure

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Congestive heart failure is one of the most devastating forms of cardiovascular disease.1

More than 5.8 million people in the US are affected by congestive heart failure. If you’re diagnosed withcongestive heart failure today, you have a 50/50 chance of being dead within five years.1

Those aren’t good odds. But researchers have determined that with the help of CoQ10, you can beat these odds.

Mainstream medicine treats congestive heart failure with a barrage of medications including beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, digoxin, nitrates, aldosterone antagonists, anticoagulants, and glucose-lowering drugs. These drug combinations have added considerable years of life to patients with congestive heart failure.2-7

Overlooked by most cardiologists, however, are published clinical studies showing that CoQ10 can dramatically improve treatment outcomes when properly used in conjunction with conventional treatments.

A recent international, multicenter study of patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure demonstrated, by the most conservative analysis, a 50% reduction in major cardiovascular events (strokes, heart attacks, etc.) and a 44% reduction in cardiovascular deaths, in response to CoQ10 supplementation.4

This dramatic outcome validates earlier studies demonstrating the utility of CoQ10 in managing heart disease. It also points to the potential role CoQ10 plays in the prevention, rather than treatment, of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump sufficient blood to meet the needs of all organs in the body, and is frequently the result of other, preventable factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary heart disease (which causes heart attacks).1

Congestive heart failure results from a progressive weakening of the heart muscle, which is usually a result of insufficient production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy that fuels your heart.34-36 In a healthy heart with ample energy in the form of ATP, the heart muscle is well-developed and thick, and it effortlessly pumps blood out of the left ventricle into the aorta and out into the body.1

But with inadequate ATP, which occurs from impaired energy transport, the robust heart muscle weakens and becomes flabby, resulting in relatively ineffective pumping action, so that blood pools in the heart.1 We refer to this slowed and inefficient movement of blood in the heart as “congestive” heart failure. The major symptoms of congestive heart failure arise from this backup of blood in the weakened left ventricle.

CoQ10 Helps Prevent Heart Failure

CoQ10 has been shown to prevent underlying pathological disorders that produce heart failure. This includes reducing atherosclerosis risk factors, improving endothelial function, and protecting against heart damage.8,9Here is a summary of the encouraging data supporting the role of CoQ10 in heart disease prevention:

CoQ10 Protects Against Arterial Occlusion

Atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”) underlies virtually all heart attacks, strokes, and other blood vessel diseases.10-12 There are numerous risk factors that are associated with the onset of atherosclerosis, including LDL oxidation, chronic inflammation, elevated blood glucose, elevated lipid levels, and disordered growth factor signaling.13-17 Published studies show that CoQ10 combats many of those risks. For example:

  • Heart attack survivors who took 120 mg a day of CoQ10 for one year reduced the rate of total cardiac events and nonfatal heart attacks by 45 and 46%, respectively, compared to controls, while beneficial HDL cholesterol rose significantly.8
  • When compared to patients on statins, those taking 60 mg a day of CoQ10 favorably modified numerous atherosclerosis risk factors, including lipid profiles, platelet clumping, and oxidative stress.18
  • In adults at intermediate risk for atherosclerosis who took a combination of CoQ10 (120mg a day) and aged garlic extract (1,200 mg a day) for one year, atherosclerosis progression was 4-fold lower compared with control subjects, while markers of atherosclerosis-promoting inflammation were significantly reduced.19
  • CoQ10 helps prevent low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from oxidizing and triggering arterial plaque formation.20
CoQ10 Treats And Prevents Heart Disease

CoQ10 Treats And Prevents Heart Disease

  • Cardiovascular disease remains the leading killer of American adults.
  • In particular, congestive heart failure, which can arise from hypertension, atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, and heart attacks, prematurely sickens otherwise healthy people.
  • Some forms of cardiovascular disease involve some degree of energy mismanagement at the cellular level, leaving heart and blood vessel cells weakened and incapable of proper function.
  • CoQ10 is essential for transferring energy from food into ATP molecules, the universal cellular energy currency.
  • Studies show that supplementation with CoQ10 augments heart and vascular function, improves clinical status, and prevents further damage from cardiovascular disease.
  • CoQ10 may represent the single most vital supplement that everyone should take to sustain and support cardiovascular energy management.

CoQ10 Improves Endothelial Function

Dysfunction of the ultrathin cell layer lining arteries, the endothelium, is a major early risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.21,22 This endothelial dysfunction is especially prevalent in those with diabetes and/or lipid abnormalities.23 Numerous studies have demonstrated that CoQ10 directly addresses multiple causes of endothelial dysfunction:

  • In patients with diabetes, 12 weeks of supplementation with 200 mg a day of CoQ10 significantly increased endothelial function in a major artery.23
  • In a group of men with known endothelial dysfunction, CoQ10 supplementation improved endothelial function significantly compared with baseline.21
  • In patients with mild-to-moderate heart failure, 300 mg a day of CoQ10 improved endothelial function 38%, an effect comparable with that of exercise training.24
  • Blood vessel relaxation, a measure of endothelial function and blood flow, improved significantly in patients with known coronary artery disease at risk for heart attack who need optimal cardiac blood flow.25
New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification


Patient Symptoms

Class I (Mild) No limitation of physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea (shortness of breath).
Class II (Mild) Slight limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but ordinary physical activity results in fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea.
Class III (Moderate) Marked limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest, but less than ordinary activity causes fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea.
Class IV (Severe) Unable to carry out any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms of cardiac insufficiency at rest. If any physical activity is undertaken, discomfort is increased.

The New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification system has become the standard for measuring symptoms that affect functioning related to heart failure.81

CoQ10 Protects Against Heart Damage

Coronary artery disease typically refers to the consequences of atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries, which are the arteries that supply blood and nutrients to the heart muscle itself. Early disease may appear as painful and ominous angina (chest pain), while more advanced disease produces ischemia (lack of blood flow), and eventually infarction (death of heart muscle) in a classical heart attack.26 Numerous studies have shown that in the event of a heart attack, ample levels of CoQ10 may mitigate the amount of damage:

  • During open-heart surgery, when the heart is briefly stopped and ischemia is a major risk, CoQ10 protected heart muscle pumping and cardiac output.27
  • In functioning hearts from old rats, pretreatment with CoQ10 improved recovery of heart function following stress.28
  • In human atrial heart muscle tissue, CoQ10 treatment abolished the decreased ability to recover from ischemia seen in older hearts, producing a recovery pattern similar to that in younger hearts; this effect was shown to be related to improved mitochondrial energy efficiency in the treated tissue.28,29
  • In humans undergoing elective heart surgery, patients treated with CoQ10 had lower levels of markers of heart damage, improved pumping action, and shorter hospital stays, compared with untreated controls.28

When blood flow through the heart becomes congested, blood backs up throughout the body. The result is an accumulation of fluid that is squeezed out of the capillaries,82 the tiniest of blood vessels found in all tissues.

The most evident symptoms of congestive heart failure reflect this process: As the lungs become heavy and fluid-filled, patients experience shortness of breath during normal, non-strenuous activities, and have trouble breathing when lying down; as fluid builds up in the abdomen and extremities, patients experience weight gain, with swelling of the feet, legs, ankles, or stomach.1

Most patients also report feeling generally tired or weak, as the heart becomes less and less able to meet the body’s demand for oxygen and nutrients.

CoQ10 supplementation helps restore the heart’s normal energy economy, allowing heart muscle to regain its youthful strength, to resume its robust pumping action, and to reduce symptoms and disability induced by congestive heart failure.

CoQ10 And Cellular Energy

Some forms of cardiovascular disease involve energy mismanagement at the cellular level, weakening heart and blood vessel cells and leaving them incapable of proper function.30-33 This is especially true of congestive heart failure.

Despite its name, congestive heart failure is not a situation in which the heart stops beating. Rather, it results from a progressive weakening of the heart muscle, which is characterized by insufficient ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production.34-36

CoQ10 supplementation has repeatedly been shown to improve heart muscle function in patients with heart failure, supporting the scientific observation that heart failure is caused by a deficit in cellular energy.37,38 This includes improvement of heart muscle movement, increased cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped per minute), ejection fraction (proportion of blood pumped out with each stroke), and other technical measures.39-43

But are you taking the right amount—and the right type—of CoQ10 to extend your life span? Chances are, the answer is no.

Even fairly low doses of CoQ10 have been shown to reduce the symptoms associated with congestive heart failure. For example, in a three-month open study, an average daily dose of 100 mg a day of CoQ10 improved symptoms in a large majority of patients, including swelling, blueness (cyanosis), difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, sweating, insomnia, vertigo, and nighttime urination. In fact, 54% of patients experienced improvement in at least three such symptoms.44

But those low doses can be deceiving because even though they improve symptoms, ultimately few meaningful benefits in terms of survival or improved functioning were shown at CoQ10 doses of 100 mg a day.44 This is especially true for people who already have advanced congestive heart failure (Class IV) because fluid build-up in the walls of their intestines reduces the amount of a given dose that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.45

A study published in The Clinical Investigator shows us the difference that even modest increases in dosing makes: It demonstrated that an increased dose of CoQ10 produced more than just symptom reduction—it kept patients out of the hospital.

For this study, when patients with moderate-to-severe (class III and IV) heart failure took 2 mg/kg a day (about190 mg a day in an average-sized man, and about 150 mg a day for an average woman) of CoQ10 for one year, it significantly reduced hospitalization rates by 38%.38 In the same study, symptoms caused by fluid backing up into the lungs (pulmonary edema, “cardiac asthma”) were reduced by 61 and 51%, respectively.

But even with those increased doses and beneficial results, we’re still falling short of CoQ10’s full life-extending potential. Changing long-term outcomes (like reducing mortality) clearly requires higher doses for longer periods.


Mainstream medicine relies on drugs called statins to help lower cholesterol in an effort to prevent atherosclerotic heart disease. But a looming side effect of statins is that they deplete your heart muscle of CoQ10, in fact leaving you more vulnerable to congestive heart failure.83, 84

Fortunately, as shown by recent studies, people taking statins can benefit from supplemental CoQ10 at 200to 300 mg a day.84,85 Patients not only had improvements in CoQ10 levels and in natural free radical defense systems, but also had objective improvements in ejection fraction and in their NYHA functional classification as well.84, 85

CoQ10 And Longevity

To achieve benefits measured by longer life spans, you need to increase the dose and amount of CoQ10absorbed into the bloodstream.

Surprisingly few studies have bothered to measure blood levels of CoQ10 in patients, a basic step in gauging the effectiveness of a dosing program. What we do know is that leaders in the field have demonstrated that blood levels of more than 3.5micrograms/mL are required to reliably produce improvements in cardiac function.24,46,47 Doses of standard CoQ10 (also called ubiquinone) of at least 240 mg a day may produce such elevations in blood levels, while lower doses rarely do so.47,48

A better way to achieve optimal blood levels of CoQ10 is to use a superior form of CoQ10 called ubiquinol. In one particularly impressive study, patients with severe heart failure (average of class IV) had mean CoQ10 levels of just 1.6 micrograms/mL even though they were taking 450 mg a day of standard CoQ10. Once they changed to an average of 580 mg a day of ubiquinol, their blood CoQ10 levels shot up to 6.5 micrograms/mL and their mean ejection fraction improved 77.3% from baseline. In addition, their NYHA class improved from a mean of class IV to a mean of class II, demonstrating substantial improvement in their ability to carry out tasks of daily living.45

Dramatic proof of the effectiveness of higher doses of standard CoQ10 for longer periods comes from the most recent large clinical trial, conducted by an international group of cardiologists.49 In this study, patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure took either a placebo or 300 mg a day of CoQ10 (in the lesser absorbable form called ubiquinone) for two years. Patient data was examined at 16 weeks (short term) and at the end of the study (long term). No meaningful changes were seen in any patients at the short-term data point (16 weeks) using the ubiquinone form of CoQ10.

In the same study, by the two-year mark, however, supplemented patients were half as likely to experience a major adverse cardiovascular event, compared with placebo recipients.49 In addition, significantly more placebo patients died a cardiovascular death compared with supplemented subjects (16 versus 9%), whiledeaths from all causes were 18% in placebo patients, and just 10% in supplemented ones. The rate of heart failure-related hospital stays was also significantly lower in patients taking CoQ10 than in controls.

These studies indicate that making energy safely and abundantly available to heart muscle through CoQ10 supplementation at reasonable doses for a prolonged period is a powerful way to reduce the impact of congestive heart failure.

It is important to note here that in all studies, patients remained on their regular medications. This is important to emphasize as people with existing heart failure should use CoQ10 as a long-term heart-strengthener and not as a replacement for prescription medications.

Ubiquinol: The Optimal Form Of CoQ10

Whenever tissues are deficient in CoQ10, their energy-providing mitochondria throughout the body suffer.87 That’s because CoQ10 is an essential component in the transfer of electrons, nature’s tiniest unit of energy, from chemical bonds in food molecules to chemical bonds in the ATP molecules all tissues use as an immediate energy supply.88,89 CoQ10 deficiency has been found in a number of age-related disorders, prominently including heart failure.88,89

Supplementing with CoQ10 has been found to be a highly effective means of increasing tissue CoQ10 activity, with improvements in function of heart muscle, brain cells, and other energy-intensive tissues. Increasingly, research is proving that not all forms of CoQ10 are the same; some are better absorbed than others. Better absorption means more benefit for you.87

There’s evidence indicating that CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinol may be a better-absorbed, more readily available form of the coenzyme, compared with the more common ubiquinone.87 Ubiquinol is also the form of CoQ10 found naturally in the body, where it protects mitochondria and cell membranes.90,91

Research supports the idea that ubiquinol has a faster and more powerful effect—that it is morebioavailable.92 Animal studies have found higher tissue levels of CoQ10 when ubiquinol is the supplement used, and in one study ubiquinol was the only form that could increase CoQ10 in brain mitochondria.87When CoQ10 was combined with the adaptogen shilajit, there was a 56% increase in energy production in the brain.93 The compounds in shilajit have been shown to stabilize CoQ10 in its ubiquinol form and help facilitate more efficient delivery of CoQ10 to the mitochondria.93-96 And a human study showed that both a single oral dose of 150 or 300 mg of ubiquinol and long-term administration of ubiquinol were rapidly absorbed, and no safety concerns or laboratory abnormalities were seen.97

Laboratory studies show that ubiquinol is highly effective in reducing the disastrous effects of shock induced by blood loss, a leading killer following major trauma.98 The effect was attributed to ubiquinol’s powerful ability to clean up products of oxidation and thereby decrease inflammatory changes.99 Similarly, ubiquinol is the preferred supplement for use in certain forms of congestive heart failure.88 And ubiquinol is showing great promise in a host of other conditions and health concerns for which oxidant damage is a major predisposing factor, such as male infertility due to weakened sperm,100 blood markers of cardiovascular disease,90 and autism in children.101 There is also animal evidence supporting ubiquinol supplementation to prevent trauma-associated kidney damage.102

The beneficial effects of ubiquinol are so universal throughout the body that the compound is being explored for its effects on overall longevity. When age-accelerated mice (a model of human old age) were supplemented with high-dose ubiquinol (equivalent to about 1,680 mg in humans), their performance on a treadmill was improved by more than 15%, and they had a significant increase in their natural free radical defense systems, further adding to their protection against aging.103 Revolutionary data published in mid-2014 showed that ubiquinol has a direct antiaging effect by supporting actions of the SIRT family of proteins that slow senescence through multiple biochemical activities.104

All of us face the age-accelerating effects of poor mitochondrial function, oxidant damage, and inflammation that arise from deficient CoQ10 levels. For those who seek the extra added benefits of greater bioavailability and enhanced expression of anti-aging genes, reduced CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinol may be the answer.

Potential Of CoQ10 In Noncardiac Disorders

Heart muscle and blood vessel cells are of course not the only tissues that require ample CoQ10 for efficient energy utilization. In reality, every cell in your body runs better when ample CoQ10 is available. This is especially true for the eyes, kidneys, and brain, which is why CoQ10 has shown such tremendous benefits for each of these organs.50-53

Promising studies have demonstrated that CoQ10 protects cells in the eye—specifically the energy-intense retina and the oxygen-exposed cornea.54-63 These effects may prevent common causes of blindness in old age, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts.

The kidney, like the eye, heart, and blood vessels, is an organ with tremendous blood flow, high oxygen exposure, and a crucial need for maximum energy efficiency. Studies in humans and animals reveal powerful protective effects of CoQ10 on kidney tissue structure and function, potentially adding years to the lives of people who might otherwise succumb to kidney failure.64-71

The human brain is the body’s largest consumer of oxygen and utilizer of energy. The major neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, and Huntington’s, and many of their associated cognitive deficits, are beginning to show small signs of yielding to CoQ10 supplementation, at least in their earliest stages.72-80

The High Cost Of Heart Disease

$818 billion … That’s the estimated annual cost, in the United States alone, for total direct medical costs of cardiovascular disease by 2030.86

That represents a tripling, from about $273 billion, over a 20-year period, and a failure of the American health system to accomplish a major goal, which is the reduction of heart attacks and strokes by a million patients by 2017.1

During that time, real indirect costs from lost productivity will increase by 61%, from $172 billion to $276 billion.86 That’s more than a trillion dollars a year in total.

With those kinds of figures, we can’t afford to NOT get heart disease under control.

Studies show that supplementation with CoQ10 augments heart and vascular function, improves clinical status, and prevents further damage from cardiovascular disease.

CoQ10 may represent the single most vital supplement that everyone should take to sustain and support the cardiovascular energy management essential for a healthy heart.


Cardiovascular disease has many faces, but a central mechanism is loss of energy efficiency at the level of heart muscle and the coronary arteries that feed it.

CoQ10 is essential for transferring energy from food into ATP molecules, the universal cellular energy currency.

Studies show that CoQ10 levels are diminished in heart disease, particularly congestive heart failure. Supplementing with CoQ10 improves heart and vessel function in lab experiments, animal studies, and clinical trials.

If you suffer from existing heart disease, add a daily supplement of CoQ10, preferably the ubiquinol form, to your medication regimen after discussion with your doctor. If you are not yet a victim of overt cardiovascular disease, you are even better positioned to take advantage of CoQ10’s preventive effects.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of CoQ10 supplementation in maintaining healthy bioenergetics in the heart, brain, kidney, eye, and other energy-intensive tissues. There is every reason to believe that regular CoQ10 supplementation will add to both your life span and your health span.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.


Ubiquinol has now been shown to be important and effective in management of a number of chronic, age-related, oxidation-driven diseases, due to its potent effects in smoothing mitochondrial energy transfer and reducing the collateral damage to cells and tissues. For example:

  • In diabetic retinopathy, a higher ratio of ubiquinol to ubiquinone was shown to be protective.105
  • In diastolic heart failure, or heart failure with relatively normal pumping ability in the heart, ubiquinol is in growing use to improve patient outcomes and improve the function of the heart’s left ventricle during its relaxation phase, when it recovers from energy-intensive contractions.106
  • In men with impaired fertility due to weak or defective sperm, ubiquinol exerted favorable changes on sperm structure and motility, changes that favor fertility.100
  • In cardiovascular diseases, an early marker of dangerous oxidative damage to heart cells is a rise in levels of a normally intracellular enzyme called GGT; ubiquinol was shown in a human study to reduce GGT activity, probably through complex effects on gene expression.90
  • In autism, a childhood disorder thought to have roots in oxidative damage to brain tissue, ubiquinol supplementation improved communication with parents, verbal communication, game playing with other children, sleep, and food rejection, all common findings in autistic children.101

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