In episode 66 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
Heart disease is still the number one killer of Americans. Ongoing research is typically aimed at pharmaceutical studies that aim to reduce heart disease, but sometimes the National Institutes of Health will fund studies for natural or alternative medicine. One such study was recently published in a journal called Hypertension.
Statins work by blocking enzymes HMG Co-A reductase that leads to the production of LDL. The problem is that it also blocks the production of CoQ10, so it decreases the very nutrient that is necessary to stop the oxidation of LDL, which is the real culprit to an increased risk of heart disease. DR. CHAD LARSON
Researchers examined a group of people ages 60-79 to evaluate the integrity of their blood vessels. Specifically, they looked at the way they dilate by examining the elasticity of the endothelium. As people age, they begin to lose flexibility in the endothelium, which decreases blood flow. In turn, that limits the number of nutrients and oxygen to cells and also decreases the way that toxins and chemicals are flushed from the body.
Researchers divided the elderly subjects into two groups, 1/2 of the participants received a placebo, and the other half were given a nutrient called CoQ10, or coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is produced in the mitochondria, which is the engine of the cells, and it produces ATP, which is the energy that our cells use to function.
One of the byproducts of the production of ATP, however, is oxidized free radicals. The byproduct of ATP is specifically something called ROS or reactive oxygen species, and it is destructive and an inflammatory. CoQ10 buffers the damage of free radicals.
LDL cholesterol increases the chances of developing heart disease, but physicians seek to evaluate someone’s risk by quantifying the amount that a person has when they should also be examining the quality of LDL. LDL is particularly harmful if it is in its oxidized state. Free radicals lead to the oxidation of LDL. Antioxidants work to combat free radicals and to decrease oxidized LDL.
The researchers evaluated the group that got CoQ10 and the integrity of their blood vessel’s flexibility of the endothelium for six weeks and then they had a two week wash period. They then reversed the groups for six weeks, and again evaluated the subjects.
What they found was that taking CoQ10 increased the flexibility of the endothelium by as much as 42%. That means that the elderly participants who took CoQ10 had the elasticity in their endothelium of someone 15-20 years younger!
To decrease the quantity of LDL, physicians often prescribe a medication called statins. Statins work by blocking enzymes HMG Co-A reductase that leads to the production of LDL. The problem is that it also blocks the production of CoQ10, so it decreases the very nutrient that is necessary to stop the oxidation of LDL, which is the real culprit to an increased risk of heart disease.
The conclusion is that taking CoQ10 might help to decrease your risk for heart disease by helping to maintain or increase the endothelium elasticity, and, thereby, increasing blood flow.