It kills 17 million people around the world every year – making it the leading cause of death worldwide – and is also the number one cause of death in the United States, where it claims more lives yearly than all types of cancer.
New cardiovascular disease research gives rise to hope and healing
A combination of two safe, natural supplements has been found to slash the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by a stunning 50 percent.
In a five-year study published in International Journal of Cardiology, Swedish researchers discovered that combining CoQ10 with selenium can dramatically reduce deaths from heart disease. The double-blind placebo-controlled study was conducted on 443 healthy adults between the ages of 70 and 88.
One group received 200 mgs a day of CoQ10 and 200 mcg a day of selenium, while the other received a placebo. The results were astonishing – while 12.6 percent of the placebo group died of heart disease over the next 5.2 years, the supplement group experienced only a 5.9 percent mortality rate: half that of the placebo group.
The initial study not only demonstrated that the pair of supplements could cut the risk of death from heart disease literally in half, but also showed that combining CoQ10 and selenium improved heart function.
In a four-year-long follow-up study published in 2015 in Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, the supplement group reported better quality of life than the placebo group.
In a further study, researchers found that CoQ10 and selenium were still effective at reducing cardiovascular deaths — an astonishing 10 years after the initial study began. Even though the study subjects were no longer taking the supplements, the protective effect continued. Death rates from cardiovascular disease – including from heart attack, stroke and congestive heart failure – were 49 percent lower in the original supplement group, with both men and women experiencing equal protection.
What are CoQ10 and selenium, and why are they so important?
Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 for short – is a powerful antioxidant that helps cells manage and utilize energy, primarily by protecting fragile cell mitochondria and making them more efficient at releasing energy from food molecules. Selenium is an essential mineral that is a cofactor for many enzymes used by the body’s free radical scavenging systems.
Researchers have long known that both CoQ10 and selenium can help protect against oxidative stress, which accelerates aging and sets the stage for chronic disease. These two nutrients are particularly beneficial for elderly people, as mitochondria become less efficient over time. In fact, by age 80, many people will have lost as much as 50 percent of the mitochondria they had when they were 20.
CoQ10 not only protects cell mitochondria by minimizing damage, but can even help generate new ones. The increased “fuel efficiency” granted by CoQ10 is immensely beneficial to the heart, which requires large amounts of energy to operate. Selenium works hand in glove with CoQ10, helping to recycle and re-activate exhausted CoQ10 molecules and improving their efficiency in the body. CoQ10, in return, produces the enzymes that allow selenium to do its restorative work—a true partnership.
Additional research also shows promise …
Although the most recent research was on the effects of CoQ10 and selenium together, research has been conducted on CoQ10 alone – with promising results. University of Maryland Medical Center cites a study in which people who took CoQ10 supplements daily within 3 days of a heart attack were less likely to have subsequent heart attacks and chest pain – and were less likely to die of heart disease.
Another study found that introducing CoQ10 before heart surgery could reduce free radical damage, strengthen heart function, and reduce incidence of arrhythmias. However, the most impressive study results have come from combining CoQ10 and selenium.
What are good dietary sources of CoQ10 and selenium?
You can get CoQ10 in oily fish, such as salmon and tuna, as well as in organ meats such as liver. CoQ10 is also found in whole grains.
Selenium is found in good supply in brewer’s yeast and wheat germ. Other selenium-rich foods include liver, fish and shellfish, whole grains, sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts. Since refining and processing foods destroys selenium, it is essential to choose whole, unprocessed, organic foods – as often as possible.
Naturally, if you opt for supplementation, it’s always best to discuss your plans with a trusted, healthcare provider.