CoQ10 WarsApril 2015
By William Faloon
Congestive heart failure contributes to about 310,000 deaths each year in the United States.1 Over 5.8 million Americans suffer from this condition where the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.2
A study published late last year evaluated heart failure patients that supplemented with higher dose CoQ10 in addition to standard therapy. The results showed a 44% reduction in cardiovascular mortality in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo arm receiving only standard therapy.3
When this study looked at deaths from any cause, those receiving CoQ10 had a 42% reduction in all-cause mortality.
Based on this study’s findings, if all congestive heart failure patients properly supplemented with CoQ10, more than 120,000 American lives might be spared each year.
What’s interesting about this study is that it showed that in order for CoQ10 to produce these robust lifesaving benefits, it had to be taken over an extensive period of time. Unlike cardiac drugs such as beta-blockers that produce an immediate effect,4 CoQ10 must build up inside one’s cells in order to induce clinical improvements.
Health freedom activists may recall the jihad launched by the FDA in the 1980s-1990s that resulted in product seizures and criminal charges brought against those selling CoQ10.5,6 As you’re about to learn, the loss of life caused by the FDA’s censorship is beyond astronomical.
This article will describe how to properly use CoQ10 to achieve rapid benefits, and why it has taken so long for others to figure this out.
A lot of people think coenzyme Q10 was discovered in Japan because that is where it was first approved as a drug to treat heart failure.7-9 The Japanese are one of the world’s largest CoQ10 producers.8,10
The reality is CoQ10 was first isolated from beef hearts at the University of Wisconsin in 1957.9 This research was continued in collaboration with Professor Karl Folkers, who conducted research at Merck & Co., Inc. and later at Stanford Research Institute and the University of Texas at Austin.11-14
Numerous positive findings on CoQ10 were published in the 1960s-1970s.15-20 It was not until 1983 when Americans first learned about CoQ10 in an article published by the Life Extension® Foundation.21
The FDA’s response was that CoQ10 could not be legally sold because it was a prescription drug that required the agency’s approval. The FDA went as far as to say that CoQ10 posed an imminent health hazard. Our CoQ10 was twice seized and twice returned after we mounted two successful legal actions to thwart the FDA’s attempt to ban consumer access to CoQ10.
The perverse regulatory structure that the FDA operates under created two problems. It allowed an American invention (CoQ10) to be monetarily capitalized on by the Japanese at the expense of American consumers. Far worse, the bureaucratic impediments erected against CoQ10 caused millions of American deaths, which we’ll document at the end of this article.
Why CoQ10 Confused Cardiologists
Physicians in the US are used to drugs that provide an immediate effect. For instance, if a statin drug (such as Lipitor®) is prescribed, there is almost always a sharp drop in a patient’s LDL cholesterol level. Antihypertensive drugs usually provide a quick blood pressure-lowering effect. Anticoagulant drugs (like warfarin) quickly thin a patient’s blood.
These kinds of fast-acting drugs are what doctors and the FDA are accustomed to evaluating.
When CoQ10 came along, it seldom met mainstream medicine’s expectation of a pronounced and immediate effect, especially in patients with congestive heart failure. So the knee-jerk reaction by the mainstream was that CoQ10 has no meaningful clinical benefit.
The latest study confirmed that it takes a considerable period of time for CoQ10 levels to build up to a point where significant clinical benefits occur, such as a 42% reduction in all-cause mortality. This study corroborates what was published decades ago in this magazine.
We at Life Extension® long ago discovered that low-dose CoQ10 administered to people with chronic disease did not provide needed benefit. It was clear that higher doses of more absorbable forms of CoQ10 were required.
Pioneering Work Of Peter Langsjoen, MD
Peter Langsjoen, MD, is considered one of the world’s foremost experts in the use of CoQ10 to treat cardiac disease.22 He conducts his research and clinical practice in Tyler, Texas, and is a long-standing member of our Scientific Advisory Board.
What makes Peter Langsjoen unique among cardiologists is that he measures his patients’ CoQ10 blood levels to ensure they are absorbing enough of the CoQ10 he prescribes to induce a clinical response.
As reported seven years ago in this publication, Dr. Langsjoen observed that patients with advanced heart failure often fail to achieve adequate blood (plasma) CoQ10 levels, even when using high doses of conventional CoQ10.23
Dr. Langsjoen found that in response to the administration of 900 mg of conventional ubiquinone CoQ10, advanced heart failure patients only increased their total CoQ10 blood levels to about half of what they should be.23 In patients with congestive heart failure, much higher CoQ10 blood levels are needed to induce symptomatic and clinical improvements.
In healthy people, the ingestion of 900 mg of conventional (ubiquinone) CoQ10 is expected to raise total blood levels rather substantially. Dr. Langsjoen postulated on the reason ubiquinone fails to significantly increase CoQ10 blood levels in critically ill patients. He has seen his advanced patients suffer impaired absorption caused from intestinal edema, which precludes optimal absorption of ubiquinone CoQ10.23
Frustrated with the inability of even high doses of ubiquinone CoQ10 to meaningfully elevate blood levels, Dr. Langsjoen sought to evaluate the effects of a more absorbable form of CoQ10 called ubiquinol. Dr. Langsjoen evaluated advanced congestive heart failure patients that had been taking an average of 450 mg per day of ubiquinone and changed them to an average of 580 mg per day of ubiquinol.23 The objective was to quickly elevate CoQ10 blood levels in these patients who were nearing cardiac death.
Dr. Langsjoen’s results showed that ubiquinol increased mean plasma CoQ10 levels from 1.6 ug/mL to 6.5 ug/mL—a 4.06-fold improvement over ubiquinone.23 Previous published studies indicate that heart failure patients require higher CoQ10 blood levels to obtain significant clinical benefit.24-26 In order to achieve these higher therapeutic levels, Dr. Langsjoen found ubiquinol CoQ10 was required.
What’s regrettable is how few cardiologists paid attention to Dr. Langsjoen’s remarkable findings that could have saved the lives of their heart failure patients. Dr. Langsjoen went on to comment that he sees his best results when ubiquinol is initiated early in the course of the disease, before severe damage to the heart muscle develops.
Robust Improvements In Cardiac Function
The ejection fraction test assesses the heart’s pumping capacity by measuring how much blood is pumped after each beat compared with the amount of blood remaining in the heart.23
Healthy people have an ejection fraction of 55-75%, while those with congestive heart failure often have values of 20-40%.27-29
In a study conducted by Dr. Langsjoen, the mean ejection fraction improved from a dangerously low 22% up to 39% in ubiquinol-treated patients who had follow-up echocardiograms.23 This represented a recovery of up to 77% in this critical measurement of cardiac output. The higher blood levels of CoQ10 and the improved ejection fractions were accompanied by remarkable clinical improvement in these advanced patients. Based on these findings, Dr. Langsjoen’s scientific group concluded:23
“Ubiquinol has dramatically improved absorption in patients with severe heart failure and that the improvement in plasma CoQ10 levels is strongly correlated with both clinical improvement and improvement in measurement of left ventricular function.”
An Update From Dr. Langsjoen
At a meeting of Life Extension®’s Scientific Advisory Board on April 25, 2012, Dr. Langsjoen confirmed his previous findings and advised healthy older people who were not supplementing with CoQ10 to take between 300-400 mg per day for the first month to fully saturate their cells, and then back down to a daily maintenance dose of 100-300 mg per day. Dr. Langsjoen stated at this meeting that younger people with healthy digestive tracks could probably benefit equally with ubiquinone or ubiquinol, but as one ages they should consider ubiquinol as it absorbs far better into the bloodstream.
For patients with congestive heart failure, Dr. Langsjoen recommends continuous high doses of ubiquinol to maintain the ejection fraction at values that correspond with overall improvement in cardiac function. In these heart failure patients 200 mg of ubiquinol twice per day is a good dose, reliably achieving therapeutic plasma levels of CoQ10 higher than 3.5 µg/mL.
New Study Corroborates Dr. Langsjoen’s Research
The study I discussed at the beginning of this article was published in the September 25, 2014, online edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure. It described the effects of 300 mg per day of ubiquinone given to a large group of chronic heart failure patients.
After 16 weeks of administration of this dose and form of CoQ10, there were no significant changes in measures of ejection fraction compared to placebo.3
What the researchers discovered, however, is that when these chronic heart failure patients took 300 mg per day of ubiquinone for two years, there was (compared to placebo) a remarkable:
- 44% reduction in cardiovascular mortality.
- 42% reduction in all-cause mortality.
- 45% reduction in the number of hospital stays (some people consider hospitals worse than jail).
- 29% improvement in the proportion of patients seeing a beneficial change in their NYHA classification (a composite measure of heart failure severity).
These findings are earth shattering! They reveal that more than 120,000 American lives could be saved each year with the use of a widely available dietary supplement. The authors of this study concluded:
“Long-term CoQ10 treatment of patients with chronic heart failure is safe, improves symptoms, and reduces major adverse cardiovascular events.”
These findings help corroborate Dr. Langsjoen’s pioneering research where he used higher doses of a superior-absorbing ubiquinol CoQ10 to achieve quicker improvements in cardiac ejection fraction. Dr. Langsjoen sees improved heart function in as early as three months and almost always by six months of treatment with ubiquinol at 200 mg twice per day.
There are over five million Americans afflicted with congestive heart failure today. Many can’t wait two years for a conventional CoQ10 supplement to improve their condition and slash their risk of dying. They need to initiate 400-600 mg of ubiquinol daily to increase their heart’s ejection fraction as soon as possible.
There is now solid evidence from a large, randomized multicenter published trial showing remarkable benefits when 300 mg a day of CoQ10 is added to standard treatment over a two-year period. What makes this finding interesting is that many heart failure patients in the past tried a relatively small CoQ10 dose and if an improvement in ejection fraction did not happen quickly, they and their doctor would have felt CoQ10 to be ineffective. This helps explain why conventional cardiology has been slow to catch on to CoQ10’s lifesaving benefits.
As a Life Extension® member, you know how to accelerate these beneficial effects by taking the appropriate dose and form of CoQ10 to rapidly saturate cells throughout your body. To a patient suffering from chronic heart failure, this information is priceless!
Battles To Defend Against CoQ10 Prohibition
After we introduced CoQ10 in 1983, public demand for this nutrient soared. The FDA’s response was to seek to ban it altogether because they deemed it to be a prescription drug that required government “approval” to be sold.
Companies selling CoQ10 were raided and individuals (including us) were placed under intense criminal investigation at enormous cost to taxpayers. In 1987, FDA agents accompanied by armed US Marshalls (with guns drawn) kicked down our doors and proceeded to seize every bottle of CoQ10, every one of our newsletters, and any other nutrient (magnesium, fish oil, etc.) they deemed to be an “unapproved drug.” We later filed suit against the FDA and won back all of the seized materials, though the supplements were spoiled and had to be discarded.
In 1990, the FDA conducted an armed raid against Highland Laboratories in Oregon and seized their CoQ10 and accompanying literature.48 The owner of this company was criminally indicted and rather than face the expense and uncertainty of a trial, pled guilty and was placed on six months house arrest.49
Frustrated that we continued to offer CoQ10, the FDA went to a state pharmacy board and declared that nutrients like CoQ10 posed an imminent threat to the public’s health and therefore had to be embargoed from sale to the public. At the FDA’s behest, pharmacy board inspectors placed embargoes on our CoQ10 and that of another supplier of CoQ10 in the same state. We prepared a 300-page lawsuit against the pharmacy board attesting to the safety and efficacy of CoQ10.
As a courtesy, we presented the lawsuit to the pharmacy board’s attorneys and gave them the option of lifting the embargo before we filed the lawsuit. After reading the 300-page lawsuit that substantiated the safety and efficacy of CoQ10, the pharmacy board lifted the embargo against us (and the other company) and promised to never take the FDA’s word at blind faith again. The state pharmacy board was clearly perturbed that the FDA deceived them about the safety of CoQ10.
We were later arrested at the behest of the FDA and fought a multiyear battle in which the US Attorney’s Office eventually dismissed the charges that the FDA brought that sought to incarcerate us for life.
To this day, the FDA tries to censor claims that CoQ10 can benefit heart failure patients, despite overwhelming documentation that this nutrient markedly reduces death rates when properly used.
How Many Americans Have Needlessly Perished?
Based on findings published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology late last year, CoQ10 can reduce overall death rates in patients with congestive heart failure by 42%.
The number of lives that could be saved if every congestive heart failure patient properly supplemented with CoQ10 is potentially over 120,000 each year.
If you multiply the number of lives lost by the 30 years the FDA has been censoring information about CoQ10, the total comes to over 3.6 million dead Americans, which is more than all the American deaths suffered by all the wars this nation has ever fought.
The chart on this page documents the striking carnage caused by FDA censorship of CoQ10 compared to all military conflicts the United States fought starting with the Revolutionary War.
Based on these staggering statistics, it’s hard to argue why the FDA retains authoritarian power over the American citizenry. With universal access to websites, those Americans who wanted to trust the FDA could easily log on to the FDA’s website (www.fda.gov) to read the agency’s position on a given nutrient, drug, or hormone. They could then compare what the FDA says with another government website (www.pubmed.gov) that provides easy access to published scientific papers.
For example, if one enters into PubMed the terms “CoQ10 and congestive heart failure,” 11 new studies appeared in 2014 alone that further substantiate its efficacy. Yet the FDA continues to ignore this published scientific research by censoring health claims for coenzyme Q10.
A lot of Americans have tragically been killed in this country’s many wars. Fear of terrorism has caused our government to spend trillions of dollars.
Too bad our leaders don’t realize that amending the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to strip the FDA of its dictatorial power would save many more American lives and reduce healthcare cost outlays.
The numbers speak for themselves. If you ask which war caused the most American deaths, a person versed in history will name the Civil War . The harsh reality is that the CoQ10 Wars have resulted in far more American deaths.
This catastrophic loss of life will continue until science is allowed to replace authoritarian edict in determining medical treatment protocols.
For longer life,
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