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February 2009

Low Plasma CoQ10 Predicts Mortality in Heart Failure Patients

Low Plasma CoQ10 Predicts Mortality in Heart Failure Patients

A recent issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology features a study showing that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels are an independent predictor of survival in chronic heart failure patients.1

The study included 236 heart failure patients with a median age of 77 years upon admission to Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand. Plasma samples were analyzed for CoQ10 and other factors. Participants were followed for a period of up to 5.75 years, during which 76 deaths occurred.

Over the follow-up period, 39% of the participants who had CoQ10 levels lower than 0.63 micrograms per milliliter died, compared with only 22% of those whose levels were higher. This study also indicated that those with lower CoQ10 were 67% more likely to die.

“Our findings in a clearly defined, prospectively studied group that CoQ10 depletion is associated with worse outcomes in chronic heart failure give further support to the rationale of the intervention studies that have already been initiated,” the authors concluded.

Life Extension has conducted numerous CoQ10 blood level studies in humans. Our findings reveal that a CoQ10 blood reading of 0.63 micrograms per milliliter used in this study to help predict mortality risk is common in aging people who don’t supplement. In response to supplementation with the ubiquinol form of CoQ10, blood levels typically increase to 2.00 to 3.00 micrograms per milliliter, a range that appears to confer protection against a host of degenerative disorders.

As reported exactly one year ago in Life Extension magazine, a significant clinical benefit in heart failure patients requires a plasma CoQ10 level of around 4.00 micrograms per milliliter.2-4 In severe heart failure patients, the only way these higher levels can be obtained appears to be with ubiquinol—not conventional ubiquinone CoQ10 supplements.

—William Faloon


1. Molyneux SL, Florkowski CM, George PM, et al. Coenzyme Q10. An independent predictor of mortality in chronic heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Oct 28;52:1435-41.
2. Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen AM. Overview of the use of CoQ10 in cardiovascular disease. Biofactors. 1999;9(2-4):273-84.
3. Langsjoen PH, Littarru GP, Silver MA. Role of concomitant coenzyme Q10 with statins for patients with hyperlipidemia. Curr Topics Nutr Res.2005;3(3):149–58.
4. Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen AM. Coenzyme Q10 in cardiovascular disease with emphasis on heart failure and myocardial ischaemia. Asia Pacific Heart J. 1998;7(3):160-8.

Vitamin K May Reduce Insulin Resistance in Older Men

Vitamin K May Reduce Insulin Resistance in Older Men

Vitamin K supplementation may significantly reduce insulin resistance in older men, according to new research from scientists at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston. Reported in Diabetes Care, the study was an offshoot of a three-year, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, controlled trial of vitamin K1 supplementation for bone loss.*

Three hundred and fifty-five men and women, aged 60-80 years, were randomly assigned to take 500 micrograms vitamin K1 per day, or placebo. Among female subjects, insulin resistance was not significantly affected by supplementation. But men who took the vitamin were significantly less prone to insulin resistance progression than men who received the inactive placebo. Insulin resistance was primarily measured by homeostasis model assessment, and secondarily through comparison of changes in plasma fasting insulin and glucose levels.

The scientists concluded that vitamin K supplementation “…may reduce progression of insulin resistance in older men.”

—Dayna Dye


* Yoshida M, Jacques PF, Meigs JB, et al. Effect of vitamin K supplementation on insulin resistance in older men and women. Diabetes Care. 2008 Nov;31(11):2092-6.

Pectin’s Anticancer Mechanism Revealed

For the first time, researchers have identified the anticancer mechanism in pectin, a naturally occurring dietary fiber found in vegetables and fruits, particularly apples and citrus fruits. The research, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology,* substantiates a long-held hypothesis based on molecular evidence that modified pectin plays an important role in limiting the progression of some cancers.

The scientists used a combination of sophisticated tools including an atomic force microscope to view individual pectin molecules. The images revealed that a fragment released from pectin binds to galectin-3, a mammalian protein involved in cancer progression, thus inhibiting further tumor growth and metastasis.

Lead researcher Dr. Victor Morris says the next step is “to identify how pectin can be better used by the body… so it can exert its effect on cancer cells.”

—Joanne Nicholas


* Gunning AP, Bongaerts RJ, Morris VJ. Recognition of galactan components of pectin by galectin-3. FASEB J. 2008 Oct 2.

Olive Oil/Green Tea Combo Fights Atherosclerosis

The combination of green tea polyphenols with extra-virgin olive oil offers heart-healthy benefits that exceed those of extra-virgin olive oil alone, according to a new report.1 Previous research has shown that extra-virgin olive oil consumption increases beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels and reduces lipid peroxidation, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.2,3

For two months, atherosclerosis-prone mice received extra-virgin olive oil, extra-virgin olive oil with green tea polyphenols, or placebo. Mice that received the olive oil/green tea combination experienced an 18% decrease in susceptibility to lipid peroxidation, compared with placebo-treated mice.1

Both extra-virgin olive oil and the extra-virgin olive oil/green tea polyphenol combination increased HDL levels and increased the rate at which HDL removed potentially harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream (a process known as macrophage cholesterol efflux). While olive oil increased cholesterol removal by 42%, olive oil/green tea boosted cholesterol efflux by 139%, compared with placebo.

Atherosclerotic lesion size diminished by 11% and 20% in the olive oil and olive oil/green tea groups, respectively.1

—Dale Kiefer


1. Rosenblat M, Volkova N, Coleman R, Almagor Y, Aviram M. Antiatherogenicity of extra virgin olive oil and its enrichment with green tea polyphenols in the atherosclerotic apolipoprotein-E-deficient mice: enhanced macrophage cholesterol efflux. J Nutr Biochem. 2008 Aug;19(8):514-23.
2. Covas MI, Nyyssonen K, Poulsen HE, et al. The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2006 Sep 5;145(5):333-41.
3. Weinbrenner T, Fito M, de la Torre R, et al. Olive oils high in phenolic compounds modulate oxidative/antioxidative status in men. J Nutr. 2004 Sep;134(9):2314-21.

Isoflavone Supplement Improves Arterial Function After Stroke

Isoflavone Supplement Improves Arterial Function After Stroke

Isoflavone supplementation improves indices of endothelial (blood vessel) function in patients with cardiovascular disease, as reported in a Chinese study.*

The study recruited 102 patients with a previous stroke who were being treated medically. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either isoflavone supplement (soy bean extract) 80 mg/day or placebo for 12 weeks.

The main outcome, brachial artery dilatation in response to blood flow, was significantly improved in the supplemented group compared with the control group, and response was even better for patients with more severe disease. Isoflavone supplementation also reduced levels of C-reactive protein, an index of vascular inflammation.

The authors believe this is the first rigorous study to document reversal of endothelial dysfunction with isoflavone in patients who already have heart disease. They conclude, “these findings may have important implications for the use of isoflavone for secondary prevention in patients with cardiovascular disease, on top of conventional cardiovascular interventions.”

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS


* Chan YH, Lau KK, Yiu KH, et al. Reduction of C-reactive protein with isoflavone supplement reverses endothelial dysfunction in patients with ischaemic stroke. Eur Heart J. 2008 Sep 23.

Parkinson’s Disease Linked to Vitamin D Insufficiency

In a recent issue of the journal Archives of Neurology, researchers from Emory University School of Medicine report that men and women with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease have a greater incidence of vitamin D insufficiency compared with healthy people.*

Marian L. Evatt, MD, MS, and associates measured 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels in plasma samples from 100 Parkinson’s disease patients, 97 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and 99 healthy older participants in Emory’s Clinical Research in Neurology database. While 36% of the plasma samples from healthy subjects contained insufficient levels of vitamin D (defined as serum 25-hydroxyvitamin <30 ng/mL), 41% of the Alzheimer’s disease patients and 55% of those with Parkinson’s disease had insufficient levels of the vitamin.

“We found that vitamin D insufficiency may have a unique association with Parkinson’s, which is intriguing and warrants further investigation,” Dr. Evatt stated.

—Dayna Dye


* Evatt ML, Delong MR, Khazai N, Rosen A, Triche S, Tangpricha V. Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol. 2008 Oct;65(10):1348-52.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid Protects Nerve Cells From Chemotherapy Damage

Alpha-Lipoic Acid Protects Nerve Cells From Chemotherapy Damage

Alpha-lipoic acid protects against nerve cell damage due to chemotherapy drugs in a rat model, with possible implications for prevention of peripheral neuropathy (nerve cell degeneration and chronic pain) in patients undergoing chemotherapy.*

Experiments were performed in vitro to simulate chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Rat neurons in culture were treated separately with cisplatin and paclitaxel, two common chemotherapy drugs known to cause neurotoxicity. Administered dosages were similar to those used during actual chemotherapy. In some cultures, the chemotherapy drugs were added three hours after pretreatment with alpha-lipoic acid.

Cisplatin and paclitaxel given alone caused marked neuronal damage, cell death, and a decrease in functioning mitochondria (i.e., reduced cellular energy production), but application of alpha-lipoic acid prevented these damaging effects.

According to the authors, “these findings suggest that alpha-lipoic acid might reduce the risk of developing peripheral nerve toxicity in patients undergoing chemotherapy and encourage further confirmatory clinical trials.”

—Laura J. Ninger, ELS


* Melli G, Taiana M, Camozzi F, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid prevents mitochondrial damage and neurotoxicity in experimental chemotherapy neuropathy. Exp Neurol. 2008 Sep 9.