Acute cardiovascular disease patients with low CoQ10 have greater risk of mortality during 3.2-year median period


October 20, 2020

An investigation reported on September 16, 2020 in the journal Heart and Vessels revealed an association between increased long-term mortality risk and lower levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

The study enrolled 242 men and women consecutively admitted to the coronary care unit (CCU) of Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo between April 2012 and January 2013. Blood samples collected within 24 hours of admission were analyzed for CoQ10, lipids and other factors.

During a median follow-up of 3.2 years, 58 patients died of cardiac causes, carcinoma, infection, bleeding and other diagnoses. Coenzyme Q10 levels averaged 0.48 milligrams per liter (mg/L) among non-survivors in comparison with 0.58 mg/L among survivors. When subjects were categorized according to having low (less than the median level of 0.46 mg/L) or high (0.46 mg/L or more) levels of CoQ10, higher levels were associated with an adjusted 52% lower risk of dying from any cause during follow-up in comparison with lower levels.

Patients in the low CoQ10 group were found to be receiving higher doses of statins than those in the high CoQ10 group. “Therefore, low CoQ10 levels induced by malnutrition and statin treatment are a potential therapeutic target in patients admitted to the CCU,” Megumi Shimizu of Juntendo University School of Medicine and colleagues wrote.

The authors observed that research involving CoQ10 supplementation has resulted in lower levels of the inflammatory marker interleukin 6, and that levels of CRP, another marker of inflammation, were significantly lower in patients in the current study who had high CoQ10 levels compared to those with low levels.

“The present study results suggest that lower CoQ10 levels in patients with acute cardiovascular disease can predict poor long-term prognosis,” the authors wrote. “Further prospective studies are warranted to conclusively determine the effect of CoQ10 supplementation on the prognosis of patients with critical cardiovascular disease admitted to the CCU.”


Apply What You’ve Learned: CoQ10 and Survival

  • Studies have documented a link between lower levels of CoQ10 and a greater risk of premature mortality. For example, an earlier study conducted by the researchers involved in the study described above found lower levels of CoQ10 among coronary care unit patients who experienced in-hospital mortality in comparison with survivors.1
  • A randomized trial that evaluated the effects of supplementation with CoQ10 and selenium resulted in a risk of cardiovascular mortality that was less than half that of a placebo group during a 5.2-year period.2
  • In another randomized trial, thrice-daily supplementation with CoQ10 for a two-year period among chronic heart failure patients was associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease or all causes in comparison with a placebo group.3
  • Coenzyme Q10 is essential for the production of energy by the mitochondria of most cells in the body.4 As such, healthy levels of CoQ10 are needed by all the body’s organs, including the heart, to function optimally.


  1. Shimizu M et al. Heart Vessels. 2017 Jun;32(6):668-673.
  2. Alehagen U et al. Int J Cardiol. 2013 Sep 1;167(5):1860-6.
  3. Mortensen SA et al. JACC Heart Fail. 2014 Dec;2(6):641-9.
  4. Crane FL. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Dec;20(6):591-8.

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