CoQ10 & Omega-3 for a Healthy Heart
By Melanie Beasley, RD, LD
February 1, 2019
With February known as Heart Month we’re sharing our top two supplements recommended to keep your heart happy and healthy. One supplement is more preventative, fit for anyone and everyone, while the other is targeted to help those who are struggling with cholesterol.
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that is critical for heart health and for reducing inflammation overall. Unfortunately, many people do not eat enough omega-3 fish (such as salmon, mackerel and sardines) to maintain a healthy level of omega-3. Recent research discovered that in spite of nutritional education about the many benefits of omega-3, 98% of the people in the study were found to be deficient in this essential fatty acid. Said another way, only 2% of those studied had adequate levels!
Supplementing with omega-3 can also help increase HDL cholesterol, your “good cholesterol.” Along with increasing your HDL, it can help to lower your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. The number one cause of heart disease is inflammation, and because omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory they can help reduce your risk of heart disease, in addition to helping with atherosclerosis, lower blood pressure and normalizing heart rhythms.
Omega-3 Dosage Recommendations
We find that most people need about 3,000 mg of omega-3 daily (one capsule with each meal is a good start). Some individuals dealing with aggressive diseases or health conditions (heart disease, asthma, arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s or Alzheimer’s for instance) may benefit from supplementing with more.
CoQ10 comes in and ignites the mitochondria in our cells, which are like little furnaces. These furnaces produce energy in the form of ATP, which is important since 95% of the body’s energy is made that way. Think of CoQ10 as the spark plug in your body; without it, you’re not going anywhere; and as we age our bodies naturally produce less and less.
Often, our clients take CoQ10 to counteract the side effects of cholesterol-lowering medications, such as aching muscles, general fatigue and memory issues. Certain statin medications stop the liver's production of CoQ10, leading to those unwanted side effects; in fact, when a statin is prescribed in Europe, they also prescribe CoQ10.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that supports energy, metabolism, immune function, cardiovascular and gum health, in addition to helping protect your cells from free radical damage caused by smoking, alcohol, pesticides, and processed food. Those with diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis or other neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and ALS, may benefit from taking a supplement since they tend to have low levels of CoQ10 to start.
CoQ10 Dosage Recommendations
Our nutritionists suggest supplementing with 100 or 200 mg daily. If you’re on a statin drug, take at least 200 mg in the morning or early afternoon (later in the day may disrupt your sleep). You’ll start to notice CoQ10 working if you feel more energetic with less muscle pain.
- Simopoulos, A. National Institutes of Health, US National Library of Medicine. (2002). Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases (PMID: 12480795). Retrieved from The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health website: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12480795
- Yeung PK, Tillman PT (2014) Coenzyme Q10 for Cardiovascular Prevention. Cardiol Pharmacol 3:e125. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/coenzyme-q-for-cardiovascular-prevention-2329-6607.1000e125.php?aid=25089