(NAPS) - A vitamin-like substance found in every cell in the body may hold the answer to preventing heart disease.
Naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, CoEnzyme Q10 plays an important part in the body's production of energy.
This year scientists from all over the world attended the first International CoQ10 Conference in Boston. Scientific sessions from May 21 to 24 discussed clinical studies that have demonstrated the supplement's positive impact on heart disease and aging, among other problems.
Studies have consistently shown that CoQ10 is deficient in most heart patients and taking it may dramatically relieve heart disease symptoms without producing adverse effects.
"The discovery represents one of the major medicinal advances of the 20th century foe the treatment of heart disease," said Stephen Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., a clinical cardiologist at Manchester Memorial Hospital in Connecticut.
Besides being the subject of hundreds of scientific studies, the supplement has sparked national interest on television shows such as ABC's World News Tonight.
During recent years there has been a growing interest in the healing power of antioxidants.
"CoQ10 constitutes a unique type of antioxidant. It acts both directly and by regenerating the active form of vitamin E," said Professor Gian Paolo Littaru, chairman of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association. "The implications of CoQ10 in cardiovascular disease are of paramount significance."
Some doctors prescribe the supplement along with more traditional medications in the treatment of cancer, AIDS and even gum disease. Studies suggest that taking it may also be a useful preventitive measure in times of extreme stress.
The supplement has also been prescribed to counteract the effects of traditional medications, such as those that lower cholesterol. That's because cholesterol-lowering medications can diminish the body's natural supply of CoQ10.
Peter Langsjoen, M.D., a cardiologist in Texas, routinely prescribes CoQ10 to cardiac patients and has reported significant success.
Healthy people can also benefit, says Langsjoen. He gave the supplement to 16 of his patients who were in their 80's. Before taking the supplement these patients suffered labored breathing during exertion and felt fatigued afterward.
Within days, the patients felt much better. Their fatigue disappeared and they felt more energized than they had in years.
Although CoQ10 is found in food sources such as mackerel and sardines; organ meats like heart, liver and kidney; soy oil and peanuts, it takes very large quantities of these generally fatty foods to get 30 mg. A common preventative dose ranges from 10 mg to 30 mg.
"The Japanese have perfected a method of getting tremendous amounts through yeast fermentation," said Langsjoen.
"As a non-drug, over-the-counter product, CoQ10's unique benefits are readily accessible to almost everyone," notes Don Blaine, general manager for Kyowa Hakko U.S.A., Inc., the leading supplier of this compound. "We are excited to be involved and strongly believe CoQ10 will continue its growth in becoming a mainstream nutrient."