Your heart works hard to supply a steady flow of blood throughout your body, providing oxygen and nutrients to tissues along the way. In fact, the heart is one of the most energy-consuming organs in the body, and it has specific nutritional needs to stay healthy and strong.1
While Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and vitamin K2 aren’t the only nutrients needed for a healthy heart, they’re definitely among the most important, especially as we age and for statin users, since both age and statin use can affect your levels of these nutrients.
CoQ10 & Heart Health
Every organ in the body has unique metabolic needs, meaning each organ depends on various sources for their energy.2 The heart’s primary source of fuel is fatty acids.2 But before any of your organs can get the energy they need, the food you eat must be converted into fuel your body can use. That’s where CoQ10 comes in.
CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol, is a vitamin-like nutrient used by every cell in your body for energy production, growth and maintenance. It’s heavily concentrated in the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas.
Researchers say CoQ10 may have significant cardiovascular health benefits, while also promoting antioxidant activity, enhancing cellular energy production and physical performance, and helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range.3,4
Causes of Low CoQ10: Age & Statin Usage
As we age, our bodies begin to show a decrease in energy metabolism. This decrease takes place within many body tissues but is most prominent in the heart, liver and skeletal tissue. Accompanied by this decline are reduced CoQ10 concentrations.5 Experts believe that CoQ10’s role in cellular energy production, as well as its ability to function as an antioxidant, is key to battling reactive oxygen species (ROS), which contribute to aging by causing oxidative damage to cell structures.6
If your doctor has prescribed a drug for your cholesterol health, there’s a chance that you’re taking a statin. Check with your doctor to be sure, but this is notable because studies have shown that individuals taking statins may be more prone to decreased CoQ10 levels. Statins are effective in lowering bad cholesterol within the blood and experts believe this is due to their ability to inhibit the liver’s cholesterol production. Unfortunately, research suggests statins may also inhibit an important step in the synthesis of CoQ10 within the body.7
Incorporating CoQ10-rich foods into your diet is important in general, but becomes increasingly so for those of us who are aging and/or taking statins for cholesterol. That said, it’s difficult to get enough CoQ10 from foods alone. Foods that are considered higher in CoQ10 don’t include enough to have a significant impact on CoQ10 levels in your body.5 That’s why it’s necessary to discuss CoQ10 supplementation with your doctor to reinforce your natural production and dietary intake of CoQ10. Read CoQ10 Food Sources to learn more.
CoQ10 Heart Health Studies
There are a vast number of studies that focus on specific benefits of CoQ10 for heart health that are worth looking into. Here are a few that may be particularly helpful.
Researchers at the College of Pharmacy and Department of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Canada suggest that CoQ10, combined with a healthy diet and exercise, may have significant cardioprotective effects.8
A study published by the Medical Science Monitor tested the effects of CoQ10 on 50 participants taking statins. Participants who supplemented with 50 mg of CoQ10 twice a day for 30 days reported a significant decrease in muscle-related side effects of taking statins.9
The results of a randomized clinical trial also reported that CoQ10 may be beneficial in helping provide support for future cardiovascular health.3
Vitamin K2 & Heart Health
Studies show that ensuring you get enough vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7) each day is another important way to support the health and function of your cardiovascular system. A fat-soluble vitamin, K2 may be best known for playing an essential role in blood coagulation and bone health, but it also plays important roles in heart health.
The heart health benefits of vitamin K2 are related to its role in how calcium is used in the body. Bones utilize calcium from within the bloodstream to help them grow. Two types of cells, known as osteoblasts and osteoclasts, maintain skeletal health and bone formation. Osteoblasts produce a protein called osteocalcin, which helps bind circulating calcium to bones, but it requires the help of vitamin K2 to do so.
In boosting the body’s ability to deliver calcium to the bone structure, vitamin K2 supports arterial and heart health.9
Why You Need More Vitamin K2 & Where to Get It
First discovered in 1929, vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble nutrient that is commonly found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and animal sources such as high-fat dairy products, egg yolks, liver and other organ meats. Experts believe it may play important roles in many areas of health, including areas pertaining to heart health, which make it especially important to get enough each day. Most people eating a Western diet don’t get enough vitamin K2, and vitamin K2 supplements can help fill that nutrient gap.11
Taking a vitamin K2 supplement may be especially important for people who have been prescribed statins for cholesterol. That’s because studies suggest statins inhibit K2 synthesis within the body, which may potentially lead to health concerns.12 If you are taking statins, talk with your doctor to see if you should begin taking a vitamin K2 supplement.
K2 Heart Health Studies
If you’re looking for more information on the effects of vitamin K2 on heart health, clinical research is a great place to start. Here are three studies that may be of interest.
A study published by the National Center of Biotechnology suggests that vitamin K2 helps to bind calcium ions within the bloodstream.13
Meanwhile, an exciting double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study is currently taking place, which seeks to find out if vitamin K2 reduces calcium metabolism within the aortic valve compared to a placebo.14
The results of a study published in the Journal of Hypertension details how Matrix Gla protein, which is an essential cofactor of vitamin K, plays a beneficial role in arterial health.15
CoQ10 + K2 in a Single Supplement
Swanson Ultra CoQ10 + Vitamin K2 is a 2-in-1 formula that features clinically-studied dosages of these important nutrients. Individually, CoQ10 and vitamin K2 have been scientifically shown to support heart health and arterial tissue health. Now you can get them both together in one powerful softgel at a better value than buying them individually. Each softgel delivers 180 mcg vitamin K2 as well as 100 mg CoQ10 to nourish a healthy heart.
Targeted Nutrition for a Healthy Heart
It’s impossible to over-emphasize the importance of focusing on the health and function of your heart. Educating yourself about the nutrients your heart needs and where to get them is a great start. Eating a diet focused on wholesome real foods and adding the right supplements to make up for any dietary gaps can help promote a strong and healthy heart for years to come.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like Vitamin K2: Types, Benefits and Food Sources and CoQ10 and Satins: Can Statins Lead to Low CoQ10? Also, be sure to sign up for Swanson Health Emails to get expert advice and our best promotions delivered straight to your inbox.
1 Specific metabolic rates of major organs and tissues across adulthood: evaluation by mechanistic model of resting energy expenditure. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980962/
2 Each Organ Has a Unique Metabolic Profil. Biochemistry. 5th Edition. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22436/
3 CoQ10: What are the Heart Health Benefits? Cleveland Heart Lab. http://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/horizons-coq10-what-are-the-heart-health-benefits/
4 9 Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coenzyme-q10#section7
5 Coenzyme Q10. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-coenzyme-q10/art-20362602
6 Dietary Factors - Coenzyme Q10. Oregon State University. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10#aging-prevention
7 Coenzyme Q10 Therapy. US National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4112525/
8 Coenzyme for Cardiovascular Prevention. OMICS International. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/coenzyme-q-for-cardiovascular-prevention-2329-6607.1000e125.php?aid=25089
9 Coenzyme Supplementation Decreases Statin-Related Mild-to-Moderate Muscle Symptoms: A Randomized Clinical Study. Medical Science Monitor https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4226312/
10 Vitamin K2: New Research Confirms Essential Role in Heart Health Nutraceutical Business Review. https://www.nutraceuticalbusinessreview.com/
11 Vitamin K2: Everything You Need to Know. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-k2#heart-health
12 Statins Stimulate Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure: Pharmacological Mechanisms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25655639
13 The Role of Vitamin K Status in Cardiovascular Health: Evidence from Observational and Clinical Studies. National Center for Biotechnology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5585988/
14 Bicuspid Aortic Valve Stenosis and the Effect of Vitamin K2 on Calcification Using 18F-Sodium Fluoride Positron Emission Tomography/Magnetic Resonance: The BASIK2 Rationale and Trial Design. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5946171/
15 Desphospho-uncarboxylated Matrix Gla Protein is Associated with Increased Aortic Stiffness in a General Population. Journal of Human Hypertension. https://www.nature.com/articles/jhh201555
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.