Selenium and Q10 strengthen your heart
- and increase your lifespan
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death. However, in 2013, Professor Urban Alehagen, a Swedish cardiologist, demonstrated that giving supplements of selenium and Q10 to seniors could strengthen their hearts and reduce their cardiovascular mortality rate by over 50 percent. In follow-ups of his research, it was seen that the two supplements had a long-term effect on lifespan, but there is more to the story. In a whole new study that is published in European Journal of Nutrition, Alehagen manages to show in detail that selenium and Q10 have a positive effect on oxidative stress and inflammation at the same time as improving a number of biomarkers of heart health. He also explains why it can be a challenge to get enough Q10 and selenium through an entire life.
Q10 is a unique coenzyme that appears in two essential forms. One is needed for cellular energy turnover, while the other is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells, organs, and the circulatory system against free radical damage. The body uses both forms interchangeably and converts one form into the other, and vice versa, with help from a selenium-containing enzyme called thioredoxin reductase. Selenium is also an integral part of other antioxidants and enzymes with a number of different functions. In other words, there is a synergy between Q10 and selenium.
The body synthesizes most of the Q10 for its own needs, but our endogenous production of the compounds gradually starts to decrease when we reach an age of around 20 years. This mainly affects the heart, which is especially energy-dependent. At the age of 60, our Q10 content in heart tissue has been reduced by 50 percent
Selenium is also a challenge because it is difficult to get enough of the nutrient from our diet. This is primarily a result of European farmland being low in selenium. This is a problem that affects the entire food chain.
Supplements of Q10 and selenium halved mortality rates
Because cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death and because the risk of them goes up with increasing age, it was rather obvious to investigate the effect of giving these two compounds to a group of seniors. Professor Urban Alehagen, a Swedish cardiologist, and his team of scientists carried out the groundbreaking KiSel-10 study that involved 443 healthy, older Swedes. One group got 200 micrograms of selenium yeast and 200 milligrams of pharmaceutical-grade Q10 daily, while the other group got matching placebo. The participants took the supplements for four years, and the study revealed the following changes in the supplemented group:
- 54% lower cardiovascular mortality
- Increased heart muscle strength (shown with ultrasound scans)
- Improved quality of life
The study was published in the International Journal of Cardiology in 2013.
Follow-ups of the study after 10 and 12 years showed that supplementation with Q10 and selenium had a long-term effect on heart function and lifespan. This effect was not observed in the placebo group. Because these two supplements had such a surprising impact on health and lifespan Alehagen and his team continued to analyze the more than 50,000 blood samples that had been collected from the two groups in the original study and stored in special freezers all along.
Multiple biomarkers reveal selenium’s and Q10’s positive effects
The purpose of the new study was to analyze how the combination of selenium and Q10 affects different biomarkers and to get a better understanding of how these two nutrients can support the circulatory system, improve heart function, and increase lifespan. The scientists used a so-called SEM (Structural Equation Modelling) analysis that measures the exact relation between changes in the biomarkers and improvements of different health parameters. The analysis generally showed that supplementation with Q10 and selenium has a positive effect on the following:
- Oxidative stress and inflammation
It lowers blood levels of fructosamine, sP-selectin, and CRP (C-reactive protein), all of which are markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Conditions with inflammation and oxidative stress are characterized by an overrepresentation of free radicals that can set the stage for cellular damage, atherosclerosis, and ageing processes. Selenium and Q10 have antioxidant properties and have the ability to neutralize free radicals.
- Epithelial cells
It lowers blood levels of Willebrand factor and D-dimer, which indicates healthier epithelial cells and less presence of blood clotting or smaller blood clots.
It lowers blood levels of seven biomarkers that reflect blood vessel fibrosis. This indicates that selenium and Q10 counteract the type of fibrosis that is normally seen with ageing and cardiovascular disease.
- IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor)
It increases blood levels of IGF-1, which normally tend to drop in connection with ageing. IGF-1 has a number of different functions such as cell rejuvenation and anti-inflammatory processes
It improves the expression of 90 different types of microRNA. We still don’t know much about microRNA, but we know that it is associated with multiple functions such as the regulation of genes and protein codes. MicroRNA’s functions are also linked to the circulatory system, heart function, and repair of damaged tissue.
- The heart
It lowers levels of NT-proBNP, a hormone that is released by the heart when it works under duress. Lower levels of this biomarker mean improved systolic function and improved heart muscle strength
Compared with placebo, supplementation with Q10 and selenium has a positive effect on cardiovascular health and lifespan, and this is reflected in the positive effect of this combo on the many biomarkers. The new study is published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Make sure to use bioavailable supplements
The KiSel-10 study was carried out with pharmaceutical-grade selenium yeast and Q10 to ensure high bioavailability and nutrient utilization. This is only possible with products that have documentation for their quality and absorbability.
Urban Alehagen et al. Improved cardiovascular health by supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10: applying structural equation modelling (SEM) to clinical outcomes and biomarkers to explore underlying mechanisms in a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled intervention project in Sweden. European Journal of Nutrition. 2022
Alehagen U, et al. Cardiovascular mortality and N-Terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Int J Cardiol. 2012.
Pernille Lund. Q10 – fra helsekost til epokegørende medicin. 2013
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