Bradycardia is a medical term derived from Greek and means “slow heart.” In adults, bradycardia is a diagnosis given when resting heart rate falls below 60 beats per minute and causes symptoms. For infants, bradycardia is defined as a heart rate less than 100 beats per minute with symptoms. Bradycardia has many causes, but a primary one is congestive heart failure, or CHF. Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short, is a vitamin-like substance that helps strengthen your heart and is able to mitigate the symptoms of CHF and bradycardia.
Although 60 beats per minute is technically considered bradycardia, you probably wouldn’t experience symptoms until your heart rate dropped below 50 beats per minute, according to the “Professional Guide to Diseases." Some world-class athletes, particularly cyclists and long distance runners, have resting heart rates of around 30 beats per minute without any symptoms, but for most people that would quickly lead to cardiac arrest. Bradycardia prevents your tissues from receiving enough oxygen and nutrients, which leads to symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, fainting and eventually heart failure. Bradycardia has many causes such as drug abuse, thyroid dysfunction, dehydration, infections, neurological problems and heart disease. According to “Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine,” the most common heart disease that leads to bradycardia is congestive heart failure.
Congestive Heart Failure
CHF is the leading cause of hospitalization among Americans over the age of 65, accounting for about 20 percent of the hospital admissions in this group, as cited in “Nutrition and Public Health." CHF occurs when your heart cannot pump efficiently enough to supply your tissues with freshly oxygenated blood. The cardiac muscles eventually weaken and the heart enlarges and becomes congested, or inflamed. Heart rate slows and weakens in CHF, leading to bradycardia. Drugs and pacemakers are used by heart specialists to treat CHF and bradycardia, although some natural remedies, such as CoQ10, can be helpful too.
CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like substance present within the mitochondria of virtually all of your cells. Mitochondria are your cells power plants and CoQ10 participates in generating energy in the form of ATP, which are energy storage molecules. Thus, those organs with the highest energy requirements, such as your heart, liver and kidneys, require the most CoQ10, according to “Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition.” CoQ10 is also acts as an important antioxidant in your body.
CoQ10 and CHF
According to “Human Biochemistry and Disease,” CoQ10 has been widely studied in CHF and found to increase heart function by improving the utilization of oxygen at the cellular level, reduce blood pressure, strengthen cardiac muscle and stabilize heart membranes. In simpler language, CoQ10 makes your heart stronger, pump more efficiently and beat a little quicker, which reduces the symptoms of CHF and the resultant bradycardia. Virtually all researchers note that CoQ10 is generally well tolerated, with few side effects. If you have any of the symptoms of bradycardia you should consult with your doctor immediately, before attempting to improve your condition with CoQ10 supplements.
- “Professional Guide to Diseases: Ninth Edition”; Springhouse Publishing; 2009
- “Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine”; A. Fauci et al.; 2008
- “Nutrition and Public Health”; Sari Edelstein; 2006
- “Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition”; Martha Stipanuk; 2006
- “Human Biochemistry and Disease”; Gerald Litwack; 2008