One in three American adults has high blood pressure. That translates to about 75 million people and it doesn’t seem like this problem is going away any time soon.1 If you’re struggling to keep your high blood pressure in check, alternative remedies like CoQ10 may already be on your radar. But is this coenzyme all that it’s cracked up to be? Here’s a closer look at how it works and what it can do for you.
Coenzyme Q10 Has Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant, And Vasodilating Properties
Having hypertension or high blood pressure puts you at greater risk of problems like heart disease and even strokes. And while 32% of the adult population in the United States has a high blood pressure problem, just 54% of them have it under control.2
Coenzyme Q10, CoQ10, or ubiquinone is a substance found naturally in your body. Your body needs it for energy production and metabolism. It helps improve mitochondrial function and protects your organs and tissues thanks to its antioxidant properties. In addition, its anti-inflammatory potential makes it a promising option for aging-related neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic syndrome, and even some cardiovascular health problems.3 When it comes to matters of the heart and circulatory system, it seems like its vasodilating properties could be beneficial to manage blood pressure too.4
CoQ10 May Be Able To Reduce Systolic And Diastolic Blood Pressure
- Normal: under 120 mm Hg (systolic) and below 80 mm Hg (diastolic)5
- Elevated: 120–129 mm Hg (s), even with DBP below 80 mm Hg
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130–139 mm Hg (s) or 80–89 mm Hg (d)
- Stage 2 high blood pressure/hypertension: 140 mm Hg or higher (s) and/or 90 mm Hg or higher (d)
- Hypertensive crisis (medical emergency): Over 180 mm Hg (s) and/or over 120 mm Hg (d)
According to multiple pieces of research, it does seem that CoQ10 taken orally could have a direct impact on blood pressure.
- In one study, patients with elevated blood pressure (from essential arterial hypertension) who took as little as 50 mg doses of CoQ10 twice a day for just 10 weeks saw a drop in both systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). While SBP went down to 146.7 ± 4.1 mmHg (from 164.5 ± 3.1 mmHg), DBP dropped to 86.1 ± 1.3 mmHg (from 98.1 ± 1.7 mmHg).6
- One study on diabetic patients found that taking 100 mg doses of CoQ10 twice a day helped bring down blood pressure and also improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetes within 12 weeks of daily supplementation.7
- Another review of various studies found that, on average, taking CoQ10 resulted in a reduction in SBP by as much as 17 mm Hg and DBP reduction by 10 mm Hg.8
CoQ10 May Reduce BP By Aiding Vasodilation And Preventing Plaque Buildup
There are multiple theories on how CoQ10 could help with hypertension. Some suggest that CoQ10 may help stimulate the production of a potent vasodilator called prostaglandin prostacyclin which inhibits platelet aggregation, relaxing the blood vessels and enabling easier flow of blood, both of which could help ease blood pressure.9
Because CoQ10 may also help inhibit low-density lipoprotein oxidation, a factor in the progress of atherosclerosis, it could slow plaque buildup, further easing blood pressure. It also reduces the viscosity of your blood, another feature which could help with its antihypertensive properties.10
CoQ10 Could Reduce Your Dependence On Antihypertensive Drugs
Taking CoQ10 could help improve your blood pressure to a point where you could even require lower amounts of medication. As one study found, when patients with hypertension were given daily doses of CoQ10 of about 225 mg a day along with their antihypertensive drugs, they saw significant improvement in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The improvement in functional status was gradual but steady and meant that many could slowly bring down the antihypertensive drug therapy over the course of 1 to 6 months. Overall, about 51% of patients could completely stop between 1 and 3 of the drugs they were on. On average, this happened about 4.4 months after they first started taking CoQ10.11 Being able to cut down on these drugs along with the improvement in their health translated to a better quality of life as well as less of a financial burden from having to take such drugs.
CoQ10 Levels May Be Low In Those With Cardiovascular Disease
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart problems and CoQ10 may have a role to play here as well. Cardiac cells have high energy needs and are also much more sensitive and vulnerable to any kind of CoQ10 deficiency.12 People with cardiovascular disease tend to have lower levels of this provitamin and there is some evidence that it could be beneficial if you have cardiovascular health concerns.13 As you grow older, your CoQ10 levels are likely to dip, which is why some experts suggest the remedy for those aged 50 and over.14 Those taking statins may also see their body’s natural CoQ10 levels drop, making it potentially beneficial to this group too.
CoQ10’s antioxidant properties and ability to counter the effect of free radical damage make it especially important to ensure you are getting enough CoQ10. Free radical damage and oxidative stress play a part in heart problems and coronary artery disease.15
But More Research On CoQ10 Needed To Establish Its Impact
While the results so far on CoQ10’s ability to counter high blood pressure have been encouraging, experts warn that more well‐conducted trials are required to back up these claims. On the flip side, according to some other researchers, there is some moderate quality evidence that suggests the coenzyme doesn’t actually help bring down blood pressure. They also cite “unacceptably high risk of bias” in the studies that do suggest its benefits for hypertension. Further trials will, therefore, be needed to establish CoQ10’s potential in lowering blood pressure.16 Until then, no specific dosage can be recommended to assure specific benefits for hypertension.
That said, many experts endorse that CoQ10 can be considered a safe dietary supplement. If you do decide to give it a try after consulting your doctor, here’s what you should know about CoQ10 dosage for hypertension in studies. Animal studies indicate that consuming CoQ10 at a rate of 12mg/kg/day should be fine.17 Other studies confirm that a typical 55 kg adult could tolerate as much as 660 mg a day of CoQ10. Most people take it as a supplement of between 90 mg to 200 mg on average, so there shouldn’t be any risk of toxicity or adverse side effects.18Your dosage may be higher depending on your current health condition, weight, and medical history. Some experts are known to suggest doses of 200–300 mg for blood-pressure-lowering effects.
CoQ10 Intake May Have Some Mild Side Effects
If you aren’t taking well to CoQ10 as a supplement, you could aim at getting your CoQ10 from dietary sources through foods like beef, pork, seafood, chicken, liver, avocado, soybeans, peanuts, sesame seeds, lentils, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and eggs.
While there are no known major side effects from taking CoQ10 at the dosages indicated earlier, some people could have an allergic reaction to the antioxidant and break out in allergic skin rashes. You might also experience appetite loss, nausea, or vomiting. Some people get diarrhea or a stomach upset from consuming the coenzyme as a supplement. If you do have these problems, you could consult your doctor for other alternatives or modify the dosage with their help. Also be warned that it could interact with existing blood pressure and blood thinning medication and also chemotherapy drugs, so be sure to give your doctor a heads-up.
Other Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure
While supplements like CoQ10 could be one way to manage blood pressure, these are still being researched. What we do know for sure, is that there are specific lifestyle changes and natural ways to manage blood pressure or help bring it down.19 Here are some simple changes you could make:
- Lose some weight. Being overweight can raise your risk of hypertension.
- Quit smoking. It is a risk factor for high BP.20
- Exercise. Getting active for 150 minutes a week can make all the difference.
- Cut alcohol intake. Like smoking, alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
- Find ways to beat stress. Organize and plan your life better, but also sign up for meditation or yoga or practice relaxation techniques on your own at home.
Caution! CoQ10 Is Not A Substitute For Medical Attention
Of course, if you need to quickly lower your blood pressure because it is excessively high, mainstream medication may be required. If you are experiencing a hypertensive crisis, do not wait to get medical attention – this is an emergency and needs urgent treatment at the hospital. Check for warning signs like:21
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Vision problems
- Trouble speaking
Do consult a doctor at the earliest to see if you need any medication if your blood pressure is consistently elevated, especially if you are at risk of other health problems. If you are already on blood pressure medication don’t stop taking it. Supplement the treatment with alternative remedies like CoQ10 after speaking to your doctor and you should be on your way to managing your hypertension problem.
|↑1, ↑2, ↑20||High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑3, ↑14||Navas, Plácido Navas, Guillermo Lopez Lluch, and Juan Diego Hernandez-Camacho. “Coenzyme Q10 supplementation in aging and disease.” Frontiers in physiology 9 (2018): 44.|
|↑4, ↑9||Garrido-Maraver, Juan, Mario D. Cordero, Manuel Oropesa-Ávila, Alejandro Fernández Vega, Mario De La Mata, Ana Delgado Pavón, Manuel De Miguel et al. “Coenzyme q10 therapy.” Molecular syndromology 5, no. 3-4 (2014): 187-197.|
|↑5, ↑21||Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. American Heart Association.|
|↑6||Digiesi, V., F. Cantini, A. Oradei, G. Bisi, G. C. Guarino, A. Brocchi, F. Bellandi, M. Mancini, and G. P. Littarru. “Coenzyme Q10 in essential hypertension.” Molecular aspects of medicine 15 (1994): s257-s263.|
|↑7||Hodgson, J. M., G. F. Watts, D. A. Playford, V. Burke, and K. D. Croft. “Coenzyme Q 10 improves blood pressure and glycaemic control: a controlled trial in subjects with type 2 diabetes.” European journal of clinical nutrition 56, no. 11 (2002): 1137.|
|↑8||Rosenfeldt, F. L., S. J. Haas, H. Krum, A. Hadj, K. Ng, J_Y Leong, and G. F. Watts. “Coenzyme Q 10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials.” Journal of human hypertension 21, no. 4 (2007): 297.|
|↑10, ↑12, ↑15||Kumar, Adarsh, Harharpreet Kaur, Pushpa Devi, and Varun Mohan. “Role of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in cardiac disease, hypertension and Meniere-like syndrome.” Pharmacology & therapeutics 124, no. 3 (2009): 259-268.|
|↑11||Langsjoen, P., R. Willis, and K. Folkers. “Treatment of essential hypertension with coenzyme Q10.” Molecular Aspects of Medicine 15 (1994): s265-s272.|
|↑13||Al-Hasso, Shahla. “Coenzyme Q10: A review.” Hospital Pharmacy 36, no. 1 (2001): 51-66.|
|↑16||Coenzyme Q10 for High Blood Pressure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, National Institutes of Health.|
|↑17, ↑18||Hidaka, Takayoshi, Kenji Fujii, Iwao Funahashi, Naoki Fukutomi, and Kazunori Hosoe. “Safety assessment of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).” Biofactors 32, no. 1‐4 (2008): 199-208.|
|↑19||6 simple tips to reduce your blood pressure. Harvard Health Publishing.|