As we mentioned in our previous post, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States– and over half of Americans have elevated blood pressure! While heart disease may not be something you are worried about right now, science shows us that our risk increases with advancing age, stress, lifestyle choices- and of course micronutrient deficiency. But what if there is something you can do right now that would act as a kind of insurance policy against heart disease in the future. A specific combination of two easy to get micronutrients that brand new research has shown to reduce your risk of heart disease by nearly 50% for over 12 years – even after stopping supplementation! Interested? Let’s dive into this fascinating find!
If you have a heart, plan on staying healthy as you age, and live in the modern world, you’ll want to read this post. Even if heart disease isn’t on your immediate radar, this future focused finding provides solid support supporting micronutrient sufficiency to reduce your risk of deadly disease!
The Key Micronutrient Players – Selenium and CoQ10
Your cells need both selenium and CoQ10 to function. Science knows that these micronutrients work synergistically to support one another. For example, selenium helps convert CoQ10 to its active form in side your body, and CoQ10 helps selenium-based proteins to do their work. But what science didn't know until recently was that there is a synergy between them that greatly reduces your risk of heart disease. Let’s take a closer look at what these two amazing micronutrients do on their own.
- Selenium helps you make the master antioxidant glutathione and other proteins that protect you from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can drive damage to blood vessels seen in heart disease. Without adequate selenium, you may not successfully detoxify from our chemical world, as your liver uses glutathione to handcuff and escort many types of toxins out of your body.
- CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that also protects us from oxidative stress-induced damage, particularly fatty tissues like cell membranes. CoQ10 helps you use energy in each cell, and without enough of it you won’t feel very spry. We have written about the relationship between CoQ10 deficiency and heart disease risk before! Although you make CoQ10 in your body normally, many people now take cholesterol-lowering medications called statins that block that process and reduce CoQ10 levels. Because of this, many doctors are now advising statin-taking-patients to take CoQ10 at the same time, recognizing the absurdity in creating more risk for heart disease with a micronutrient deficiency driven by a medication intended to reduce the risk for heart disease.
The Setup. Starting with a study group of 443 healthy elderly people, Swedish researchers from Linköping University investigated the effects of a placebo compared to taking 200 mg of CoQ10 and 200 micrograms of selenium per day for four years. After the four years the participants stopped supplementation, but the researchers continued to follow up with participants and evaluated the effects the four years of supplementation had on their risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
The Trends. Researchers saw a significant risk reduction from cardiovascular death lasting for over a decade! How significant? In the first follow up 5.2 years after the initial four years of supplementation researches found that supplementing with selenium and CoQ10 had cut the cardiovascular death rate by more than 50%, while improving heart function and and significantly reducing the risk of further cardiovascular disease in the participants. When the same researches followed up again at the ten-year mark the risk from dying from any cardiovascular cause (congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke or other) was still reduced by 49%! Let that sink in for a second- after only four years of supplementation subjects saw nearly a 50% reduction in the risk of mortality from heart disease for over 10 years!. Additionally, when researches followed up one last time at the 12-year mark only 28.1% of those who received the selenium and CoQ10 supplementation had died from cardiovascular disease compared to 45% of the placebo group. Even more amazing: the risk reduction also held for those with ischemic heart disease, impaired cardiac function, diabetes, or hypertension- diagnoses already associated with an increased risk of a cardiovascular event!
The Conclusions. Potentially game changing! The long-term follow ups and thorough assessment of confounding factors makes this study particularly meaningful. The researchers indicated that selenium and CoQ10 supplementation had yielded surprisingly “intriguing” results and indicated a strong need for larger studies. As you know we have been working to get the message out about the health producing power of micronutrient sufficiency for more than 15 years now. We find this study intriguing as well, given three major conclusions:
- Deficiencies in Selenium or CoQ10 increase heart disease risk– a premise of the study.
- Supplementation of both can reduce mortality risk from cardiovascular disease for years after supplementation stops- in this case, an average of 12 years.
- Supplementation of both is sufficient to elicit statistically significant benefits independent of diet, medication use, gender, smoking, or disease state – and even greater improvements were seen in subjects with other major diseases known to compromise cardiovascular health.
Focus on Food and Smart Supplementation
Selenium is an essential micronutrient, meaning we must consume it in our diet or supplement it. But for many of us, the diet piece can be tricky. Fish, brazil nuts, some whole grains, and vegetables grown in select soils can be high in selenium, but most plants pale in selenium content compared to past crops due to reduced mineral content of many growing soils!
CoQ10 is considered a non-essential micronutrient, but not because it’s not essential to your health, but because you manufacture it internally. So it’s not “essential” that you get it from food or supplementation. Sadly, our production levels of CoQ10 decrease starting at age 20 and are about half of where we started by age 80—right when we need it most for heart health. As mentioned above, a statin medication will further reduce CoQ10 levels beyond the normal effects of aging. CoQ10 is found naturally in organ meats such as liver or heart, but is also found in beef, pork, chicken, and fatty fish such as tuna. While CoQ10 is only found in low to undetectable levels in plant based foods, it can be found in olive oil.
If you opt for fish as a way to get at least part of your dose of selenium or CoQ10, may we suggest a healthy serving of clean, sustainable fatty fish – this way you get a healthy dose of both selenium and CoQ10 as well as the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. We recommend that you look for a clean option because we don’t want your health to suffer from contamination concerns. Read our post here for a deeper dive into safe seafood.
Smart Supplementation? If a diet of fish and beef hearts are not for you, or if you’re just looking for an easy way to protect your heart we’ve got you covered. Check out our multivitamin nutreince which contains 100% of the RDI for selenium and 10 mg of water soluble CoQ10 (the same amount found in 3oz. of beef heart) in each daily dose. For added benefits try our highly absorbable, non-GMO, wild-caught, mercury-free, toxin-tested omega-3 fatty acids in Origin Omega.
Make Micronutrient Sufficiency Your Longevity Master Plan
As we have stated in The Micronutrient Miracle and every other book we have written – Micronutrient deficiency is the most widespread and dangerous health condition of the twenty-first century. This is the foundation of our nutritional philosophy. Every day science is showing us that it could also be the key to a solid longterm health plan. Even as our society recognizes heart disease as the most deadly disease, it is easy for us to forget that science has time and time again put micronutrient deficiencies as the root cause of this epidemic and many others. We hope this blog today has reminded you of just how important your journey and commitment to becoming micronutrient sufficient truly is. We are here to support you any way we can.