Selenium and CoQ10 are Protective Against Cardiovascular Disease

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by Nils Osmar. March 28, 2022

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both the United States and the world. It kills over 695,000 people in the U.S. and more than 17,000,000 people worldwide every year..

As we age, our chances of succumbing to CVD increase. Studies are underway to determine whether components like diet, exercise and nutritional supplementation can help postpone or prevent it.

Several different human studies suggest that the combination of CoQ10 and selenium can reduce deaths from heart disease – at least in participants whose diets tend to be low in both nutrients

In one study, older people who took 200 mg. of CoQ10 (ubiquinol or ubiquinone) and 200 mcg of selenium daily for four years had significantly lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease than those in the control group. A follow-up study 12 years later showed that the improvement continued even after supplementation had ended.

This combination of nutrients has also been found to reduce the number of days a patient stays in the hospital.

From the Study:

” In brief, 443 elderly healthy participants were given dietary supplementation of 200 mg/day of coenzyme Q10 capsules … and 200 μg/day of organic selenium yeast tablets …or a similar placebo during 48 months…

“Even after twelve years we observed a significantly reduced risk for CV mortality in this group, as well as in subgroups of patients with diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease or impaired functional capacity….

“The protective action was not confined to the intervention period, but persisted during the follow-up period. The mechanisms behind this effect remain to be fully elucidated, although various effects on cardiac function, oxidative stress, fibrosis and inflammation have previously been identified…”

Avoiding Selenium Toxicity

Selenium is an important mineral, but overdoses can be toxic, and taking massive amounts (as in, swallowing the contents of a whole bottle of selenium capsules) has even been used to commit suicide. There were reports of selenium poisoning years ago, when people took a supplement containing 200 times the amount of selenium listed on the label. So (in my estimation) it’s important to buy supplements from reputable, well-established companies. I’m currently using Thorne’s selenomethionine. According to this article:

Selenium toxicity can occur with acute or chronic ingestion of excess selenium. Symptoms of selenium toxicity include nausea; vomiting; nail discoloration, brittleness, and loss; hair loss; fatigue; irritability; and foul breath odor (often described as “garlic breath”.

According to the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority:

The Dietary Supplements Regulations 1985 require selenium supplements to be manufactured and labelled so that the recommended daily dose is no more than 150µg. A maximum safe daily dietary intake has been estimated at 400µg. At an intake of 750-850µg functional signs of toxicity can be expected.

According to this article from the Harvard School of Public Health, 400 mcg of selenium per day is a safe upper limit. However, to stay well within the safe range, I personally keep my supplementation with selenium to no more than 200 mcg/day, and take at least one day off per week.

Personal Note

  • This is anecdotal, but for what it’s worth, I’ve been taking CoQ10 on and off since the mid-1990s. I usually take 200 mg/day. I took the ubiquinol form for most of that time, but have switched to taking ubiquinone. The body cycles back and forth between the two forms naturally, but ubiquinone is about half of the price. The brand I like best is Jarrow.
  • I also eat sardines, which are naturally rich in this nutrient. I’ve been aging well, and I suspect that my having good sources of CoQ10 in my diet may be a factor.
  • I’ve been less consistent about taking selenium, but after reviewing these studies I’ll be adding it as a supplement soon, and will be taking 200 mcg daily. There is some in sardines; a 100 gram serving has 52 mcg of selenium. But this is less than 1/3 of the amount given in the study. Pure Encapsulations Selenium is the best brand of selenium that I’ve found to date.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

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