Selenium & CoQ10 Reduce Cardiovascular Death

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Selenium & CoQ10 Reduce Cardiovascular Death

We recently discussed a study in which selenium & CoQ10 supplementation reduced cardiovascular death.  Today, let’s discuss a follow up analysis that found that this protective effect was only seen in those with a baseline selenium deficiency and what values to look for on your lab work.

Dr. R’s Fast Facts

Supplementation with Selenium and Coenzyme Q10 Reduces Cardiovascular Mortality in Elderly with Low Selenium Status. A Secondary Analysis of a Randomised Clinical Trial.

  • 219 individuals received daily supplementation with selenium (200 μg Se as selenized yeast) and coenzyme Q10 (200 mg) combined for four years. The remaining participants (n = 449) received either placebo (n = 222) or no treatment (n = 227).
    • 4 years of supplementation decreased risk for 10 years after ending.
  • Two important results could be reported:
    • Firstly, a low mean serum selenium concentration, 67 μg/L, was found among the participants and their cardiovascular mortality was higher in comparison to those having a selenium concentration >85 μg/L.
    • Secondly, supplementation was cardio-protective in those with a low selenium concentration, ≤85 at inclusion. In those with serum selenium>85, μg/L, and no apparent deficiency, there was no effect of supplementation.
  • This was a follow up (secondary analysis) of data previously published by this group, which I have reviewed here.

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Selenium & CoQ10 Reduce Cardiovascular Death

Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio, and let’s discuss selenium, CoQ10, and your heart health. Now, recently, we discussed a study—and I’ll put the link in the notes here—that showed that supplementation for four years in duration with selenium and CoQ10 could decrease risk of cardiovascular death for 10 years after the supplementation.

Now, there’s been a follow-up analysis of this study that I’d like to cover with you here. So I’ll put the study abstract up here on the screen and give you a few notes. The name of the study, “Supplementation with Selenium and CoQ10 Reduces Cardiovascular Mortality in Elderly with Low Selenium Status, a Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Now, the randomized clinical trial is what I referred to a moment ago. Essentially, four years of supplementation with selenium and CoQ10 reduced the risk of death from cardiovascular disease for a 10-year period afterward. So, pretty compelling results. This is just one study, and it’s a fairly small group, about 200 patients. But it’s noteworthy nonetheless, especially when we look at selenium and CoQ10, fairly safe, and may have some secondary healthy benefits.

Selenium has been shown, amongst other things, to be helpful for those with thyroid autoimmunity when used for three to six months. And CoQ10 has been shown in a few studies to aid with fatigue, and even aid in the appearance of skin. So these definitely have some secondary side benefits instead of side effects.

But these researchers wanted to cull a little bit deeper into the data to see may there be something or some way to predict whether or not people would respond positively to the selenium and to the CoQ10, because not everyone saw protection, but some did.

So, coming back to our bullet points here, in the 219 individuals that received the selenium supplementation, 200 mcg, and CoQ10, 200 mg for four years, there were two important findings. Essentially what they showed was that low selenium concentrations, those with low selenium concentrations, were the ones that had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease or death in the placebo group, meaning that they had low selenium at baseline and they were given no treatment, and they are the ones that had the highest risk of cardiovascular death.

Now, the ones at baseline with the highest selenium status—and if you look here, this is, according to these researchers, defined as 85 mcg per liter—they did not have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, correspondingly, when people in the low… So people who had low baseline levels of selenium, when they then took selenium and CoQ10, they actually saw a protective effect.

However, people that had high baseline levels did not have any protection. All right. Now, that should make sense because the people with high levels also had less risk. So if you have low baseline selenium status, you are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease or death from cardiovascular disease. If you supplement with selenium and CoQ10, as found in this study, you have a decreased risk.

Now, at baseline, if you have normal levels above 85, then you do not have an increased risk and supplementation does not seem to benefit you. So what this tells us is we have one clinical trial that has shown a positive effect from selenium and CoQ10 supplementation, and that effect may be consolidated to or limited to those who at baseline have lower levels of selenium status.

So this is something you may want to talk about with your doctor, running a serum selenium profile, seeing if you have a deficiency or a lower level as outlined in this study. And then, if you do, consider using the protocol of selenium and CoQ10. Now this is only one study, so we can’t draw too much of a conclusion from it. However, I don’t think we have to make a super robust case to justify supplementation for a few years with selenium and CoQ10.

This is Dr. Ruscio, and I hope this information helps you get healthy and get back to your life. Thanks.

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Dr. Ruscio is your leading functional and integrative doctor specializing in gut related disorders such as SIBO, leaky gut, Celiac, IBS and in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. For more information on how to become a patient, please contact our office. Serving the San Francisco bay area and distance patients via phone and Skype.


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