Halloween will make your child scream (36132)

Can you imagine an engine running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year without stopping? Well, that little muscle called the heart, which sits inside your chest and is about the size of your fist, does just that.

For the heart to run efficiently, it needs fuel consisting of a host of nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, as well as trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. The proper functioning of the organs of the body, including the heart itself, depends upon an adequate flow of blood from a healthy, pulsating heartbeat.

The heart is made up of cells, each producing a fraction of the total energy to run this pump. If any of these cells are damaged due to poor blood supply, the heart will become lazy and less efficient. This condition is known as congestive heart failure.

The cells of the heart contain small power plants known as mitochondria (mi-to-chon-dri-a). These specialized cellular units take up 40 percent of the cells’ space and are capable of oxidizing nutrients to produce energy, which causes the heart to have a regular rhythm. If the cardiac cells are destroyed due to poor blood flow from fat-laden arteries, the mitochondria are also destroyed, resulting in a lazy heart.

For the mitochondria to function efficiently, a nutrient called coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is found naturally in spinach, red meat, peanuts, organ meats, fish and eggs, must be present. If a person’s diet is poor and these nutrients are not available, the heart may begin to fail. Symptoms of a failing heart are swollen ankles, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue. These symptoms can be relieved with adequate medications prescribed by your physician, along with salt reduction, diet and exercise.

Coenzyme Q10 is an essential nutrient produced in the body and is needed to produce energy for the life force of a cell. In other words, it is the fuel that produces energy for cellular function and reproduction. Anything that reduces the production of CoQ10 will have an effect on organs such as the heart to function efficiently.

* Conditions that interfere with the production of CoQ10 are the following:

* Aging of the body, associated with poor nutrition

* Cholesterol lowering drugs such as Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor and Pravachol

* Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, breast cancer, hypertension, cervical cancer, periodontal disease (gum disease) and chronic heart failure

* A vegetarian diet

* Drugs that lower high blood pressure such as Inderal, Corgard and Lopressor

The dosage of CoQ10 should be prescribed by your physician and can range from 60 mg per day to 300 mg per day, according to your underlying medical condition.

Finally, coenzyme Q10 should be your co-pilot if you wish to feel and fly high into the clouds of health and land safely feeling gooood. Happy landing!

For further information on CoQ10, I suggest you read “Heart Sense for Women” by Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, and Jan Sinatra, RN, MSN, along with Roberta Jo Lieberman, Lifeline Press.

For great health tips and access to an online community of physicians and other health care professionals, visit DrDeas.com.