Do I need coenzyme Q10 supplements if I am taking statins?

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Leopold D. Galland, MD
Internal Medicine
Statins deplete coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is a vital antioxidant produced in your liver by the same enzyme that produces cholesterol. Muscle cells and nerves are especially sensitive to a deficiency of coenzyme Q10. Depletion of coenzyme Q10 by statins may contribute to their side effects. Diabetics, people with heart disease or those on a low fat diet (which does not supply dietary coenzyme Q10) may benefit from taking coenzyme Q10 if they are taking statins.

The existing clinical research may underestimate the need for coenzyme Q10 among statin users, because it's conducted over a period of weeks or months, whereas people who use statins take them for decades.
Dr. Peter Bongiorno, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
While statin medications are reported to help avert cardiovascular problems like heart attacks by lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL, 'bad') cholesterol, statin medications themselves are known to lower the levels of natural ubiquinol (an active form of coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, which has been shown to have quite powerful antioxidant potential) in the body and heart muscle.

One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a 22% decrease in ubiquinol levels in patients using simvastatin (Zocor), while other studies suggest that statins can reduce serum levels of coenzyme Q10 by up to 40%. Long-term use of statin medications can increase risk of nerve damage and rhabdomyolsis (breakdown of muscle tissue). Since nerve and muscle tissue need plenty of ubiquinol and CoQ10 to keep up energy, it makes sense that this depletion could cause problems. Research already is mounting which suggests that ubiquinol supplementation could decrease muscle pain due to statin use. As such, we recommend anyone taking these medications should consider adding supplemental CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinol to their daily regimen.

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Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.