Many people take statin drugs today for a variety of reasons centered around cardiovascular health. However, most people aren’t aware of a super-important player in cellular health: co-enzyme Q10, or CoQ10 (“co-Q-ten”).
CoQ10 is a component of the electron transport chain, which is how every cell in your body produces energy in the form of ATP. CoQ10 also decreases with age. Without enough CoQ10, the mitochondria in your cells cannot produce enough ATP, which is like cellular fuel for your cells to carry out their life processes. Thus, CoQ10 is essential for your body’s well-being, maintaining itself and providing for enough energy for you to live your normal daily life!
In addition, CoQ10 is an antioxidant. It helps to clean up free radicals, which are reactive molecules that bounce around in your body and can contribute to destructive processes. When you have cardiovascular disease of any sort, there is some amount of oxidative damage to the lining of your blood vessels. CoQ10 helps to decrease this oxidative damage, which can also be caused by free radicals. Free radicals can occur naturally, and your body has processes in place to take care of them – CoQ10 plays a role in this. It is especially important given the increasing pollution, radiation exposure and chemicals in our modern world.
Statin drugs deplete CoQ10 by blocking its production. Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, meaning they block the action of the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme. This enzyme is required for cholesterol production, which is how statins act to decrease cholesterol. In addition to cholesterol synthesis, this enzyme is also required for CoQ10 production. So, in addition to blocking cholesterol, statins also block the production of CoQ10 – this is how statins decrease CoQ10. This has been widely studied and is generally accepted by allopathic physicians in addition to naturopathic doctors. There is still some ambiguity as to how much supplemented CoQ10 is biologically available in the body, but clinical evidence points to it being beneficial.
In addition to being basically essential with statin use, CoQ10 has also been found to support cellular health in those with cardiomyopathies, muscular dystrophies, mitochondrial defects, chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes, among other conditions.
CoQ10 is generally safe to take with other supplements, pharmaceutical drugs and during pregnancy and lactation. Side effects are infrequent with CoQ10, but may include a bit of an upset stomach, nausea and loose bowels. If side effects occur, scale back your dose and/or take divided doses (for example, instead of 100mg daily, take 50mg in the morning and 50mg in the evening). The usual dose ranges from 50 to 200mg, and sometimes more. A good starting dose is 100mg daily. The best form to take is “ubiquinol” or reduced CoQ10, as this form is most usable by your body.
It is important to check with your doctor prior to starting any new treatments.
The information provided here is not intended to replace medical advice or to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor with specific questions and prior to beginning any significant diet or lifestyle changes.