Recognizing medical interactions and their side effects is an important part of protecting the body from harm. The body is composed of many systems that are tightly connected. Therefore, it can be difficult to treat one area without influencing or impacting another. One example of this is the relationship between Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and medications known as statins.
Statins are prescribed to regulate cholesterol and treat heart dysfunction, but they may also disrupt the function and availability of CoQ10. To avoid contributing to bodily dysfunction it is important to understand the significance of CoQ10, how statins affect it, and how to maintain appropriate CoQ10 levels.
The Importance of CoQ10
CoQ10 is a proenzyme that is naturally produced by the body and found in nearly every cell. It shares many characteristics with vitamins and is a necessary part of maintaining healthy cell activity. As the body ages, tissue levels of CoQ10 decrease. It is believed that this decrease in CoQ10 levels may be part of the reason physical and neurological ability deteriorates as the body ages.
CoQ10 plays an important role in cellular respiration or the production of ATP. Throughout the entire body, ATP is the most widely utilized form of energy. The enzymatic effect of CoQ10 facilitates the conversion of consumed nutrients into ATP. Unsurprisingly, CoQ10 has a significant influence on important energy-related systems such as the metabolism.
CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant and protects against free radicals. Free radicals are unpaired molecules that can cause damage to cell membranes and DNA. Such damage can hasten the aging process and promote the occurrence of degenerative disease. Studies show that reduced levels of CoQ10 may be associated with greater risk of developing neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In addition to reducing the risk of development, supplementing with CoQ10 may aid in managing the symptoms and improve the efficacy of other treatments.
Cardiac cells contain a high concentration of CoQ10. Therefore, it may not come as a surprise that reduced levels of CoQ10 are associated with greater risk of heart failure and dysfunction. The protective attributes of CoQ10 help limit the occurrence of muscular and cellular damage in important systems including the heart. The protective attributes of CoQ10 help limit the risk of cellular and tissue damage, which may develop into a more serious condition. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the body to support and maintain healthy levels of CoQ10 and avoid agents of deficiency.
The Inhibitive Effects of Statins
Statins are frequently prescribed to help regulate cholesterol and support heart health. However, multiple studies have shown that taking statins reduces both blood and tissues levels of CoQ10.
Producing CoQ10 and cholesterol requires utilization of a substance called acetoacetyle CoA. This chemical is converted into mevalonate and ultimately becomes CoQ10 or cholesterol. Acetoacetyl is synthesized with the assistance of coenzyme called HMG-CoA. When statins are introduced into the body they block HMG-CoA, which effectively limits the body’s natural production and synthesis of CoQ10 and cholesterol.
Statins may also reduce CoQ10 prevalence by decreasing the number of lipoproteins available for CoQ10 binding. These lipoproteins act as transports for CoQ10. Statins limit the availability of these lipoproteins which effectively reduce the transport and prevalence of CoQ10.
Depleted CoQ10 levels increase the risk of other statin-related side effects. Because statins actively reduce CoQ10 levels, continued use or abuse of statins may cause new symptoms to develop or increase the severity of current symptoms. The following side effects of statins may be increased in the presence of a CoQ10 deficiency or excessive use of statins:
- Elevated blood sugar levels
- Liver and kidney dysfunction
- Muscle aches
- Poor digestion
Combating Deficiency and The Impact of Statins
Loss of CoQ10 is common and natural. As the body ages, CoQ10 levels decline. However, this can be accelerated if a person is taking statins. For some people, statins are an important part of their treatment plan. Unfortunately, this increases their risk of CoQ10 deficiency. One way to counteract the natural decline of CoQ10 that comes with aging and reduce the draining effects of statins is to increase CoQ10 levels through diet and supplementation.
Many common foods such as beef, pork, fish, broccoli, organ meats, and whole grains contain a notable amount of CoQ10. Increasing intake of such foods can help improve CoQ10 levels. However, even though these foods are rich in this powerful coenzyme, the body’s ability to absorb it in this form is low. Therefore, it is often more beneficial to acquire CoQ10 in supplemental form.
When supplementing with CoQ10, it is best to use a supplement containing vitamin E. Research has shown that when CoQ10 and vitamin E are taken together they are more effective at eliminating and preventing arterial plaque and cholesterol buildup.
Perhaps the most effect method to utilize CoQ10 and vitamin E is in the form of soft gels. This promotes better absorption allowing the body to more effectively utilize CoQ10. An easy way to acquire high quality CoQ10 and vitamin E is by purchasing a supplement such as HoltraCeuticals’ CoQ10 Plus. This supplement is formulated specifically to limit the CoQ10 draining effects of medications such as statins. Because it contains a healthy dose of vitamin E, this product boasts a higher absorption rate than most supplements that contain only CoQ10.
Supplementing with CoQ10 is considered safe with minimal side effects including a potential for an upset stomach and reduced blood sugar levels. CoQ10 may interact with some treatments and medications including chemotherapy and blood thinners. As with any supplement, it is important to speak with a physician about any possible interactions with current medications before beginning a new supplement.
Keep CoQ10 Levels Up to Support Future Wellness
CoQ10 is an important part of regulating the body’s energy level, limiting oxidative stress, and keeping the body working at its best for as long as possible. Unfortunately, common medications such as statins can inhibit CoQ10 production and prevalence resulting in a deficiency. Therefore, it is important to be aware of individual levels of CoQ10 and take the appropriate steps to maintain them. Even if you are not being medicated with statins, using a CoQ10 supplement can help preserve and protect your wellness by combatting oxidative stressors and protecting against free radicals.
1. CoQ10 and Statins: Can Statins Lead to Low CoQ10? Swanson. https://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/amy/can-statins-lead-to-low-coq10
2. Coenzyme Q10 and Statin-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Richard Deichmann, MD, Carl Lavie, MD, and Samuel Andrews, MD. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096178/
3. CoQ10 and Statins: What You Need to Know. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/coq10-and-statins
4. How the Use of Statins Can Affect Your Coenzyme Q10 Levels. Ubiquinol. https://ubiquinol.org/blog/how-use-statins-can-affect-your-coenzyme-q10-levels
5. All About CoQ10 Benefits, Foods, Supplements & More. Dr. Axe. https://draxe.com/all-about-coq10/