Taking CoQ10 with statin medications

Statin medications such as Lipitor, Zocor or Pravachol are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, to lower high cholesterol levels. Statin drugs essentially work by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA Reductase which is needed for the synthesis of cholesterol. However in the process statins also inhibit the production of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10); a potent antioxidant and essential nutrient for energy production. To make matters worse, as we get older our ability to produce CoQ10 declines anyway.

According to Dr Lesley Braun, naturopath, pharmacist and author of Herbs & Natural Supplements an Evidence Based Guide, CoQ10 supplementation may prove useful to patients who develop statin myalgia (muscle aches), headache, fatigue or malaise.

Interestingly the companies that manufacture statins are aware of the dangers, with one such company listing a patent in 1989 for a statin-CoQ10 combination product, with an explanation that the CoQ10 was needed to counteract myopathy – ie abnormalities of the muscle cells, the most serious which may lead to a weakening of the heart. No such combination has ever appeared on the market; perhaps the cost of such a product prevented this?

It is important that you speak with your doctor before making any changes to your medication regime.

Did you know?

Around 80 per cent of your total cholesterol is synthesised by your liver. Diet only contributes to around 20 per cent. Hence you need more than just a heart-healthy diet to reduce your cholesterol levels! Add in exercise and you will start to see a difference.
And the latest clinical trials demonstrate that plant sterols could also assist in cholesterol reduction. These fat-like compounds have a similar chemical structure to cholesterol, and compete with cholesterol molecules for absorption in the human body. According to The Heart Foundation, taking just 2-3g of plant sterols daily is sufficient to lower blood cholesterol levels by up to 10 per cent (this increases to 20 per cent when combined with a low-cholesterol diet) and reduce your risk of having a heart attack by around 20 per cent!

- Print