The CoQ10-Statin Connection

The chemical formula of coenzyme Q10
The CoQ10-Statin Connection by Angela Stengler MS, NMD

In 2020, the Consumer Survey on Dietary supplements released data that 77 percent of Americans use at least one dietary supplement. Among the top supplements Americans use and one I take myself is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).  This powerful anti-oxidant, also known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol, protects our cells from damage in addition to playing a pivotal role in our metabolism (converting food to energy).

The addition of CoQ 10 is an essential supplement for patients who are on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Without discussing the pros, cons, or effectiveness of taking statin medications to decrease cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, the fact remains the total sales of statin prescriptions were estimated to reach 1 trillion dollars in 2020.

We have many patients coming into the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine who are on statins and experience undesirable side effects.  For example, muscle pain or other muscle-related symptoms are frequently associated with statin use.  Research has concluded that after one month of supplementing 50mg of CoQ10 twice daily in patients suffering from muscle pain due to statin use, an impressive 75% of patients had a decrease in statin-related muscle symptoms. There was a statistically significant decrease in the Pain Severity Score and the Pain Interference Score in the CoQ10 supplement group compared to the placebo group. Since there was no change in liver or muscle enzymes, and no adverse side effects, it would be irresponsible if an integrative health practitioner failed to suggest CoQ 10 therapy for patients suffering from statin-induced muscle pain.

Furthermore, statins can lead to a depletion of CoQ10, resulting in less anti-oxidant protection from oxidative stress (which is one cause of damage to the blood vessels and atherosclerotic plaque).  Statins can actually block the synthesis of CoQ10.  Adding 100mg of Coenzyme Q10 in patients taking high-dose statins has demonstrated a decrease in oxidative stress.  There are other reasons, in addition to being on statins, for adding CoQ 10 as a daily supplement. This potent anti-oxidant is becoming increasingly popular with good reason as research continues to reveal its importance in optimal health.

Selected References;

Dangeti M, Katkam S, Galla R, Kiran R, Garre I. A Study of Effects of Addition of Coenzyme Q 10 to High Dose Statins in Patients of Coronary Artery Disease with Special Reference to Oxidative Balance. Indian J Cardiovasc Dis Women WINCARS. 2017;02(01):006-013. doi:10.1055/s-0038-1656452

Demasi M. Statin wars: have we been misled about the evidence? A narrative review. British Journal Of Sports Medicine.