This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions.
The interaction between statins and co-enzyme Q10
To understand the interaction between statins and co-enzyme Q10, the two need to be explored slightly more. Statins are a widely prescribed class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. While these drugs are effective at lowering cholesterol levels, they can also cause some unwanted side effects. One of the most common side effects of statins is muscle pain and weakness. This side effect has been linked to a depletion of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a natural substance that plays a critical role in energy production in the body.
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance found in every cell of the body. It plays a critical role in the production of energy in the mitochondria, which are also called powerhouses of the cell. CoQ10 also has antioxidant properties that help to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals due to their reactive chemical properties of being unpaired electrons are capable of damaging cellular components, thus highlighting the need for the CoQ10.
When someone takes a statin medication, it can lower their levels of CoQ10. This is because statins work by blocking an enzyme in the liver that is responsible for producing cholesterol. Unfortunately, this enzyme also produces CoQ10, so when it is blocked, the production of CoQ10 is also reduced.
Research has shown that supplementing with CoQ10 can help to alleviate the muscle pain and weakness associated with statin use. One study found that taking 100mg of CoQ10 per day for 30 days improved muscle pain and weakness in patients taking statins. Another study also found that taking 200mg of CoQ10 per day for 12 weeks reduced muscle pain and weakness in patients taking statins.
In addition to reducing muscle pain and weakness, CoQ10 supplementation may also have other benefits for patients taking statins. For example, some research suggests that CoQ10 may improve endothelial function, which is important for maintaining healthy blood vessels. CoQ10 may also have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Despite the potential benefits of CoQ10 supplementation, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements. CoQ10 supplements can interact with some medications, including blood thinners and blood pressure medications. Additionally, not all CoQ10 supplements are created equal, and some may be more effective than others.
In conclusion, statins are an effective class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. However, they can also cause unwanted side effects such as muscle pain and weakness. Supplementing with CoQ10 may help to alleviate these side effects and provide other benefits for patients taking statins. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements to ensure they are safe and effective for each individual.
Written by Barbora Okasova – Physician Associate Trainee
Banach, M., Serban, C., Sahebakar, A., Ursoniu, S., Rysz, J., Munter, P., … Mikhailidis, D. P. (2015, January). Effects of coenzyme Q10 on statin-induced myoptathy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 90(1), 24–34
Coenzyme Q10. (2015, January 2) umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/coenzyme-q10
Caso, G., Kelly, P., McNurlan, M. A., & Lawson, W. E. (2007, May 15 ). Effect of coenzyme q10 on myopathic symptoms in patients treated with statins. American Journal of Cardiology, 99(10), 1409-12 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17493470
Sharma, A., Fonarow, G. C., Butler, J., Ezekowitz, J. A., & Felker, G. M. (2016, April). Coenzyme Q10 and heart failure: A state-of-the-art review. Circulation: Heart Failure, 9(4), e002639 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27012265