This article is about Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and statins. Read this post before trying any CoQ10 supplements.
Updated on 1/12/2020
The number of people taking CoQ10 supplements has steadily increased. Some suggest that this product may affect a variety of conditions, including blood pressure and statin (a cholesterol-lowering medication) induced muscle pain.
In this article I’ll answer the following question:
Do we have enough evidence that CoQ10 works (improves muscle pain) and that the benefits justify its cost?
But first, let me ask you a question.
CoQ10 was first isolated from which one of the following?
Frederick Crane of Wisconsin, USA isolated CoQ10 first time from a cow heart in 1957.
CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant, a cell membrane stabilizer, and an essential co-factor for the lungs.
Similarly, it helps generate energy. All human cells contain Co-enzyme Q10, with the highest amounts found in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas.
This co-enzyme is measured by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
It’s fat-soluble and transported by lipoprotein particles in the circulatory system.
What are the lipoproteins?
These particles are a combination of lipid (fat) and protein and help fats to move through a watery environment.
Research suggests that statins reduce plasma CoQ10.
Statin therapy can reduce plasma CoQ10 concentrations by up to 54%.
The adult reference interval for plasma/serum CoQ10 is approximately 0.5 – 1.7 micromol/L.
How about CoQ10 supplements?
Different brands of CoQ10 supplements are on the market; however, due to lack of standardization, the formulation of these supplements can be significantly different.
The variability of supplements and their bio-availability (the degree that a drug or supplement is absorbed) is based on whether they’re dry powder capsules or dispersed in oil.
Also, the amount of absorbed CoQ10 can vary from person to person.
CoQ10 and food
CoQ10 is produced in the body and can also be obtained from food.
Fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel), meat, and vegetable oils are good sources of CoQ10 in food.
Food sources of coenzyme Q 10
- Canola oil
Meat products are the largest source of CoQ10 in a person’s diet.
CoQ10 and statins
Cholesterol-lowering medications, specifically statins, are effective and safe drugs that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke).
However, statin therapy could have side effects as well, ranging from muscle pain and weakness to a breakdown of muscle fibers.
Muscle pain or weakness, involving a rise in the normal blood creatine kinase levels (CK); typically occurs in fewer than one in 10,000 patients on standard doses.
However, the severity of the above adverse effect varies depending on the dosage, kidney and thyroid function and the interaction with other medications.
Muscle break down is rarer but carries the risk of kidney failure. The cause behind the muscle pain and discomfort in those taking statins is unclear.
A study in 2007 had suggested that CoQ10 supplementation may relieve the muscle pain associated with starting statin therapy.
However, another study published in 2007, didn’t find any improvement in muscle pain and discomfort with CoQ10 supplementation, even though the patients in this study took a higher dosage.
Does CoQ10 lower blood pressure?
Few trials found some evidence that consumption of CoQ10 (100-200 mg per day) could reduce the blood pressure.
Coenzyme Q10 benefits
Unsubstantial evidence suggests that coenzyme Q10 might be useful in treating the following conditions.
- High blood pressure
- Congestive heart failure
- It might reduce the risk of some complications of heart bypass surgery
The most common Coenzyme Q 10 side effects include diarrhea, nausea, suppressed appetite, heartburn, and abdominal discomfort.
CoQ10 during pregnancy
CoQ10 hasn’t been tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women. Therefore, pregnant women should stop and/or avoid taking CoQ10 during pregnancy.
CoQ10 and statins-Bottom line
Few studies suggest that cholesterol-lowering medications (especially statins) –can reduce the production of CoQ10 in the cells, resulting in decreased plasma concentration.
But other studies haven’t confirmed these findings.
Currently, we don’t have sufficient evidence in support of taking CoQ10 for the treatment or prevention of statin-related muscle pain.
Nevertheless, if taking this supplement helps a patient who needs the statin therapy, to remain on this medication, then so be it.
Otherwise, based on current research, longer-term treatment with CoQ10 to treat statin-induced muscle pain or weakness can’t be recommended.
Now is your turn,
What is your opinion and experience with CoQ10? Go to the comments section and tell me more.