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CoQ10 and Statins – Their Roles
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10, is a natural substance found in most cells of your body, and is responsible for energy production inside those cells. It is also a known antioxidant. If your body’s cells are not producing adequate levels of energy, your body will not function at its optimal level.
- atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), fluvastatin (Lescol), rosuvastatin (Crestor), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor) and pravastatin (Pravachol).
Studies have found that statins – cholesterol-lowering drugs – reduce the natural levels of Coenzyme Q10 available in your body’s cells.
Statins Affect Your CoQ10 Levels
If your Coenzyme Q10 levels drop due to taking statins, then how does this affect your heart?
Your heart, by the very nature of what it does every day, is in need of large amounts of energy, and CoQ10. If Coenzyme Q10 levels drop in your body as a result of using the cholesterol-lowering statins, your heart then cannot work as effectively.
It all may seem contradictory. You are on a cholesterol-lowering medication to improve your heart health, lower high cholesterol levels and reduce your chances of suffering from heart disease, and yet, use of this same medication results in reducing the beneficial CoQ10 that your heart needs to operate efficiently.
FAQ’s on CoQ10 and Statins
- How Does your body produce Coenzyme Q10?
Your body actually uses a number of vitamins present in your body in order to manufacture the coenzyme Q10.
- Where do you find coenzyme Q10 in your body and what is its function?
CoQ10 is found in all the tissues and organs of your body, as it is needed by your cells for your body to function. It is particularly important in making cellular energy for the cells of the tissues and organs to do their designated job.
CoQ10 is also a defense against free radicals that attack and oxidize the cells of your body.
- How does CoQ10 defend against these free radicals?
Free radicals are molecules that either have one more or one less electron, making them really unstable. Free radicals contribute to aging and disease by attacking the cells of your body.
CoQ10, however, attacks these free radicals (as it is an antioxidant – and antioxidants fight free radicals) and lessens the damage to the cells in your body. This has been shown to be important in preventing free radical damage in your blood vessels, hopefully lessening the progression of buildup of plaque in your arteries of your body.
- Why are coenzyme Q10 supplements available, if your body produces it?
Unfortunately, coenzyme Q10 begins to decrease as you age. Some literature states that it actually starts decreasing by the time you are twenty years old! You can get some CoQ10 in small amounts of foods that you may eat, for example, liver, heart, kidneys, peanuts, and sardines. However, not everyone eats these foods.
Therefore, you can also buy CoQ10 in supplement form.
- Why haven’t we heard much about coenzyme Q10 and cholesterol?
Unfortunately, some people do feel that coenzyme Q10 has not really received the attention it deserves. Some state that it is much more lucrative for pharmaceutical companies if they develop medications and patents on products for treating diseases that have developed.
Coenzyme Q10, on the other hand, cannot receive a patent. This means that pharmaceutical companies may be less willing to spend their money on research on products that will not make them any money, and hence the medical community does not get educated on something, such as CoQ10, that could potentially prevent diseases, such as high cholesterol levels, in the first place.
- What other relationship does coenzyme Q10 have with your heart?
Coenzyme Q10 has also been found to be low in people with heart problems, particularly congestive heart failure.
The cells that make up the heart need a lot of energy, and so the heart requires a lot of CoQ10 to do its job. It is not clear if low amounts of coenzyme Q10 in the heart result in heart failure or if heart failure results in low levels of CoQ10.
Whatever way you look at it though, it is known that the worse the congestive heart failure is, the more deficient that person is in CoQ10.
In summary, CoQ10 is needed by your heart to do its job and so much more. It may be something you include in your attempts to keep your heart healthy.
It is therefore suggested that you may like to take a Coenzyme Q10 supplement, or a natural cholesterol lowering supplement that contains Co-Q10 and other important ingredients to lower high cholesterol levels. (You can read my CholesLo review on one such supplement.)
That is why there are Coenzyme Q10 supplements. Recommended supplementation levels vary per day. However, before starting any supplement, you must always speak to your physician first. They will know your medical history, other medications you may be taking, and be able to advise you appropriately.
- To increase the absorption of the Coenzyme Q10 in your body, it helps to take it with flaxseed oil or a quality fish oil supplement.
Therefore, if your physician has recommended you to take a cholesterol-lowering drug known as a statin, for the treatment of high cholesterol, it may also be advisable that you look into the possibility of whether you should also supplement with Coenzyme Q10. This will then ensure that your cardiovascular system is being kept as healthy as possible.
You could also ask your doctor about taking cholesterol supplements instead of statins, which would help your CoQ10 levels, not destroy them.