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Anti-Cholesterol Medications and CoQ10

On a daily basis, I review medical histories of our patients who are taking anti-cholesterol medications (known as “statins”) like Lipitor, Crestor, Lescol, Prevastatin and Simvastatin. These same patients are usually taking CoQ10 supplements at the recommendation of their physician or perhaps literature that they have read. Statins lower your endogenous cholesterol (that which you produce) by inhibiting it’s systhesis in the liver while also affecting the same pathway in our bodies that produces Coenzyme 10 (CoQ10) leading to a deficiency in this important enzyme to the Krebs Cycle (anyone remember that one from Biology 101?). The production of CoQ10 (also known as ubiquinnone) can be reduced by as much as 20-40% so many physicians recommend taking CoQ10 supplements to patients also taking statins despite the lack of evidence of any short or long-term consequences of reduction in the enzyme without taking the supplements.

It has been suggested in the literature that some muscle pain experienced by many patients taking statins is actually myopathy due to these lower CoQ10 levels. However, a thorough review of the literature conducted by Richard Wynn, PhD, an educator at the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry, found that there are just as many articles that support the use of Coenzyme 10 supplements as there are to prove against it. As with many trends today, once something catches on, it starts to steamroll and gain support until it becomes accepted as fact. However, since there are no known risks in taking CoQ10 and there is some anecdotal evidence supporting it’s effectiveness, it will likely continue to be recommended even if the muscle pain reduction is only a placebo effect.

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