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Do you take statins?

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The Nutrition Expert editorial team compiles articles with the help of Healthspan's experts to answer key questions from our community as well as researching common health topics and news.

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Statin medication (eg. atorvastatin and simvastatin) is generally taken to reduce levels of unwanted (LDL) cholesterol in the body. However, its mechanism not only reduces the production of cholesterol in the body, but also the production of CoQ10. In fact, taking a statin can halve your natural production of CoQ10 within just two weeks.

  • Many find that statins leave them tired

    Statin medication not only reduces the production of cholesterol in the body, but also the production of CoQ10, a vitamin-like substance produced naturally in the body and found in some foods, that is vital for energy production in cells. It is especially important in skeletal and heart muscle cells that are actively contracting.

    In fact, taking a statin can halve your natural production of CoQ10 within just two weeks. With statins being prescribed so widely in the UK each year, there is a growing population deficient in CoQ10.

  • CoQ10 - The body's natural energy booster

    CoQ10’s vital role in energy production means that should our stores run into ‘red’ you can experience debilitating symptoms such as a lack of energy, muscle aches and pains and, over a period of time, heart problems, including heart failure.

    The reduction of CoQ10 can have a significant impact on cardiovascular function. Studies suggest that 20mg of simvastatin reduced the level of plasma CoQ10 by 42.9% over a period of 3 months.(i) This reduction in vital levels of CoQ10 can reduce its protective ability against oxidative stress in areas such as the arteries. This reduced protection can play a significant contributory role in the development of atherosclerosis. CoQ10’s nomenclature ‘Ubiquinone’, translated literally as ‘everywhere’, gives you an indication of how important CoQ10 really is.

    Although the body is able to produce its own supply of CoQ10, blood concentrations of this nutrient peak at 20 years of age and it is not long into our life that demand starts to outweigh supply. Supply from foods ‘rich’ in CoQ10 are unable to provide the therapeutic levels that the body needs in a state of deficiency. Add to this declining levels as a result of food processing and you will be able to see why many medical professionals, as well as those in the natural health field, agree that co enzyme Q10 supplementation is essential for those on statin medication.

  • Statins and CoQ10

    Comprehensive European Studies demonstrate that combining CoQ10 supplementation with statins preserved the level of CoQ10 in the blood without affecting the cholesterol lowering efficacy of statins. Indeed one study suggested a potential additive or synergistic relationship between co enzyme Q10 and the effectiveness of statins and the progression of cardiovascular disease.(ii) So take care of your heart by adopting the future of integrated medicine and ensure that you do the best for yourself with a regular co enzyme Q10 supplement, as well as your statin.

  • Recommended dosage for CoQ10

    Daily Dose: 30mg
    Recommended for: General use in those under 30 years of age

    Daily Dose: 60mg
    Recommended for:
    General use in those over 30 years of age

    Daily Dose: 100mg
    Recommended for: For heart and circulatory health; exercise performance; those on low dose statins, or on statins without muscle side effects

    Daily Dose: 200mg
    Recommended for: For high blood pressure; those on high-dose statins, or who are on statins and have muscle side effects

    Recommended doses of CoQ10 for these benefits have been shown to be between 60mg-100mg, dependant on the amount of statin medication. Always discuss any supplements you are taking with your GP or pharmacist.

  • References and links

    (i) Passi S et al; Biofactors 18 (2003) 113-124
    (ii) Bliznakov EG. Biomed Pharmacother 2002;56;56-9.

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