Why should I take CoQ 10 if I am on a statin drug to lower cholesterol?
Why didn’t my doctor tell me to take CoQ10 when I was prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug?
My doctor said I only need CoQ10 while on a statin drug if I am having muscle aches. Why is my nutritionist telling me that I still need it?
There are many questions regarding CoQ10 that functional practitioners hear from many patients. To understand the answers, it is important to know what CoQ10 is and does in the body.
CoQ10 is made by the body and peaks at the age of 25 years old. After that, there is a natural decline. It is found throughout the body in the cellular membranes but mostly found in the heart, kidneys, spleen, adrenal glands, pancreas and brain. As an antioxidant, it provides protection against oxidative stress. It also is a key component in energy metabolism in every cell of the body. Poor energy metabolism leads to cellular decline and fatigue.
A statin drug blocks the production of CoQ10 in the body. Because it causes a deficiency, the primary CoQ10 deficit may affect any part of the body, but particularly the brain, muscles, and kidneys, where all of these have higher energy demands. Symptoms may vary but may not be apparent for several years. What kind of symptoms may someone experience? Fatigue; Muscle weakness, cramping, or pain; Neurological symptoms such as impaired balance and coordination; Kidney dysfunction; Weakened heart muscle similar to cardiomyopathy.
Not everyone taking a statin drug has any or all of these symptoms right away. We know that if a specific genetic variant is present, it puts the patient on a statin drug at higher risk for muscle pain and weakness. Usually, the patient having those genetic variants does not tolerate the statin drugs and the practitioner has to look for other avenues to lower cholesterol.
To focus on only muscular side effects and not recommend CoQ10 for a patient on a statin drug is ignoring all the potential issues down the road. We know a statin drug will deplete CoQ10. It will be a matter of time before the patient develops some chronic complaints. And will this be associated with CoQ10 deficiency? Your functional practitioners may recommend a micronutrient analysis, which is helpful in determining deficiencies of many nutrients, including CoQ10.
Why not use CoQ10 as prevention when prescribing statin drugs and help the patient maintain a more robust quality of life? Functional Medicine is looking at the whole body, getting to the root cause, and preventing what may obviously lie ahead.