Health / Wellness

CHOLESTEROL AND CoQ10

In pharmacy school, I learned through clinical and personal experience the value of medications.  There are medications available to treat or even cure most diseases that can be diagnosed.  These medications go through a myriad of tests to determine that they are safe and effective before they are made a available for patients to take.  Why, then, is it that after taking the appropriate medicine(s), many people feel so poorly?

Each medication you take has a specific job to do in your body.  What we often forget is that in the process of doing its job, a medication is also capable of doing damage.  In pharmacy, this is often referred to as the “side effects” of a drug.  Often, these side effects occur because medications deplete our bodies of vital nutrients.  Thus, many side effects could be avoided if we would simply replenish the vital nutrients that drugs deplete.

Cholesterol medications are a primary culprit for depleting your body of something it needs. Cholesterol lowering drugs, also called statins, decrease your body’s production of Coenzyme Q10.  Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10, plays a crucial role in the production of the necessary energy molecule, adenosine triphosphate.  ATP provides the energy needed for muscle contraction, heart function, cognitive function and blood sugar regulation.  Without appropriate amounts of ATP in our bodies, we can suffer from everything from muscle pain to memory loss to irregular heartbeat.

The most frequent complaint I receive from patients about their cholesterol medication is that it causes their muscles to ache or feel weak.  This is clearly caused, at least partially, by depleting CoQ10 and, in turn, ATP.  Statins have also been linked to diabetes, memory loss, and liver damage.  Again, the depletion of CoQ10 and the energy molecule ATP could be the source of these negative effects.

Now, for the good news!  You can easily and affordably replace the CoQ10 your body needs.  Adding 100mg of CoQ10 once or twice daily has been proven to decrease muscle pain and weakness associated with statin therapy.  It has also been shown to decrease fatigue, increase exercise performance, and even reduce the risk of congestive heart failure.  There are also studies that have evaluated the benefits of CoQ10 as a supplement in the treatment of cancer due to its ability to protect cells from DNA damage.  The bottom line is that CoQ10 can drastically decrease side effects of statins as well as provide protection to your heart, brain, and liver.  CoQ10 is available in many over the counter supplements.  Always ask your doctor or pharmacist before adding any supplement to your medications.