Don’t forget about CoQ10 with your Statin

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If you’re taking a statin (Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, Mevacor, Crestor, etc) to lower your cholesterol or prevent cardiovascular problems, you should seriously consider taking a CoQ10 supplement. You have probably heard about the dangers of high cholesterol, particularly LDL (“bad cholesterol”). Statins work by blocking an enzyme in the liver responsible for creating cholesterol. In 2002, guidelines were published that recommended lower target levels for LDL. Since then, people have also started taking statins to prevent cardiovascular problems, even if they don’t have high cholesterol. Bottom line, lots of people are taking statins and higher doses are being prescribed. The problem is that this increases the chance of side effects. The good news is that taking a CoQ10 supplement can help balance things out.

Common side effects of statins include headache, rash, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea and muscle cramps. One of the rare, yet serious side effects is muscle breakdown. This can start with mild muscle pain or weakness and is something you shouldn’t ignore. Studies have shown that statins decrease CoQ10 levels in the body, which deprives muscle cells of their energy source. Many experts feel this is how statins cause muscle problems. Studies have also shown that supplementing with CoQ10 may help with these symptoms. So what is CoQ10 you may ask? CoQ10, short for coenzyme Q10, is a compound naturally made by the body. Cells use it to make energy for bodily functions and it also acts as an antioxidant.

And now for the details I know you were about to ask about…Taking CoQ10 doses up to 200mg per day appears to be safe. Mild insomnia can occur when taking 100mg per day or more. CoQ10 can interact with blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), or change insulin requirements in diabetics. Don’t take this if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. If you are experiencing muscle side effects from a statin and are interested in trying a CoQ10 supplement, take charge of your health and discuss this with you healthcare provider. A Village Green practitioner can then recommend an appropriate CoQ10 supplement and provide additional consultation.

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July 2009
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