Early in my career, like many physicians I believed cholesterol contributed significantly to heart disease. I even lectured to other doctors about using statin medications to treat high cholesterol, thinking I was doing the right thing.
Then, one day after giving a lecture a pharmaceutical representative came up to me holding some important research in her hand. It laid out evidence that statins lower total cholesterol by disarming and knocking out a very important biochemical pathway in the body—the one that produces coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
CoQ10 is critical. It sparks energy production in every cell in your body, including your heart which must pump continuously—around the clock. This pharmaceutical rep knew about the great results I was getting by giving CoQ10 to my cardiac patients. So, she wondered if we were barking up the wrong tree by prescribing statins for cholesterol.
She alarmed me enough that I followed the research trail, reading everything written about statins and CoQ10. With every study I read, my concern grew, and I cut further back on prescribing statins to my patients. And for the ones who did take statins, I “prescribed” taking CoQ10 along with them.
CoQ10 Deficiency Can Worsen Statin Side Effects
Many people don’t realize it, but statin medications have a long list of potential side effects. Some are caused by driving cholesterol to dangerously low levels. But others—such as muscle pain, weakness, and extreme fatigue—are often caused by the fact that taking statins can lead to a CoQ10 deficiency.
In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology showed that taking CoQ10 decreased the severity of muscle pain induced by statin drugs by 40% and decreased the impact of pain on daily activities by 38%.
How Much CoQ10 Should You Take with Your Statin?
If you're on a statin drug, it is imperative that you take at least 100-200 mg of a highly absorbable CoQ10 supplement daily. And to get the maximum benefits you want to take it in divided doses, preferably with a meal.
Taking CoQ10 with foods that contain healthy fats can increase CoQ10 absorption. Some good fats to have with your CoQ10 are natural peanut butter, avocado, olive oil, and almond butter.