Some statin users take coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplements as a way to prevent or treat statin-related muscle problems. Made by the body, this vitamin-like substance is essential for energy production and is apowerful antioxidant.
Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver that’s integral to cholesterol production. This enzyme is also involved in the production of CoQ10, so statins reduce blood levels of it as well (certain other drugs, such as some beta-blockers and antidepressants, also reduce CoQ10). It’s not known if statins’ effect on CoQ10 contributes to their adverse effects.
Research on the effect of CoQ10 supplements in statin users has produced conflicting results. While a 2015 meta-analysis of clinical trials, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, found that CoQ10 worked no better than a placebo in reducing statin-related muscle problems, a meta-analysis in the Journal of the American Heart Association in October 2018 concluded that CoQ10 can indeed help reduce such problems.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.