A 2018 meta-analysis and systematic review has shown that Coenzyme Q10 supplementation significantly ameliorates statin-induced muscle symptoms [Qu]:
reduces muscle pain
reduces muscle weakness
reduces muscle cramping
reduces muscle fatigue
The positive results of the meta-analysis suggest that Coenzyme Q10 supplementation may be a complementary approach to the management of statin-induced myopathy [Qu].
Why Do You Need Coenzyme Q10 Supplements with Statin Medication?
Statin medications are drugs widely prescribed in order to lower patients’ levels of total cholesterolCholesterol is one of the major fat-soluble compounds that is found in animal plasma membranes. It is necessary for life and is found throughout the body. It is carried from the liver to the tissues where it is needed by lipoproteins of which it is a component. Much of the cholesterol is transported in Low density lipoproteins (LDL). High levels... Read more about this term and the so-called “bad” ldl-cholesterol. StatinsStatins are a class of medications that effectively block the body’s synthesis of cholesterol. In so doing, statins also block the body’s synthesis of Coenzyme Q10.... Read more about this term are used to protect against heart attack and stroke; however, they do have adverse effects.
A set of pharmacological mechanisms suggests that the use of statin medications may be stimulating the development of atherosclerosis and chronic heart failure. Japanese and American researchers have documented the mechanisms by which statin medications may be causing coronary artery calcification. They propose that the guidelines regulating the use of statin medications be critically re-evaluated [Okuyama 2015].
If the researchers are correct, then, yes, statin medications do reduce total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels. However, statin medications may not reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease. Furthermore, statin medications may be at least partially responsible for the increased incidence of chronic heart failureThe Mayo Clinic defines heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure and/or chronic heart failure, as the failure of the heart muscle to pump blood to the body adequately. In other words, heart failure is not a heart attack, and it is not death from heart disease, which its name might seem to imply. Heart failure is a condition... Read more about this term that has been observed in the period since statin medications were introduced in 1987.
Older active adults who are taking a statin medication? Shouldn’t they go right to the top of the list of people who need a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement?
That is the question that Dr. Richard Deichmann and his colleagues in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans asked themselves. They tested whether daily supplementation with 200 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 daily for six weeks would improve measures of cellular energy production, muscle function, and well-being in older active adults taking statin medications.
There is a tantalizingly interesting relationship between the essential bio-nutrient Coenzyme Q10Coenzyme Q10 molecules are fat-soluble molecules that are both bsynthesized in the body and ingested in the diet and in supplements. Coenzyme Q10 is synthesized in the body in the same biological pathway as cholesterol. Bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 begins to decline once humans reach their adult years. The reduced production of Coenzyme Q10 cannot be compensated in any practical... Read more about this term and the trace element selenium and heart disease. One of the first clinical researchers to tease out the effects of supplementation with Q10 and selenium in heart attack patients was Dr. Bodo Kuklinski.
Coenzyme Q10 and selenium for heart attack patients
Dr. Kuklinski tested 61 patients who had been admitted to the hospital in Rostock, Germany, with an acute myocardial infarctionMyocardial infarction is the medical term for heart attack. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is associated with improved recovery and less risk of re-hospitalization following a heart attack.... Read more about this term and with symptoms of less than six hours’ duration. He assigned 32 of the patients to the adjuvant treatment group and 29 of the patients to the control group.
Coenzyme Q10 in its ubiquinone form? Or in its ubiquinol form? Which form is best? And why is one form the better choice? It is the question that doesn’t go away.
Difference between Q10 searches in Medline and Google
When I look at Medline for reports of randomized controlled trialsRandomized controlled trials are studies in which patients or healthy volunteers are assigned at random (purely by chance) to receive one or more clinical interventions. One or more of the interventions is the active treatment being tested. Another of the interventions is the control against which the active treatment is being tested. The control is, typically, the standard practice or... Read more about this term (RCTs) showing the effects of Q10 supplementation, I find mostly studies using the ubiquinone form. It is the well-documented form.
When I use Google to look for new information about Q10 supplements, I find more claims than I find reports of research results. In Google, the ratio of ubiquinol claims to ubiquinone claims is much higher than the ratio of ubiquinol-to-ubiquinone research results is in Medline. That is strange.
The energy-starved heart. More than anyone, the Danish cardiologist Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen was the person who wanted to do clinical research into the phenomenon of the failing heart that was starved for energy. He thought that there was an issue in heart failureThe Mayo Clinic defines heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure and/or chronic heart failure, as the failure of the heart muscle to pump blood to the body adequately. In other words, heart failure is not a heart attack, and it is not death from heart disease, which its name might seem to imply. Heart failure is a condition... Read more about this term patients with heart cell mitochondriaThe mitochondria are the bean-shaped organelles in the cells. They are the key organelles with responsibility for the production of ATP energy molecules.... Read more about this term colonizing and atrophying adjacent to the cell membranesThe cell membranes, sometimes called plasma membranes, are the physical barrier that protects the contents of the cells from everything that is outside the cells. The cell membranes also regulate what can move in and out of the cells. Coenzyme Q10 is present in all cell membranes in the body except in the red blood cells. It helps to prevent... Read more about this term.
Less Q10 with age and with statin medications
Dr. Mortensen thought that the issue was closely related to an inadequate supply of Coenzyme Q10. As people got older, their bodies produce less Q10. They also absorb less Q10 if they begin to eat smaller meals and less meat and fish. Moreover, he knew that patients taking statin medications were having their own bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 blocked by the statin medications.
Earlier, I asked Dr. William Judy about drug delivery systems using nanoparticles.
Could the use of nanoparticles be a good way to increase the absorption of Q10 molecules?
Dr. Judy looked at the published research literature and decided that, given the present state of research and development, nanoparticles are still not as effective as the body’s own micelles for the delivery of Q10 to the absorption cells in the small intestine.
Often, people who have only weak evidence or weak reason and logic to support their arguments resort to the use of logical fallacies. Far too often, for example, we see fallacies used in commercial advertisements and in political campaigns. Some of the most recognizable fallacies used (unfairly) in arguments and in discussions are the appeal to emotion, the appeal to tradition, the ad hominem attack, the straw man, the red herring, the slippery slope, and so on. We have to be on guard against the use of these fallacies.
Why do a meta-analysis of Q10 studies? And, what is a meta-analysis anyway?
A meta-analysis is a statistical method for the combining of the results from two or more independent studies of the effects of the same treatment variable on the same or similar outcomes. In our case, the supplementation with Q10 is the independent variable, the treatment variable, and the various aspects of heart disease are the dependent variables. The meta-analysis method is used in the hope of gaining greater knowledge of the efficacy of bio-medical treatments through the combining and comparing and contrasting of the data from the studies selected for analysis.
Lipitor (atorvastatin), the cholesterol reducing statin medication sold by the Pfizer Corporation, is the number one best-selling prescription drug of all time. In fact, two of the top five best-selling prescription drugs of all time are statin medications (Crestor being the other one). Rounding out the top five are a blood thinning medication, an asthma medication, and an arthritis medication.
Cholesterol and Q10 — the same biological pathway
For some time now, we have known that Lipitor and the other statin medications inhibit not only the body’s production of cholesterol but also the body’s synthesis of Coenzyme Q10, a substance that is very important for cellular energy production and for antioxidantAntioxidants are substances that protect the cells and lipoproteins against the harmful effects of free radicals. They are substances that prevent the oxidation of other molecules and compounds. There are two broad categories of antioxidants: enzymatic and non-enzymatic. Non-enzymatic antioxidants are substances like Coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, and various carotenoids. Prominent enzymatic antioxidants include catalase, glutathione peroxidase,... Read more about this term protection (2). This inhibition of the body’s generation of Coenzyme Q10 is not a good thing for our heart health.
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