The human body is incredibly chemically complex and there are many different chemical reactions occurring at any given moment. With this complexity, it can make for a challenging time creating medications that perform a therapeutic task without impacting other aspects of your body’s chemistry.
Medication development can be thought of as trying to figure out a way to repair a manufacturing line while the assembly line is still working. While it can be done, there is most likely an impact felt somewhere down the line. This down the line is often the cause of a medication’s potential side effects.
Statins are a prime example of such a situation. Statins are drugs that are prescribed to individuals that need to lower elevated cholesterol and those at risk for cardiovascular events. The main goal of statins is to reduce the level of bad cholesterol known as LDL. While certainly effective, the mechanism by which statins work also can reduce endogenous CoQ10 levels.
Declined CoQ10 levels can have a number of effects on the body ranging from a decrease in energy levels to decreased mental clarity and focus. Below is a closer look at the science of CoQ10 and statins as well as current recommendations revolving around statin-induced CoQ10 decline.
Statins are a class of drugs known as HMA Co-A reductase inhibitors. These inhibitors work by interrupting the biosynthesis of cholesterol within the body. More specifically the inhibitor decreases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in addition to triglycerides.
When are statins used?
The modern world has many upsides, such as the ability to communicate with others across the world, the ability to hail a taxi from your smartphone, and even get any food you would like delivered to your doorstep. While these conveniences are certainly nice, it comes at the cost of declining health status. Sedentary jobs are becoming more and more the status quo and with this inactivity comes risks to public health such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and more.
For those with significant lipid imbalances due to lifestyle choices or general lipid imbalance, statins can be a huge help. High lipid levels can contribute to a number of conditions and can contribute to plaque buildup in your blood vessels. Pairing statins with dietary modifications and exercise can significantly reduce the chances of developing more serious cardiovascular conditions.
Additionally, statins have cardiovascular protective properties and include secondary benefits by stabilizing plaque, reducing inflammatory markers, and decreasing clotting activity. With a two-fold benefit to the cardiovascular system, statins are often the first line of treatment when it comes to cardiovascular disease, hypercholesterolemia, and preventing further cardiovascular problems.
The indications of use for statins are all mainly as preventatives. While statins undoubtedly can treat elevated LDL and triglycerides, often times the drug is given as a means of preventing cardiac events, stroke, and other concerns having to do with elevated lipid levels in the blood.
Side effects of statins
It is almost impossible to design a drug that is unlikely to have any side effects. With statins, there are a few possible side effects.
Side effects can include muscle pain, liver damage, elevated blood sugar, and more. For those that experience unwanted side effects, the dosage or type of statin prescribed can be altered by your healthcare team or different drugs, and supplements such as CoQ10 can be added to your treatment plan to help mitigate unwanted side effects.
What is CoQ10?
Strolling down the supplement aisle you have most likely seen CoQ10. CoQ10 is a molecule found naturally within the body and it acts as a potent antioxidant and plays an important role in proper mitochondrial functioning.
The mitochondria are small cellular subunits that are responsible for creating the cell’s energy supply. CoQ10 plays an integral role in protecting the mitochondria from oxidative stress, which if left unchecked, can reduce mitochondrial efficiency and effectively limit the capabilities of the cell since it doesn’t have the necessary energy requirements to work at its very best.
CoQ10 levels tend to stay fairly constant but certain factors can contribute to CoQ10 decline. Age, oxidative stress, and certain medications can all contribute to lower than ideal CoQ10 levels.
What’s the connection between CoQ10 and statins?
Statins are a class of drugs that inhibits a part of the cholesterol synthesis pathway in order to reduce LDL and triglyceride levels. While effective, the HMA Co-A reductase inhibitors can also impede natural CoQ10 production. CoQ10 production utilizes a part of the cholesterol synthesis pathway and when statins are taken, it could inadvertently cause a decline in natural CoQ10 levels.
With a decline of CoQ10 comes the potential for a host of symptoms including a decreased level of natural energy, a decline in mental focus, and a decline in cellular efficiency.
One of the proposed theories behind some statin-associated side effects is that declined CoQ10 levels may be at play. While research is still ongoing, it is acknowledged that CoQ10 supplements seem to help some people on statins to manage their side effects.
Whether you are on a statin and are experiencing unwanted side effects or are simply looking to support your health at a cellular level, there are a number of ways you can support your mitochondrial health and achieve healthier CoQ10 levels.
CoQ10 supplements are supplements that contain unmodified CoQ10. CoQ10 can come in a liquid or pill but generally, CoQ10 needs to be taken with a meal because it is fat-soluble.
In addition to being fat-soluble, the integration of CoQ10 into the mitochondrial membranes is fairly low.
In order for a standard CoQ10 supplement to impose antioxidant benefits on the mitochondria, it would need to pass through many different cell membranes which is a difficult task for an uncharged molecule such as CoQ10.
While the bioavailability of CoQ10 is low and requires relatively high dosages for only a fraction of it to enter the body, it can be a helpful way of increasing serum CoQ10 levels.
MitoQ can be thought of as a specialized version of CoQ10. Much of the CoQ10 molecule remains intact but the molecule is modified to become a charged particle rather than an uncharged one and made smaller.
The science and chemistry behind MitoQ allows it to absorb more readily and allows it to have a much easier time implementing into the mitochondrial membrane.
MitoQ acts as a potent antioxidant to help support optimal mitochondrial functioning. A decline in natural CoQ10 can leave the mitochondria susceptible to oxidative damage.
When MitoQ is taken on a consistent basis as directed it can help to support mitochondrial oxidative balance and allow mitochondria to work to the best of their ability.
Supplemental support with statins
Statins have been shown to have the potential to decrease CoQ10 levels and because of this, some physicians and healthcare providers may recommend taking CoQ10 to help minimize potential adverse side effects such as muscle pain.
With a general understanding of the available ways you can support mitochondrial health, you may wonder what the best solution for you is if you are taking statins. When a provider recommends CoQ10 you should make sure you get CoQ10 from a quality source and take it as per your provider’s instructions. Taking CoQ10 can help to increase serum CoQ10 and help to lessen some symptoms caused by low CoQ10 levels.
In addition to taking CoQ10 supplements, you can also take MitoQ to ensure you have all of your bases covered.
MitoQ has a much higher bioavailability when it comes to passing into the mitochondrial membrane, and in this way MitoQ can help to reduce the potential for oxidative stress to the mitochondria. Additionally, options like MitoQ Blood Sugar contain the tried and true ingredient MitoQ in addition to other ingredients that can help to support optimal blood sugar balance, and in the case of potential statin side effects, this could provide your body with more support to stay on track with your statin treatment plan.
Statins are drugs that are prescribed to help reduce cholesterol levels. The medication is typically part of a larger care plan including dietary changes and increasing physical activity. While these can be effective to reduce LDL and triglyceride levels, statins can also inadvertently cause a decline in CoQ10 levels.
Taking CoQ10 and MitoQ together can help to minimize the impact of statin-related CoQ10 decline and ensure your mitochondria and body have the CoQ10 they need.
MitoQ also has a list of other potential benefits ranging from supporting more natural energy levels to supporting mental clarity and focus.
Explore the different MitoQ formulas here and see how CoQ10 and other powerhouse ingredients can support you while you take statins.