Should You Take Coenzyme Q10 If You Are Taking a Statin to Lower Cholesterol?

Cleveland Clinic experts evaluate this popular supplement for heart health.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an important antioxidant involved in cellular energy production, is made naturally by your body. In people with high cholesterol, levels of CoQ10 tend to be lower. In addition, certain cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins appear to deplete natural levels of CoQ10 in the body. Therefore, some researchers think that taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement can be beneficial for those on statin medications. Should you take this supplement? Experts on the Cleveland Clinic Prescriptive Wellness Committee weigh in on the pros and cons:

On the Pro Side: CoQ10 “relaxes” blood vessels, playing a beneficial role in the treatment of high blood pressure explains Tanya Edwards, MD, a family physician at the Cleveland Clinic. Some patients may be able to decrease or even discontinue the dosage of their high blood pressure medications while taking CoQ10 (after consultation with a physician). To combat the loss of CoQ10 from taking statin medication, Dr. Edwards advises taking supplemental CoQ10 to restore these levels in the body.

On the Con Side: Other committee doctors disagree, saying that only about 50 percent of people who take CoQ10 will experience an improvement in blood pressure, and it can take up to four to eight weeks to occur. Replacing CoQ10 lost from having taken statin cholesterol-lowering medicine is without proven benefit, they point out. Doctors are also concerned about the side effects associated with CoQ10. They’re mostly gastrointestinal, such as stomach upset, nausea and diarrhea. It may also cause a skin rash in some people.

Committee Conclusion: Experts on the Cleveland Clinic Prescriptive Wellness Committee conclude that CoQ10 is a safe and effective product for the treatment of high blood pressure. However, while it shows promise for treating low CoQ10 levels, there is not enough evidence for it to be recommended for this indicated use.

-- What to do if you’ve just been diagnosed with high cholesterol
-- Let Cleveland Clinic help you lower high cholesterol
-- Find other vitamins and supplements that are good for you 

Learn more:
-- High Cholesterol Spotlight  
-- 30 Cholesterol-Lowering Tips from the Cleveland Clinic 
-- 7 Foods That Lower Cholesterol 

NEXT... Should You Take Fish Oil for Cardiovascular Health?

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