New Research Finds CoQ10 Improves Statin-Caused Muscle Symptoms
Research has shown that cholesterol-lowering statin medications can lower CoQ10 levels. This is because cholesterol and CoQ10 are made in the same pathway in the body. In fact, scientists have found that taking statins can lower CoQ10 levels by as much as 40%.1 This is a potential concern because CoQ10 plays an important role in the production of energy in the body and is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect our cells.
Along with lowering CoQ10 levels, another side effect of statins is myopathy (muscle disease) which can cause muscle symptoms such as pain, cramps, and fatigue. Given the important role CoQ10 plays in the normal functioning of cells, including muscle cells, researchers wondered if taking CoQ10 supplements with statins could help prevent or improve muscle symptoms.
Over the years, CoQ10 has been studied as a potential solution to myopathy caused by statins. Some of the clinical trials have shown benefits, while others have not.
A recent article published on NYTimes.com concluded that research does not support the use of CoQ10 as a prevention for statin-induced muscle problems.2 The author of the New York Times article references a meta-analysis from 2015 which looked at multiple studies and concluded that CoQ10 was not beneficial for statin-caused myopathy.3 The author also mentions a trial that was published right after the 2015 meta-analysis which came to the same conclusion.4 However, new research has called these findings into question.
A meta-analysis published in the October 2, 2018 edition of the Journal of the American Heart Association found that supplementing with CoQ10 improved statin-caused muscle symptoms.5 In the paper, the researchers explain that the 2015 meta-analysis only evaluated six studies, while the new meta-analysis looked at 12 studies and included six newly published studies. This is why the findings from the new analysis were different from the conclusions reached in the 2015 analysis.
While more research needs to be done, this new evidence suggests that CoQ10 supplements can help with muscle symptoms caused by statins.
- Blog Contributor