Q. My nurse practitioner suggested that I start taking Coenzyme Q10 because I am also on simvastatin to control cholesterol. She said it would be beneficial for my muscles and my heart. When I asked my cardiologist, though, he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. What can you tell me about this nutrient?

A. Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinol, is a natural compound made by the body. It is essential for mitochondria, the energy factories of our cells.

Statin-type drugs deplete this crucial nutrient and many doctors now recommend it for patients on such medications (Nutrition Reviews, March, 2013). A new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology in May showed that Coenzyme Q10 reduced heart failure mortality by about half. The lead author encouraged his cardiology colleagues to add Coenzyme Q10 to standard heart failure therapy.

This is not the first time we have heard that CoQ10 could help against heart failure. A meta-analysis was published late last year (2012) in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing that the supplement can improve the heart’s ability to pump blood.

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  1. fbl

    jh, my heart suffered from a seat belt injury during an auto accident. My “widow maker” artery was blocked 70%.
    My family Dr. did IV chelation therapy on me and it unblocked the artery completely. That was back in 2006 and the artery is still good.
    Be careful with the Lipitor. If your cholesterol is between 200-300 you are doing great. Just do the chelation and your vessels will be fine. Our nursing homes are filling up with people who are losing their brains because of medications-especially the statins.
    The brain and nerves need cholesterol! That is why the body has a fail safe mechanism for making it.

  2. jh

    Given the 60%-70% blockage in one of my caratid arteries, I plan to continue statins and agree that off-the-cuff recommendations are totally inappropriate.
    I have a friend who has stopped taking Lipitor, but is successfully (maintaining low cholesterol readings) using DE – diatomaceous earth, instead. I don’t intend to follow his example, but have found very little information on the Internet nor did my cardiologist have any information. Has anyone heard of this – the kind used for people, not pets or other uses?

  3. HJL

    No one should be telling others to stop taking their statins. W/o being privy to the patient’s total medical records and w/o being qualified to understand them, it is the height of arrogance and irresponsibility to tell someone to stop taking a prescribed medication.
    That said, I personally have stopped taking statins and believe many are inappropriately being prescribed statins. I suggest people who are concerned about statin use should read The Cholesterol Myth and then determine if you fit the profile for statin use. Make your doctor explain why you are on a statin and then do your own research. It should be a tough sell to convince you to take a statin if for example you are symptom free.

  4. ale

    If you take Coumadin you may want to read reports about the higher risk
    for stroke if taking CoQ10. Powerful side effects with drug interactions.
    Jan 2012 newspapers published information about the risk for taking CoQ10.

  5. bd

    I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia at 21 by my boss, a neurosurgeon; like alcoholism, it runs in families. Two of my three sons are hypoglycemic, identified by symptoms in childhood. We all control by diet and various supplements (hypoglycemics do not absorb vitamins and minerals as well as others) and none of us have become diabetic or alcoholic (altho we three all fight the abnormal craving for sweets).
    We are all skilled cooks and food focused. Very few doctors, even endocrinologists, understand hypoglycemia, so we are pretty much on our own. In addition to my Ph.D. (humanities), I also have an M.A.C.P. (clinical or counseling psychology) and have addressed doctors at times on hypoglycemia.
    My oldest son now keeps up with the family nutritional research, and some years ago insisted I start taking CoEnzyme Q10 for my heart and vascular needs. I had had surgery (breast CA twice, intestinal CA) and have been surviving with carcinoid–cancer–of the small intestine.
    I noticed two things after several years on Q10: my constant sinus infections (demanding antibiotics) had disappeared, and my liver continued to function in spite of cat scans showing it was now fully involved! I have retired from teaching (in my 70’s) but am busy and engaged, and I personally credit much of this remarkable extension of my life and well-being not only to my two doctors but also to Coenzyme Q10. Dr. B.

  6. crandreww

    @ PP I started taking CoQ10 more than 10 years ago, after my Statin injury, a few years later, I turned 40, and changed to the reduced form of CoQ10, Ubiquinol. I have found several quality Ubiquinol brands, but the one I feel gives be a quality product for the best price is at https://www.swansonvitamins.com/ubiquinol I hope this helps,

  7. crandreww

    @A, Kudos to your nurse practitioner!! And find a new cardiologist, one who can still remember the mevalonate pathway, from his basic Biochem class in med school. ALL STATINS are Acetyl CoA Reductase inhibitor, which Acetyl CoA Reductase is the very first step in this nearly 200 step pathway in which our body fuels Mitochondria (the tiny little power plants in each of our cells)…By blocking Acetyl CoA Reductase, YOU BLOCK EVERY THING ELSE FROM BEING PRODUCED…Some of the vital things being blocked are Ubiquinol (COQ10), Steroid Hormones, Vitamin D, Dolichols, Testosterone (Ever wonder why so many men have erectile disfunction?, and a host of other absolutely components which are absolutely essential to life. Problem is, once you hit 40 ish, your body loses its ability to convert CoQ10 into its useable reduced form, Ubiquinol…so if you are 40+ you may want to consider supplementing with Ubiquinol versus CoQ10….
    @Phil the only ill effect I have ever heard about, is it may have the potential to cause insomnia, especially if you take if close to bed time. Ubiquinol is a natural substance made by our bodies, and consumed in some of the foods we eat.
    My tidbit of info on CoQ10, I received from Dr Golomb when the Statin Study had concluded. She called me and shared a lot of info from her study. She shared that she has some patients who take upwards of 2000mg/day, thats 2 thousand mg. And she said she has told her patients to begin at a low dose, and try it for a few weeks, and if no substantial improvement to double the dose, and repeat until satisfied with the outcome.
    She was a Godsend! I appreciate so much her taking the time, to call me to speak to me about my Statin effects, and she did also inform me that one of the things they found in her study, was the fact that many doctors disregard their patients complaints, and tend not to look at the obvious cause, a new drug.

  8. DWD

    The cardiologist is either disingenuous (pretending he never heard of it) or incompetent (never heard of it). You may want to find another cardiologist.

  9. Paul 43

    P.S> my recommendation to you and anyone else is to stop taking the STATINS (no matter what your doctor says) and continue with the Coq10.
    2 months after starting Simvastatin I developed pain in my leg & memory loss.

  10. Rose

    Doctor Oz, recommends we use 100mgs. of COQ10. Which I do on the days I take Lipitor 10mgs. every other day. My husband takes Lipitor also 20 mgs. and he uses 120 mgs. of COQ10.

  11. PP

    About CQ-10 dosage, one needs to fiddle around to find the correct amount. When on 20 mg. simvastatin I needed 150 mg, when it went down to 10 mg. I went down to 100 mg. You have to find out what works for you. The nurse practitioner told me I should take it daily, and that it might be cheaper from a mail order company.

  12. Patty

    I started taking Coq10 about a year ago. I had strong heart palpations for a long time. Dr couldn’t find anything. I take 200mg a day. It’s made a world of difference for me. I do get palpation but not like I use to. For me it was a benefit. I am 71.

  13. RLB

    Why is it that most doctors believe that nutritional supplements are akin to witch doctor potions? Why does modern medical practice neglect the empirical evidence that vitamins and minerals are necessary additions to continued good health. Today’s medical practitioners have been taught that the way to better living is through chemistry. Don’t try to confuse them with facts!

  14. Betty

    I’d also like to know whether I should still be taking the CoQ10. I was recently able to be taken off the statin drug. I have continued the CoQ10, but am wondering if I should drop it or continue.

  15. HJL

    This site is not a supplement prescribing site. That is not the purpose of this site. Simply put, there are different forms of C0Q10 with different absorption rates. This is an over the counter item so there are no official guidelines.
    That said, if you can navigate this site, you can probably navigate the internet. There are many sites which can give guidelines. This is not an area of precision. Personally, I would look for products with the USP seal and would err on the side of taking more w/in the guidelines on the product label.
    Personally, I take the Costco Kirkland brand at the 300 mg dose, 1 per day and buy it when it goes on sale.

  16. Barbara

    The info on CoQ10 is not helpful because no dose is mentioned.
    People’s Pharmacy response: The doses in the meta-analysis ranged from 60 to 300 mg/day. That is too much of a range to be very helpful.

  17. MPZ

    There are many types of COQ out there. Is one better than the other? What dose is suggested? Are there any interaction concerns or concerns about taking with certain foods?

  18. P. S.

    I just read the item about taking CoQ10 while also taking statins. I have been taking Lovastatin for several years as well as taking CoQ10, but this week I stopper taking the lovastatin to see if that would be beneficial in relieving my leg pain. My question is this: As long as I am not taking lovastatin, should I also be not taking CoQ10? Is it harmful to continue the CoQ10 while not also on statins?
    People’s Pharmacy response: It is not harmful to take CoQ10 without the statin.

  19. Connie C.

    Good Morning – I just read your column in the News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) and was delighted to see the question/answer about Coenzyme Q10 as I just started taking it yesterday. I’ve heard about it before but did not understand why it mattered. Since I take statins I now understand. Had asked my doctor about it in the past and she saw no reason to take it. Then my sister’s cardiologist recommended it and that piqued my interest.
    So my question is: what dose is recommended? It comes in many strengths and as it is quite expensive, I would like to know which one to buy as prices vary. Also is there any brand/company you think is best?
    Thanks – I have your book about home remedies and love it and enjoy your column very much.
    Chapel Hill, NC

  20. Kenneth Smith

    burn remedy………..a few years ago I was repairing a broken plaster statue while at work. I was using a hot glue gun and got some on my finger. Reacting to the pain, I immediately peeled the glue off my finger. a lot of skin came with it and the pain was intense. Ice water relieved the pain but I couldn’t carry a glass around all day. The manager of the cafe came in and told me that preparation-h was a great burn remedy. I went with her to the kitchen and applied some. It worked almost instantly. It also has serious healing powers. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you use the regular ointment or the cream.

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