CoQ10, Statins and Cell Energy

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10), also known as ubiquinone, is a critical enzyme found in every cell of our bodies. It serves as a catalyst for several key steps in the production of cellular energy, and it is now thought to play a critical role in maintaining cellular membrane fluidity and stability.

Every cell in our body has “power-producing” organelles called mitochondria. Cellular mitochondria produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is a high energy phosphate compound that supplies the energy for all cellular functions. This compound literally supports your life.

CoQ10 plays an important role as an electron carrier in the mitochondrial electron transfer chain necessary for cellular ATP production. It also acts as an anti-oxidant in that it inhibits fat and protein oxidation and scavenges free radicals. Some investigators have documented that CoQ10 prevents fat oxidation at nearly the same rate as vitamin E.

Without Coenzyme Q10, the cell mitochondria cannot function, and as a result, energy production is diminished. In addition, the cells are susceptible to free radical damage due to the loss of CoQ10’s antioxidant protection.

The end result of a deficiency of CoQ10 is a debilitating weakness and inability to physically complete even the easiest of tasks.

Coenzyme Q10 is highly concentrated in nerve cells and heart muscle cells, which are both high energy users. Most cells contain between 500 and 2000 mitochondria, each providing energy for the cell. However, each heart muscle cells contain as many as 5000 mitochondria.

A severe lack of Coenzyme Q10 can result in congestive heart failure as the heart cells lack the energy they need to function.


Recently, a new form of Coenzyme Q10 supplement called ubiquinol has come onto the market, and research has determined that it has a much better absorption rate than the older form of ubiquinone. Supplements in soft gel capsules are also absorbed better than hard tablets.

Dr. Peter Langsjoen recommends that healthy people take 100 mg per day, and if you have heart disease or hypertension, you may want to take 200 mg per day. Dr. Langsjoen has successfully treated many people with varying degrees of congestive heart failure with larger doses of CoQ10.

In addition, CoQ10 supplementation can provide other benefits as listed on my CoQ10 Benefits page.

Statins and Coenzyme Q10

Statin drugs deplete CoQ10 in the body because they interrupt the mevalonate metabolic pathway which results in the production of cholesterol, dolichols, and CoQ10. The effects of this interference can result in severe and permanent damage to the body’s natural energy systems.

Statins deplete both cellular and blood concentrations of CoQ10, with higher doses depleting this critical substance at higher rates. The results are certainly a threat to good health and in some cases, a threat to one’s life.

Other side effects of statins include, but are not limited to, severe muscle pain and weakness, muscle cell death leading to kidney damage and failure, problems with body temperature regulation, cognition and memory issues, personality changes, polyneuropathy, a condition in which the nerves in the extremities become inflamed and painful, and in some cases, death. Baycol, a statin introduced in January 1998, caused the death of 60 people worldwide over the two years it was on the market.

Duane Graveline, the author of Lipitor, Thief of Memory, has a forum where people who have been damaged by statin drugs talk about their experience.

Many of these unfortunate people discuss being diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy after taking a statin drug.

Mitochondrial Myopathy is a neuromuscular disease caused by damage to the mitochondria. Nerve cells in the brain and muscles require a great deal of energy and thus appear to be particularly damaged when mitochondrial damage occurs. The symptoms of Mitochondrial Myopathy include muscle weakness or exercise intolerance, heart failure or rhythm disturbances, dementia, seizures, and other health issues. These symptoms are very similar to the side effects of statin interference in the metabolic pathway which produces Coenzyme Q10.

Ironically, statin drugs are prescribed to patients to address elevated cholesterol levels, a condition that is not life-threatening, and which is in fact, life-supporting. All of the pain and suffering caused by these dangerous drugs are unnecessary and tragic. The FDA has thousands of complaints on file but has yet to take action to protect the American public.

Resources for Further Reading

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