The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Taking a Statin? Ask Your Doc About Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation.

Posted in
Live well

Thursday, Mar 13, 2014

As you are no doubt aware, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death within  countries with a moderate to high standard of living.  Among the major risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) are high blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL). For over two decades, statins have been the most popular type of drug for lowering LDL cholesterol levels. It is indisputable that lowering LDL decreases the incidence of CHD.

Among the mechanisms for plaque development within arteries are oxidative stress caused by free radicals, as well as inflammation. Coenzyme Q10 is a potent antioxidant that helps to prevent free radical damage to mitochondria, cell membranes, and LDL. It was shown as early as 1990 that statins decrease the level of coenzyme Q10. Furthermore, higher levels of coenzyme Q10 are associated with a reduced risk of CHD.

This knowledge led researchers in Taiwan to recently conduct and publish a study evaluating the effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on oxidative stress and inflammation (Lee, 2013)1. Subjects were 51 patients with a mean age of 68 years, who had at least a 50% blockage in one major coronary artery. All patients had been receiving statin therapy for at least one month. Subjects were randomized and received either a placebo or 300 mg of a coenzyme Q10 supplement daily over a period of 12 weeks. Detailed blood analyses was performed prior to and immediately following the study.  Variables included in blood analyses were levels of coenzyme Q10, as well as three key antioxidant enzymes: superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase. Additionally, three key inflammatory blood markers were measured: C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). We will discuss the findings below.

First, blood levels of coenzyme Q10 were increased by approximately 5-fold in the supplement group. The activity level of all three antioxidant enzymes was significantly increased in the supplement group, and was correlated to blood levels of coenzyme Q10. While levels of CRP and IL-6 were not significantly changed by coenzyme Q10 supplementation, levels of TNF were significantly reduced in the supplemented group. There were no significant changes in the placebo group. Of note, there were no adverse effects reported in the group that received coenzyme Q10 supplementation.

The authors concluded that supplementation of 300 mg coenzyme Q10 daily significantly increased activity level of key antioxidant enzymes and reduced the levels of inflammatory marker TNF in patients with CHD who were receiving statin therapy. Thus, patients with CHD who are taking statins to lower LDL cholesterol levels may benefit from using coenzyme Q10 supplements.

So if you are one of millions of Americans currently taking a statin, consider asking your primary care physician if you should be taking coenzyme Q10 as well!

Learn more about statins and coenzyme Q10 in the Providing Dietary Guidance course offered at The Cooper Institute June 25-27, 2014.


1Lee BJ, Yseng YF, Lin PT. (2013) Effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on antioxidation and anti-inflammation in coronary artery disease patients during statin therapy: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition Journal. 12:142.