Coenzyme Q10

I have just seen Dr. Soran at Manchester Royal Infirmary for my annual review. 40 years ago I was diagnosed clinically (and from family history) to have FH and since my diagnosis I have received therapy for this. Today he has offered me genetic testing which I have accepted.

My reason for this blog now is that I asked him whether I should be taking CoQ10 as I have been on statins since they were first introduced and currently take Crestor 40mg. daily. His reply was a definite 'no' and to do so would be a waste of money.

46 Replies

  • Do you get any side effects from the statins?

    How many years have you been taking them?

    A know some people take the Q 10 to counter side effects as well as depletion levels.

  • If it helped your skin, it must have been doing something great in your body as the skin surely reflects inner health. People pay a fortune for a wonderful complexion.

  • It's essential to take Coq10 if on statins! It's vital for heart health smh. It can help with side effects but more importantly it is something that we all need, we can't get from food and that statins block the production of. My advice would be definitely YES!

  • Hi Floozie

    Statins deplete CoQ10, there is no question of that.

    I have been told by a lipid consultant that her patients take COQ10 and she seemed to have no problem with it.

    Perhaps you can contact him and ask him to clarify why he thinks it would be inadvisable?

  • It seems an odd stance, in light of the fact that in Canada statins have warning labels which highight COQ10 depletion.

  • Warning labels on Canadian meds warn against nearly every possible problem imaginable just in case you sue them.

  • You could also contact the PALS (Patient Advice and Liason service) if you are still unhappy with the advice given.

  • Thank you all for your replies. To clarify, I will add the following comments. I have been taking statins since their introduction (more than 20 years I think) firstly simvastatin, briefly pravastatin & for many years now rosuvastatin (Crestor) all without side effects. Dr. Soran stated that it is NOT NECESSARY to take Q10 because I am on statins, as trials have not shown any benefit & therefore I would be wasting my money. The Q10 needed can be obtained from the diet. Dr. Soran is my consultant in the Lipid Clinic at MRI and an expert in this field. I not unhappy with his opinion and would be foolish to ignore his advice.

  • I have been on statins for 16 years and have had side effects, when I take Q10 for a while the side effects go away, I was told by my doctor there was no harm in taking Q10.

  • Although I respect the knowledge of educated consultants, I must admit that I believed the same as J-9, that taking statins blocks absorption of CoQ10 from dietary sources and therefore it is helpful to take a supplement to redress the imbalance.

    Healthline states, "According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), statins lower your body’s levels of coenzyme Q10. As your levels go down, the side effects of statins increase. Taking CoQ10 supplements might help increase the levels on the body and reduce problems.

    The UMMC also indicates that CoQ10 may function as a natural treatment to help reduce cholesterol. While there aren’t enough studies to confirm how well it works, it may be possible to combine CoQ10 with statins for better results without the side effects."

    I have taken statins for well over 10 years - with no side effects - and, once I read about CoQ10, I have taken a supplement. I have never had my CoQ10 levels tested so do not know if they are normal are not but will discuss with my Gp after my routine blood test next week.

  • I would be interested to know what response you get from your GP when you ask about a blood test for Q10 levels. I suspect that the NHS will not fund such tests in the current cash-strapped climate. Also, in the past my GP has been reluctant to give advice about taking any supplements not prescribable, due to lack of knowledge.

  • Have you asked your GP about having your level of Q10 tested?

  • There was a hiccup in the surgery, then I was away at HEART UK's conference so have not had blood test yet. Will let you know what happens when date is rescheduled.

  • Thanks very much for your reply. I await your answer with interest.

  • Ironically, while reducing your risk of cardiovascular events and heart disease is the primary motivation for prescribing statins, these drugs can actually increase your risk of heart disease because they deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which can lead to heart failure. Statins lower your CoQ10 levels by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production -- the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports CoQ10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.

    The loss of CoQ10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage your mitochondrial DNA, effectively setting into motion a health-destroying circle of increasing free radicals and mitochondrial damage.

    From Dr mercola's website. There are hundreds of other sources.

  • I have AF (Atrial Fibrillation) and was advised by cardiologist, EP & GP to take CoQ10 or Ubiquinol and I believe the advise was to all people over the age of 55.

  • thus showing that different medics say different things.

  • Don't they always? Also about specialities, this was my EP who positively recommended it.

  • Does anyone know if there is a blood test available on the NHS to check CoQ10 levels? My guess is there isn't, but I am a bit of an old cynic.

  • Always worth asking your consultant or GP. Certainly my GP will usually arrange a specific blood test if I ask (and can show a good reason for requesting it).

  • I agree that a specific test to check the Q10 level is the way forward & I should have asked Dr. Soran about this. I will ask my GP. Dr. Soran's advice was to me specifically because he checked with me firstly to see if I had any side effects from statins. When I said I didn't that is when he said I would be wasting my money to buy Q10. He did not state that to take a Q10 supplement would be detrimental, just that they were not necessary for me. Perhaps there is some benefit for people who do experience side effects from statins. I didn't ask him about this as it doesn't apply to me

  • A lack of CoQ10 applies to anyone on statins (especially the elderly) it's not just about whether or not you experience side effects. There are lots of side effects going on inside you that you're not even aware of. I'm not trying to preach to you but by posting about the subject I presume you're wanting to hear the opinions of people other than Dr Soran, otherwise why post about it? In my opinion statins should only be used in older men who have a very high risk of chd, people with fh or someone who's survived a heart attack. There's very little evidence of them being benefitial to any other group, but plenty of evidence of the damage they do. I shall get off my soap box now.

  • I posted my comment so that all the people who take Q10 could see the opinion of a consultant in a Lipid Clinic, and I certainly wouldn't take the advice of someone on a blog who has no medical qualifications, although it is interesting to find different points of view. If I read something I think may benefit me I will research it, but before taking anything I would check with my doctor.

  • Ah I see. Unfortunately in my experience I've had to do my own research because my doctor either doesn't know or has been brainwashed in med school. If we were talking about something that could be potentially harmful then of course a specialist is the only real option but with Coq10 there's nothing to lose, other than a few £ a month and you could be doing wonders for your heart

  • From my experience doctors are human and can make mistakes!

    Human body works with different mechanisms on different people, however, we can offer our own experience for other to see what people have achieved. Free sugar has been a discussion subject for a while, how many people are taking any action on this at the moment. Three years ago I was asked to take medication by my GP to lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose, I said no and my food intake control, regular exercise and life style is helping me to live a healthy life at the moment, only time will tell.

  • well that's your choice, no one is forcing you to take advice, this is a space for people to share ideas.

    However in my experience doctors can be wrong.

  • Yes, often and dangerously. But people have been brainwashed to believe that Doctor is God, that Doctor is all-caring and all-knowing.

  • I'd also add that I also saw a consultant in a Lipid clinic who thought it was fine to take COQ10. I've seen 3 consultants in lipid clinics and they all see different things.

    A large number of people on here have seen consultants in lipid clinics of course, you aren't the only one.

  • I'd say that nearly everyone on here has been to a lipid clinic and been given differing opinions. Don't know why this Dr Soran has such a fan club. He must have some special charisma! I think it's incredibly rude of Floozie to say she wouldn't take notice of anyone on a blog - j--9 was only given his/her opinion to try and help as he/she feels passionately about the subject and wants to help people. I for one am not interested being indoctrinated with Dr Soran's opinions. (Apologies, Dr Soran, you might be a lovely bloke.)

  • Very wise to always seek the advice of your particular doctor - I have asked many and never come across one yet who has said don't take it.

    It seems to be the only supplement they agree upon. All I can offer is my personal experience which has been that with AF, high ish cholesterol and not on statins and never will be no matter what qualification advises me to try them, I feel slightly better with more energy taking COQ10.

  • CDreamer: Very well put!

  • I take CoQ10 supplement every day .. Ive noticed I feel more energetic and lower blood pressure PLUS its decreased my appetite allowing me to lose weight ...good stuff

  • How much do you take. It hasn't reduced my blood pressue

  • I have just seen a cardiologist and he told me the same thing. The same applies to probiotics

  • Hi all

    to explain about statins and COQ10.

    Statins work on something called the Mevalonate pathway in the liver, which produces various things - one of them being COQ10, another being cholesterol.

    Explanation and diagram here.

    Now you can see from the diagram that statins work at the top of this pathway, so they reduce all the products of the pathway, not just cholesterol.

    Some people have worse effects than this from others. At one point I took another medication - not statins - which also reduces circulating COQ10 and couldn't walk down the road. When I stopped the medication I felt fine again. One reason I won't try statins.

    There are some food sources of COQ10, but if your COQ10 is seriously depleted, then they won't be enough to replace it.

    I find a lot of medics are very conventional in outlook and pooh pooh anything slightly 'alternative'. It's very clear to me however from my own experience that COQ10 depletion does have serious adverse effects on some people. I worked out it was the medication that was causing the problem, but it was many years later before I found out why.

    Studies have shown that statins reduce plasma COQ10 significantly

    I sometimes think that medics who usually don't take statins would have a very different view if they tried them!

  • I was just moved to google this particular consultant and found this paper


    which doesn't really make much sense to me - there is no indication that high cholesterol ALONE is a cardiac risk factor, that's why the NICE guidelines on statin prescribing say you use the Q-risk equation to calculate cardiovascular risk.

    The paper makes no sense at all to me. Unfortunately I can't view the full text, but the abstract doesn't make clear what the basis for what they are saying is. Why treat patients on the basis of cholesterol levels alone? There is no evidence base for this I'm aware of.

  • I have been told several times in the past by doctors that vitamins & supplements are unnecessary if you eat a balanced diet, so unless it can be proved by testing that I am deficient in something, I see no need to add anything.

    I have heterozygous FH, diagnosed clinically & from family history, by Dr. Paul Durrington (latterly Professor Durrington) at Manchester Royal Infirmary. He retired a few years ago & my care passed to Dr. Soran. Dr. Durrington was a leading expert in hypercholesterolaemia & he looked after me for about 30 years. It was he who introduced me to statins & I often wonder if I would still be alive now at 70 years had I not taken them, as my parents both died at age 63 from cardiovascular incidents. I have no siblings. As stated, I am awaiting gene testing, but I don't feel I need to know this now, since both my children have normal levels of cholesterol, so consequently my grandchildren will not be affected.

    To return to the subject of supplements, I do take a vitamin D additive, but this is prescribed by my GP following a blood test which showed my level was too low. Apparently this is very common in the elderly as the body does not process vitamin D as efficiently as we age, and of course we do not get enough sunlight exposure in this country. I do not have osteoporosis. I get this blood test repeated regularly to make sure my vitamin D levels remain within normal limits, as I understand too much can be as harmful as too little. For this reason I intend to ask for my Q10 level to be checked and if it is too low I will write to Dr. Soran for his advice. Having said this, I have grave doubts about the test being available on the NHS & if so, I will investigate the private route. I wish I had explored this topic more fully when I saw him last week, but I had waited in the clinic for 4 hours & I think my brain had become somewhat stultified. I am not trying to prove Dr. Soran's opinion to be incorrect, but I believe we should all know as much as possible about our own ailments, so we can take some responsibility, ask questions and receive the correct treatment.

  • Floozie: Do I read you correctly? You are questioning Dr Soran's medical opinion? How dreadful! I thought you said earlier that you would not be prepared to take anyone else's opinion, only Dr Soran's?

  • Following on from my initial post about co-enzyme Q10, I would like to ask the following questions from people who take this:-

    Has your level of Q10 been measured before starting to take it & if not, how do you know if you are deficient?

    Is it possible to find out whether your level is within normal limits by a blood test on the NHS? If not, can this be done privately?

    Is too high a level as undesirable as too low?

    Does anyone know the normal range of Q10 levels?

    Does anyone know their Q10 level before starting to take statins & then after taking statins for a period of time, but before taking Q10 supplement?

    How do you know what dose of Q10 to take?

  • My understanding is that there is no blood test, but I may be wrong, I certainly was not tested but my EP (electrophysiologist) recommended it. There are many substances such as Magnesium levels, for instance, which will give an acceptable serum reading, whilst the cellular level is so depleted that the cells do not function efficiently because of low levels. Magnesium and calcium cellular levels are very important In heart function, as is COQ10 or Ubiquinol which is the active Ingredient which is what I take - 100mg daily, you would need to take a much higher COQ10 dose to absorb the equivalent amount of Ubiquinol.

    I have some great doctors but none of them seem to know much about supplements, not in their training, so personally I consult a naturopath for advice and then run in past my GP for contraindications. A good naturopath will often test before prescribing but will often use a red blood cell or a muscle biopsy not a blood serum test which will only show low levels when you are about to have a heart attack. This whole area is much more complicated than one would think and need specialist knowledge.

    Interestingly a cardiologist will tell you not to take magnesium as it cannot be absorbed orally and will only have an effect for 20 mins which is only true for IV infusion because they only monitor the affects the serum levels, not the cellular levels. Ask an anaethetist's opinion and you will get a very different answer, many of whom believe magnesium supplements are essential as with modern agriculture methods you will never absorb enough from your food, no matter how good your diet.

    But you must trust your own doctor AND do your own research before choosing which may be most beneficial for you. There is a lot of contradictory advice out there and genuinely differing opinions. I think gone are the days when we trust unquestionably, thankfully.

  • If magnesium can't be absorbed orally, where do we get it from?

    We have to absorb it orally from food, otherwise there wouldn't be any in our bodies as we're not all on IV drips all the time.

  • We are talking cellular levels of magnesium, not serum levels which maintains levels of magnesium through osmosis at the expense of the cells, as with many elements - hence my comparison.

    I said difficult to absorb not impossible - of course we absorb through our food but intensive farming has depleted the land of magnesium so levels in food are not what they were so it thought that our levels generally are lower than several hundred years ago. Just read up on it,

    I personally cannot take any oral form magnesium but natural Dead sea salts, Epsom Salts are rich in MAGNESIUM so I bathe once a week. Others use magnesium oil.

  • Question:

    Is there a lab test that can measure CoQ10 in the blood? Can it help to determine the dosage I should take for a certain condition, like heart failure?


    Yes, several well-known, national chain laboratories offer a test that measures CoQ10 levels in the blood. Although this test does not measure CoQ10 levels in heart tissue itself (which will differ from blood levels), it can reveal if you are below the normal range, and help your health care provider determine an appropriate dose for your condition, as well as monitor your response to certain drugs, like statins (which can lower blood levels of CoQ10). For more about this test, including the normal range for blood levels of CoQ10, see the CoQ10 and Ubiquinol Supplements Review >>

    From which review supplements and tests and their efficacy. You will need a subscription to read the full reviews. PS it is a U.S. Site.

  • Thank you CDreamer for your constructive & very helpful comments. I did suspect the issue was not straightforward & everything you say makes sense. The main problem, as I see it, is that doctors are not knowledgeable about supplements & naturopaths do not have a medical degree. Therefore they can only promote what they know about, which is not helpful to the patient who is left to make their own decision. It would be good to find someone who is a doctor & also a naturopath, but I imagine this would be difficult.

  • Difficult but not impossible, only one clinic that I know of through a personal contact who used to provide services to the London based clinic, so came recommended, they now seem to be expanding throughout the south, is Private clinic of course.

    I rang them for an appointment some 3-4 years ago and found them very helpful but in the end I had to cancel the appointment as I couldn't manage the travel - which would have been a 6 hour round trip for me.

    There is an NHS service at The London Hospital for Integrated Medicine - the old Homeopathy Hospital -

  • I knew I had a COQ10 deficiency because I couldn't walk a short distance! However I only realised it was a COQ10 deficiency many years later when I found out the medication that caused this effect reduces circulation COQ10. And I know it was the medication because when I stopped the medication, my energy levels returned to normal.

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