Cholesterol-lowering drugs, especially statins, are the go to prescription for most doctors to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels thus lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is important to pay attention to any of the medications as they have potential side effects that may impact health and energy levels.

In this article, we delve into the risks of cholesterol-lowering medicines and explore better alternatives through talks of Diet and Fitness.

How Do  Statins Work?

Statins work by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase in the liver that plays a vital role for cholesterol production. This helps to decrease in LDL cholesterol and lessen the risk for heart attacks and strokes. Statins also have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to benefit the heart and blood vessels.

Common Side Effects

However, it does not come with without potential costs. t Common side effects may include:

  • Muscle pain and muscle weakness
  • Fatigue and less energy
  • Gastrointestinal problems like  nausea, diarrhea or constipation
  • Headaches and and feeling dizzy

RE:  Energy Levels and CoQ10

One of the most notable side effects of statins is lower energy levels manifested as general fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation. Many studies show that statins may reduce levels of Coenzyme Q10, a coenzyme that is essential for mitochondrial energy production as discovered by Dr Peter Mitchell in 1978. Dr Mitchell  received a Nobel prize for his work on CoQ10 and energy production. Further research by Dr.  Karl Folkers, known as the Father of CoQ10, showed that lower CoQ10 levels can impair muscle function and energy metabolism, leading to less energy. Dr Folkers’ work was continued by Dr Bill Judy who did several absorption studies to discover the best forms of CoQ10.

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) plays an important role in potential side effects associated with statins ie muscle pain and muscle damage. Here’s how CoQ10 may help:

Statins reduce CoQ10 levels: Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, that is involved in cholesterol synthesis. This same enzyme is also required for the metabolism of CoQ10 in the body. As a result, statins could lead to reduced levels of CoQ10 in the blood and muscle that affect their optimal function

CoQ10 is essential for muscle function: CoQ10 is a vital cofactor in the mitochondria of every cell in the body and how energy is disposed. It does this by playing a role in the electron transport chain that generates ATP (cellular energy currency). Due to the fact that muscles use a lot of energy, it is vital  to boost CoQ10 levels for optimal function

CoQ10 deficiency may contribute to myopathy: The reduction in CoQ10 levels caused by statins may impair mitochondrial energy production that leads to muscle fatigue, weakness, and potential muscle damage. Some studies have found lower muscle CoQ10 levels in patients who experience statin-induced myopathy.

CoQ10 supplementation may alleviate muscle symptoms: Some studies suggest that CoQ10 supplementation may help alleviate muscle pain, weakness, and fatigue associated with statin use.

However, it’s important to note that the relationship between CoQ10 deficiency and statin-induced myopathy is not conclusive. Overall, while the exact mechanisms are not fully understood.   More research is needed to clarify the relationship and determine the clinical value of CoQ10 supplementation in reducing the effects of statins.

Serious Side Effects

In rare cases, statins may cause even more severe side effects, including:

  • Myositis (muscle inflammation)
  • Elevated levels of creatine kinase (CPK), that leads to muscle pain and weakness
  • Rhabdomyolysis, a  condition that invloves extreme muscle damage that may lead to kidney failure
  • Liver inflammation and an increase in  liver enzyme levels
  • Increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Memory and Cognitive Function: Some patients report memory loss or confusion, although studies have not been  consistent.
  • Pancreatic Cancer: There is evidence suggesting that long-term statin could boost the risk of pancreatic cancer

How To Manage Side Effects

Patients who may experience extreme fatigue or any other side effects should always consult their healthcare provider. Possible mitigation strategies may include:

Adjusting statin dosage, changing the brand of statin or other cholesterol-lowering medication

It would also be advisable to supplement daily with at least 30 mg of highly absorbant CoQ10  shown to have potential in alleviating  fatigue in some studies.

Lifestyle changes like a heart-healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight management  helps to control cholesterol levels naturally

Dietary Changes That Help To Lower Cholesterol

Soluble Fiber Intake: Foods high in soluble fiber may help prevent cholesterol absorption in the digestive tract. IE oats, barley, beans, lentils, fruits like apples, pears, and citrus fruits, and vegetables like eggplant and okra

Healthy Fats:  Use oils like olive, and coconut oil instead of butter or lard. Stay away from margarine and other seed oils. Plus reduce red meat and dairy products consumption.

Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables can increase cholesterol-lowering compounds like plant sterols

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like wild salmon and fresh water trout can help lower triglycerides and may improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Nuts and Seeds: Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are great for heart health and may help to lower LDL cholesterol. Plus they are also a good source of fiber and healthy fat.

Plant Sterols and Stanols: These compounds can be  found in fortified foods and supplements. They help to block cholesterol absorption.

Take a highly absorbing CoQ10 Supplement to maintain a healthy heart

Lifestyle Changes

  1. Exercise Regularly: Regular physical activity at least 3-5 times per week  helps raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
  2. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Losing excess weight helps to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides Plus it may also help increase HDL cholesterol.
  3. Quit Smoking:- If you smoke- STOP! Smoking lowers HDL good cholesterol and boosts the risk of heart disease.
  4. Limit Alcohol Intake: Excessive alcohol can also raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Try to your consumption to one drink per day for women and two for men.

Insiders Health Tip: Supplements

  1. Soluble Fiber Supplements: Psyllium husk is a great soluble fiber supplement that may help lower cholesterol levels. It  Metamucil  contains psyllium
  2. Niacin (Vitamin B3): Niacin can help raise the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. However, there are potential side effect- Talk to your health professional to find out if it is right for you. There are flushing and non flushing options.
  3. Plant Sterol and Stanol Supplements These supplements may help reduce the bad LDL cholesterol by blocking its absorption in the intestine
  4. Omega-3 Supplements: Fish oil supplements may help lower triglycerides although they may not significantly affect LDL cholesterol. Eating fatty fish  like wild salmon and fresh water trout are healthy food for your body.
  5. CoQ10- here are some of the best CoQ10 supplements recommended for various health benefits, including heart health and managing statin side effects: Check out Verywell Health for several top CoQ10 supplements that highlights benefits for heart health, fertility, and more. They emphasize choosing high-quality products that are third-party tested for purity and potency. ConsumerLab has detailed reviews and top picks for CoQ10 supplements as well. Plus they test products for ourity and bioavailability as well as  accuracy of labeling. Intelligent Labs also offers the ultimate guide to the best CoQ10 supplements and they compare bioavailability, dosage  and any additional ingredients that may enhance absorption. Their  recommendations are based on scientific evidence and user reviews.

Conclusion

Statins may be effective at lowering cholesterol and reducing cardiovascular risk, but they may come with some risks. Patients should speak with their healthcare specialists to manage the adverse effects, adopt healthier habits, and consider including health natural foods into their diet for greater well-being.

References:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/best-coq10-supplements-7565538

https://www.verywellhealth.com/best-coq10-supplements-7565538

https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/coq10-ubiquinol-supplements-review/coq10/

https://www.consumerlab.com/news/best-coq10-ubiquinol-supplements-2024/04-11-2024/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/coq10-and-statins

https://www.healthline.com/health/coq10-and-statins

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9495827/

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.118.009835

https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-coenzymeq10-coq10

https://www.uclahealth.org/news/article/ask-the-doctors-not-much-scientific-evidence-to-support-use-of-coq10-for-pain

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-foods-that-lower-cholesterol-levels

https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/ss/slideshow-cholesterol-lowering-foods

https://www.massgeneralbrigham.org/en/about/newsroom/articles/10-foods-to-lower-cholesterol

https://www.piedmont.org/living-real-change/5-foods-that-can-lower-your-cholesterol-naturally

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol/art-20045192

https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/high-cholesterol-alternative-therapies

https://medlineplus.gov/howtolowercholesterolwithdiet.html

https://familydoctor.org/lifestyle-changes-improve-cholesterol/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/11-foods-that-lower-cholesterol

https://www.verywellhealth.com/remedies-for-high-cholesterol-89629https://www.healthcentral.com/condition/high-cholesterol/supplements-to-lower-cholesterol

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16867-cholesterol–nutrition-tlc

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/TLC-Therapeutic-Lifestyle-Changes-Lower-Cholesterol

https://www.healthline.com/health/high-cholesterol/natural-cholesterol-reducers

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia

Recommended Blogs

Plant-based milks have surged in popularity due to a variety of factors, including the increasing number of people adopting vegan and vegetarian diets, concerns about lactose intolerance, and a growing awareness of the environmental impact of dairy farming. The most popular alternatives are almond, oat, soy and coconut. They  offer diverse flavors and are believed […]

Oats are scientifically known as Avena sativa….a type of cereal grain primarily grown for their edible seeds, which are commonly consumed by humans and used as livestock feed. Although, there are numerous benefits to eating oats that outweigh the potential downsides, you need to caution yourself from overindulging. Let’s look at the 5 main benefits of eating oats first: Improved Heart Health- Oats contain […]

Traditionally, white bread in the USA is made through a process that includes mixing, fermentation, proofing, baking, cooling, slicing, and packaging. The basic ingredients used in this process are wheat flour (enriched with vitamins and minerals like niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid), water, yeast, salt, sugar and fat (such as butter, vegetable […]

Related Blogs

Chick-fil-A is without a doubt one of the most successful fast food franchises in America. It is no secret that their chicken is absolutely to die for. That is why, today, I write this blog with a very heavy heart. During my long trips up to Canada from Florida, I would drive off the highway […]

May 31, 2024

We are told that infant formula is a substitute for breast milk and provides essential nutrients needed for a baby’s growth and development. The composition of infant formula is also regulated and meets an infant’s nutritional needs, like nutrient-dense foods. Yet, is that really true? Upon further analysis,. it seems that food manufacturers and distributors […]