The first time I heard of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) was over a year ago during a run with some people I didn’t really know. One of the guys I was running with told me, after I mentioned I had diabetes, that I should take CoQ10. He didn’t have diabetes but said that he took it to make his heart stronger. I dismissed it as some more great unsolicited advice.
But last week I started taking Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), not because of my diabetes, but because I was told it could help with the pain I’ve been having in my legs, which I have attributed to the statin I’ve been taking.
CoQ10 is a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. (WebMD)
I’ve been reading more about statins and found this very helpful article by Dr. Mercola on Peak Fitness. The article is very much anti-statin, but it explains what the statins do to the muscle and how CoQ10 can help to combat the damage.
According to Dr. Mercola, the primary fuel for your mitochondria is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and one of the primary mechanisms of harm from statins in general appears to be related to CoQ10 depletion. This also explains why certain statin users end up with worse aerobic fitness after a steady fitness regimen.
Dr. Mercola also says the if you are taking a statin, which I am, without supplementing with CoQ10—or ideally, the reduced form, called ubiquinol, which is far more effective—your health is at serious risk, because CoQ10 is used by every cell in your body, but especially your heart cells. Cardiac muscle cells have up to 200 times more mitochondria, and hence 200 times higher CoQ10 requirements than skeletal muscle.
All this seemed very convincing but before taking CoQ10 I consulted my doctor who said that there is no real evidence that it helps.
“Some patients say it made the pain go away and some said it does nothing, so go ahead and try it if you want to,” he said. But my doctor also switched me over to a different statin that he hoped wouldn’t cause muscle pain and would do a better job of lowering my LDL.
I’ve been taking CoQ10 for a week now and the truth is I don’t know if it has helped me because I haven’t run for a week. And if the pain goes away I won’t know if it’s the result of taking CoQ10, changing to a new statin, or just resting.
But today I stumbled onto an article on NaturalNews.com about CoQ10 and diabetes. According to the article researchers from the University of Miami found that taking a CoQ10 supplement was able to decrease neuropathy-induced pain in diabetic mice (yes, mice again).
Two other studies mentioned in the article suggest that CoQ10 actually may prevent the development of diabetic neuropathy itself, and not just the pain associated with the condition (these findings were in type 1 and type 2 mice).
And a 2008 study published in the journal Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology found that CoQ10 supplementation actually restored the nerve conduction velocities of diabetic rats to the same levels seen in healthy control rats.
While looking for more information about diabetes and CoQ10 I discovered that it may be helpful for many things like blood pressure (not a problem I have) and heat disease and according to the University of Maryland Medical Center CoQ10 is not only good for preventing or aiding diabetes complications it may actually help manage diabetes. Two studies (not specified on site) found that 100 mg of CoQ10 twice daily improved A1c levels in people with diabetes. (a lot of “may”s in there).
So it seems that taking CoQ10 is a good move. If the CoQ10 doesn’t help with the statins, it may at least have some positive effects on my diabetes. I’ll keep you posted…