Supplementing With CoQ10
May Make Your
High Cholesterol Less Harmful

CoQ10 May Help Us Do More Than Merely Reduce Cholesterol

CoQ10 makes your cholesterol behave differently.

Whenever you and I think about our cholesterol we have one thing in mind. We want to get it low and keep it low.

We can’t be blamed for the way we think. Every conversation we have and every commercial we see tells us the same thing. We are told that if we want to reduce cholesterol risk we must get our total cholesterol down to a certain level.

It is a proper message. But it is not a complete message. It may be the first area of concern but it is not the only thing that should concern us. It is all the commercials tell us. But research has an additional message.

What if there were more we could do? What if we could add something to our current cholesterol management?

What if we could make our high cholesterol less harmful?

Many of us are already doing more to make our cholesterol less harmful. We just may not know it. We are taking vitamin-E for heart health.

Here is a tip you may not know. Taking vitamin-E may actually be doing more harm than good. Don’t panic. We will talk about this in a minute. But it is a bit frightening to think that the vitamin-E we take every day may actually be promoting coronary heart disease.

What Is CoQ10 Anyway?

Here is the good news. Coenzyme Q10 - is actually a coenzyme which exists naturally in our bodies. It is a precursor to a number of functions that have to do with energy production on the cellular level. In other words, the process that produces energy for our cells to survive and function does not happen without CoQ10.

And without a sufficient supply the energy producing process does not happen well.

This has enormous implications for heart health. Our large organs are especially vulnerable to insufficient supplies of CoQ10. The heart, which requires so much energy, is particularly susceptible to low levels. It simply does not have enough energy to function properly.

I told you the good news. That is, CoQ10 is a naturally occurring coenzyme. But there is a dark cloud in front of the silver lining.

As we age through our thirties we become deficient in this essential coenzymne. This deficiency becomes more pronounced as we mature further.

Therefore our hearts become less able to do their jobs.

Since you and I are concerned with optimal heart health we cannot ignore this. But believe it or not cellular energy for our hearts is not the main topic of this page. There is something else CoQ10 does very well. And it has to do with our cholesterol.


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Cholesterol Management

The primary focus for cholesterol therapy is the reduction of LDL. As LDL levels increase a person’s risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) also rises. This is especially true for people with low HDL cholesterol.

Evidence has been mounting for some time that the level of LDL cholesterol in our systems may not be what causes atherosclerosis - artery clogging plaque.

Rather it is actually the oxidation of LDL that promotes atherosclerosis and therefore CHD.

Therapy, then, should focus on suppression of LDL oxidation as well as lowering LDL levels.

You and I know a little about antioxidants. We know they destroy the free radicals that do so much damage to our cells. When our cells are oxidized they either die or function improperly. When LDL cholesterol oxidizes it tends to build up inside our arteries. This is what we call atherosclerosis.

Fortunately our bodies have not been left unprotected from the elements. As LDL particles flow through the bloodstream they are accompanied by antioxidants like vitamin-E and CoQ10. Their purpose, of course, is to stop the oxidation of LDL.

Of the two, CoQ10 appears to have much more effective antioxidant properties in relation to LDL. However, normal levels of CoQ10 – especially as we age – are not sufficient to guard all of our LDL particles.

CoQ10 and Vitamin-E

There have been some surprising research results that have demonstrated that vitamin-E may actually promote LDL oxidation. (We introduced this thought a moment ago.) Should we throw away our vitamin E bottles? Not yet.

Vitamin-E can easily be exhausted in its antioxidant campaign and can actually promote the LDL oxidation we are hoping to prevent. However, CoQ10 has been shown to regenerate vitamin-E and break off its tendency to promote LDL oxidation. This perhaps explains the fact that when there is excess vitamin-E in the system CoQ10 absorption is increased.

So what do we say about vitamin-E? Continue to take it. But don’t take it alone or you may be promoting the LDL oxidation that you are trying to prevent. In general antioxidants work better in groups than they do in isolation. Our current discussion is a very important example of that.

There have been studies to show that CoQ10 and vitamin-E work best together in preventing LDL oxidation and atherosclerosis. Other studies have suggested that supplementing with vitamin-E adds nothing to CoQ10 supplementation. In other words, supplementing with vitamin-E along with CoQ10 may or may not be more effective in preventing LDL oxidation than supplementing with CoQ10 alone.

And we have already seen that supplementing with vitamin-E alone could have some negative side-effects.

So, if you are taking vitamin-E to help prevent LDL oxidation make sure you don’t take it alone. Take CoQ10 as well. On the other hand, if you are taking CoQ10 and are wondering if you should also take vitamin-E, the answer is still yes.

In fact if you buy CoQ10 from a high quality source the manufacturer will realize this and add vitamin-E and other antioxidants. CoQ10 and vitamin-E appear to have a very good working relationship. However that is not the case with…

CoQ10 and Statin Drugs

Statin drugs are widely prescribed for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. And for one reason, they are effective. But there are some serious statin side effects.

One rather serious side-effect of statin drug therapy is its effect on CoQ10 levels in the body.

In this section we are mainly concerned with CoQ10 and cholesterol. However, keep in mind that CoQ10 deficiency has farther reaching implications than high cholesterol. For example biopsies have shown that 50-75% of patients who have heart disease are CoQ10 deficient.

When we take statins to reduce LDL cholesterol we are depleting our CoQ10 reserves even farther. This is likely to increase LDL oxidation.

Why do statins deplete CoQ10? Because they are nonspecific in their action. Statins are prescribed because of their ability to inhibit cholesterol synthesis. They also inhibit CoQ10 synthesis. Perhaps that is why a recent study documented increased LDL oxidation after 6 weeks of lovastatin therapy.

Increased LDL oxidation is not what we are trying to achieve.

Should we take statins? That is between you and your doctor. For the short-term they can reduce CHD risk. But please be aware of the side-effects. Reduction of CoQ10 increases LDL oxidation. What should we do?

Studies have shown that supplementing with CoQ10 actually enhances the cholesterol lowering benefits of statins by reducing LDL oxidation.

Statins can promote other negative side-effects such as muscle problems. People who take CoQ10 supplements while taking statins often find relief from these symptoms.

So What is a Good Plan?

The best plan is to apply lifestyle therapy before taking statins or any other cholesterol reducing drug. The main components of lifestyle therapy are diet and exercise. Part of dieting is supplementing with quality whole food supplements from a trusted source.

There are several options for proper cholesterol maintenance. One good choice is a combination of catechins and theaflavins. These components of green and black teas have been shown to help prevent LDL oxidation. They have further been shown to work better together. That should be no surprise. That is how antioxidants work.

But CoQ10 may be a better choice – that is if you have to make a choice. Not only does CoQ10 function as a strong antioxidant but it provides additional benefits as well. If you are taking statins then, I think, CoQ10 supplementation is a must.

Again, be selective in your choice of supplements. They are not all the same.

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