Coenzyme-Q10, or CoQ10, is an oil-soluble vitamin-like substance that helps in aerobic cellular respiration, generating energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). And most of our energy is generated this way. Organs with the highest energy requirements, such as the heart and liver, have the highest CoQ10 concentrations.

Because it also acts as an antioxidant it is often taken as a dietary supplement.

Elderly and sick people may not be able to synthesize Q-10 as they could when younger and in good health, so supplementation may be needed later in life or in illness. Physicians also prescribe it as treatment for some of the very rare and serious mitochondrial or other metabolic disorders.

People taking statin drugs may want to discuss with their doctor supplementing CoQ10. While blocking cholesterol production in the liver, statins also block production of CoQ10. A Columbia University study found that CoQ10 levels were reduced by half after only 30 days of statin treatments.

Even brief exposure to a statin drug causes a marked decrease in blood CoQ10 concentration. Widespread inhibition of CoQ10 synthesis could explain the most commonly reported adverse effects of statins, especially exercise intolerance, myalgia, and myoglobinuria.

Reference: The American Medical Association, Archives of Neurology.

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