My husband recently started taking a statin for his cholesterol.

Q. Dear Terry, “My husband recently started taking a statin for his cholesterol. I looked online and many places state that you should take CoQ10 if you’re on a statin. How much CoQ10 should my husband take and for how long?”– Selene F., Cedar Rapids, IA

A. Dear Selene, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural substance produced in the body, but levels decrease with age, statin drug use, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. Statins reduce cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme in the body; unfortunately, the production of CoQ10 is dependent upon that same enzyme. So, while statins decrease cholesterol production, they have a side effect of decreasing CoQ10 production as well.

One study found there was a 51% decrease in blood levels of CoQ10 after just 30 days of using a statin drug. Significant reductions were noticeable after only two weeks of taking a statin. When we think about some of the common side effects of statin drugs, they include exercise intolerance, muscle pain, and muscle atrophy, which could at least partially be explained by depletions in CoQ10 levels.

Therefore, I think it’s crucial for anyone taking a statin to be supplementing with CoQ10. Two forms of supplemental CoQ10 are available, and that may lead to some confusion about which is best. My answer is: they are both good choices. The ubiquinol form is referred to as reduced or bioactive CoQ10. This form of CoQ10 is a good option for people who are older, may have liver issues, or other health conditions. There is also an enhanced absorption CoQ10 (as ubiquinone) using a plant-based starch that can increase CoQ10 absorption by 800%. I recommend 100 mg of ubiquinol or ubiquinone CoQ10 per day for the duration of statin therapy.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally