Are cholesterol-Lowering Drugs hurting Your Heart?
High cholesterol is a health challenge facing many Americans. Statistically, as many as 99.5 million people in America have high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). This condition is a major risk factor for the development and progression of cardiovascular disease- As such, high cholesterol levels in the body can lead to arterial “plaque build-tip that can clog arteries in the body. This may lead to health consequences such as a heart attack or stroke.
It is normal to have cholesterol in the body. It is a soft, waxy substance found in the blood stream and every cell of the body. in fact, cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body because it is needed to form cell membranes, hormones, and serves other needed bodily functions. The challenge arises when cholesterol levels increases to unhealthy levels.
Many Americans who have high cholesterol or who have had a heart attack may already be on heart medications. One of the most common classes of drugs for controlling cholesterol levels is the statin family (an example is Lipitor™. These drugs work by decreasing the creation of new cholesterol, thus lowering overall body cholesterol levels. However, one negative side effect of these drugs rarely ever mentioned is their effect on a vital heart nutrient, Coenzyme Q1O.
Coenzyme Q1O (CoQ1O) is a substance involved in energy production of every cell in the body. It is chemically known as ubiqninone ”” a name that signifies its wide
(ubiquitous) distribution in the human body This substance is a major player that helps to create cellular energy, called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). It can be compared to loading coal into a coal furnace. CoQ1O is like the individual who is shoveling the coal into the fire, playing a critical role in the production of energy. In addition, Co-Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals. It helps to preserve the body’s store of vitamin B, the major antioxidant of cell membranes and blood cholesterol.
Co-Q10 is found in highest concentrations in the heart, brain, and liver. This follows logic since these three organs are constantly working ”” the heart beats 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; the brain is in constant thought (even while sleeping!); and the liver is constantly working to keep the body in balance. The fact that Co-Q10 is in such high concentration in the heart is of particular importance for those concerned with cardiovascular health.’
If an individual has had a heart attack and is on a statin drug for lowering cholesterol, they are also lowering their body’s level of Co-Q10, particularly in the heart. This is extremely detrimental since, after a heart attack or cardiovascular challenge, heart tissue can become what is called ”˜stunned’”” meaning it is not currently working, but has the potential to come “back to life’ In order for this to happen, the heart cells of the body need an adequate supply of energy for repair and growth. Since CoQ10 is critical to energy production, low levels will impair the heart cell’s ability to repair damage. Without a doubt, statin drugs decrease CoQ10 levels in the body. Although they have the beneficial effect of lowering cholesterol, they may also unknowingly be creating another cardiovascular risk factor””low CoQ10 levels in the heart.
“However; one negative side effect of these drugs rarely ever mentioned is their effect on a vita/ heart nutrient Coenzyme QI 0.”
I have heard that individuals taking statin” cholesterol lowering drugs (like Lipitor™ should also take Coenzyme Q10. Is this true and why?
Fortunately, there is a very easy solution to this problem that has been well documented and is supported by numerous clinical trials. It has been proven that generous supplementation with CoQ10 (at least 100 mg daily) can address the problem associated with statin drug use. It is a well documented, but not commonly known fact that must be brought to the forefront due to the high number of Americans on statin drugs.
Because of its role in energy production, CoQ10 has been studied in relation to numerous heart challenges. It has helped some people with congestive heart failure (CHF)’ ”” an effect reported in an analysis of eight controlled trials’ and found in some,’ though not all, double-blind studies.’ s, 6 Discontinuation of CoQ10 supplementation in people with CHF has resulted in severe relapses and should only be attempted under the supervision of a doctor.’
Similar improvements have been reported in people with cardiomyopathies””a group of diseases affecting heart muscle. Research (including double-blind studies) in this area has been consistently positive.’
Also, due to its effect on heart muscle, researchers have studied CoQ10 in people with heart arrhythmias. Preliminary research in this area reported improvement after approximately one month in people with premature ventricular beats (a form of arrhythmia) who also suffer from diabetes.’
Angina patients taking 150 mg per day of CoQ10 report a greater ability to exercise with–out experiencing chest pain.'” This has been confirmed in independent investigations.”
Even outside the realm of heart health, the benefits of CoQ10 are numerous, ranging from promoting a healthy neurological system to supporting healthy sugar levels.
Although CoQ10 is a very researched and beneficial nutrient, challenges arise with its administration in supplement form. Numerous studies have documented challenges when taking CoQ10 in just tablet or pill form made of granulated powder.1′,””” Absorption has been shown to increase when taking a fat-soluble form or emulsion type product since these mimic its natural state in the body. This fact is of particular importance due to the high cost of CoQ10 supplements. Consumers and their doctors should be aware of the differences between CoQ10 supplements for best results and best value.
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