Impairment of left-sided heart activity, an adverse effect on cardiac function caused by statin drugs, can be reversed with Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation, concluded researchers. Individuals using the statin drug atoravastatin (Lipitor®) experienced dysfunctional left ventricular diastolic function that was improved using supplemental CoQ10.
Statin drugs are widely prescribed to lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events. While statins are well tolerated by many users, among their potentially lethal complications is muscle injury, including injury to cardiac muscle. Statin drugs decrease the production of both cholesterol and CoenzymeQ10. CoQ10 is an essential cofactor required for energy production throughout the body and indispensable for normal cardiac function. Some researchers have suggested that a drop in Coq10 level alone could provoke cardiac dysfunction.
The study enrolled 14 patients, all of whom had abnormal cholesterol profiles and were not taking statin drugs. Cholesterol and CoQ10 levels were measured, and a two-dimensional echocardiogram was performed on each participant, at the study's onset. Patients were started on statin therapy with 20 mg Lipitor® per day, the lowest recommended dose. Laboratory tests and echocardiogram were repeated three to six months later. At follow-up, a remarkable 71% (10 of the 14) patients exhibited impairment of left-sided heart activity. All participants were then offered 300 mg/day CoQ10 supplementation with continued statin therapy. As early as three months later, all but one patient demonstrated a reversal of the cardiac abnormality.
While statin therapy may be indicated for some individuals with abnormal cholesterol profiles, this and other studies indicate that supplemental CoQ10 may help preserve cardiac function during prescription statin drug therapy.
Silver MA, Langsjoen PH, Szabo S, Patil H, Zelinger A. Effect of atorvastatin on left ventricular diastolic function and ability of coenzyme Q10 to reverse that dysfunction. Am J Cardiol. 2004 Nov 15;94(10):1306-10.