Does Coenzyme Q10 Lower Cholesterol?

Having high cholesterol increases your risk for the number one cause of death in the United States -- heart disease. Taking steps to lower your cholesterol levels, especially your LDL and total cholesterol, helps keep your arteries from becoming blocked and causing a heart attack. People with high cholesterol tend to have lower levels of coenzyme Q10 compared to those of healthy people. However, taking CoQ10 supplements doesn't lower your cholesterol, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Exercising can help lower cholesterol levels. (Image: Martin Novak/iStock/Getty Images)

Coenzyme Q10 Function

Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that works similar to vitamins. Your body manufactures CoQ10, which it uses to make proteins, contract muscles and provide energy for your cells, and you also get a small amount when you consume seafood and meat. Coenzyme Q10 works as an antioxidant, increases your immune system function and your energy levels and may lower high blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and heart failure. CoQ10 may also help to treat Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and muscular dystrophy, and help to prevent migraines, according to MedlinePlus.

Coenzyme Q10 and Statins

People who take statins sometimes supplement with coenzyme Q10, since cholesterol-lowering medications also appear to lower coenzyme Q10 levels. Taking CoQ10 supplements increases your levels of this antioxidant so they are similar to those of healthy people, without making the statins less effective. In fact, coenzyme Q10 may decrease the muscle and joint aches that people often experience as a side effect of taking statins, making it easier for you to continue with this treatment.

Side Effects and Safety

Most people tolerate coenzyme Q10 well. However, you may experience minor side effects, including diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, upset stomach and vomiting. CoQ10 may lower your blood pressure, so don't take it within two weeks of having surgery, or if you are taking blood pressure medication. Speak with your doctor before starting to use this supplement, as coenzyme Q10 may also interfere with other medications, including warfarin and chemotherapy drugs.

Other Methods to Lower Cholesterol

Exercising, taking cholesterol medication, losing weight and following a diet low in trans fat and saturated fat that contains lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can all help to lower your cholesterol levels. This is especially important if you have other risk factors for heart disease, including smoking, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and a family history of heart disease.

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