Statins could increase the risk of diabetes

People at risk of cardiovascular disease are advised to reduce their cholesterol levels, usually by taking statins. Statins work by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol.

A recent study, found that people with naturally lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were less likely to develop heart disease however were more vulnerable to developing type II diabetes and scientists believe reducing LDL levels by taking statins may have the same effect.

It is generally considered that there is an increased risk of approximately 10% of developing type II diabetes in patients prescribed statins. However Cederberg et al (2015) have recently quoted an increased risk of 46% of developing type II diabetes in patients prescribed statins (simvastatin, atorvastatin).

Supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may be of benefit to those taking statin medications. CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance which is required by the body for the normal functioning of all tissues and those with the highest energy requirements (heart and muscles) are particularly reliant on an adequate supply. The body’s synthesis of CoQ10 is depleted by ageing, illness and by certain medications including statins. Supplementation with CoQ10 can prevent the depletion of CoQ10 levels which is associated with statins.

CoQ10 supplementation may be beneficial to statin users because:

  • Supplementation with CoQ10 reduces LDL cholesterol levels
  • In the clinical study, Q-SYMBIO, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, supplementation with CoQ10 was reported to reduce the risk of cardiovascular consequences. 420 heart failure patients took either three 100mg capsules of Bio-Quinone Q10 per day, or a placebo for two years. Supplementation with Q10 reduced the risk of cardiac related mortality by 43%.
  • With regards to statin induced risk of diabetes, studies in animal models have shown that Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation can reverse the adverse effects of statins.
  • Clinical studies have also shown that supplementation with CoQ10, improves glycemic control

Experts have recommended patients still continue to use statins, with the benefits in heart attack prevention outweighing the side effects. CoQ10 does not interfere with the cholesterol lowering work of statins.

September 2016