Statin Users: This Nutrient May Be the Answer to Your Prayers
Suffering mild to moderate joint and muscle pain as a result of taking statin drugs? You’re not alone. Nearly 87 percent of statin users experience muscle and joint pain. In fact, a study published in JAMA found that those taking statin drugs are much more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies, injuries and generalized pain. But new research suggests that boosting intake of one nutrient may be an easy way to alleviate pain and discomfort that is often a side effect of taking statin drugs.
Researchers Aim to Address the Cause of Muscle Pain from Statin Use
In addition to the many known side effects of statin drugs — the class of cholesterol-lowering drugs has been linked to severe nerve damage, hardening of the arteries and even kidney damage — scientists have known for some time now that statin medications lower CoQ10 levels. So researchers at the University of Ljubljana Medical Center in Slovenia decided to design a study to test the very popular theory that “mysterious statin-related muscle pain” is, in fact, caused by the drug’s tendency to deplete CoQ10 stores.
Their research, published in the medical journal Medical Science Monitor, didn’t disappoint their theory. The research team found that statin users who also took 100 mg daily of supplemental CoQ10 reported significantly less muscle pain than a control group. After 30 days of use, those taking CoQ10 reported 40% less severe muscle pain.
These results mirror a previous study, in which researchers at State University of New York, Stony Brook, found that people taking statin drugs who also took 100 mg daily of supplemental CoQ10 reported significantly less muscle pain after 30 days compared to the control group of people taking vitamin E.
Coenzyme Q10 is found in cells’ mitochondria. It plays a crucial role in the production of a cell’s basic energy currency, ATP. Without enough ATP, the whole body slows down. The result can be muscle weakness and pain, and, worst case scenario, a rare, serious condition of muscle breakdown, rhabdomyolysis.
Given the risky side effects of statin drugs — and the evidence indicating they’re surprisingly ineffective — it’s hard to believe more physicians aren’t seeking alternatives. Nonetheless, for those taking a daily statin medication, increasing serum levels of CoQ10 may be an effective way to relieve muscle and nerve pain.