Statin Fatigue Study Missing CoQ10 Connection

Sandy Almendarez, VP of Content

June 26, 2012

2 Min Read
Statin Fatigue Study Missing CoQ10 Connection

A recent study that found statins increased fatigue (Arch Intern Med. 2012 Aug 13:1-2. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2171) doesn't surprise me. What does give me pause is that the researchers (and the media articles that followed) didn't mention the role coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) plays in this equation.

The study, from University of California, Irvine, found men and women with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (115-190 mg/dL) who took either 20 mg of simvastatin (lipophilic statin) or 40 mg of pravastatin (hydrophilic statin) rated their fatigue as worse than those who took a placebo for six months. The effect was worse for the women in the study compared to the men. However, those on the statins did reduce their LDL levels.

As I noted in the recent INSIDER article "Raising the CoQ10 Quotient," CoQ10 shares the biosynthetic pathway with cholesterol, and statins are designed to block that pathway in the body. Other researchers have noted this phenomenon. A 2004 study from Columbia University noted even brief exposure to the statin atorvastatin causes a marked decrease in blood CoQ10 concentration, and those researchers said inhibition of CoQ10 synthesis could explain the most commonly reported adverse effects of statins, especially exercise intolerance, muscle pain and muscle deterioration (Arch Neurol. 2004 Jun;61(6):889-92).

CoQ10 is known to boost energy. It improved swimming endurance and had an anti-fatigue effect in mice in a 2010 study (J Med Food. 2010 Feb;13(1):211-5). And a 2010 review reported studies have confirmed CoQ10s effect in reducing fatigue and exercise-related damage, and improving physical performance (Nutrition. 2010 Mar;26(3):250-4).

It make sense that if one blocks his CoQ10 pathway with a statin, then his energy levels will go down; however, the researchers of this recent study didn't mention that. I'd like to see a study like this one, but with one group receiving a statin and supplementing with CoQ10. My guess is that their energy levels would be better than a group taking statins alone; perhaps their energy levels would be as high as those who take a placebo.

Oh, if only I had unlimited funds and a testing lab of my own.

About the Author(s)

Sandy Almendarez

VP of Content, Informa


• Well-known subject matter expert within the health & nutrition industry with more than 15 years’ experience reporting on natural products.

• She cares a lot about how healthy products are made, where their ingredients are sourced and how they affect human health.

• She knows that it’s the people behind the businesses — their motivations, feelings and emotions — drive industry growth, so that’s where she looks for content opportunities.

Sandy Almendarez is VP of Content for SupplySide and an award-winning journalist. She oversees the editorial and content marketing teams for the B2B media brands Natural Products Insider and Food and Beverage Insider, the education programming for the health and nutrition trade shows SupplySide East and SupplySide West, and community engagement across the SupplySide portfolio. She is a seasoned content strategist with a passion for health, good nutrition, sustainability and inclusion. With over 15 years of experience in the health and nutrition industry, Sandy brings a wealth of knowledge to her role as a content-focused business leader. With specialization in topics ranging from product development to content engagement, creative marketing and c-suite decision making, her work is known for its engaging style and its relevance for business leaders in the health and nutrition industry.

In her free time, Sandy loves running, drinking hot tea and watching her two kids grow up. She brews her own “Sandbucha” homemade kombucha; she’s happy to share if you’re ever in Phoenix!


Speaker credentials

Resides in

  • Phoenix, AZ


  • Arizona State University


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