L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10 reduce toxicity of statins

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Thursday Nov 14, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study in Frontiers in Physiology found evidence suggesting that taking L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 can help protect against mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction induced by cholesterol lowering drugs called statins.

Many things can induce mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction including aging,  degenerative diseases and drugs like statins.  Statins are generally safe, but clinical symptoms such as myopathy and rhabdomyolysis do show up in some patients on the medications.  Previous studies have linked statins to impaired mitochondrial functions.

The current study led by A. E. Vercesi from Universidade Estadual de Campinas, in Campinas, Brazil and colleagues found a low concentration of simvastatin, a cholesterol lowering drug, inhibited mitochondrial glutamate/malate-supported  respiration and promoted lactate release both of which can have something to do the clinical symptoms associated with use of statins.

Good news is, the researchers found when muscle tissue was incubated with both simvastatin and 1 mM L-carnitine, 100 μM mevalonate or 10 μM coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10), the nutritional supplements abolished the toxic effect of the statin on both mitochondrial glutamate/malate-supported respiration and lactate release. 

Specifically, simvastatin in a dose of 1 μM, which is fairly low, doubled the rate of hydrogen peroxide generation and decreased Co-Q10 by 44%.  Mevalonate, Co-Q10 or L-carnitine were able to reduce the generation of hydrogen peroxide  although only mevalonate prevented Co-Q10 from decreasing.   Regardless of Co-Q10 levels, L-carnitine were found able to prevent the toxic effects of simvastatin.

Dietary supplements like red yeast rice have proved to be as effective as statins. (David Liu, PHD)

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