"We are now in a
position to witness the unfolding of the greatest medical
all time - never before in history has the medical establishment knowingly created
life-threatening nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise healthy people."
- Peter H. Langsjoen, MD
Ubiquinone (CoQ10) is a popular heart medication
that until 2001 was only available by prescription in Japan. The public
aware that an increasingly popular
class of cardiovascular drugs called statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors)
interferes with the body's synthesis of CoQ10. Top-selling statin drugs,
such as Lipito® and Zocor®, earn their makers in excess $20 billion
per year. These drugs lower the endogenous production of cholesterol and are
often touted as "life-saving" by cardiologists and the media.
Are statin drugs really good for us, or are cardiologists mistaken? How can
drugs that lower the body's production of CoQ10 benefit heart patients?
Are the health benefits attributed to CoQ10 supplementation hype, or are
the thinking and the science used by statin drug marketers fundamentally
Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble antioxidant found everywhere
in the body. The highest concentrations have been measured in vital organs
as the heart and pancreas. At age 20, an individual's heart has a higher
CoQ10 level than other major organs. At age 80, this is no longer true, with
CoQ10 levels in the heart cut by more than half. More than 35 controlled
clinical trials in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. have proven that CoQ10 therapy
effective in treatment of congestive heart failure, angina and ischemic heart
disease, and myocardial infarction. It is now believed that CoQ10 is the
key nutrient for generating 95% of the total energy required by the human
A healthy, youthful human body can make its own CoQ10. Endogenous production
or biosynthesis of CoQ10 has 17 steps, requiring at least seven vitamins
(vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacinamide), vitamin B6, folic acid,
B12, vitamin C, and pantothenic acid) and several trace elements.
The pharmaceutical giant Merck has known for more than 15 years that statin
drugs interfere with CoQ10 biosynthesis, leading to low serum levels, which
cause muscles to atrophy. The following claim from one of two 1990 Merck
patents (4,933,165) suggests adding CoQ10 to statin drugs to overcome statin-induced
1. A pharmaceutical composition comprising a pharmaceutical carrier and an
effective antihypercholesterolemic amount of an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor
and an amount of Coenzyme Q.sub.10 effective to counteract HMG-CoA reductase
inhibitor-associated skeletal muscle myopathy. (Italics added.)
This invention has never been implemented, probably because the world supply
of CoQ10 is limited, and current production would only supply one-sixth of
the world's statin users.
Various Health Benefits Attributed To CoQ10
The CoQ10 science has accelerated from its discovery in 1957 until the present
day and appears excellent. The following headlines summarize the many clinical
studies that have shown CoQ10 supplementation beneficial in disease conditions
ranging from Parkinson's disease to cataracts. Dosages studied range
from 30 mg to 1200 mg daily. Higher dosages have generally been found to
be more beneficial:
• CoQ10 Gives Complete Protection Against
Since 1972, in studies of stroke in three animal models (dog, rat,
gerbil), ubiquinone (coq10) was the only agent giving complete protection
and this was over two times more often than the next best agent (naloxone)
of the many tested to date.
• CoQ10 benefits Cardiovascular Disease
CoQ10 levels in heart tissue decline disproportionately with age. CoQ10 pioneer
Karl Folkers (1985), in agreement with earlier Japanese studies, found lower
CoQ10 levels in patients with more severe heart disease and showed that CoQ10
supplements significantly raised blood and heart tissue levels of CoQ10 in
• CoQ10 Improves High Blood Pressure
At least six clinical trials have shown a blood pressure-lowering effect of
• CoQ10 for Parkinson's disease
Less disability developed in subjects on CoQ10 than in those on placebo, and
the benefit was greatest in people receiving the highest dosage.
• CoQ10 Benefits People With Kidney Failure
"Because CoQ10 has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of chronic
renal failure, a large-scale, long-term study should be initiated as soon as
• CoQ10 for Youthful Skin
Recently, scientists have also discovered that this natural supplement may
even slow down the skin's aging process. Gerson Unna confirmed that, like vitamin
E, Co-Q10 slows down tissue damage by decreasing the effect of free radical
molecules. In a placebo-controlled study, researchers at Beiersdorf discovered
that after six weeks of daily treatment on crow's feet (eye wrinkles), wrinkle
depth was reduced by 27%; after ten weeks, fine lines and wrinkles were reduced
by a surprising 43%. The enzyme also has been effective in the reduction and
fading of age spots and is touted by Beiersdorf for its lack of toxicity.
• CoQ10 Effective for Migraine Prevention
• CoQ10 Therapy Can Improve Glucose Control in
Type 2 Diabetics
• 400 mg CoQ10 Reportedly Induced Cancer
Science Has Uncovered Even More Benefits Of Supplemental CoQ10
CoQ10 Supplementation Is Necessary As We Age
Researcher Dr. John Ely, of the University of Washington, holds that CoQ10
supplementation is essential in the aged. Most people make approximately
500 mg of CoQ10 daily in the body, at least up until age 21. Between ages
21 and 30, levels of CoQ10 begin to drop, perhaps because of aging. This
causes the degeneration of cells, which may contribute to age-related diseases
and conditions such as high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, and
skin tissue breakdown. Statin drugs and deficiencies in several other vitamins
also cause blood levels of CoQ10 to drop.
According to Dr. Ely, "Possibly the most important details not reported
previously are those related to CoQ10 body pool and turnover rate that mandate
human supplementation. Adult human body pool has been found to be approximately
two grams and requires replacement of about 0.5 grams/day, based on its average
turnover rate of about four days in various tissues. This must be supplied
either by endogenous synthesis or from exogenous sources. Synthesis decreases
progressively in humans above age 21. Furthermore, the average ubiquinone content
of the Western diet is less than five mg/day. Thus, ubiquinone supplementation
appears to be the only way for older people, and certainly the ill, to obtain
the major proportion of their 0.5 gram/day need. Failure to supplement can
have tragic consequences for the aged, the ill, and the stressed, causing irreversible
damage in the brain, other organs, and mitochondria everywhere." [http://faculty.washington.edu/ely/turnover.html].
CoQ10 pioneer Karl Folkers claimed that the primary source of CoQ10 in man
is biosynthesis. Folkers argues that "suboptimal nutrient intake in man
is almost universal, causing subsequent secondary impairment in CoQ10 biosynthesis."According
to CoQ10 expert Peter H. Langsjoen, MD, "this means that average or "normal" levels
of CoQ10 are really suboptimal, and the very low levels observed in advanced
disease states represent only the tip of a deficiency iceberg."
Vitamin C is a natural hydroxamethylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitor.
In experiments, when vitamin C levels are low, cholesterol becomes elevated,
and when more vitamin C is consumed, cholesterol levels decline. The mechanism
by which vitamin C lowers cholesterol was discovered around 1985. High Vitamin
C levels inhibit the same the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme as do the statin drugs.
The inescapable conclusion is that vitamin C does what statins do – lowers
cholesterol – without side-effects. If the statin drugs have been patterned
after Vitamin C, however, they still lack many other benefits of the vitamin.
For example, vitamin C promotes the production of coenzyme Q10 and lowers Lp(a).
It is interesting that, in addition to vitamin C, our bodies require many B
vitamins to synthesize CoQ10. Voluminous research has found beneficial effects
from ascorbic acid supplementation similar to the effects found from smaller
dose CoQ10 supplementation. For example, in a recent study, hydro-soluble CoQ10
supplementation was shown to lower circulating levels of Lp(a). We speculate
that some of these similar effects may be due to increased endogenous CoQ10
synthesis induced by the ascorbic acid along with generally better all-around
Every human body makes up to 500 mg of CoQ10 daily; no human body can make
vitamin C. As important as CoQ10 is for health, vitamin C is more important,
perhaps an order of magnitude. Most mammals synthesize ten times more vitamin
C than they do CoQ10, when adjusted for body weight. Under normal circumstances,
the daily amount of ascorbic acid produced by mammals lies between 3,000 mg
and 15,000 mg, with an average of 5,400 mg, when adjusted for comparison to
the weight of the average male human being.
We conclude that everyone should supplement 3,000 mg to 6,000mg vitamin C daily
from birth, including during pregnancy. On the other hand, healthy, well-nourished
children will usually synthesize their own CoQ10. With the possible exception
of athletes, persons taking vitamin C should not have to supplement CoQ10 until
the fourth or fifth decade of life. Athletes have a high requirement for CoQ10
and may benefit from supplementation earlier in life.
The Statin Dilemma
The question persists, how can statin drugs that deplete levels of CoQ10 be
life- saving? Not only do statins, used to treat elevated blood cholesterol
levels by blocking cholesterol biosynthesis, also block CoQ10 biosynthesis,
but most CoQ10 and vitamin E molecules circulate through the bloodstream
attached to LDL particles.
According Dr. Langsjoen, "The resulting lowering of blood CoQ10 level
is due to the partially shared biosynthetic pathway of CoQ10 and cholesterol.
In patients with heart failure, this is more than a laboratory observation.
It has a significant harmful effect that can be negated by oral CoQ10 supplementation."
So, are safe statin drugs the next "aspirin?" Considerable hype
surrounds the science reporting behind cholesterol-lowering drugs. As we chased
down many of the media stories suggesting benefit, we found that most stories
are either hoaxes or highly speculative. In the world of media hype, an estimated
0.4% reduction in plaque creates worldwide news. Furthermore, an overall theory
that explains the reported benefits of statins is difficult to formulate.
The first red flag one encounters researching the statin studies is that the
raw mortality data is kept a closely guarded secret. The data is summarized,
but it is surprisingly hard to inspect the raw data of studies published in
peer-reviewed journals – i.e., the mortality data that allegedly supports
the life-saving claims made for statins – . This is true of the so-called
Heart Protection Study (HPS), managed by Oxford University. According to statistician
Eddie Vos, after millions of statin pills, in those studies that have summarized
or released the data, no change exists in mortality curves – the graphs
depicting the placebo and statin groups' mortality rates:
Massive benefits, proclaims Oxford University, about its 2002 HPS study, "The
World's Largest Cholesterol-lowering Trial." Seventy-five percent of
heart attacks still happen, and while the study placed 300 people on the drug
for 12 months, only one death was postponed. Massive drug use, few lives saved.
The next European study claiming benefit in high-risk elderly, PROSPER, found
six lives saved, but 24 more cancer deaths, and more new cancers in each of
four years in a group with 52 fewer smokers. Zero "anything" benefit
was next found in the ALLHAT trial in North Americans ten years younger: one
death postponed per 1.1 million $3 pills taken! Next was Lipitor's ASCOT study,
which also provided no mortality benefit. From ten years ago: cholesterol lowering
by any means caused 150 more deaths per 100,000 patient-years of intervention
The HPS paper published in Lancet makes me
wary of the claims made by the authors. HPS reportedly had four study groups:
1) a placebo group, 2) a placebo-plus-antioxidant-vitamins
group, 3) a statin group, and 4) a statin-plus-antioxidant-vitamins group.
A second paper devoted to the antioxidant vitamins was published, implying
that claims of "massive benefit" in the first paper were between
the statins and placebo. However, the paper is written without even a summary
of the supporting data, and these results could very well have been between
the statins-plus-antioxidants group 4 against the placebo group 1. The authors
carefully avoid this issue. The HPS paper does not discuss the differences
between the statins group 3 and statins-and-antioxidants group 4 versus placebo,
an obvious point of interest. Instead, the authors published the second paper,
diverting attention from this issue. The refusal to publish and share the data
indicates that there may be something to hide. British author/researcher Malcolm
Kendrick, MD, has this to say about the HPS:
In the Heart Protection Study (HPS), a major study in which the rate of deaths
was (reportedly) reduced in patients taking a statin (simvastatin), revealed
that, at post-mortem, the people who had been taking the statin had bigger
and more complex plaques than those who had not.
Vitamin C and Mortality
Vitamin C's proven effect on mortality stands in
stark contrast to the statin drugs. According to author Bill Sardi, "Vitamin C is the only
vitamin repeatedly proven to increase the human life span when taken in doses
that exceed dietary levels of this vitamin." This observation was recently
confirmed in Britain, again.
In November 2003, the British Centre for Ageing and Public Health, London School
of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. (email@example.com)
published their findings of a direct correlation between low vitamin C and
We found a strong inverse relationship
for blood ascorbate (vitamin C) concentrations with all-cause and
cardiovascular disease mortality,
which were only marginally reduced after adjustment for confounders
or supplement use. Those in the lowest fifth (< 17 micromol/L) had
the highest mortality, whereas those in the highest fifth (> 66
micromol/L) had a mortality risk nearly half that (hazard ratio = 0.54;
95% CI: 0.34, 0.84). Similar results were found after the exclusion
of those subjects with cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline
(hazard ratio = 0.51; 0.28, 0.93). In fully adjusted models, there
was no evidence for an influence of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin-E), beta-carotene,
or retinol (vitamin-A) on total mortality. Dietary antioxidants measured
by the food-frequency questionnaire were not associated with all-cause
or cardiovascular disease mortality"
Adverse Side Effects of Statin Cholesterol Lowering Drugs
The following headlines from HEALTHFREEDOMNEWS reveal
the many little-known side effects of the artificial statin drugs,
some of which are required to
be reported in Canadian statin drug ads, but not the U.S. versions.
Statin Cholesterol Lowering Drugs have the following characteristics:
1. They deplete the ubiquinone (vitamin-like) Coenzyme Q10 causing cardiomyopathy
and heart failure.
2. They change, weaken, damage, or destroy muscle (depending on dose and concomitant
use of other drugs).
3. They do not slow atherosclerosis.
4. They induce sudden total memory loss.
5. They increase eye cataract risk.
6. They suppress immune function.
7. They are linked to cancer.
8. They have been linked for ten years with Rhabdomyolysis and Myoglobinuria.
9. They have been linked with elevated transaminase (indicator of liver and
10. They are linked to nerve damage.
11. They induce muscle pain.
12. They do not extend life.
13. They increase serum Lp(a) concentrations (increasing odds of heart attack
or stroke up to 70%).
14. They reduce left ventricular function.
15. They elevate the lactate to pyruvate ratio.
16. They enhance LDL cholesterol oxidation.
17. They would be expected to interfere with any function (e.g., sex hormone
production, hair growth, sleep, or proper brain and nerve function) that depends
on cholesterol or CoQ10.
18. They are prescribed to 13 million (in the U.S., 25 million worldwide) creating
a $20 billion market.
19. They are MORTAL (or else will cause 65,000 predicted myopathies. Source:
Merck Patent) NOTE: A biopsy is the only reliable test for statin-induced myopathy.
Supplemental Vitamin C and CoQ10 are completely nontoxic and would lessen or
eliminate most of these statin-induced effects. More headlines from BOLENREPORT.COM
illustrate the health benefits of Vitamin C:
• Harvard: Vitamin C Only 1 of 880
Substances to Regenerate Heart Muscle From Stem Cells
• Fifteen-Year Harvard Study of 85,000 Finds Single Vitamin C Pill Reduces
Heart Disease Almost 30%
• The Risk Of Stroke Was 70% Higher Among Those in the Lowest Quartile
for Serum Vitamin C Than Among Those in the Highest
• Vitamin C Inhibits Lipid Oxidation in Human HDL
• More Vitamin C as Pills Reduce Cataracts by 77%
• High-Dose Vitamin C Completely Prevented Drug-Induced Amnesia in Mice
• Carnitine, Its Building Blocks Vitamin C and Lysine, Increase Muscle
• Matthias Rath Claims Cancer Halted With Vitamin C/Lysine/Proline and
Green Tea Extract
• Vitamin C Boosts Immune System in as Little as 5 Hours (NIH)
• Vitamin C Pills Extend Life 6-Years (USC)
• Vitamin C (and Lysine) Halt Atherosclerosis
• Iv Vitamin C Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction
• Vitamin C - New Treatment for Osteoporosis
• Vitamin C Can (1) Prevent the Deterioration Completely; and (2) Cure
Even Large Aortic Aneurysms Without Surgery.
Apparently a $20 billion market has blinded some scientists. Merck and other
pharmaceutical companies have known about the CoQ10 biosynthesis issue for
more than a decade. (Few medical doctors in the U.S. are aware of this problem.)
No theory exists to justify the use of statin drugs. This author has seen
no data or evidence that demonstrates any real health benefit for statin
drug use that overcomes the proven detriment of hampering the production
One has to ask how the existing claims for the statin drugs were approved
by the FDA. Apparently the dosage of a statin is important. At lower dosages,
the "bad" effects are reduced so that the mortality curves between
the control and statin groups are similar. The studies rarely try to quantify
muscular aches and pains and, instead, usually focus on lowered cholesterol
as the end-point. Ergo, if the drug lowers cholesterol, beneficial effects
on heart patients are assumed.
According to Dr. Langsjoen, "In my practice of 17 years in Tyler, Texas,
I have seen a frightening increase in heart failure secondary to statin usage:
statin cardiomyopathy. Over the past five years, statins have become more potent,
have been prescribed in higher dosages, and have been used with reckless abandon
in the elderly and in patients with normal cholesterol levels. We are in the
midst of a congestive heart failure epidemic in the U.S., with a dramatic increase
over the past decade. Are we causing this epidemic through our zealous use
of statins? In large part, I think the answer is yes. We are now in a position
to witness the unfolding of the greatest medical tragedy of all time. Never
before in history has the medical establishment knowingly created a life-threatening
nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise healthy people."
Postulation: No human who consistently consumes
10,000 mg or more Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) and 300 mg or more of ubiquinone
(CoQ10) daily has heart disease.
Prediction: Studies that purport to show
that statins benefit heart patients either have mischaracterized the data or,
eventually, will be shown to be fraudulent.
We defy any researcher to find a contrary example to our postulation, and we
stand by the prediction. Cardiologists, as a rule, are highly trained professionals,
yet they are being duped by drug company efforts to expand markets. They love
these statin drugs, and why not? Patients keep coming back. Nonetheless, we
find it unconscionable that editors of mainstream medical journals, along with
representatives of the U. S. government and the news media, continue to hide
the explosive research results on vitamin C and CoQ10 from U.S. doctors. Disregarding
malpractice, the continuance of ignoring vitamin C and CoQ10, while marketing
and prescribing statin drugs for heart patients is criminal.
Owen R. Fonorow, PhD, ND
Vitamin C Foundation
Fax: (630) 416-1309