One little-publicised cause of diabetes may be the use of statins, marketed as "prevention" for cardiovascular events. Some statins, such as rosuvastatin, are linked with a 27% higher risk of type II diabetes! Two meta-analyses also found an elevated risk of diabetes, one with a 9% higher risk, and the other showing a 12% higher risk. This disproportionately affects the elderly, who are most likely to be prescribed statins.
So why do statins raise the risk of diabetes? Statins work by blocking an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, but this also blocks a precursor to coenzyme-Q10. Depletion of CoQ10 disrupts mitochondrial function, and besides affecting energy levels, this also has a negative impact on insulin signalling, which could lead to the blood glucose dysregulation known as diabetes. To make things even worse, lowering LDL cholesterol also reduces CoQ10 transport into cells, with the combination of these effects depleting CoQ10 by as much as 54%.
|Even these could protect cardiovascular health |
more than some drugs. Source: Evan Amos
But do we even need these CoQ10-depleting statins? Research has actually shown that statins may be more harmful than beneficial for the heart, even if there were no alternatives. Statins have been found to increase the risk of microalbuminuria, which is a known marker of blood vessel dysfunction. Other studies have found that some statins could worsen heart function, increase LDL oxidation (which is the cause of plaque!), cause heart failure and/or atrial fibrillation (a fluttering movement that does not pump blood!), reduce blood flow to the heart and weaken the heart muscle. The CoQ10 depletion may also be behind the increase in congestive heart failure in the USA. It is very fortunate that even "mere" diet advice can also protect against cardiovascular deaths, such as eating an apple every day - which may reduce LDL cholesterol by an impressive 40%! Overall, CoQ10 deficiency can be debilitating and even dangerous, but you don't have to suffer.