Cancer, coenzyme Q10, dementia and statins

Cancer, coenzyme Q10, dementia and statins

As more and more people take statins for cancer it should be remembered that these are drugs not sweets and have proven side-effects. People should not believe they can self-medicate with drugs; it can be counter-productive and dangerous.

A true story from a personal experience

The very nice gentleman who rented my beach condo 2 months before introduced his wife to me in the shopping mall. It quickly became apparent that this 60 year old lady had dementia and I hadn’t seen this at our first meeting. My father suffered from Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s so I know a bit about it all. Also, I have written many articles for HealthWatch from the latest research.

I asked about the dementia. The lady in question had had a small stroke two years before, but all had been well until just a couple of months ago. From then it was a rapid decline. They had visited a top local hospital where she had received a number of drugs. One of these was a statin, yet this woman was slight and her cholesterol was around 5.

Statins and Coenzyme Q10

The Mayo Clinic Website states that statins reduce naturally occurring CoQ10 levels in the body (1). I offered that I had read several studies recently on how Coenzyme Q10 (which declines anyway as people pass 50 years of age) along with curcumin, had shown strong protective effects, as had high dose resveratrol on reversing early stages of dementia (2). In fact, CoQ10 helps resveratrol work better. 

Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant, but importantly is essential for efficient mitochondrial action. Mitochondria are the power stations in every cell of your body, and you get more mitochondria in tissues that need to do more work, like muscles, heart and brain. Mitochondria are also important in ‘What goes wrong’ in cancer.

Curcumin seems to have the ability to stop proteins sticking to each other and getting the wires crossed in your brain - key factors with these diseases. A 2018 Study, showed that taking just half a teaspoon of curcumin a day improved cognitive function in people who had not yet developed Alzheimer's (8).

The good news about CoQ10 is that research shows you can supplement with about 30-50 mgs per day and restore your body levels to those you had in your late 20’s; (any more is a waste of money and has no further effect).

As we chatted more, I suggested simply that my renter might read up on these natural compounds and think about supplementation. CoQ10 takes about three months before it has a full effect, so you should start taking it BEFORE you take a statin.

We recommend everyone who is going to take a statin - for whatever reason - takes Coenzyme Q10 starting at least 2 weeks before.

You need cholesterol

Cholesterol is essential for the correct functioning of membranes and for making hormones. Importantly, vitamin D is made from the cholesterol below your skin by the action of sunlight. 

In cancer, we know that ‘fat’ spreads cancer, people with the highest levels of blood fats get more metastasis, and new cancer cells need lots of cholesterol for all those new membranes etc.

We know that lipophilic statins (which unlike hydrophilic statins, cross membranes into the tissues) can increase survival times by several years (3).

We also know that they may reduce angiogenesis and restrict cancer cell migration.

But we know for a fact that: 

* Statins increase blood sugar and type-2 diabetes risk (4).

* Statins prevent synthesis of K2 which prevents plaque formation resulting in more atherosclerosis and heart disease (5).

* Statins cut CoQ10 levels and speed up risk of Dementia (6). 

Polypharmacy and cancer

In my Sunday Show with Professor Robert Thomas of Addenbrooks, Cambridge, we were talking about how many people coming to us with cancer had been on six, eight, ten or more drugs for a variety of illnesses. Most related to Metabolic Syndrome (7). You have this if you have three out of these five issues - high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high BMI, low good cholesterol. As a result people are given cocktails of drugs.

In the New York Presbyterian hospital this condition (becoming ill through taking a cocktail of drugs) accounted for 28 per cent of hospital A&E visits one Saturday night! The condition now has a name – POLYPHARMACY. Deaths have trebled in seven years simply from people who already take eight or more drugs, catching a cold, and popping down the pharmacy to be given three more!

Drugs interact. They can damage you.

And this worries me, not just because we see so many cancer patients on blood thinners, thyroid hormones, anti-depression pills; but then they are given FEC-T or FOLFOX, plus Dexamethasone, an anti-sickness pill, something to help them sleep etc. etc. etc. And then the patient wants to take 4 off-label drugs.

Many people are now even trying to self-medicate because they think they can ‘Block pathways’. I have had two patients in recent weeks, taking their husband's prescribed statin because they read it was a good idea!

But, for example, statins like Atorvastatin affect your liver function, as do drugs like Metformin. Statins affect enzymes called aminotransferases, and the NHS states clearly that people should not take statins if their liver is not functioning fully, or they have an impaired liver. This could easily be the case in many Colorectal cancer patients or older patients on a cocktail of drugs.

How many people first check their cholesterol level; how many people on statins regularly have their liver function checked?

Our 60 year-old lady at the outset of this story went downhill in just 2 months!

I fear, this isn’t science, or good medical practice. It's too haphazard and it is potentially, very dangerous.

Go to: Can statins increase cancer survival?


  1. Mayo Clinic - Can CoQ10 prevent statin side effects?

  2. High dose Resveratrol may stabilise mild to moderate Alzheimer’s

  3. Lipophilic statins can increase survival

  4. Statins increase blood sugar and Type-2 Diabetes risk

  5. Statins prevent synthesis of K2 which prevents plaque formation resulting in more atherosclerosis and heart disease

  6. Statins cut CoQ10 levels and speed up risk of Dementia

  7. Metabolic Syndrome

  8. Taking Curcumin improves cognitive function


Chris Woollams´ Cancer Blog
CancerAcitve Logo
Subscribe (Free e-Newsletter)

Join Chris'

Join Chris' NewsletterSignup today for free and be the first to get notified on new updates.