How Statins Work to Lower Cholsterol

Statins work by inhibiting an enzyme that is crucial to the manufacture of cholesterol by the body. (An enzyme is a specialized protein that helps to speed up a chemical reaction. For example, our digestive enzymes help speed up the breakdown of food into simple chemicals that can then be absorbed into the body.)

Statins also increase the uptake of LDL cholesterol by the liver, another way in which they lower the blood level of cholesterol. The enzyme that is inhibited by statins works very early on in the synthetic pathway, (the synthetic pathway is like the assembly line in a factory; it is a set of chemical processes that occur inside cells as the body manufactures molecules it needs to survive).

When this enzyme is inhibited, the levels of other important molecules, such as coenzyme Q10, can also drop in people taking these medications.

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