The Side Effects of Statins

Whenever anyone calls me for acupuncture because they have numbness or muscle fatigue, the first question I always ask is “Are you on a statin drug?”. If the answer is yes then the next question is “How long have you been on the statin” and “When did your symptoms appear”. Often the symptoms start appearing several years to a decade after beginning the statins. One case comes to mind of a patient that has had leg pain for over 10 years. I recommended that he google “statin CoQ10” to educate himself on the harm statin drugs cause. He did his homework and got off the statins. With the removal of the statins and two acupuncture treatments to restore energy flow in his legs he was pain free within 2 weeks!   He had no family history of heart disease and his HDL was 75 and he was 72 years old.  There was no reason for him to be on statins!

Dr Beatrice Golumb of the UC of San Diego is a leader in statin research and recently published another study on the deleterious effects of statin drugs. Statin drugs cause these side effect by blocking the endogenous production of CoEnzyme Q10. (CoQ10). CoQ10 is in every cell of our body and is required to make ATP, the fuel for every nucleated cell of our body. If the cells aren’t getting proper fuel then dis-ease develops. In muscle tissue this is seen as fatigue. In nerve cells it is seen as neuropathy.

Don’t get me wrong as statins absolutely do lower cholesterol. There is no refuting the clear evidence that they will decrease cholesterol numbers, especially LDL. However there is no or little evidence that statins reduce the incidence of a functional disease such as heart disease except for males between the age of 30-50 that are also high risk. (previous heart attack, genetics) There is no evidence that a woman of any age or any predisposition are helped by statin drugs. Don’t be fooled, high cholesterol is not a disease. It is just a number that has a correlation with vascular disease. It doesn’t mean that cholesterol caused the disease. Just because firemen are at a fire doesn’t mean they caused the fire. Heart disease is a real functional disease and we are giving statins with the false assumption that lowering cholesterol decreases heart disease risk.

If your doctor is recommending you take statin drugs I highly suggestion you do some research first. Please take a look at Uffe Ravnskov website about the cholesterol myth.   Also look at Dr Golumb’s UCSD website.

Vascular disease risk can be reduced greatly by eating a healthy diet and several studies have demonstrated the effect of the “Mediterranean Diet” in promoting longevity and the reduction of functional diseases. Consult with a Dietitian to come up with a healthy eating plan. Do work with one that is versed in reading blood tests as there are other markers that are better indicators for vascular disease than cholesterol. Having unhealthy blood cholesterol profiles may very well indicate that there are other problems underlying that need to be addressed. But treating cholesterol itself is not the answer to preventing disease. We need to broaden our scope and look at the wider picture. There is a lot more to a person’s health than a number on a blood test.

In Health,
George Mandler
Licensed Dietitian / Nutritionist
Licensed Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist
Maynard, MA & Cambridge, MA

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