Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Pharmacist: Beware of side effects when taking statins
If you’re one of the millions of people diagnosed with high cholesterol, you will more than likely be given a prescription “statin” pill. These work well to reduce cholesterol: lovastatin for Mevacor, atorvastatin for Lipitor, pravastatin for Pravachol, fluvastatin for Lescol, simvastatin for Zocor, pitavastatin for Livalo and rosuvastatin for Crestor.
Statins affect many pathways in the body. They are strong anti-inflammatories and are being tested for use in cancer patients. As for cholesterol reduction, they work by crushing a natural enzyme that would otherwise produce cholesterol. Statins do not suck out gooey cholesterol from your arteries, nor does it negate eating cheese fries. These drugs merely suppress new production of cholesterol.
A study published this month in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology titled “Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms” concluded, “The epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs.”
What an irony! The problem is that other studies have found similar disastrous effects on the heart. It has to do with mitochondrial dysfunction, which means that the little generators in your heart cells get sick.
Your heart requires thriving mitochondria in order to churn out ATP, your energy molecule. Statins are toxic to mitochondria because they deplete coenzyme Q10, which is needed for healthy mitochondria. Statins also deplete a special protein called Heme A that totes oxygen and iron to your heart.
The long-term depletion interrupts ATP production and leads to cellular fatigue among other major problems. You cannot survive long-term without adequate ATP production, so it needs to be restored. It can lead to fatigue, cramps, muscle weakness, memory loss, depression or cancer.
Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of vitamin K2, which we manufacture if we have healthy intestinal gut flora. K2 also comes from fermented veggies. It protects our arteries from calcium plaques or atherosclerosis. Without enough K2, statin-induced or not, we are compromised.
Today, we know statins block powerful selenium-containing proteins known as selenoproteins. The most famous is called glutathione peroxidase, which protects muscle tissue from free radical damage (oxidation).
What’s the busiest muscle in your body? It has to work 24/7. It’s your heart!
Your heart muscle cells are “burned” from all the oxidation (due to the impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis) and this is a factor in congestive heart failure.
If you have to take statins, please use the lowest dose possible. Be diligent about putting back the nutrients that statins interfere with, such as the coenzyme Q10, selenium, and vitamin K2, along with other heart-healthy nutrients. There are exceptions to taking these nutrients, so ask your doctor (yes, the same one that gave you the statin). Talk to your physician about dosages of these vitamins, because this is a highly individual.