In addition, researchers found the drugs block a process that protects the heart.
This can “cause, or worsen, heart failure”, according to a study.
The lead author says: “I cannot find any evidence to support people taking statins.”
Now Professor Harumi Okuyama, whose team studied a series of more than 20 major research papers on the drugs, says they could cause heart disease.
Dr Okuyama, of Nagoya City University, Japan, said: “We have collected a wealth of information on cholesterol and statins from many published papers and find overwhelming evidence that these drugs accelerate hardening of the arteries and can cause, or worsen, heart failure. I cannot find any evidence to support people taking statins and patients who are on them should stop.”
The researchers say the hypothesis that statins protect the heart by lowering cholesterol is flawed and that high cholesterol is not necessarily linked to heart disease.
They also found statins have a negative effect on vital body processes linked to heart health.
They discovered patients taking the drugs were more likely to have calcium deposits in their arteries, a phenomenon directly linked to heart attacks.
This is because statins block a molecule needed for the body to produce a vital K vitamin, which prevents calcification of the arteries.
Dr Okuyama and his team say many earlier industry-sponsored studies, which show the benefits of statins, are unreliable.
More on this latest statin study here.