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Side Effects of Statins
One in four Americans over the age of 45 now takes cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins, typically for the primary prevention of heart attacks and strokes.
Not only is their benefit for preventing heart disease highly questionable, but these drugs come with an avalanche of potential side effects, so much so that new research showed a staggering number of patients stop taking them entirely.
Half of Those Taking Statins Quit
A recent study of more than 100,000 people who’d been prescribed statins from 2000 to 2008 found that 17 percent of patients reported side effects such as muscle pain, nausea, and liver and nervous system problems.1
Two-thirds of those who reported side effects quit taking the drugs, and, the study found, half of those prescribed statins quit taking them at least temporarily, while 20 percent quit for more than a year.
The researchers noted that many of the side effects are “tolerable” or specific to only one statin, not the entire class, suggesting that people can remain on the drugs or switch to a different statin if problems arise. But the truth is that many statin side effects are quite serious.
Oftentimes statins do not have any immediate side effects, and they are quite effective at lowering cholesterol levels by 50 points or more (which may not actually have any impact on your heart disease risk). This makes it appear as though they're benefiting your health, and health problems that develop later on are frequently misinterpreted as new and unrelated health problems.
Diabetes, Fatal Kidney Damage and Other Possible Statin Side Effects
With well over 30 million Americans now taking statin drugs, we're witnessing a massive ongoing 'live' experiment, and many are putting their health on the line for drugs that offer little in the way of heart protection. Just last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would be requiring additional warning labels for statin drugs. Among them are warnings that statins may increase your risk of:
Memory loss and confusion
Type 2 diabetes
Muscle weakness (for certain statins)
Statins have also been shown to increase your risk of diabetes via a number of different mechanisms. The most important one is that they increase insulin resistance, which can be extremely harmful to your health.
Increased insulin resistance contributes to chronic inflammation in your body, and inflammation is the hallmark of most diseases, including heart disease, which, ironically, is the primary reason for taking a cholesterol-reducing drug in the first place. It can also promote belly fat, high blood pressure, heart attacks, chronic fatigue, thyroid disruption, and diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and cancer.
Earlier this year new research also found that taking higher doses of the statins simvastatin (Zocor), atorvastatin (Lipitor) or rosuvastatin (Crestor) increases your risk of acute kidney injury by 34 percent, a condition that can be fatal. Some experts are now urging that people on statins have an assessment of their kidney risks, similar to what used to be recommended regarding liver function.
Due to statins' potential to increase liver enzymes and cause liver damage, it used to be recommended that patients be monitored for normal liver function.
The FDA removed this long-standing warning in 2012 and ruled that patients taking statins no longer need routine monitoring of liver enzymes, but instead can have liver enzymes tested before starting the drugs, and then only as clinically needed, which seems reprehensibly irresponsible. In all, statin drugs have been directly linked to over 300 side effects.
Statins Might Make Your Heart Health Worse
The biggest “sham” of all is that statin drugs, which millions are taking as a form of “preventive medicine” to protect their heart health, can have detrimental effects on your heart. Take a study in the journal Atherosclerosis,4 which showed that statin use is associated with a 52 percent increased prevalence and extent of calcified coronary plaque compared to non-users. Coronary artery calcification is the hallmark of potentially lethal heart disease!
One of the primary mechanisms of harm appears to be CoQ10 depletion. If you take statin drugs without supplementing with CoQ10 (or ideally, the reduced form, called ubiquinol, which is far more effective), your health is at serious risk. CoQ10 is used by every cell in your body, but especially your heart cells. Cardiac muscle cells have up to 200 times more mitochondria, and hence 200 times higher CoQ10 requirements, than skeletal muscle.
Premature aging is yet another side effect of statin drugs, and it's also a primary side effect of having too little CoQ10. Deficiency in this nutrient also accelerates DNA damage, and because CoQ10 is beneficial to heart health and muscle function this depletion leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness and heart failure.
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