Wondering if the Statin “Wonder” Drugs Are Actually Wonderful?

Wondering if the Statin “Wonder” Drugs Are Actually Wonderful? Since their arrival on the market in the 1980s, statins have been among the most prescribed drugs in the U.S., with about 17 million users.

Stains (Crestor®, Lipitor®, Mevacor®, Pavachol®, Vytorin®, Zocor®, etc.) are prescribed to help reduce blood cholesterol levels, thereby decreasing the risk of the heart attacks. They primarily work by inhibiting a liver enzyme called HMG Co-A reductase, thus reducing the liver’s ability to make cholesterol. However, the use of the so-called “wonder” drugs is now being questioned.  Why?  Often the side effects of prescription drugs are not discovered until they have been on the market for a long period of time.  While short-term side effects of statins were noted since their conception (muscle pain and weakness, liver damage, and digestive problems such as nausea, gas, diarrhea and constipation), the long-term side effects are just now being uncovered. 

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A study published on January 9, 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, revealed that the popular cholesterol-lowering statins increased the risk of developing diabetes in postmenopausal women by nearly 50%.[1] Interestingly, a 2011 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association[2] and a 2010 analysis in The Lancet[3] also noted the risk of diabetes development among statin users.

To further complicate their use, while statins decrease the amount cholesterol in the body, they also deplete the important CoQ10 that the body needs. CoQ10 (co-enzyme Q10) plays an essential role in the production of cellular energy. This is because CoQ10 aids in producing ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), a molecule that functions in body cells like a rechargeable battery by transferring energy.  Without energy, the cells cannot function.  Muscles use ATP to contract.  Neurons use ATP to send nerve signals.  Simply put, without ATP you could not move or think!

Furthermore, organs have higher energy requirements and need more CoQ10 in order to function properly. For example, the heart is especially susceptible to statin-associated CoQ10 depletion because of its extremely high energy demands.  Patients who experience heart failure often have low levels of the compound.

What should you do if you’re taking a statin drug? 

First, talk to your doctor if you notice any side effects. Second, consider supplementing a healthy diet with a daily dose of CoQ10.  In addition to its critically important role in energy production, CoQ10 has a possibly even greater role as a potent anti-oxidant, with the ability to quench free-radical damage almost up to 50 times greater than other vitamins.  And, one of the greatest benefits to taking CoQ10 is it may actually decrease blood glucose levels, thereby decreasing the risk of diabetes development.[4]

CoQ10 supplements are made from two primary sources – vitamin K and ubiquinol. Ubuquinol is the purest form of CoQ10 as it regenerates other antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Published research also shows that ubiquinol positively impacts cardiovascular health, renal health, and genes related to lipid (fat) metabolism and inflammation.  The bottom line – CoQ10 offers protection against side effects associated with statin use. Now, that really is “wonderful” news!


[1] Arch Intern Med.  2012;0(2012):20116231-9.

[2] JAMA. 2011;306(12):13251326.

[3] The Lancet.  2010;375(9716):735-742.

[4] Eur  J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;56(11):1137-42.

 

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Comments
  • I have a friend who has been taken ill, he has lost sfgniiicant muscle mass, feels weak, and has developed neurological difficulties.He has been told that it could be attributed to his taking statins,which were prescribed for control of cholesterol. Further, reports fould on Google describe similar side effects including an unexpected rise in incidence of ALS-type illnesses associated with statins I’m suspicious about statins now, and since some of the side effects described above are also reported in the literature that comes with the drugs,I have stopped taking my prescription of Vytorin. It occurs to me that the rage about cholesterol could be in part generated by the manufacturers, to promote the products.The side-effects notwithstanding. It also occurs to me that nature provides us with cholesterol for reasons other than to merely clog our arteries. Am I not throwing out the baby with the bathwater when I try to reduce my cholesterol when it is not at a dangerous level?

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