The Serious Dangers of Statins
According to the big pharmaceutical companies (who by the way, made a staggering $33 Billion dollars in statin sales worldwide last year – Pfizer’s Lipitor alone earned $13.6 million), statin drugs are “miracle” medicines that have prevented countless heart attacks and strokes.
A different story is told however by a recent study published in the British Medical Journal (and not to mention by all the patients who have suddenly or gradually lost their minds, muscle, liver, or eyesight while on the drug).
The study looked at 2,004,692 patients aged 30-84 years old (including 225,922 new statin users) and found that statin use was associated with moderate or serious liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, moderate or serious myopathy (muscle disease), and cataract.
In fact for every heart attack the drug prevented, more people suffered liver damage, kidney failure, cataracts or extreme muscle weakness as a result of taking their statin.
These are some serious statistics!
But it seems even the study’s researchers acknowledge the power of the pill peddling drug companies, stating that these findings are unlikely to affect the use of the best-selling statin medicines.
Rather, the authors recommend that patients taking statins should be “proactively monitored” for side effects.
This seems quite the minimal response to scientific evidence that shows statins actually harm more people than they help.
What?? Statins harm more people than they help? That can’t be correct! Why have they flooded the market if they’re so dangerous?
It appears the only explanation for the widespread over-prescription of statins is that they bring in the big bucks.
Julia Hippisley-Cox and Carol Coupland who led the 2010 British Medical Journal study on statins found that for every 10,000 women treated with statins, there were only 271 fewer cases of heart disease compared to an extra 74 cases of liver damage, 23 cases of acute kidney failure, 39 cases of extreme muscle weakness and 307 cases of cataracts.
In other words, statins literally harmed 443 people, while ‘helping’ 271 people.
Dangerous Side Effects
In a 2004 interview with Beatrice Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of California, regarding statins, Dr. Golomb said that “from the reports that come into us, people are experiencing severe muscle weakness, which is also linked to cognitive problems.”
Those cognitive problems include everything from the inability to recall names or balance a checkbook to forgetting whole episodes. The concern, says Dr. Golomb, is that statins haven’t been adequately studied for their harmful effects.
And studies that are showing dangerous side effects of statin use, aren’t being taken seriously enough.
Side effects experienced can be the result of low cholesterol, CoEnzyme Q10 deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency caused by the statin medications.
Just to clarify, you did not misread the above paragraph – chronic low cholesterol can be detrimental to your health.
Contrary to popular belief, endless pharmaceutical campaigns and uneducated discussions about putting statins in our water supply (of all the unethical, nonsensical, hazardous…) cholesterol actually plays an important role in maintaining health.
We Actually Need Cholesterol
Every cell membrane in our body contains cholesterol because cholesterol is what makes our cells waterproof.
Without cholesterol we could not have a different biochemistry on the inside and the outside of the cell.
When cholesterol levels are too low, the cell membrane can become ‘leaky’, a situation the body interprets as an emergency, releasing a whole heap of corticoid hormones that work by taking cholesterol from one part of the body and transporting it to areas where it is lacking.
Cholesterol is the body’s repair substance. Cholesterol also regulates proper hormonal levels and is the precursor substance for the production of vitamin D.
It is no wonder then that people who take cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are becoming vitamin D deficient.
In a recent study, researchers found a clear connection between vitamin D deficiency and muscle pain. Over 64 percent of patients with muscle pain who were taking statin drugs were also deficient in vitamin D. Those with muscle pain in general were also found to be deficient in vitamin D.
When study participants who reported muscle pain were given 50,000 IU of vitamin D a week for 12 weeks, more than 92 percent of them were completely relieved of all muscle pain.
It is also known that statins are responsible for depleting CoQ10 levels, a vital substance that is necessary for cellular energy production (not to mention cardiovascular health).
Both CoQ10 and vitamin D supplementation should be recommended for anyone who takes statin drugs.
“We are now in a position to witness the unfolding of the greatest medical tragedy of all time – never before in history has the medical establishment knowingly created a life threatening nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise healthy people.”
– Peter H. Langsjoen, MD
Cholesterol also works to digest and absorb fats, nutrients, and vitamins and is essential to proper neurological function. It plays a vital role in the formation of memory and the uptake of hormones in the brain, including serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical.
Research recently published in American Chemical Society’s weekly journal Biochemistry suggests that chronic, low cholesterol levels in the brain might trigger anxiety and depression due to the effect of statins on serotonin cell receptors.
Interestingly, certain higher cholesterol levels can be beneficial in some cases according to a report in the December 2010 issue of Archives of Neurology, which found that high levels of HDL (also known as “good cholesterol”) appear to be associated with a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.
Considering the importance of a healthy balance of cholesterol in the body and the dangers of statin use, it is relevant to note studies such as a recent John Hopkins trial that shows statin treatment may be over-prescribed in healthy people.
It makes you wonder whether the goal of the pharmaceutical industry is to promote public health or to sell more drugs.
There is no doubt that it is significantly easier to prescribe a medication than it is to teach somebody how to live a healthy lifestyle, but if we look to the research and clinical findings around statin drugs would we think twice about taking / prescribing this medication?
Seven Deadly Sins of Statins:
- Deplete ubiquinone (CoEnzyme Q10) in the body
- Change, weaken, damage or destroy muscle (depending on dose and other drugs you may be taking) and may induce muscle pain
- May induce sudden total memory loss and are linked to nerve damage
- Increase eye cataract risk
- Are linked with elevated transaminase (indicator of liver and kidney damage)
- Would be expected to interfere with any function that depends on cholesterol or CoEnzyme Q10 status (e.g. sex hormone production, proper digestion, hair growth, sleep, proper brain and nerve function, energy production etc.)
- Are prescribed to millions creating a 33 billion dollar market worldwide
More than 20 million prescriptions are written in Australia each yearfor statin drugs.
Statin drugs are a class of drugs that are reputedfor lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing theproduction of cholesterol by the liver.
In effect, these drugs blockthe enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol.
Statin drugs have an unfortunately long list of known side-effects anddangers. People who take statins have suffered severe healthconsequences, including permanent damage to their liver, muscles andnervous system. Other side-effects include:
- Irritability and short tempers
- Homicidal impulses
- Rapid loss of mental clarity
- Kidney failure
- Muscle aching/weakness
- Tingling or cramping in legs
- Impaired muscle formation
- Nerve damage
- Mental confusion
- Liver damage and abnormalities
- Destruction of CoQ10 levels
It’s a huge price to pay for trying to lower your cholesterol -especially when altering diet, nutrition and physical exercise willautomatically lower your cholesterol, without the dangerousside-effects other than improved health.
And don’t forget natural medicines! There are many products that can safely and naturally balance your cholesterol levels effectively.
Emed stocks a great range of top-quality fish oil supplements thatwill help to boost your health and reduce your cholesterol levels. Click here to visit Emed’s Best Fish Oils.
Combining fish oil and krill oil with a specific cholesterol-fighting natural medicine, like MH Enhance CholestaHealth or Metagenics Cholesstanol will help to reduceyour cholesterol levels, reduce your need for statin drugs and leaveyou feeling better. Click on the links below to find out more.
What Else Can I Do?
If you are taking a statin drug then you MUST take a CoQ10 supplement. Statin drugs leachthis important enzyme from our body, which can lead to seriousconsequences like heart disease or heart attacks, not to mention all the side effects mentioned earlier. Click here to view Emed’s Best Co-Enzyme Q10 supplements.
You may also want to get your vitamin D levels checked. If levels are not optimal, consider supplementing with Emed’s Best Vitamin D products.
- Cholesterol Lowering Nutrition
- The Great Statin Catalyst Controversy – The Real Story On Fats, Cholesterol and Your Health
- Fish Oil, Statin Drugs & Heart Attacks
- Health Promoting Nutrition
- High Dose Statin Limited in US Due to Muscle Damage
A. A. Alsheikh-Ali, R. H. Karas. ‘Balancing the intended and unintended effects of statins’. BMJ, 2010; 340 (may194): c2240.
Christiane Reitz et al. ‘Association of Higher Levels ofHigh-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Elderly Individuals and LowerRisk of Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease‘. Arch Neurol., 2010;67(12):1491-1497.
Hippisley-Cox, J & Coupland, C 2010, ‘Unintended effects of statins in men and women in England and Wales: population based cohort study using the QResearch database‘, BMJ, vol. 340, c2197.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (2010, November 17). ‘Statin RX maybe overprescribed in healthy people without evidence of diseasedarteries, study suggests’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
King, DS. Pharmacotherapy 25(12):1663-7, Dec, 2003.
Melissa Siig. Life After Lipitor: Is Pfizer product a quick fix or dangerous drug? Residents experience adverse reactions. Tahoe World, January 29, 2004.
Sandeep Shrivastava, Thomas J. Pucadyil, Yamuna Devi Paila, Sourav Ganguly, Amitabha Chattopadhyay. ‘Chronic Cholesterol Depletion Using Statin Impairs the Function and Dynamics of Human Serotonin1AReceptors‘, Biochemistry, 2010; 49 (26): 5426