Do Not Take Another Statin Drug to Lower Your Cholesterol Until You Read This!

Collectively the revenues generated by statin cholesterol lowering drugs, like Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, and Pravachol are in excess of 10 billion dollars a year!

Is taking these drugs a risk unto itself? The answer is a resounding….YES!

Though these drugs are shown to reduce certain cardiovascular risks in people who have cardiovascular risk factors such as; hypertension, low HDL cholesterol, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, physicians are now recommending these drugs to people who don’t have any of these risks despite the fact that few if any studies show that there are any long-term benefits in people who have no cardiovascular risk factors.

The way statin drugs work is by blocking an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) that interferes with the synthesis of cholesterol. The fact that cholesterol is an essential building block of cellular membranes and that the average person who lives to be 100 years old or more, usually has much higher than recommended levels of total cholesterol, raises some very interesting questions and will be addressed in a subsequent article.

So where does the risk come in? Well, in blocking the action of HMG-CoA reductase, the statin drugs also block the synthesis of a compound necessary for production of energy in the muscles (including the heart muscles) and for other crucial bodily functions!

The compound, Co-Enzyme Q10 is an essential nutrient that is involved in energy production that occurs in the mitochondria. (The energy producing factories in our cells). The heart requires high levels of Co-Q10.

Side effects of CoQ-10 deficiency

Statin drugs often cause muscle pain and weakness. This is a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. Often because many people taking statin drugs are older, they think the pain is due to something else like arthritis, or soreness from exercise and very often goes unreported.

Rhabdomyolysis, if severe, can result in death related to acute kidney failure. The statin drug, Baycol, caused dozens of deaths due to rhabdomyolysis and was taken off the market.

Though not present on the labels of statin drugs when they were first released, all statin drug labels now carry the following warning – “Unexplained muscle pain and weakness could be a sign of a rare but serious side effect and should be reported to your doctor right away.”

Not So Rare

Dr. Beatrice Golomb of San Diego, California, reported in her study findings, that contrary to the 2-3 % that the pharmaceutical industry reports for occurrence of muscle pain, that as many as 98% on some statin drugs experience this problem.

Memory Loss

Some patients taking statin drugs report memory loss and inability to concentrate. Accumulated data indicates that 50% of these cognitive issues occur within 5-60 days of starting statin treatment. Though most patients seem to recover after stopping the drug, it seems a small percentage may not. The actual percentage of statin users who experience these cognitive issues is not well established.

Nerve Pain and Dysfunction

It is estimated that 10-20% of people taking statin drugs will get neuropathy, resulting in feelings of fatigue, pain while walking and nerve tingling. A study from Denmark reported that long-term use of statin drugs (2 years or more) could increase the risk of developing neuropathy from 400-1400%. Individuals who are highly susceptible could experience neuropathy much sooner.

I urge my readers who are taking statin drugs to lower their cholesterol to supplement a minimum of 100 mg. per day of Co-Q. For those of you who are in major discomfort or have other heart issues regarding function or blood pressure, 300 mg. per day of Co-Q-10 is recommended.

Yours in health, and education,

Curt Hendrix M.S. C.N.S.  C.C.N.

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