Serious Health Side Effects

Statin drugs (E.g. Lipitor® and Zocor®) work by arbitrarily inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase . . . which is necessary to manufacture cholesterol in the liver.

However, many body functions need cholesterol to function properly 

  • Cholesterol provides Cell membrane integrity – essential component of cell membranes (especially protective of nerve cells) ;
  • Cholesterol is a precursor for vitamin D, stress and sex hormones
  • Cholesterol is required for fat metabolism – raw material for bile salts;
  • Cholesterol is needed by brain serotonin receptors for emotional stability – its deficiency is linked to depression, higher suicide risk and aggressive emotions /actions. 
  • With a cholesterol level < 150 your body is going to run short of supply – a more optimum level is ~200.

For more information on the many reasons for having sufficient cholesterol, see – You Should Know – Cholesterol – what is it?

Statins also block the body’s production of CoQ10 – Since the enzyme MG-CoA reductase is also used to manufacture coenzyme Q10. Passi S et al, Statins lower plasma and lymphocyte ubiquinol/ubiquinone without affecting other antioxidants and PUFA, 2003

CoQ10 is the “spark” that your cell mitochondria need to produce ATP energy molecules from your food  and is also a major antioxidant in the body. Impaired mitochondrial function thus not only causes the body to produce less energy, it also increases levels of damaging free radicals in the mitochondria. The higher the statin dose and the longer duration of usage, the greater the effects on mitochondria.

What does this look like?  . . .

Evidence links statin use with: 

  1. Muscle pain/damage – The most common statin side effect is muscle pain felt as soreness, tiredness or weakness in your muscles; Various researchers estimate that ~1-8% of statin users will experience muscle pain and weakness as a side effect.
  2. Peripheral neuropathies – is muscle damage outside the CNS (spinal chord and brain) – symptoms include muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, pricking sensations, burning pain (especially at night) and/or sensitivity to touch. Left undiagnosed, neuropathy can lead to deterioration of the muscles and paralysis. This can affect throat muscles for swallowing, chest muscles for breathing, and let’s not forget that the heart is a muscle. A famous Danish study of neuropathy as a side effect to statin use concluded that a long-term user of statin drugs has a 4 -14 times greater risk of developing neuropathy than a person who does not take statin drugs.
  3. Converging evidence supports a mitochondrial foundation for muscle AEs (adverse effects) associated with statins, and both theoretical and empirical considerations suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may also underlie many non-muscle statin AEs.
  4. Evidence from RCTs (randomized controlled studies) and studies of other designs indicates existence of additional statin-associated AEs, such as cognitive loss, neuropathy, pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction”.  American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, 2009
  5. Rhabdomolysis – very rarely, statins can cause this life-threatening muscle damage  (~ 1 case per 15 million prescriptions), which can cause liver damage, kidney failure and death. When muscle fibers break down, the body must eliminate the excess waste products. The waste products then overload the kidneys; apart from muscle pain, the other major symptom of rhabdomyolysis is dark, red, or cola coloured urine
  6. Liver damage – Statins can cause your liver to increase its enzyme production; if the increase is significant and left to continue, this could lead to permanent liver damage. Concurrent use of other certain other cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as niacin, increase the risk of liver problems; In May 2000, the FDA warned about liver failure with regard to statin drugs;
  7. Tiredness – In mice experiments, administering statins lowered their ATP levels, and impaired energy metabolism;
  8. Statins can negate exercising benefits –  in a 2013 Duke University Medical Centre study Simvastatin attenuates increases in cardiorespiratory fitness and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content (higher content can beneficially increase cellular energy production) when combined with exercise training in overweight or obese patients at risk of metabolic syndrome.
  9. 37 overweight and sedentary participants (who had not exercised regularly for 12 months) with at least 2 metabolic syndrome symptoms such as high BP, excess abdominal fat and also somewhat elevated cholesterol levels were divided into two groups (a) Given 40 mg/day of simvastin (Zocor) or (b) Received no medication.After 12 weeks of being supervised doing 45 minutes/day walking or jogging on a treadmill 5 days/week (and being instructed not to change their diet), the results were almost unbelievable:
  10. “Low aerobic fitness is one of the best predictors of premature death. And if statins prevent people from raising their fitness through exercise, then that is a concern.” – John P. Thyfault, senior author of study 
  11. Mikus CR, Boyle LJ, Borengasser SJ, Oberlin DJ, Naples SP, Fletcher J, Meers GM, Ruebel M, Laughlin MH, Dellsperger KC, Fadel PJ, Thyfault JP. Simvastatin impairs exercise training adaptations. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Apr 10. pii: S0735-1097(13)01403-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2013.02.074. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed  Memory impairment, ALS, some psychiatric disturbances – Cognitive problems and memory loss are widely reported. Potential Effect of Statin Drugs on Pilot Performance; 
  12. Sexual dysfunction
  13. Cancer – Risk of cancer is significantly associated with lower achieved LDL-C levels, which low levels may in part offset any cardiovascular benefits. Journal of the American College of Cardiology July 31, 2007; 50:409-418

Statin Producers Know that Statins Deplete CoQ10, but keep it hushed

  1. Two U.S. patents describe a method for counteracting statin-associated myopathy and potential liver damage by concurrent administration of the statins with CoQ10 – Although U.S. package inserts and marketing material do not mention the statins-CoQ10 link; both of these patents were assigned to Merck & Co. (manufacturer of Zocor). However, for 20 years, the producers of statin drugs have not acted upon this information and have failed to reveal the statin-CoQ10 connection to millions of statin users and to the medical community.
  2.  Merck® patent prevents addition of CoQ10 to statin drugs – since 1989, Merck has held US Patent No. 4,933,165 for the addition of CoQ10 to its anti-cholesterol drugs lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor) and pravastatin, in order to counteract the side effects resulting from a dramatic CoQ10 deficiency in the human body. However, to date, Merck has not used this patent, which also prevents other companies from doing so.
  3. Another unused Merck® patent is blocking the use of CoQ10 for the purpose of counteracting liver damage – US Patent No. 4,929,437.