Don’t you find it strange that a class of drugs that has questionable science and offers poor stated outcomes (prevention of heart disease in patient with just “high” cholesterol) would still be prescribed in such an amount that over a quarter of the US population over 45 is taking it? What drug class am I referring to? Statin drugs, the pharmaceutical industry’s leading money-maker, largely due to relentless advertising. The aim of statin drugs is to lower cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which plays a central role in the production of cholesterol in the liver (which produces about 70 percent of total cholesterol in the body).
A recent study found the statin advertising might be driving high cholesterol over diagnosis and over-treatment. If you think about it, the incidence of heart disease is not decreasing despite a large portion of the US population taking statins. A study from Sweden shows a similar lack of effectiveness.  What does that tell you about wisdom of continuing advocate the promotion of statin drug usage?
Unfortunately, due in part to the popularity of statin drugs, my office is seeing large number of people calling in to find help for peripheral neuropathy. ,  One of the so-called side effects of statin drugs is the development of nerve and muscle damage. 
As aptly questioned by LiveInTheNow.com, “Have the nerve-damaging properties of statin drugs now been confirmed? There are over 300 adverse health effects associated with the use of this chemical class of cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins, with myotoxicity (muscle-damaging) and neurotoxicity (nerve-damaging) top on the list. When will the FDA step in and warn the public, as proof of the problem in the biomedical literature reaches an alarming level of clarity?” 
In all, statin drugs have been directly linked to over 300 side effects, including:
- Cognitive loss
- Frequent fevers
- Sexual dysfunction
- An increase in cancer risk
- Pancreatic dysfunction
- Immune system suppression
- Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis, a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition
- Hepatic dysfunction (Patients must be monitored for normal liver function due to the potential increase in liver enzymes,)
Probably one of the most dreaded of all of these side effects is cognitive impairment. Cognitive impairment is defined as when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Cognitive impairment ranges from mild to severe. With mild impairment, people may begin to notice changes in cognitive functions, but still be able to do their everyday activities. Severe levels of impairment can lead to losing the ability to understand the meaning or importance of something and the ability to talk or write, resulting in the inability to live independently.
In case you were not aware of all the names of the statin drugs, here is a table listing them.
In 2012 the FDA decided to require statin drugs manufacturers to add “memory loss” as a side effect of this chemical class, a new study in published in the Journal of Diabetes reveals a clear association between statin use and peripheral neuropathy in a US population 40 years of age and older.
The study found “The prevalence of peripheral neuropathy was significantly higher among those who used statins compared to those who did not (23.5% vs. 13.5%; p < 0.01),” which is a 75% increase in relative risk. 
- Liver injury
- Muscle damage
- Memory Loss
Besides the cautious warnings provided by the FDA, over 900 studies prove that statin drugs – HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors blocking liver enzymes from making cholesterol – actually cause muscle problems and even increased cancer risk. Worse, while millions take statins to “protect their heart health,” these drugs are clinically proven to be detrimental. In fact, a 2012 study in the journal Atherosclerosis linked statin use with a 52 percent increase in calcified coronary plaque incidence – the hallmark of death via heart disease!
Statins Can Even Undo the Benefits of Exercise 
New research by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reveals that while exercise is one of the best things you can do to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, statin drugs negate most of the benefits, making people even less fit than before.
The New York Times reported:
“(Statin) drugs routinely are prescribed for those with high cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease … those who are sedentary, overweight, middle-aged… are also the people most likely to be put on statins, possibly undoing some of the good of their workouts.”
Trial participants included 37 overweight, sedentary individuals with metabolic problems, divided into two groups: One group was given daily 40-mg doses of simvastatin (Zocor); the other group received no medication. After a supervised 12-week exercise program:
- Unmedicated volunteers improved their aerobic fitness by more than 10 percent. Mitochondrial content activity increased by 13 percent.
- Volunteers taking the statins improved their fitness by an average of 1.5 percent, although some had reduced aerobic capacity. Mitochondrial content activity decreased by 4.5 percent.
Senior study author John P. Thyfault, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, noted: “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.”
How Statins Might Damage Your Heart 
The key to understanding this phenomenon lies in understanding what statins do to your mitochondria — the energy chamber of your cells, responsible for all metabolic functions. The primary fuel for your mitochondria, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), is one of the primary mechanisms of harm from statins, related to CoQ10 depletion.
A 2011 review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism observed that exercise induces mitochondrial enzyme changes, which can increase cellular energy production and decrease chronic disease risk.
Researchers stated: “Increasing evidence now suggests that exercise can induce mitochondrial biogenesis in a wide range of tissues not normally associated with the metabolic demands of exercise. Perturbations [changes] in mitochondrial content and (or) function have been linked to a wide variety of diseases, in multiple tissues, and exercise may serve as a potent approach by which to prevent and (or) treat these pathologies.”
Increasing mitochondrial activity is crucial, because free radicals from toxic exposures to chemicals, pollutants, etc., can overwhelm your body’s defenses, leading to:
- Oxidative cell and tissue damage
- Destroyed cellular proteins, lipids and DNA
- Lowered threshold for physical exercise
- Impaired ability to utilize carbohydrates and fat for energy
- Insulin resistance
- Excessive weight gain
- Accelerated aging
Statins Deplete a Vital Nutrient Your Body Needs 
There’s more bad news for those taking statin drugs. Statins severely deplete levels of CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which puts your heart in grave danger, because it needs CoQ10 for optimal performance. A Columbia University study found that within 30 days of statin therapy, your levels of CoQ10 can be decreased by half.Not only does CoQ10 help your heart, it boosts energy throughout your system and helps fight fatigue. In addition, CoQ10 helps to reduce muscle-related pain and weakness, which are major side effects of statin drugs.
If You’re on a Statin Drug, You MUST Take CoQ10…
A recent study in the European Journal of Pharmacology showed ubiquinol (co-enzyme Q10) effectively rescued cells from damage caused by the statin drug simvastatin, thereby protecting muscle cells from myopathies.
If you take a statin drug without CoQ10 supplementation — or ideally, the far more effective reduced form, Ubiquinol — 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 therefore 200 times more CoQ10 requirements.
Premature aging, another side effect of statin drugs and too little CoQ10, accelerates DNA damage, leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness and, ultimately, heart failure.
A recent study found that, compared to those given a placebo, patients with statin-associated myopathy who took CoQ10 and selenium supplementation experienced significantly less pain, fatigue and muscle weakness.
How to Optimize Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally
Too little cholesterol increases your risk for cancer, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, suicide, and violent behavior.
The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is natural – via diet and exercise. My primary recommendations for cholesterol regulation include:
- Eliminating grains and fructose from your diet. Your blood type and other factors as determined with specific testing can be used to help determine your ideal diet.
- Eat more of your food raw.
- Be sure to include naturally fermented foods to your diet. One easy way to prepare home made brine fermented foods is with the Perfect Pickler device, right on your kitchen counter.
- Start intermittent fasting to radically improve your ability to burn fat as your primary fuel while improving your insulin and leptin signaling.
- Get plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil, and reduce your consumption of trans fats and vegetable oils.
- Include heart-healthy foods in your diet: olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
If you’re currently taking a statin drug and are worried about the side effects, particularly peripheral neuropathy and memory loss, please consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who can help you to optimize your heart health naturally, without the use of these dangerous drugs.
When you locate the cause or causes, many times you can work on eliminating or ameilorating your symptoms by natural means.
For more details about the natural approach I take with my patients, take a look a the book I wrote entitled: Reclaim Your Life; Your Guide To Revealing Your Body's Life-Changing Secrets For Renewed Health. It is available in my office or at Amazon and many other book outlets.
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ALL THE BEST – DR. KARL R.O.S. JOHNSON, DC – DIGGING DEEPER TO FIND SOLUTIONS
3. Pavel Otruba, Petr Kanovsky, Petr Hlustik. Treatment with statins and peripheral neuropathy: results of 36-months a prospective clinical and neurophysiological follow-up. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2011 Sep 3 ;32(5):688-690. Epub 2011 Sep 3. PMID: 22167150