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Statins Promote Skeletal Muscle Damage

High Cholesterol Thermometer Bursting

Millions of people take statins to reduce their cholesterol levels and cut down their risk of heart attack. Statins are a class of drugs often prescribed by doctors to help lower plasma concentrations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Some of the types of statins available via prescription include atorvastatin (Lipitor), Fluvastatin (Lescol), Pravastatin (Lipostat), Simvastatin (Zocor), and Rosuvastatin (Crestor).

Statins are among the best selling drugs in the United States, raking in a whopping $14.5 billion in sales in 2008. However, numerous studies have shown that this class of drugs does more harm than good to patients using them. Statin use has been linked to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, memory loss, headache, rashes, liver damage, and skeletal muscle damage. Muscle weakness and pain are the most commonly reported side effects of statin therapy.

How Statins Cause Skeletal Muscle Disorders

In theory, statins act as a cholesterol lowering agent. This group of drugs works by inhibiting the activity of liver enzyme hydroxyl methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase that is responsible for the synthesis of cholesterol. The inhibition of the activity of this enzyme drastically reduces the endogenous production of cholesterol and its concentration in the blood. Statins also block the production of other essential bioactive compounds in the body.

Statin drugs inhibit not just the production of cholesterol, but a whole family of intermediary substances, many if not all of which have important biochemical functions in their own right. Statins inhibit the production of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient required for the proper functioning of the skeletal muscles, and turn on atrogen-1-gene which contributes to the development of muscle atrophy.

Safe Alternative to Statins

If you are one of the millions of Americans worried about having a heart attack, taking statin pills will not ease your worries. There is no scientific proof that statins prevent a first attack in both men and women. Current evidence suggests that only one type of statin, Lipitor (atorvastatin), may delay the occurrence of a second heart attack in men, but not in women.

Data extracted from the Engine 2 Immersions program run by Rip Esselstyn reveal that food choices and lifestyle habits largely determine the level of cholesterol found in the blood. A strict adherence to a diet devoid of cholesterol-rich foods, such as saturated fats, egg, meat, fish, and pastries and high in cholesterol-lowering plant-based foods, such as vegetables, beans, oats, and barley has been proven to cut down serum concentrations of cholesterol by 100 points for some participants in only 5 days at the Engine 2 Immersions.

Eating the right foods can decrease your cholesterol number and significantly cut down the risk of suffering from an heart attack. So why take a drug that has not been proven to be effective in reducing heart attack risk and also comes with a baggage of side effects, such as diabetes mellitus, memory loss, headache, liver damage,and skeletal muscle damage, when there is a better, healthy, and safer option of reducing your cholesterol levels and heart attack risk?

Additional Information:

(1) Statin and Myoglobin: How Muscle Pain and Weakness Progress to Heart, Lung, and Kidney Failure

(2) Investigating Myalgia in Patients Taking Statins

(3) NHS Choices- Statins

(4) Statins Increase Type 2 Diabetes Risk

(5) Effects of Statins on Skeletal Muscle: A Perspective for Physical Therapists

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