Want to flip a coin on your health?
Researchers assessing the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs found that they didn’t work for 51% of the 165,000 patients studied (statins have to reduce LDL cholesterol levels by 40% after two years to be considered effective).
We’ve reported previously about the many side effects and dangers of taking statins. We’ve also pointed out that conventional thinking supporting statins—lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol as a means of preventing cardiovascular disease—is outdated. With one in four Americans over the age of 40 taking a statin, there are a lot of people out there spending money on a dangerous drug that is not providing any benefit.
Will doctors change their prescribing practices based on this information? It doesn’t seem so. Statins make tens of billions of dollars a year for the drug industry, and the market is growing. Statin use among adults over the age of 40 increased almost 80% between 2002 and 2013.
Statins are used to lower cholesterol, which presumably lowers the risk of heart disease. This ignores the fact that cholesterol is vital to human health—in fact, the real danger is that our cholesterol levels can get too low as we age! Even so-called “bad” cholesterol is essential.
Here are some of the side effects you could be in for if you take a statin:
- Statins interfere with the production of coenzyme Q10, which supports the body’s immune and nervous systems, boosts heart and other muscle health, maintains normal blood pressure, and much more.
- Statins weaken the immune system, make it difficult to fight off bacterial infections, and increase the production of cytokines, which trigger and sustain inflammation.
- They make some patients unable to concentrate or remember words, and are linked to muscle and neurological problems, including Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
- Statins inhibit the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids by promoting the metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids, which increases insulin resistance and the risk of developing diabetes.
- There is evidence that statin use blocks the benefits of exercise. Exercise increases the activity and numbers of mitochondria, cells’ “power plants” that process sugars and fat. The study found that with statin use, mitochondrial activity actually decreases with exercise.
- Statins work by reducing the body’s ability to produce cholesterol, which is essential to brain health—the brain is 2% of the body’s weight, but contains 25% of the entire body’s cholesterol.
As always, please consult with a doctor (preferably integrative) before making changes to medications.