Side Effects of Statin Drugs
Despite positive results in some patients, I’m troubled by several aspects of statin drugs, the powerful medication usually prescribed to help you maintain good cholesterol levels.
The most common side effects reported by statin users are:
- Muscle pain and weakness;
- Flu-like symptoms; and
- Generalized soreness.
Other side effects of statins include: liver dysfunction with elevation of the liver enzymes; problems of the nervous system such as a condition called peripheral neuropathy or polyneuropathy; and total global amnesia, which means forgetting where and who you are for a few minutes to several hours. (If LDL cholesterol levels get too low, they can interfere with neurotransmitter mechanisms in the brain.)
One of the many problems with statins is that they interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10, a natural substance that’s absolutely essential for cellular energy production. Such interference causes fatigue, muscle pain, and, as a Swiss study showed, subtle muscle cell damage—even without symptoms.
Given that the heart is made of muscle tissue, it’s not much of a stretch to think these drugs could lead to diastolic dysfunction and, subsequently, congestive heart failure. Research appears to verify the connection between statins, depletion of CoQ10, and congestive heart failure.
I would never take a statin without the added insurance of supplemental CoQ10. Anyone taking a statin drug for an appropriate reason should be chasing it down with a minimum of 200 mg of hydrosoluble CoQ10.
Adhering to a smart cholesterol lowering diet, like the PAMM diet I talk about so frequently, is a wonderful way to maintain healthy cholesterol. You’d be surprised by how just eating the right foods can help you lower your LDL cholesterol levels, while you increase HDL cholesterol levels.
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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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