The Side Effects of Statin Drugs

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Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/24/2014

The Side Effects of Statin Drugs

Despite positive results in some patients, I’m troubled by the side effects of statin drugs, the powerful medication usually prescribed to help you maintain good cholesterol levels.

Common Side Effects of Statin Drugs

  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Generalized soreness

Other statin drug side effects 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 statin medications 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 statin medications 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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