Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
29 Jul

The Evidence Continues to Mount Against Statins

statinAlthough statins get a lot of flak in the Primal health community, you have to hand it to them. They may not cure cancer, or single-handedly save the economy and bring back all the jobs, or render entire populations totally immune to cardiovascular disease, but they do exactly what they’re meant to do: lower cholesterol. And they’re very good at what they do. You want lower LDL without changing what you eat or how much you exercise, or trying that crazy meditation stuff? Take a statin. Do you want to hit the target lipid numbers to lower your insurance premium? Take a statin.

Except that statins lower cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, a crucial enzyme located upstream on the cholesterol synthesis pathway. If that were all HMG-CoA reductase did for us, that’s one thing. At least we’d know what we were getting ourselves into when we filled the prescription. But the “cholesterol pathway” isn’t isolated. Many other things happen along and branch off from the same pathway.

Some would deem those other products of the pathway inconsequential when you have the opportunity to lower cholesterol. Okay; that’s a normal reaction given the widespread hysteria surrounding blood lipids. Still, I maintain that we should give the benefit of the doubt to our physiology and assume the unfoldment of the body’s processes happens for a reason, even when we’re unaware of the “benefits” or existence of a particular process. There are a lot of moving parts in the meat sack your consciousness calls home. Probably a good idea to let them happen, or at least know what’s going on down there.

What else is downstream of HMG-CoA reductase?

CoQ10: Statins block CoQ10 synthesis. Because CoQ10 production is downstream from HMG-CoA reductase, statins interfere. This is a problem, for CoQ10 is an endogenous antioxidant and vital participant in the generation of cellular energy. It helps us generate ATP to power our cells, tissues, and structures. Muscle contractions require it. Deficiencies in CoQ10 have been linked to heart failure and high blood pressure. Luckily, supplemental CoQ10 is both widely available and, according to many studieseffective at countering some of the muscle-wasting effects of statins.

Squalene: Since squalene is the precursor to cholesterol, blocking squalene production is an expressed purpose of statin therapy. Good if you want to lower cholesterol at all costs, bad if you enjoy the antioxidant effects of squalene.

Vitamin K2: Statins interfere with vitamin K biosynthesis. The pathway inhibited by statin use is the same pathway used to convert vitamin K into vitamin K2, which is protective against cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, the sites in the body where statin-related adverse effects predominate – the brain, kidney, pancreatic beta cells, and muscles – also happen to be typical storage sites for vitamin K2.

Vitamin D: Since vitamin D synthesis in the skin upon UV exposure requires cholesterol, statins may impair it. This hasn’t been studied yet, save for one short term study where statin users’ vitamin D levels were monitored for a month. Although no changes were noted, changes in CoQ10 production take months to appear after statin therapy and vitamin D production may require a similar time frame to show changes.

Testosterone: Steroid hormone production is also dependent on cholesterol, and statin therapy is associated with a small but significant reduction in circulating testosterone levels in men.

What are some possible side effects of statin therapy?

Statins may cause myalgia, or muscle pain. If you listen to anecdotes from people who’ve taken statins, this is probably the most common side effect. On the other hand, most clinical trials suggest that muscle pain is rare. What can explain this discrepancy? Mild symptoms… such as fatigue, myalgias, or mildly elevated CK (creatine kinase, a marker of muscle damage), are usually not reported to the US Food and Drug Administration in a drug’s postmarketing period,” suggesting that “clinical trial estimates of these adverse events are an underestimation of the real world event rate.” In some cases, statins even lead to rhabdomyolysis, a severe, often fatal type of muscle damage which overloads the kidneys with broken down muscle protein.

Statins impair adaptations to exercise. When you add statins to an aerobic exercise routine, the normal improvements in cardiovascular fitness and mitochondrial function are attenuated (PDF). Furthermore, due to the possibility of musculoskeletal pain and/or injury, exercise also becomes less attractive and enjoyable. It’s no fun working out – or even going for a walk – when you ache all over.

Statins increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. In a recent study, statin users (characterized by use of a statin for at least 90 days) were more likely than non-users to develop musculoskeletal pain, injuries (dislocations, strains, tears, sprains), and diseases. Another study found similar results for statin use and osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and chondropathies.

Statins increase fatigue. In one recent study, a group of over 1000 healthy men and women aged 20 and older took either statins or placebo. Those taking statins reported reductions in overall everyday energy and the amount of energy they were able to muster during exercise. These effects were more pronounced in women taking the drug.

Statins increase the risk of diabetes, with stronger statins having a greater effectThree mechanisms have been proposed. First, statins reduce glucose tolerance and induce both hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia. Second, certain statins change how insulin is secreted by pancreatic beta cells. Third, the reduction in CoQ10 impairs cellular function all over the body, leading to dysfunction. These are features of statins. They may not all lead to full blown diabetes, but these mechanisms occur uniformly across statin users to varying degrees, and the longer you adhere to your statin therapy the greater the risk.

Statins may increase the risk of certain cancers. Amidst flashy, misleading headlines claiming that statins could lower the risk of breast cancer based entirely on an association between high cholesterol levels and breast cancer from a study that didn’t even examine statins, we have long term usage of statins actually increasing breast cancer rates in women and overall cancer mortality in the elderly enough to offset the reduction in cardiovascular mortality.

Everything we know we only know because the pharmaceutical companies deign to provide it.

They control the flow of information. They have the raw data and release only the published research that’s been picked clean and gone over with a fine tooth comb. Actually, we don’t know what’s happening, what’s been removed, and what’s been omitted because we don’t have access to it. Seeing as how pharmaceutical companies have both the opportunity and motive to omit or downplay unfavorable results, I’m not confident we’re getting the whole story on statin side effects. For one thing, large statin trials will often have a “run-in period” where people who show poor tolerance of the drug are eliminated from inclusion in the full trial. That’s just crazy. We need trials specifically looking at, or at least including, the statin-intolerant. Side effects certainly are rare when you exclude the people who are most likely to have them.

Okay, okay. Even with the potential for side effects, surely the benefit to heart health makes it all worthwhile. Right?

It depends.

Even though statins can reduce mortality from heart disease in certain populations, they consistently fail to reduce all-cause mortality in everyone but people with an established clinical history of heart disease. For primary prevention in people without prior history of heart disease, even those considered to be at the “highest risk” (high LDL and such), statins do not reduce all-cause mortality. Same goes for the elderly (who seem to suffer more depression and cognitive decline when taking statins). Nor do statins lower the total number of serious adverse events (PDF), which include death (from any cause), hospital admissions, hospital stays, permanent disability, and cancer.  That’s the story, time and time again. You might be less likely to die from a heart attack, but you’re more likely to die from something else. It’s a wash in the end – unless you have prior history of heart disease/attacks. 

What does this mean for you?

If you’re currently on statins and notice any of the possible side effects listed above, talk to your doctor about cycling off. Your doctor works for you, not the other way around. Express your concerns, come armed with a few studies printed out, and suggest a trial period without statins to see how you respond under his or her guidance. Keep them apprised of your status with frequent updates. Turn it into an N=1 self experiment. Maybe it becomes a case study, even. Maybe you change your doc’s mind about the realities of statin side effects; good documentation tends to do that. Or maybe you realize that statins weren’t the problem after all.

Statins may not hurt you. They may even help, if you’ve already had a heart attack and you’re not elderly. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take them. I’m only suggesting that if you’re experiencing any of the issues mentioned above, you should probably consider not taking them with the help of your doctor to see if they resolve. And if your doctor is pushing you to take statins because of some mildly elevated cholesterol numbers, think about all the important physiological processes that occur along the same pathway whose inhibition you’re considering.

The narrative seems to be changing, though. Yeah, they want to give statins to pregnant women and there’s been chatter for years about putting them in drinking water, but things are getting better. The pill-pushers have overreached. Their latest curated guidelines for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, which looks suspiciously similar to the guidelines you’d come up with if your primary goal was getting as many people taking your drug as possible, are receiving considerable push back from physicians in the UK. Mainstream doctors who write for TheHeart.org are publicly questioning the utility of statins.

Statins have their place. I won’t deny that. But they’re not for everyone and there are consequences, and I think people deserve to know that.

What do you think, folks? Got any statin experiences? Good, bad? Let’s hear about them!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. “There are a lot of moving parts in the meat sack your consciousness calls home”

    Who came up with that, because I cannot stop smiling!!!!

    Cody wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Priceless!

      Julian wrote on July 29th, 2014
  2. Well I can honestly thank statins for making me aware that I have muscles. I didn’t realize just how much muscle mass I have until they all started to hurt and then I informed the doctor I was never taking any of that crap again.

    Groktimus Primal wrote on July 29th, 2014
  3. Dr. Malcom Kendrick has had a ton of posts on this very issue ( http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/ ) and so has Dr. John Briffa ( http://www.drbriffa.com/ ) and Zoe Hardcombe has done several interesting posts on how the British government seems hell-bent on statinating everyone ( http://www.zoeharcombe.com/blog/ ) I mention these just in case the readers here might not have come across them; I think most of the readers of this site are pretty aware of stuff like this but you never know.

    I was amused to get a letter from my HMO (Kaiser) this week telling me that I am at risk of a heart attack because of my [unknown] cholesterol levels so I MUST come in and have them checked. ( http://benboomed.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/the-earth-is-still-flat/ ) It just seems nothing ever changes.

    Tyrannocaster wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • I was amused to get a letter from my HMO (Kaiser) this week telling me that I am at risk of a heart attack because of my [unknown] cholesterol levels so I MUST come in and have them checked. ( http://benboomed.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/the-earth-is-still-flat/ ) It just seems nothing ever change

      Are you kidding me??? Does the insurance company have the right to dictate how we manage our health? I am appalled that the insurance company can send letters to people about their “lack of blood testing”. Shocking to say the very least.

      Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • Get use to it, i work in health care IT. Most reimbursement models are now based on accountable care (i.e. nagging you about problems).

        Jeff wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • My accountable care is based on daily exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, staying away from processed foods, sugar and unhealthy oils, and not taking unnecessary risks. I have no intention of taking medications to control any illness that might crop up, so the tests would be a waste of time for me. I would not alter what I am doing at this time to prevent illness. I really have no interest in longevity anyway. I just want to be able to be active and feel good physically as long as I can live without medical intervention.

          Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • Oh, and I forgot, I don’t smoke or abuse alcohol either…

          Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
  4. This is a really tough one for me.

    I’m 40 years old, in what society calls “good” health and this group would call “average” health. I’m also the oldest male in my family not to have already had a heart attack.

    I’ve been on a 10mg dose of Crestor for about five years. When I began, my total cholesterol was 320’ish with most of that being LDL (didn’t have a particle study done). My HDL was pretty low and my tri’s were crap.

    My starting on a statin was triggered by having children, and wanting them to have a daddy as long as possible. Maybe a bit melodramatic, but I believe that when you have children, the time has come to prostrate your needs to those of your kids, especially sons as as spectacular as my twins :-)

    The statin did what the doctor said it would do. It brought my total cholesterol under 200, raised my HDL, drastically lowered my LDL and my LDL particle size is largely in the good pattern.

    After “browsing” this site for a couple years, I now feel like I’m on the right track with primal living. I’m largely on it for the “look good naked” piece and I’m making progress toward that goal. I’ve never been a gifted athlete and don’t plan on becoming one.

    I plan to stay on the statin for the foreseeable future for a few reasons:

    1) My father had a massive heart attack at 52. I was there. Didn’t look fun.
    2) My paternal grandfather had a heart attack at 40.
    3) My maternal grandfather had a heart attack at 72.
    4) Outside of very late onset prostate cancer, there’s no cancer in my family.

    Even though I live a healthier lifestyle the the three men above, that’s pretty young. If something health related is going to take my life, it’s going to be an MI.

    I take statins as an insurance policy. It gives me some peace of mind and quiets most of the incessant worrying that started literally 10 minutes after my father suffered his heart attack.

    I don’t notice much difference in energy level or workout performance and while my brain may be a tiny bit foggier, it’s not material enough to impede my work or life performance. The only real difference I noticed was added absurdity and vividness to what were already outlandish dreams during the night.

    I don’t view statins as an excuse to live poorly. I view them as a complement to the choices I’ve made to improve my health, extend my life and look better in swim trunks

    If and when I’m at 185 with 8-10% body fat, I may think about curtailing the dose or kicking all together. Until then, statins are going to remain part of the very intentional program designed to give my children a long-living, non-fat ass, mobile, high earning daddy.

    -Aaron

    Aaron wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Hi Aaron
      I was under the impression that after reading copious books on nutrition and disease, that high cholesterol is simply a paper tiger in the war on heart disease, and that the real culprit is inflammation cause by over consumption of sugar in the diet and seed oils. You might want to research that if you are interested in longevity. I have absolutely no faith in big pharma blaming heart disease on high levels of cholesterol. It is analogous to blaming the fireman for the fire. Uncontrolled stress is also up there with sugar and unhealthy oils. That is just my take on what i had researched on my own.

      Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • Tiff,

        the “research base” you rely on is rather lopsided, in my opinion; “Big Pharma” doesn`t have a monopoly on having an agenda/being self-serving.
        Going by the currently available evidence, heart disease (atherosclerosis) appears to be neither exclusively a cholesterol disease (as “Big Pharma” would have us believe), nor exclusively an inflammatory disease (as certain low carb gurus who shall not be named would have us believe); in fact, it seems to be both, to varying degrees, depending on context (though LDL-P/Apo-B, rather than LDL-C, seems to be what is actually relevant with regard to the cholesterol part of the equation).
        (Unless I am very much mistaken, Mark featured a couple of guest posts (written by Peter Attia) describing this duality a while ago.)
        As it happens, a good friend of mine comes from a long line of FH (familial hypercholesterolemia) sufferers, and several of his relatives (mostly those who refused to be put on a statin) have had heart attacks mostly in early middle age despite displaying life-long normal/high HDL, normal/low triglycerides, the oft-lauded “large,fluffy” LDL Pattern A, and utterly inconspicuous inflammatory markers – the one conspicous thing about them is/was indeed their sky-high LDL/Apo-B.

        Karl wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • There is no way for me to respond to your comments without knowing the diets of the people you are referring to along with their exceptionally high cholesterol levels. If they have followed a very low sugar, no processed seed oil diet, yet their high cholesterol caused their heart attacks, then we would have a discussion. Even though he mentioned his cholesterol levels were in the 320’s he did not mentioned familial hypercholesterolemia. I know many “non-mainstream” medical experts think statins for this group can be helpful until we get to the bottom of heart disease by completely eliminating the toxins we have incorporated into our diets.

          Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • Tiff,

          how are the “diets” relevant, seeing as they don`t/didn`t result in measureable bodily “inflammation,” which you claim is the sole “culprit” with regard to the pathophysiology of heart disease? – But yes, the “people” I am “referring to” do/did indeed consume a “traditional” diet low in sugar and other processed foodstuffs (in the hope that this might be as effective as/more effective than taking a statin while causing no unfavourable side effects).

          “…he did not mentioned (sic) familial hypercholesterolemia.”

          So what? My point is that there isn`t yet any solid evidence in favour of the notion that heart disease can`t (usually) occur in the absence of (considerable) inflammation – after all, if there exists one genetic quirk/mechanism that makes this possible, who`s to say there aren`t myriad others? Maybe the “Black Swan” isn`t actually black?
          Jumping the gun on the basis of what so far boils down to little more than an intuitively compelling “just-so story” is pretty much the opposite of good science – and, ironically, constitutes the exact same modus operandi that inspires so much mockery and anger among the ranks of the low carb movement on the subject of one Ancel Benjamin Keys…

          Karl wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • (On second thought, the just-so story isn`t even that compelling, seeing as the contention that high cholesterol is “ancestrally normal,” which might justify the a priori assumption that its downstream effects are universally benign to a certain extent, is kind of hard to reconcile with the observation that no traditional peoples actually exhibit high cholesterol (If one goes by several Cordain papers, hunter-gatherers display decidedly low cholesterol by modern standards; if one believes the Jaminets, the healthiest hunter-gatherer populations hover around the “normal” range as defined by CW.).)

          Karl wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • PS: With regard to my friend`s relatives:
        And no, they don`t/didn`t exhibit (the other) characteristics of the
        metabolic syndrome ((pre)diabetes/insulin resistance, raised blood
        pressure/body fat percentage) either.

        Karl wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • Karl, it seems to me you are simply looking for an argument. Let me just say to satisfy your ego that you are completely right and I am way off base. Hope that helps. I am not looking for a fight, but just discussing recent research results that can help shed a different light on the cause of heart disease other than high cholesterol.

          Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • Great response to Karl, Tiff.

          Richie wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • Tiff,

          I am neither “simply looking for an argument,” nor do I need you to “satisfy my ego”; it just seems to me that the “evidential waters” currently are as muddy as they could possibly be with regard to the whole cholesterol-heart disease brouhaha, which prompted me to pit my perspective against yours in order to figure out what your supreme confidence about cholesterol “simply” being a “paper tiger” is based on, because this issue is something I have been struggling with.
          I too would like to not worry about cholesterol in the least, but from my impression of the literature, the whole “cholesterol is the fireman and not the fire” thing amounts to little more than a convenient hypothesis at this point – it allows one to elegantly explain away the sky-high cholesterol levels (apparently) without ancestral precedent a substantial percentage of people seems to develop on LCHF diets, but isn`t actually backed up by solid evidence (yet). Of course, it may very well be that, actually, you are the one who is “completely right,” and I am the one who happens to be “way off base” about this – but how am I to find out when, instead of elucidating the “recent research results” that apparently explain why my line of reasoning is flawed, you just “cry troll” and thus bow out of this discussion without actually discussing anything? How is that supposed to “help,” exactly?

          Karl wrote on July 30th, 2014
        • Thanks for injecting some common sense here, Karl.

          JT wrote on July 31st, 2014
      • Tiff,
        I agree that cholesterol is not the bad guy, but that inflammation is, caused by excess sugar, seed oils, and especially stress. My father dealt with heart disease only during the last two years of his life and was treated with stints, not statins, and didn’t survive single bypass surgery. However, he was my mother’s sole caretaker for over 20 years, dealing with her MS and Bipolar disease. She wouldn’t let him hire any help. He passed (mercifully) eight years before she did even though she was “sicker.” I believe that his sugar/grain/seed oil-laden diet combined with the extreme stress of care-taking is what did him in first.
        Now that I’m enlightened about the more likely causes of heart disease, I embrace the Primal/Paleo lifestyle with abandon and don’t fear my food or heart attacks anymore. Long, drawn-out, painful, debilitating autoimmune diseases like MS frighten me more and keep me on the 80/20 straight and narrow.
        My (young) Dr. once mentioned statins and pre-diabetes and that maybe I should cut back on the butter, so I politely kept my mouth shut and thought, “Really? You’re still spewing THAT outdated nonsense?”
        I’m soon to be 56 and take zero meds.

        Jen K wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • First off, please let me offer my condolences for your father’s passing. and thank you for the support. You will more than likely remain off medications well into old age with your way of thinking. Why did your doctor mention pre-diabetes? I hope your avoidance of grains and sugars is keeping your blood glucose levels to a point where pre-diabetes is not a concern….

          Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • Sources on sugar increasing inflammation, please?

          Marco wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • Read Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, recently published and advertised here. Brilliant, and it really explains clearly where the inflammation arises, and why and the role of sugar etc, etc. And it has a ton of references to scientific studies.

          Kelda wrote on July 29th, 2014
        • I enjoyed The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman. I may not agree with every recommendation in it, but thought the information on understanding how inflammation in many body systems works and is attected by sugar was very helpful.

          kay wrote on July 30th, 2014
  5. My elderly father, who takes a statin, had a spell of transient global amnesia several years ago. My mother took him to the hospital, where they nearly killed him by mismanaging his well-controlled type 2 diabetes. I researched TGA, and there may be some connection with statins.

    castlerobber wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Spacedoc.com has a whole set of TGA discussions as that was one of the issues he faced with statins. That is a know statin issue.

      Superchunk wrote on July 29th, 2014
  6. My now 86-year-old father was suffering from mental decline and polyneuropathy after being on statins for 30 years (daily without exception), during which he still had 4 significant heart attacks with total cholestral registering 300 after the third one. The neuropathy is now permanent and his ability to walk is degrading almost daily. The irony is that after I asked his doctor if we could take him off the statins, his cholestrol numbers basically remained unchanged a year later. My doctor wonders why I refuse statins for my 210 total cholestrol levels (very low triglycerides and high HDL)!

    Laura wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • I don’t know the study, But you may want to point out that women live longer when their cholesterol is over 200 so 210 with low tri’s and High HDL’s should look fantastic to any doctor who knows their shit. For some Statins lower your good cholesterol too, As far as I can see there really is NO incentive for you personally to take them. Stick to your Guns!

      Brandi wrote on August 14th, 2014
  7. My mother had horrific statin experience, taking them for over 7 years. She complained incessantly about muscle pain and tingling in her hands. She could barely get off the couch or climb up the stairs without a lot of effort and her sleep was constantly interrupted due to muscle pain in her legs.

    To our embarassment, we (her family) just thought she was a complainer and thus dismissed her complaints until we noticed that her memory was starting to get affected, which correlated with her total cholesterol being the lowest it ever was, thanks to statins.

    It was the shocking loss of her short-term memory, despite the lack of a history of cognitive impairment on either side of her family, that spurred us to research her condition and everything pointed to the statins as the source of the problem.

    We talked to her doctor who was resistant to getting her off statins but we still informed him of the decision to have her stop ingesting the medication. We then embarked on a very high fat/low carb diet to feed her brain and body, with lots of coconut oil, CoQ10, cod liver oil, butter, eggs (the first time she ate them since her cholesterol diagnosis 7 years ago), cream, high quality meats, vegetables, etc.

    Thankfully, due to catching the memory loss at a very early stage, we managed to reverse her condition. To her utter delight, in addition to regaining her memory, she discovered that her muscle pain disappeared, her diabetes improved, and for the first time in a 30 year battle of yo-yo dieting she lost, and kept off, weight effortlessly.

    All this happened in 2011 and she is still off statins, eating primally, with a steel-trap brain, very fit, no muscle pain, and much more energetic than she ever was.

    In 2012 the FDA finally put a warning label on statins medication regarding the risk of memory loss and I emailed the article to my mother’s former doctor as he was so dismissive of our concerns re the link between statins and memory loss. No response from him.

    That entire situation with my mother and her experience with statins is what changed my approach and thinking towards doctors and the practice of medicine as the institution seems to be captive to the profit-based interests pharmaceutical industry. I still do have lots of respect for doctors as in addition to Mark, I received a lot of life-saving info from the Dr. Eades, Dr. Emily Dean and others but I’ve become far more skeptical and questioning than I used to be.

    Sophia wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • “I’ve become far more skeptical and questioning than I used to be.” Absolutely! I know that many doctors do not like this side of the internet equation, but I have a hard time feeling a lot of sympathy for them. For every patient who wastes their time with hypochondria I suspect there is another one like me – somebody on whom allopathic medicine dropped the ball for over thirty years, never even considering a bigger picture, with the result that the various doctors I saw were the functional equivalent of the blind men feeling the elephant in the old parable. I only found out that all of the unresolved complaints I had had were the direct result of eating wheat, even though I do not have celiac disease. Not a single doctor ever thought of that. So It’s really hard for me to feel too bad for them when a patient questions some of their decisions.

      My problems were not as bad as your mother’s (thankfully) but they still caused me to retire early and I will always wonder how different my life might have been if I had known earlier. I try not to dwell on that one.

      Tyrannocaster wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • Thank you Tyrannocaster. You are right, for a lot of doctors with a God complex, the Internet as an alternative source of research is a major irritant and challenge to their authority. However, there are also others who do acknowledge the current landscape of available information and are more than willing to consider and answer their patients questions and concerns. Make sure to find a doctor from among the latter.

        With regards to eating wheat, my mother, who was a diabetic longer than she had high cholesterol, was always instructed to eat a low-fat (thus high carb) diet, which made her struggle with her weight and increase her metformin dosage year after year. Wouldn’t you know, after we shifted her to a high fat/low card diet, to reverse her statin-induced memory loss, her diabetes numbers dramatically improved, from a1c1 of 12.9 to 7.5?! She still takes metformin, but at half the dosage.

        Thanks to this diet, my mother who is in her late 50s, barely takes any sort of medication, save for low dosage metformin. A far cry from a lot of her peer group who are on all sorts of pills. She aims to stay drug-free for a very long time.

        Sophia wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Thanks for your enlightening comment. Far too many people would rather take dangerous drugs instead of making the necessary lifestyle changes. It is my personal belief that drugs routinely prescribed these days are often the underlying cause of dementia and loss of cognitive abilities. The same can be said of surgical procedures involving general anesthesia, particularly with the elderly. Your mother is very fortunate to have such an astute family on her side.

      Shary wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • Shary,

        Yes, far too many people rely on drugs but more importantly, far too many doctors recommend drugs to their patients. I know lots of doctors lose patience with patients who don’t implement their recommended lifestyle changes but often these lifestyle changes are based on bad science (“eat a low fat diet to manage your diabetes and cholesterol”) and thus unsustainable. My mother dutifully followed her doctor’s and nutritionist diet but to no avail, not until we got her eating real nutrient dense high fat food.

        One thing I forgot to mention is to consult with your pharmacist regarding the efficacy of various prescribed drugs. My mother, when she was diagnosed with high cholesterol y a specialist who was she was referred to by her doctor, was told by the pharmacist who filled her prescription that she didn’t need to take statins but she dismissed his concerns because her doctor said otherwise. A nurse also mentioned to her that she didn’t need to take statins…again, her doctor’s authority won out.

        I do believe the overprescription of so many pills like the blockbuster selling statins plus the SAD diet are both underlying causes of high rates of cognitive impairment in the past 30 years.

        What helped us is that we are first generation immigrants and a lot of our family members still live back in the old world. The fact that my mother has uncles and aunts in their 90s and 100s, on both sides, who are active and mentally sharp, and she was losing her memory and was so unfit, in her 50s, really threw us for a loop. It wasn’t just her though but her and my father’s relatives who have been living in the US and Canada for at least 10 years, all contracted some sort of chronic disease whereas the folks back home, even though were much poorer, were also much healthier. That was also a point of confusion for us and spurred further research into diet and lifestyle.

        Sophia wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • Shary,

        Yes, far too many people rely on drugs but more importantly, far too many doctors recommend drugs to their patients. I know lots of doctors lose patience with patients who don’t implement their recommended lifestyle changes but often these lifestyle changes are based on bad science (“eat a low fat diet to manage your diabetes and cholesterol”) and thus unsustainable. My mother dutifully followed her doctor’s and nutritionist diet but to no avail, not until we got her eating real nutrient dense high fat food.

        One thing I forgot to mention is to consult with your pharmacist regarding the efficacy of various prescribed drugs. My mother, when she was diagnosed with high cholesterol y a specialist who was she was referred to by her doctor, was told by the pharmacist who filled her prescription that she didn’t need to take statins but she dismissed his concerns because her doctor said otherwise. A nurse also mentioned to her that she didn’t need to take statins…again, her doctor’s authority won out.

        I do believe the overprescription of so many pills like the blockbuster selling statins plus the SAD diet are both underlying causes of high rates of cognitive impairment in the past 30 years.

        What helped us is that we are first generation immigrants and a lot of our family members still live back in the old world. The fact that my mother has uncles and aunts in their 90s and 100s, on both sides, who are active and mentally sharp, and she was losing her memory and was so unfit, in her 50s, really threw us for a loop. It wasn’t just her though but her and my father’s relatives who have been living in the US and Canada for at least 10 years, all contracted some sort of chronic disease whereas the folks back home, even though were much poorer, were also much healthier. That was also a point of confusion for us and spurred further research into diet and lifestyle.

        Sophia wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • This sounds like my mother, tho she doesn’t seem do be having the memory decline, but it could be sinisterly unnoticeable in her daily life that she could not see it and Im not with her everyday of every moment. Im going to talk to her today, because this article spurred me into looking into interactions and what medications she takes. She is now on two different insulin’s for her diabetes and it doesn’t seem to help. She is on a Tri medication and a statin and I just found out they don’t work well together. The statins causing increased blood sugars in this article could explain why even with the two insulin’s her blood sugar hasn’t gone down lower than 200 in the last several months, with a few exceptions of really low blood sugar. Thank you for relaying your mothers experience, Im going to point it out to my mother and maybe she will stop being stubborn and look into alternatives.

      Brandi wrote on August 14th, 2014
  8. My father died in his 60s from a brain bleed- he was on statins. No proof obviously, but I have long been suspicious that it may have contributed. Both of his parents lived well into their 90s.

    Emily wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Sorry about your dad Emily.

      Sophia wrote on July 29th, 2014
  9. I love the look on my patient’s faces when they finally realize that they aren’t suffering from a statin deficiency.

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • This is all good stuff. I guess for me it boils down to “do I have enough faith in the Primal way of living’s ability to prevent heart disease that I’ll get off the statins and go against the advice of my doctor, especially given my family history?”

      The answer for me is “not yet.”

      Like I said in the first line of my original post, this one is tough for me.

      -Aaron

      Aaron wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • I am a firm believer that if you have doubts, don’t do it. Stick with what you are doing if it is working for you so far. I think you have a good attitude towards this- when you are where you want to be in body composition you will look at the statin issue again. That is perfectly reasonable given your own personal family history. My parents are both on statins for better or worse but I would never think to tell them to quit them as they have seen none of the negative side effects listed above and there is quite a history in our family of heart disease, even though I am personally very skeptical. Just wanted to give you a little encouragement after so much warning following your initial comment.

        Stephanie wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • You’re not along Aaron. It’s a tough decision for me too. I’m probably going to have to make it in the next week or so.

        Here’s a little bit of background on my case:

        – Grandfather died of a heart attack at age 59
        – Uncle died of a heart attack at age 36
        – Father died of complications from a heart attack at 66
        – Other uncle had triple bypass in his early 50’s

        And now for the coup de grace: 2 1/2 years ago at the age of 45, I came quite close to dropping dead from a very severe aortic dissection (2/3 of my aorta has been replaced in emergency surgeries, and the 1/3 that’s remaining is still quite damaged with a large aneurism). I had been “pretty” primal for several years, had dropped 50 pounds or so and was in the best shape of my life when my body betrayed me… AND saved me. I’m convinced that one of the reasons I’m alive today is my switch to primal style living back when I did.

        In any case, cut to today (no pun intended :-) ), and I’ve been put on some severe restrictions in terms of activity (no sprints, no heavy lifting… kinda hard to be primal, eh?) and my physical fitness level has (as I’d expect) degraded quite a bit. My cardiologist has me on a statin and a beta blocker. The statin, he says, is NOT for my cholesterol level, but for one of those other pathways discussed above. The beta blocker not for chronic high blood pressure (I don’t have that), but to put a clamp on blood pressure spikes to protect the damaged portion of the aorta.

        Recently, I started suffering some muscle/joint pains and he took me off the statin (for now) to see how I’d react, saying that if the pain went away, he’d put me on a different statin to see how that goes. However, I’ve also had memory impairment and other symptoms described here, and I’m wondering if those are attributable to the statin also.

        I think I’m going to print out this article and bring it to my appointment to discuss the pros/cons, risks/rewards of continuing on ANY statin.

        Thanks for the info Mark, and thanks for giving me some food for thought Aaron!

        Mike wrote on July 29th, 2014
      • Aaron, If I were a man, I tend to agree with you. If you are not having any side effects from the drug, I would be inclined to be on the side of caution and take it given your history. Having a family changes the game for most of us. I am a female, and have heard countless doctors make the comment that no woman should be on a statin drug, and that goes double for any woman over the age of 55. There has been no study to date that shows it has any positive effect on longevity for women, especially is she does not have heart disease in the first place and is only being prescribed the drug as a preventative because of her age. We all have to make our own decisions, but I made mine because enough intelligent people shared their information through literature and visual media and I could way the pros and cons.

        Tiff wrote on July 29th, 2014
  10. Statins will be a bigger cash cow for the lawyers than asbestos and silicone bolt ons combined in the next big class action.

    Snake Plissken wrote on July 29th, 2014
  11. My mother has familial hypercholesterolemia with levels of 406 mg TC and 296 LDL (52 HDL) and severe signs of calcification of the arteries that led to a replacement of the aortic valve in the heart. She reacts with severe fatigue and with muscle pain when she takes statins and therefore she never took them over a considerable period.

    The cardiologist says that the sclerosis of the arteries will go on if she doesn’t take the statins and there are now signs of sclerosis of the mitral valve too. She went 81 this year, not in the best shape and with full blown metabolic syndrome, but mentally quite fit. There is hardly any chance to get her to eat more primal or carb-reduced.

    It hurts to realize, that there are hardly any options left, when she does not tolerate the statins and would need a more “full paleo” eating style to (at least potentially) lower her cardiovascular risk, but that she won’t be able to do it.

    I am also reluctant to try K2-supplementation with the idea of reducing the calcification of the soft tissues, as Vitamin K interferes with blood coagulation and she definitely tends to be on the “blood clotting side”. – “But let’s try it because some famous paleo websites recommed it” is far(!) too dangerous in my opinion.

    My problem here in the north of Germany is also, that our physicians do not know anything about paleo and proper nutrition at all and do not even consider side effects of statins other than muscle pain. So there won’t bei any helpful support from that side.

    Any suggestions, perhaps with experiences from those in similar situations? Thank you a lot in advance.

    Greetings from ‘old germany’
    guzolany

    guzolany wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Hi guzolany,

      a few hacks for reversing and stabilising CVD:

      -drink pomegranate juice (granar.de has some good stuff, the “Muttersaft” is the thing to looking for), even better to eat 3 or 4 fruits a week. Reverses calcifiction

      -consider some Policosanol (20mg), reduces LDL

      -Fish Oil (1 or 2 teaspoons, 5 -10 capsules), reduces tris, increases HDL

      -Olive leaf extract, will prevent LDL oxidation and thereby it won’t “stick” on the arteries and buld plaque.

      Markus I wrote on July 30th, 2014
      • Hi Markus,

        thank you a lot, I am going to check out these options!

        guzolany wrote on July 31st, 2014
        • You are welcome!

          if your ma hesitates using the statins due to muscle pains there’s also another hack, as Mark mentioned above: take CoQ10, prefer the Ubiquinol-form of it. Jarrows, Life Extension or Dr. Hittich are good brands, all within reach of amazon.de.Look out for 100 or 200mg doses.

          And for reversing calcification there is an enzyme that has been used a lot by a Dusseldorf Doctor, Hans Nieper, a famous Doctor of the 70ies and 80ies whcih has almost been forgotten. It is called Serrapeptase and can dissolve fibrin and plaque, see here:
          http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2003/sep2003_report_aas_01.htm

          It is available from biovea or ebay.co.uk

          Markus wrote on August 1st, 2014
  12. @Aaron. It seems to me you’re making a very reasonable choice and that you are one of the populations who probably benefit from statins.

    Zach wrote on July 29th, 2014
  13. FYI — see dictionary: “flak,” not “flack.”

    Scott wrote on July 29th, 2014
  14. Chatter about statins in drinking water? Oh my…

    I can see where this is a tough issue for those who have strong family histories of heart disease and possibly some poor health markers currently, to have faith in primal living alone. This definitely goes on in my husband’s family no doubt. The problem is when the focus is just on getting your cholesterol as low as you can and forgetting everything else. I think more people realize now it just doesn’t work that way.

    Michele wrote on July 29th, 2014
  15. I’m 44, have had high cholesterol my entire life (when tested at 10 yrs old because it ran in the family, I was already at 283 overall and I was fit and athletic throughout my childhood years) – then by the time I was pregnant with my 3rd child in my 20s, I was in the mid 400s. My entire life doctors have pushed statins on me, in fact I was in the clinical trials for Lipitor “back in the day”.

    While I never experienced side effects that I was aware of (raising 3 small children, I was so tired it’s hard to say what was what) I still always just had a reptile brain feeling that they weren’t good. I haven’t taken them in 20 years, although always over the strenuous objections of any doctor I’d seen.

    My mother, who is 66, suffered a heart attack and had a quintuple bypass when she was 50 – 10 years after starting statin drugs. She is still a believer of the party line and thinks I’m crazy for not taking them, but I’ve seen her health keep deteriorating. Shockingly, about 6 months ago when they were talking about giving her a pacemaker because she was going into afib constantly, she FINALLY had a doctor tell her about CoQ10. She still takes statins, but the CoQ10 has made significant improvements to her overall health, including no more afib and no more talk of a pacemaker.

    As for myself, I found a naturopath via one of the paleo doctor referral sites, and finally am at least looking at my numbers again, something I had refused to do for years since the only solution I was ever given was statins. Now that I am (mostly) paleo, I am down from mid 400s to low 300s, my ratios are normal, triglycerides low (they always have been, actually) and the naturopath sees no reason for me to consider statins since my other risk factors are not there. It’s so nice to have support from my doctor because I feel pretty good, health-wise. Like one of the above commentators, I am probably sort of on the low end of health for this paleo community, but above average in the mainstream community.

    Oh, and my family history: we all have hugely elevated cholesterol as far back as we’ve been tested, but the only person in my family to ever have an actual heart issue was my mother, but she was “diagnosed” right about the time Time magazine condemned bacon and eggs, so she’s been the polar opposite of paleo for most of her life.

    I guess we’ll see what the future holds, I hope I’m making the right decisions. Only time will tell, but my older sister (46) and I are both forgoing statins so I guess we’ll see.

    Sally wrote on July 29th, 2014
  16. Next thing ya know they will be telling us that your hip replacement is no good and that you can now sue them…Oh, they already are.
    I think there must be 25 class action lawsuits against the Pharma industry…my guess is that all Pharma drugs will be found to be more dangerous than healthy.

    Nocona wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • “…my guess is that all Pharma drugs will be found to be more dangerous than healthy.”

      Yeah, because dose/dosage and context clearly don`t matter at all, and no one in the history of mankind has ever had a medical problem that couldn`t be corrected via lifestyle changes…

      Karl wrote on July 30th, 2014
  17. With my family history, my PCP demanded that I take a stress test with a Cardiologist. I did, and it was a great workout. The Cardiologist was, at first, condescending that I take statins and blood pressure meds. At that time , I did have semi-bad blood work and high blood pressure. As the Paleo thing kicked in, I lost weight and became leaner. Next time I saw him, I was 18lbs thinner, my high blood pressure was gone ( no drugs) and my blood work was a lot better. The Cardiologist became abusive, and belittled me as he insisted that I take statins ( he did not mention anything about my normal blood pressure) his staff took an EKG (according to the nurse, it was “just fine”) and he did not even discuss it with me. All he wanted to do is to make sure he wrote a prescription for the drug. I don;t see him anymore. And, strings were pulled for him to see me as a top Cardiologist in my area.

    rik wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • You know, when you have an experience like that, you can write to the medical organization that doctor works for and tell them about it. You can, if you are really serious, copy it to a couple of people in the organization so that they know they are not the only ones getting the letter. If you are not abusive, tell your story straight, and leave a paper trail I can guarantee that the prick you dealt with will hear about it. I’d find out who heads the department he works for and make sure he/she gets a copy. I did this once and the results were immensely gratifying.

      Tyrannocaster wrote on July 29th, 2014
  18. I would love to stop taking my 10mg of simvastatin.

    I had a stroke at age 34 (I’m 36 now) and I’m terrified to go against the prevention instructions my dr. gave me. I talked to him about “anti-inflammatory diets” and he’s having none of it. Thing is, my ldl was 97 and total cholesterol below 200 when the stroke happened but they still wanted to put me on them. I’m also on 325 mg of aspirin per day.

    I felt ok at first (after recovering from the stroke), but now I’m fighting chronic dizziness that an ENT and neurologist haven’t been able to explain, I’m tired all the time, etc. Dr. insists it can’t be the statin or aspirin (even though he can’t explain the dizziness). I feel like I’ve aged 10 yrs since the stroke. Not sure what to do about it when every dr. tells me to stay the course.

    omen wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Are you able to get an opinion from a functional medicine practitioner of any sort? (naturopath, whatever) If you could find one with a fair amount of experience treating strokes it might be worthwhile discussing this with him/her. I don’t mean to trivialize your experience at all here – on the contrary, I think I’d be scared sh*tless in your shoes – I just think that if your physician has the conventional wisdom on this subject it’s going to be hard for him to go outside the box. A second opinion from a different point of view could be really useful, I think. Or even a “regular” doc, if you could only find one with a more primal approach; they do exist, though they are hard to find. Several times people have posted here asking for recommendations on docs in their area; if all else fails, you could try that.

      Tyrannocaster wrote on July 30th, 2014
    • Omen if I can make a suggestion, have your doctor run the test for homocysteine – it’s a simple blood test. If too high it can increase risk of blood clots which can cause strokes – and a statin probably won’t help if you have it but sometimes it seems that’s all doctors know to prescribe. Good luck!

      Joanna wrote on July 30th, 2014
  19. I have been living a very happy Primal life for the last four years, and what with a 30 lb. weight loss, learning to love exercise, sleeping like a rock, and all the less tangible goodies that come along for the ride, I am pleased to say I’ve never felt better in all my 65 years. BUT my overall cholesterol, plus LDL, have continued to skyrocket–last month’s total was well over 300. Huh?

    Yes, triglyceride and HDL numbers were really great as usual, so I keep telling myself “oh, you’ve just got a lot of fluffy particles”. But since my fixed budget only allows me large clinic-type CW healthcare, that kind of next level testing is not an option, and I’m really not sure.

    My father only just passed away at 94 after sudden onset very brief heart issues, and my mom is going strong at 92. I’d like to think that I’ve got lifestyle and genetics on my side, but the noise from my doctor about statins is getting louder–and at times I’m tempted to succomb. Still holding out, though. I’m looking forward to 10-20 years into the future when even more research and medical education makes the whole issue less murky.

    Marie wrote on July 29th, 2014
    • Marie,

      the LDL Pattern (ie “large, fluffy” versus “small,dense”) appears to be pretty much irrelevant: Once one accounts for LDL-P, the relationship of atherosclerosis to particle size is abolished.
      As long as LDL-C is concordant with LDL-P, the former appears to be a decent predictor of adverse cardiac events, and discordance between the two parameters seems to primarily affect “metabolically deranged” people; thus, when one is (relatively) lean, regularly exercises, and eats a Paleo-type diet, high LDL-C is pretty likely to go hand in hand with high LDL-P.
      Maybe you could get tested for Apo-B instead of LDL-P? The evidential value seems to be pretty similar, and the Apo-B test is pretty affordable where I live (here in Europe, LDL-P testing does not seem to be available).
      Do you know if your parents (and other close relatives) have/had similarly high cholesterol? If so, and if they are all healthy, I wouldn`t worry overmuch.
      Also, there are options besides statins one can explore:
      You might look into Chris Kresser`s “High Cholesterol Action Plan”/”Mediterranean Paleo” concept, or the case studies presented by Dr. Thomas Dayspring (a pro- low carb lipidologist), for example (I personally found the latter rather helpful).

      Karl wrote on July 30th, 2014
      • Thanks, Karl — I will look into both the resources you list, as well as check to see if my clinic just might do the Apo-B test. This is such a complex topic. When even folks like all of us posters (who are motivated to learn more) have to work to educate ourselves on the whole issue, it’s not surprising that most SAD lifestyle people find it easier to just follow “doctors’ orders” and take whatever meds they are handed.

        Marie wrote on July 30th, 2014
  20. I have 5 stents in 2 lesions following a heart attack 5 years ago. Went on Lipitor. Three weeks later an attack of hives affected hand, knee and eye and GP advised stopping the station. Next cardiologist visit had me on Creator. A few days later the knee pain returned with a vengeance. Walking was uncomfortable. Traversing stairs difficult. Squatting near impossible. I decided it was better to exercise than to lower my cholesterol and that inflammation was better managed by an ancestral diet than by drugs. Five years later I’m fitter than ever, have no angina or flutters and have no regrets at all. Sure I’m in the group that is supposed to benefit from stations but my N=1 says otherwise

    Dave wrote on July 30th, 2014
  21. I have CAD and had a cardiac bypass 14 yrs ago. Of course I was put on statins but I did not continue them because of horrible muscle pain in my back. I tried 3 different statins. Thanks to the paleo lifestyle, my lipids look great so my doc does not bug me about trying these drugs again – but my insurance company sent me a letter. I would rather live the rest of my life pain free than take this drug. Here is the NNT for those with a history of heart disease. http://www.thennt.com/nnt/statins-for-heart-disease-prevention-with-known-heart-disease/

    Anne wrote on July 30th, 2014
    • Here’s the money quote (for me) from that link: “Virtually all of the major statin studies were paid for and conducted by their respective pharmaceutical company. A long history of misrepresentation of data and occasionally fraudulent reporting of data suggests that these results are often much more optimistic than subsequent data produced by researchers and parties that do not have a financial stake in the results.”

      Tyrannocaster wrote on July 30th, 2014
  22. “They control the flow of information”. Well good for big pharma. Pharmaceutical companies and their endless marketing of potions can pound salt. Live low tech instead. Skip the drugs. It’s fairly obvious that there are plenty of other ways to maintain health as opposed to popping pills.

    Rob wrote on July 30th, 2014
  23. Both my husband and his dad stopped taking statins. My Father in law was having memory problems and that’s not a good thing since he is the one to do all the shopping and errand running. If he can’t remember how to get home that’s not so good. However, although his doctor assured him that it was NOT the statins it reversed as right after he stopped taking them. Hmmmmm. The doctor felt that it wasn’t going to cause a problem if he stopped since it was just “managed care” that wanted him on them.
    I’d be interested to see what my husband’s numbers are now that he’s 30/70 primal.

    2Rae wrote on July 30th, 2014
  24. My doctor suggested I try Berberine, a natural alternative to statins and metformin. I’d never heard of it. After doing some research I started taking it and have had good results. Do your own research and give it a try if you think it might work for you.

    Chris wrote on July 30th, 2014
    • Seems to me that your doctor cares as much or more for you than he does for his wallet. Trust him!(or her)!

      victor wrote on July 30th, 2014
  25. My goodness this forum produces some very good knowledge and advise but raises a little problem for me. I’ve seen myself reading about the lifestyle more than living it. One of the best ways to raise your HDL(which takes the LDL away from our arteries) is to exercise and that’s where I’m off to. Thank you Mark and equal thanks to the commenters here for advice this layman can understand.

    victor wrote on July 30th, 2014
  26. I am a recent kidney/pancreas transplant patient and some of my anti-rejection meds apparently cause an increase in cholesterol. My doc wants me to continue taking statins to counter this. Given the side effects above I would really like to get off the statins. I will try the documentation approach and see what he says. So far any nutritional means of health management I have suggested have not been considered (imho).

    Joe wrote on July 30th, 2014
    • Joe,

      I am 9 months out from a liver transplant and have been eating primal for about 6 of those months. I don’t know what meds they have you on, but I have done my best to nag and get off as many as I could, to not stress my kidneys anymore than they already are. I have never been on statins, however, so there was never a question of “staying on them”. Our anti-rejection meds make us a different little subset, for sure, but I have found this way of eating to work very well for me. I have labs drawn every month now, and have never had a cholesterol issue. I eat tons of eggs and all types of meat, also.

      I know everyone is different, and of course we cannot go and change our meds willy nilly. I admire you for wanting to get off the statins, and I think that primal eating will definitely not hurt you, and it may give you the evidence you need to convince your doc! :) Don’t stop advocating for yourself. I am not an expert on this forum, but I do know a bit about being a transplant recipient and eating primally. ;) Eating whole, real food is the way to go!

      k-del wrote on July 30th, 2014
  27. I have a disease called Familial Hyperlipidemia aka Hypercholesterolemia which has contributed to a significant narrowing of both my vertebral arteries. Without statin therapy, Atorvastatin in particular, I might have died already from a stroke, by which my father and two of his brothers did, indeed, die. I get that statins have all sorts of undesirable, unintended and unhealthy consequences, but without statins I’d be in big trouble. I’ve tested my body’s response to statin-free, low carb (Primal/Paleo) and statin-free, low fat (Dr. Joel Fuhrman) diets, using the NMR lipid assay technology, and have discovered that my LDLs rise way into the stratosphere without statins. Per Dr. Attia of http://www.eatingacademy.com (highly recommended), LDLs are the primary culprit in plaque formation and subsequent arterial disease. I wouldn’t take statins if I didn’t have to, but I’m glad they’re around.

    Ted P wrote on July 30th, 2014
  28. I took statin for a while. Gave me a serious mucus discharge from my anus that necessitated my wearing maternity pads, and grew me a spectacular mess of bleeding hemorrhoids! Then I read some of the evidence on statins, and flushed the rest of them, and the mucus discharge stopped within days. I’ve refused to take them since that. Eventually, I had surgery to remove the hemorrhoids, and they have not returned. I figure my body was trying to tell me something and I am glad I listened!

    Waya wrote on July 30th, 2014
    • Never flush unwanted drugs away as they get into the water supply. Take them to your pharmacist,

      stephen ottridge wrote on July 30th, 2014
      • Or check with your local police/sheriff’s office. Mine has a drop box for unwanted pills of all sorts and they are disposed of so that they don’t go into anyone’s pocket or the water supply.

        2Rae wrote on July 31st, 2014
  29. I’ve taken statins for over 10 years for slightly elevated cholesterol levels (260-270 range). They, along with exercise, did help me get under 200. However, I’ve always had muscle soreness which I attributed to working out often. A shoulder problem sidelined me this past winter; thought I had a rotator cuff injury. The doctor prescribed the usual – stay off it a few weeks and see if that helps. It didn’t. After a few more weeks we decided to do an MRI to see if there was any damage. Came back mostly negative. I went to see my chiropractor who ID’ed the problem as “trigger points” in the muscles of my teres minor and infraspinatus. He told me many of his “patients” on statins had the same problem, and gave me some info on statins. Bottom line, I quit taking the statins and immediately noticed a marked improvement in my range of motion/strength in my shoulder. I DO believe the statins were the cause of my shoulder pain.

    Garlan wrote on July 30th, 2014
  30. I was prescribed a statin because of high cholesterol about15 years ago. I quickly developed musclo-skeletal pain in one elbow and my doctor took me off immediately. Thank God for the muscle pain. Things probably would have killed me by now.

    I live with high cholesterol (about 280 total). It’s got nothing to do with heart disease. Now that I’m eating “primal” the only thing stopping me from living past 90 is getting hit by a truck.

    Doug wrote on July 30th, 2014
  31. I knew a guy who started having teeth problems (breaking) not long after taking statins. Hormone D is linked to calcium absorption, so there may well be a link with Hormone D and statins. I also think someone I know had similar problems after HRT.

    Kit wrote on July 31st, 2014
  32. Again, if, lets say, fibromyalgia is hormonal (lack of cortisol) and cholesterol is needed to make it, then statins help cause this, like hormone D. I reckon, perhaps even with statins, but probably not, if someone ups their protein they will have the lipoproteins to transport cholesterol in fat in/on the body. A persons genetics preventing catabolism to transport cholesterol could cause fatigue unless the person eats lots of carbs, whereby they will have less cortisol because insulin will kill it and cause pregnenolone steal.

    Kit wrote on July 31st, 2014
  33. Statins work too well. They depleted my cholesterol so much that my body was unable to replace/repair myelin sheathing around my sciatic nerve where the nerves leave the protection of the spinal column. This in turn led to the nerves rubbing raw on bone. Talk about pain. I was on two crutches for about 4 weeks and a walking stick for 6 months. This was over 11 tears ago. I of course stopped the Crestor and my body eventually healed itself. I have no back or spine problems. My cardiologist did not believe me. He was fired by me. I no longer eat wheat, my weight has dropped 50 lbs and my cholesterol especially the tri numbers are superb. I’m 72 years old.
    That is my diagnosis of what happened with a neurologist agreeing with me.

    stephen ottridge wrote on July 31st, 2014
  34. My husband suffered a heart attack 3 months ago…due to a 99%blockage in the “widow maker” artery. He also has a 55%blockage in another major artery (the circumflex.) it is devastating to me. I have always exercised and ate “healthy,” even if that definition has changed over the years. But always focused on vegs and whole foods, and was never afraid of natural fats. Anyway, he ate like this, but also ate a bunch of other things. Basically, whatever he wanted. He’s better now, but, but… You know, this will always be an issue and probably what will get him. :(
    He’s on a blood thinner, a beta blocker and high dose statin. He has heart disease, and this isn’t preventative anymore. But I’d like for him to get off the meds. But it’s scary.

    WRWP wrote on July 31st, 2014
  35. After many years of pleading by my doctor I went on a low dose of simvastin. It did bring my cholesterol down, but my hair was thinning. My husband said he was sweeping up so much hair in the bathroom he thought we had a dog. I researched side effects to find that in ‘rare cases’ hair loss could occur. I stopped the statins and my hair came back (in some cases the hair loss doesn’t reverse). I have worked with someone who advised me to try the herbal route with red yeast rice and guggul lipid. My cholesterol is down to 201; don’t plan to go any lower after reading about statins in ‘Grain Brain’ by Dr. Perlmutter. If you’re considering statins, please read his book first or ‘Primal Body, Primal Mind’ by Nora T Gedgaudas. Don’t fall for the claims of the drug companies.

    Kelly wrote on July 31st, 2014
  36. I’m going to forward this to my GP who has suggested a statin for the past six years of annual check ups.

    Jack Lea Mason wrote on July 31st, 2014
    • Good for you! I’ve got patients in their 30s who say they’ve been on statins for years! (and it aint ‘cuz their levels are of those who have genetically dangerously high levels!!!

      Angela Goplen wrote on August 3rd, 2014
  37. As Mark points out, statins help a few patients (very few) and most folks would be much better off focusing on their diet, not drugs. I tell my patients to eliminate highly processed food. If you do this one thing, good things will come your way and I do like simple.

    William L. Wilson, M.D. wrote on August 1st, 2014
  38. We inform our patients about the statin truths; statins make many of our patients feel miserable; be it pain or memory issues, what have you. Yes, they have their place, but for the most part, the negatives far outweigh the small possibility of benefit. People DO rely way too heavy on medications! it’s really sad how many people would rather take a drug, then change their lifestyle! and for what??? just to feel more miserable!

    Angela Goplen wrote on August 2nd, 2014
  39. Relevant to this article (and this community and the entire health movement), the AllTrials campaign ( http://alltrials.net ) is working to have all clinical trials registered and all results published, preferably publicly. They are currently trying to get legislation passed in the EU.

    Feel free to sign the petition.

    BillC wrote on August 3rd, 2014

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