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July 29, 2014

The Evidence Continues to Mount Against Statins

By Mark Sisson
87 Comments

Pill BottleAlthough 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!

TAGS:  Big Pharma

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87 Comments on "The Evidence Continues to Mount Against Statins"

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Cody
Cody
2 years 4 months ago

“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!!!!

Julian
Julian
2 years 4 months ago

Priceless!

Groktimus Primal
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Tyrannocaster
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tiff
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Jeff
Jeff
2 years 4 months ago

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).

Tiff
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago

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
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago

Oh, and I forgot, I don’t smoke or abuse alcohol either…

Aaron
Aaron
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tiff
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Karl
Karl
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tiff
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Karl
Karl
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Karl
Karl
2 years 4 months ago

(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
Karl
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Tiff
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Richie
Richie
2 years 4 months ago

Great response to Karl, Tiff.

Karl
Karl
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
JT
JT
2 years 4 months ago

Thanks for injecting some common sense here, Karl.

Jen K
Jen K
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tiff
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago

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….

Marco
Marco
2 years 4 months ago

Sources on sugar increasing inflammation, please?

Kelda
2 years 4 months ago

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.

kay
2 years 4 months ago

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.

castlerobber
castlerobber
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Superchunk
Superchunk
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Laura
Laura
2 years 4 months ago
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)!
Brandi
Brandi
2 years 3 months ago

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!

Sophia
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tyrannocaster
2 years 4 months ago
“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.… Read more »
Sophia
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Shary
Shary
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Sophia
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Sophia
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Brandi
Brandi
2 years 3 months ago
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… Read more »
Emily
Emily
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Sophia
2 years 4 months ago

Sorry about your dad Emily.

Dr. Anthony Gustin
2 years 4 months ago

I love the look on my patient’s faces when they finally realize that they aren’t suffering from a statin deficiency.

Aaron
Aaron
2 years 4 months ago

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

Stephanie
Stephanie
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Mike
Mike
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tiff
Tiff
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Snake Plissken
Snake Plissken
2 years 4 months ago

Statins will be a bigger cash cow for the lawyers than asbestos and silicone bolt ons combined in the next big class action.

guzolany
guzolany
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Markus I
Markus I
2 years 4 months ago

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.

guzolany
guzolany
2 years 4 months ago

Hi Markus,

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

Markus
Markus
2 years 4 months ago

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

Zach
Zach
2 years 4 months ago

@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.

Scott
Scott
2 years 4 months ago

FYI — see dictionary: “flak,” not “flack.”

Michele
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Sally
Sally
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Karl
Karl
2 years 4 months ago

“…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…

rik
rik
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tyrannocaster
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
omen
omen
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Tyrannocaster
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Joanna
Joanna
2 years 4 months ago

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!

Marie
Marie
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Karl
Karl
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Marie
Marie
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Dave
Dave
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Anne
Anne
2 years 4 months ago

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/

Tyrannocaster
2 years 4 months ago

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.”

Rob
Rob
2 years 4 months ago

“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.

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Chris
Chris
2 years 4 months ago

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.

victor
victor
2 years 4 months ago

Seems to me that your doctor cares as much or more for you than he does for his wallet. Trust him!(or her)!

victor
victor
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Joe
Joe
2 years 4 months ago

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).

k-del
k-del
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Ted P
Ted P
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Waya
Waya
2 years 4 months ago

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!

stephen ottridge
stephen ottridge
2 years 4 months ago

Never flush unwanted drugs away as they get into the water supply. Take them to your pharmacist,

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Garlan
Garlan
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Doug
Doug
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Kit
Kit
2 years 4 months ago

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
Kit
2 years 4 months ago

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.

stephen ottridge
stephen ottridge
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
WRWP
WRWP
2 years 4 months ago
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.… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
2 years 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 4 months ago

I’m going to forward this to my GP who has suggested a statin for the past six years of annual check ups.

Angela Goplen
Angela Goplen
2 years 4 months ago

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!!!

William L. Wilson, M.D.
2 years 4 months ago

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.

Angela Goplen
Angela Goplen
2 years 4 months ago

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!

BillC
2 years 4 months ago

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.

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