What Do Statin Drugs Really Do? What do you do?

Millions of people are prescribe a range of cholesterol lowering statin drugs such as Crestor, Zocor, Lipitor, Simvatain, and other drugs, and the herbal supplement red rice yeast. These do indeed reduce the levels of cholesterol. There is a whole discussion about whether cholesterol causes heart disease or not, but I won’t address that here. Let’s take a look at how these drugs work.

These statin drugs don’t directly lower cholesterol levels, what they do is disrupt the metabolic pathwah which ultimatly produces cholesterol. ( HMG-CoA reductase pathway).  The statin drugs block one of the enzymes 27 steps before cholesterol production. At each step of this chain of chemical reactions there are other beneficial chemicals produced by the many branches.

One of the very important products of this metabolic pathway is CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10). So Statins not only hamper the production of cholesterol, but also CoQ10.   CoQ10 is an important mitochondrial cofactor (Mitochondria are the cells’ energy-producing organelles.).  When you deprive every muscle cell in your body of CoQ10, you lose strength and may experience muscle pain.  Guess which muscle has the most mitochondria and produces the most energy? Your heart. When your heart can’t produce enough energy to pump blood efficiently you experience congestive heart failure. This disease has drastically increased since statin drugs were introduced.

Cholesterol itself is the precursor to some very important and critical vitamins as well – Cholesterol in your skin is converted to Vitamin D by sunlight.  So if you take statin drugs to lower cholesterol then you also reduce your ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight. People trying to reduce tehir cholesterol will also probably reduce the amount of cholesterol rich foods, which just so happen to be the foods highest in vitamin D.

So what do you do? First consider if you really need to take statin drugs.  Consider this, over half of all people who are brought to the emergency room with heart attacks have normal or low cholesterol. Not what you’d expect.  So, if you are going to stay on statin drugs then you must supplement with CoEnzyme Q10 and Vitamin D.

Below is a recent study which was published which looked at the incidence of muscle pain in statin taking patients compared to non statin taking individuals.

The January, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology published the finding of Danish researchers of reductions in glucose tolerance and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels in men treated with simvastatin, one of several statin drugs commonly prescribed to lower high cholesterol.