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Drug Recommendations: Why Statins (And Other Drugs) Do and Don’t Work

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As part of, “Drug Recommendations: What’s Wrong With This Picture?” I am discussing why statins work and why they can cause more harm (side effects that most healthcare professionals do not recognize) then good.
Do not lose sight of the big picture. This scenario is not just true of statins. I am using statins as an example due to their popularity.  Most long term use of pharmaceutical drugs (prescribed or over the counter medications) can have multiple ‘UN common” heath risks that should not be shrugged off lightly by any healthcare professional; especially those who are doing the recommending. Please work with your doctor to find the right treatment(s) for you.
It is important, DO NOT disregard any symptom that occurs after starting any medicine, here’s why.
Statins work by INHIBITING the liver’s ability of an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase a rate-controlling enzyme that produces cholesterol ) to produce cholesterol. The new injectable drugs on the market (Praluent or Repatha) will work to inhibit PCSK9. PCSK9 is another enzyme involved in different metabolic pathways that may cause a different set of side effects than statins; so be on the lookout. Both, BLOCK the liver’s normal function of making cholesterol.  Simple enough. Cholesterol is high, pop a pill that prevents the production of cholesterol and lower it.
Sounds simple and logical. But is it smart? Is it smart to try to stop a natural body process or to support it by reinforcing biological weaknesses that need help to improve function?
Cholesterol has body benefits. Cholesterol helps hormone balance, nerve signals, cells and cell membranes ward off oxidation and maintain electrolyte balance and it is involved in many other important activities  that contribute to good health.
When you take a statin that inhibits cholesterol there is a “domino effect” that has consequences on not just cholesterol and the liver but every cholesterol related task (enzyme reactions, sex hormones) and organs including your brain, body cells and muscles that work in conjunction with cholesterol.
This domino effect is the reason why so many people experience what are known as “uncommon” statin drug complaints such as muscle weakness and pain, memory loss, erectile dysfunction and much more. The biologic and medical rationale are detailed in the essay “How Statins Really Work Explains Why They Don’t Really Work,” written by Stephanie Seneff from Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
While statins can and do lower cholesterol, they do so by diverting from its normal working pathway in the liver to the muscles. The muscles are now burdened with doing the liver’s job.
Interestingly statins have been linked to diabetes and the reason maybe because of how it effects the liver, muscles and the resulting handling of fructose, hmmmm.
The heart is unscathed using lactate as a fuel and LDL is lowered.  We THINK we attained our goal of lowered heart disease risk but blood fructose levels are higher which is a risk factor for nerves, diabetes cardiovascular disease… Therefore exchanging one “focus” risk (LDL) for another less known risk (fructose).
More Statin Troubles:

  • LDL cholesterol acts as a bubble that delivers not only cholesterol but fat soluble antioxidants, vitamins (i.e. vitamin D affecting sex hormones including testosterone potentially contributing to erectile dysfunction) and minerals that are not as available to nourish cells.
  • HMG coenzyme A reductase is important for heart health and adequate amounts of cellular CoQ10 (an enzyme responsible for cell growth and maintenance, it functions as an antioxidant too). Statins work to inactivate HMG depleting CoQ10 leading to increased oxidation, muscle pain and memory loss,; see references 36-40.
  • Cells work to maintain fluid balance. Statins can cause changes in the cells sodium-potassium (Na+-K+) pump activity because potassium is more prone to leak from the cell.
  • Glial cells in the nervous system are also negatively affected by statins.

These are just a few possible reasons for statin associated symptoms. With or without a research study that are or are not recognized by a doctor, these are real symptoms that do exist. You are not crazy, I list some statin symptoms in another blog,, but you can find extensive statin side effect lists everywhere.
Are you interested in boosting liver function and supporting natural body processes?  Next week I’ll discuss statin alternatives that you can discuss with your doctor but there are natural alternatives to taking most pharmaceutical drugs.

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.

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