High blood cholesterol is a common health issue affecting both men and women, especially those who are overweight. The conventional treatment of this condition includes statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), fluvastatin (Lescol), lovastatin (Altoprev), pitavastatin (Livalo), pravastatin (Pravachol), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and simvastatin (Zocor). These are medications that reduce cholesterol by inhibiting substances your liver needs to produce cholesterol. They also stimulate your body to reabsorb cholesterol in the arteries. Although most medical experts claim that these drugs can prevent heart attacks, these claims are not unanimous and opinions are divided.
What you Should Know About Statins
While being praised for their effectiveness in reducing cholesterol and preventing heart attacks, a number of studies confirm that these drugs can affect stem cells and cell repair, trigger nerve issues and loss of memory. This is largely due to the fact that cholesterol takes part in the formation of hormones, bile, cell maintenance and communication between neurones and nerve cells. Studies have also found that statins may increase the risk of diabetes, the breakdown of muscle fibers, and protein levels in your urine.
Additional side effects of statin medications include:
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Memory loss and confusion
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Muscle aches, tenderness, or weakness (myalgia)
- Increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke
- High blood sugar and diabetes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Bloating or gas
- Nausea or vomiting
- Flushing of the skin
In addition, statin use can lead to serious nutritional in the body, which has been confirmed by a recent analysis of data from different 90 studies involving around 30 million people.
These are the 4 most common deficiencies caused by statin medications.
4 Little-Known Nutritional Deficiencies Caused by Statin Use
- Vitamin D
Cholesterol plays an important role in the synthesis of vitamin D3 from sun exposure and the absorption of vitamin D2 from foods such as liver, eggs, fish, and butter.
As these medications lead to vitamin D deficiency, a person on cholesterol-reducing drugs can often experience symptoms like muscle weakness and pain.
This is further confirmed by the fact that 88% of study subjects stopped experiencing this pain once they increased their vitamin D intake.
It’s important to know that this vitamin is essential for good bone and muscle health. It prevents weak bones, bone pain, bone loss and hyperparathyroidism. What’s more, it reduces the risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, muscle weakness, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchitis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and tooth and gum disease.
- Co-Enzyme Q10
The body uses C0Q10, a chemical compound found in every cell in the body, to produce the energy it needs to grow and maintain cells. The levels of C0Q10 in the body are reduced by half by the age of 25, and by the age of 80, they drop for another two-thirds.
Studies have found that statins affect the production of C0Q10 in the body by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme required to create the substance. Your levels of cholesterol and coenzyme Q10 drop by half in just 2-4 weeks of using the drug.
On the other hand, taking C0Q10 on a regular daily basis for a month can relieve statin-induced muscle pain by 40%.
This nutrient is also found in food including organ meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, soybeans, and green vegetables.
- Vitamin K
This vitamin plays a vital role in your cardiovascular health. To be more specific, vitamin K1 is important for blood clotting whereas K2 inhibits plaque build-up on arterial walls.
In addition, vitamin K prevents the development of coronary heart disease in women aged 49-70 by 9%.
As statins reduce vitamin K stores in the body, they can actually cause additional health complication instead of improving your heart health.
Vitamin K1 is found in cauliflower, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables, while the richest food sources of vitamin K2 include animal-based foods such as egg yolk, liver and fish liver oils, meats and hard cheeses, as well as fermented foods.
- Vitamin E
Another important vitamin for good overall health, vitamin E, is also affected by regular use of statin drugs. In fact, statin medications can reduce the body’s vitamin E levels by 17%.
On the other hand, vitamin E alone can considerably reduce the risk of a fatal heart attack by up to 16% and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 24%. It’s also beneficial for treatment of atherosclerosis, a life-threatening condition marked by plaque buildup in the arteries and a common predecessor of heart attacks.
This vitamin is a fat-soluble antioxidant found in wheat germ oil, avocado, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds.