These days, it seems almost commonplace for people to be on some sort of cholesterol medication, whether or not they are even at risk.
The problem with these drugs (like many drugs) is that they have side effects, and statins in particular can have some really unfortunate effects on your mind and body.
Before we jump into the drugs themselves, we must first appreciate the lack of evidence for their existence in the first place.
From the Scientific America article Cholesterol Conundrum:
“Two major clinical trials in the past three years have greatly complicated the picture for [people with high cholesterol] and perhaps other folks.
The first study, from 2008, shows that lowering LDL levels does not always decrease the risk of having a heart attack.
Similarly, results from the second study, released in the spring of this year, show that raising HDL levels does not always translate into fewer heart attacks or strokes.”
So if we are not 100% sure that lowering cholesterol is even good, it makes it even worse when you find out that these drugs can do more harm than good.
From the Huffington Post article Do You Really Need That Statin?:
“Every week in my practice I see patients with serious side effects to statins, and many did not need to be treated with statins in the first place.
These side effects range from debilitating muscle and joint pain to transient global amnesia, neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue and muscle weakness.
Most of these symptoms subside or improve when they are taken off statins. There is even growing evidence of a statin link to Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
And this is what I see all the time as well, people on statins with negative symptoms that are hurting more than helping.
It is especially frustrating to see this when we are working to help people improve their strength, get out of pain, and increase their energy, and they can’t get results because the drugs they are taking are holding them back.
Muscle pain and poor recovery are the most common symptoms we see…but those are the least of your concerns when it comes to statins. The scariest part in my mind is the link to dementia.
From Scientific America’s article It’s Not Dementia, It’s Your Cholesterol Medication:
“It is not crazy to connect cholesterol-modifying drugs with cognition; after all, one quarter of the body’s cholesterol is found in the brain.
A 2009 Pharmacotherapy study published by Golomb and Marcella A. Evans, a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine, analyzed the characteristics of 171 statin users who reported cognitive side effects.
Their findings suggest that people who take the more potent statins—Crestor and Lipitor—are at an increased risk compared with people who take weaker statins.”
This is a BIG DEAL! So if statins have all these risks, should you just dump it?
It’s never a good idea to go cold turkey off a medication, especially if you have been on it a while, but it is definitely worth having a conversation with your physician about.
Especially if you are experiencing any of the side effects listed above.
The good news is you do not NEED statins. If you have a sensible workout program and eat well, your body will take care of itself.
And given that high cholesterol in-and-of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, then it really makes you question why so many people are on these drugs.
When it comes to statins, or any medication for that matter, you have to remember that there really are no “side effects” there are just effects, and while a drug MAY have a certain positive effect, it most likely will also have at least one (probably more than one) negative effect.
In the end, it is always better if you take responsibility for your own life and health. Do not think that someone else will save you or that we are just one discovery away from solving all human disease.
Start taking care of yourself through exercising regularly, eating whole foods, sleeping, and finding joy in life, and you will find that you end up needing very few, if any, medications! THAT is a good way to live.