Statins Age Us? That Should Be Old News …

Take statins to protect your heart and you’ll live a long time!

No, wait … you’ll just feel like you’ve been living a long time.

Here are some quotes from an article in the UK Express titled Statins: Heart disease drug speeds up ageing process, warns new research.

Statins make regular users become older faster, leaving them open to long-term mental and physical decline, according to disturbing new research.

Scientists have found the heart disease drug badly affects our stem cells, the internal medical system which repairs damage to our bodies and protects us from muscle and joint pain as well as memory loss.

You mean artificially beating down your cholesterol — one of the primary structural components of your brain — can affect your memory? I’d forgotten that. No, wait … I didn’t forget that. Good thing I don’t take statins.

Last night experts warned patients to “think very carefully” before taking statins as a preventative medicine.

And if they’re not on statins yet, they may actually be able to think very carefully.

The new research by scientists at Tulane University in New Orleans has reignited the debate about statin side effects which many doctors say have been played down.

Those are the good doctors. The bad doctors help play down the side effects, often by ignoring them or attributing them to old age. Hey, wait a minute … maybe that aging thing is fooling the doctors.

“Doctor, I think this statin might not be so good for me. I ache all the time, I’m tired, and I’m getting forgetful.”

“Well, that’s not unusual for an 80-year-old man.”

“I’m 62, Doctor.”

“Oh. Well, you seem 80 to me, so my point stands.”

Professor Reza Izadpanah, a stem cell biologist and lead author of the research published in the American Journal of Physiology, said: “Our study shows statins may speed up the ageing process.

“People who use statins as a preventative medicine for health should think again as our research shows they may have general unwanted effects on the body which could include muscle pain, nerve problems and joint problems.”

The scientists who treated stem cells with statins under laboratory conditions found that after a few weeks the cholesterol-busting treatment had a dramatic effect.

Statins prevented stem cells from performing their main functions, to reproduce and replicate other cells in the body to carry out repairs. The researchers found the statins prevented stem cells from generating new bone and cartilage.

Wow, awesome drug. When the patents finally run out, maybe the manufacturers can drop the price and sell high doses of the stuff as rat poison.

Dr Malcolm Kendrick, a GP in Macclesfield, Cheshire, who has studied heart health and statins, said: “Statins just make many patients feel years older. This research reinforces what has long been suspected. The side effects of statins mimic the ageing process.

“I observe patients on statins slowing down. Some are not affected, for some it is a relatively subtle process, but for many it is a serious side effect and one which disturbingly helps us confirm what we have long suspected.”

Kendrick is so honest about the state of modern medicine, I’m surprised he still has a medical license.

Professor Izadpanah said: “People at high risk of heart disease can reduce this risk by taking statins. However, considering the adverse effects of these drugs and their association with so many side effects, it is crucial people are fully aware of the risks before they take the treatment.”

Making people fully aware of the risks isn’t in the interest of the statin-makers or the doctors who prescribe them. That’s why you and I have to keep shouting this stuff from the hilltops.

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125 thoughts on “Statins Age Us? That Should Be Old News …

  1. charles grashow

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/foas-sms082913.php
    Statins may slow human aging by protecting against telomere shortening: A feature of senescent cells
    Not only do statins extend lives by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, but new research in the September 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that they may extend lifespans as well. Specifically, statins may reduce the rate at which telomeres shorten, a key factor in the natural aging process. This opens the door for using statins, or derivatives of statins, as an anti-aging therapy.

    “By telomerase activation, statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down senescent cells in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension,” said Giuseppe Paolisso, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Internal Medicine, Surgical, Neurological Metabolic Disease and Geriatric Medicine at Second University of Naples in Naples, Italy.

    To make this discovery, Paolisso and colleagues worked with two groups of subjects. The first group was under chronic statin therapy, and the second group (control), did not use statins. When researchers measured telomerase activity in both groups, those undergoing statin treatment had higher telomerase activity in their white blood cells, which was associated with lower telomeres shortening along with aging as compared to the control group. This strongly highlights the role of telomerase activation in preventing the excessive accumulation of short telomeres.

    “The great thing about statins is that they reduce risks for cardiovascular disease significantly and are generally safe for most people. The bad thing is that statins do have side effects, like muscle injury,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “But if it is confirmed that statins might actually slow aging itself–and not just the symptoms of aging–then statins are much more powerful drugs than we ever thought.”

    http://www.fasebj.org/content/27/9/3879.full
    A new pleiotropic effect of statins in elderly: modulation of telomerase activity

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      Well that makes perfect sense since obviously telomere length equals mortality. Or does it?

      From The Journals of Gerentology:

      Abstract

      Telomeres, the DNA–protein structures located at the ends of chromosomes, have been proposed to act as a biomarker of aging. In this review, the human evidence that telomere length is a biomarker of aging is evaluated. Although telomere length is implicated in cellular aging, the evidence suggesting telomere length is a biomarker of aging in humans is equivocal.

      and

      Results

      …To date, 5 of 10 studies did not find a significant relationship between shortened telomeres and increased risk of mortality. Telomere length did not predict mortality in a prospective population study of the oldest old (≥85 years) (19) nor in three cross-sectional studies examining individuals in their 70s (21,22,26). In the fifth study, Bischoff and colleagues (20) found no correlation between telomere length and survival in a cohort of Danish twins and singletons (mean age = 81 years), with chronological age being a better predictor of survival.

      (full report @ http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/66A/2/202.full#T1 for report.)

      Well, that’s odd, isn’t it. It’s almost as if the statin boosters are trying to claim some vaguely associated biomarker of health as being causal, then using drugs to manipulate said marker, then further asserting that manipulation as equating to improved health outcomes. Even thought the marker’s association has subsequently failed to be established in several more rigorous studies.

      Who would do that?

      Oh, that’s right, forgot who we were talking about. My bad.

      Cheers

      Reply
    2. Stephen T.

      Charles, you tell us that statins extend life by reducing cholesterol. Could you please explain the following?: It is a small selection of complete contradictions that you’d need to explain.

      • France has the highest rate of saturated fat consumption in the world and a heart disease rate one third of the UK’s. A number of other countries show similar results, including, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Germany. (WHO figures.)
      • Switzerland has the second highest rate of saturated fat consumption in the world and the second lowest rate of heart disease.
      • In America of 137,000 people, in 541 hospitals, who’d had a heart attack, 78% had below average cholesterol. (American Heart Journal, 2009)
      • Japanese consumption of saturated fat has increased by 200 – 300 % in the last fifty years. Cholesterol levels rose from 3.9 to 5.1 and CHD fell by 60%.

      Lowering cholesterol achieves what exactly?

      Reply
      1. charles grashow

        @Stephen T

        http://www.ahjonline.com/article/S0002-8703(08)00717-5/fulltext
        Lipid levels in patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: An analysis of 136,905 hospitalizations in Get With The Guidelines

        “Only 1.4 percent of patients met the recommendation for both an LDL level of 70 or lower and an HDL reading of 60 or higher”

        With regard to Japan – The decline in CHD mortality is attributable to large declines in blood pressure levels and the prevalence of smoking.

        With regard to the French paradox – http://www.healthassist.net/food/french/french-paradox.shtml

        Reply
  2. Catherine

    My husband was prescribed statins following a mild heart attack four years ago, despite the fact that, prior to the attack, his cholesterol level had been recorded as being below 4.0 (British system of measuring it, I don’t know what that would equate to in the US). About a week later, he was complaining of feeling very tired, and that his muscles ached, but we put that down to the fact he was recovering from a very traumatic experience. Once he was back at work, though, he found that he tired very quickly, felt that he couldn’t remember things properly, had a constant “brain fog”, and one evening when he got home, he could barely walk up the stairs because his legs ached so much. I googled “statins” and found Dr Kendrick’s wonderful blog, and printed out some of the things he wrote about them to show to my husband. He stopped taking the Simvastatin right away, and within a couple of days, he was pretty much back to his usual self. Since then, another doctor has prescribed him statins, following a diagnosis of male breast cancer, but thankfully, he refused to take them – why on earth would you prescribe statins to someone with cancer? Excellent post, as usual, Tom.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      He was lucky to return to his usual self. I’ve read cases of people who never fully recovered their muscle function.

      Reply
      1. Tanny O'Haley

        After taking statins and stopping 10 or 12 years ago (I can’t remember) when I now take a blood test my liver enzymes show high. They ask me if I’m on statins or a heavy drinker. I’m no longer on statins and don’t drink alcohol. I believe that statins permanently damaged my liver. I also have chronic muscle pain, though that may be because I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013. Thinking about it, I never had a tremor until I started taking statins. I wonder if it’s just a coincidence.

        It’s interesting to me that when they see liver damage they think alcoholic or statin user.

        Reply
      2. Bob Niland

        And you can expect to never get back any lost memories.

        Expect, however, to hear more and more about the “recently discovered” problem of “statin intolerance”. Why?

        Because statins are almost all off-patent now, and PCSK9 inhibitors are arriving just in the nick of time to fix that problem. But the P9s are so high-priced, that it will take some shoving to migrate the hapless victims off statins.

        And sorry, but there is as yet a complete lack of outcome (all-cause mortality) data for P9s. P9s may actually have value for people with certain conditions (like FH), but as one lipid blogger put it, we won’t know until the body counts are in.

        For the vast majority of people to whom statins have been pushed, you can get superior results, with no side effects, with diet alone.

        Meanwhile, here’s a handy field guide for spotting a statin quack:
        • prescribes based only on the nearly worthless standard lipid panel
        • fails to provide outcome data for someone with your presentation
        • fails to advise of side effects, many serious, some irreversible
        • fails to advise on side effect countermeasures, like CoQ10
        • dismissive of your side effect complaints (esp. those unlisted)
        • silent on diet, or recommends a diet that causes heart disease (whole-grain, high-carb, low-fat, low-sat, high PUFA)
        If this describes your MD, you need to find real doctor, stat.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton

          Dr. Kendrick suggested in a recent post that once the next-generation cholesterol drugs come around, we’d suddenly be treated to more articles about the dangers of statins. Maybe the UK article was serving that purpose.

          Reply
      3. Galina L.

        Yes, my periodontist had to go to disability retirement at his 50-s because statines permanently damaged his hands muscles .

        Reply
  3. Firebird

    My doctor tried to get me to take statins 4-5 years ago…even had me go through a rigorous stress test, which I passed. The cardiologist said my heart was pretty muscular and there were no signs of blockages. Still, she advised me to watch my cholesterol “in case” I get heart disease. Even with a clean bill of health, the doc still wanted me on a statin. I refused. In a one month span prior to all this, I managed to get my overall cholesterol number down to 300 from 330…using Niacinamide and Lecithin…cheap and available at The Vitamin Shoppe. The doctor said that drop, 10%, was not significant by his standards, though I suspect he would have been thrilled if those numbers dropped from statin use.

    His last ditch effort to get me on a script was to put me in time-release niacin. Yep. He wanted to put me on a $30 Rx for the same thing I was getting for $8 at the health food store. Lots of damage to my neck by shaking my head while banging it on my desk.

    Reply
    1. Galina L.

      I remember a comment on the Hyperlipid blog left by a person who had serious muscle complications after taking Niacinamide .

      Reply
  4. charles grashow

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-08/foas-sms082913.php
    Statins may slow human aging by protecting against telomere shortening: A feature of senescent cells
    Not only do statins extend lives by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, but new research in the September 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal suggests that they may extend lifespans as well. Specifically, statins may reduce the rate at which telomeres shorten, a key factor in the natural aging process. This opens the door for using statins, or derivatives of statins, as an anti-aging therapy.

    “By telomerase activation, statins may represent a new molecular switch able to slow down senescent cells in our tissues and be able to lead healthy lifespan extension,” said Giuseppe Paolisso, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Internal Medicine, Surgical, Neurological Metabolic Disease and Geriatric Medicine at Second University of Naples in Naples, Italy.

    To make this discovery, Paolisso and colleagues worked with two groups of subjects. The first group was under chronic statin therapy, and the second group (control), did not use statins. When researchers measured telomerase activity in both groups, those undergoing statin treatment had higher telomerase activity in their white blood cells, which was associated with lower telomeres shortening along with aging as compared to the control group. This strongly highlights the role of telomerase activation in preventing the excessive accumulation of short telomeres.

    “The great thing about statins is that they reduce risks for cardiovascular disease significantly and are generally safe for most people. The bad thing is that statins do have side effects, like muscle injury,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “But if it is confirmed that statins might actually slow aging itself–and not just the symptoms of aging–then statins are much more powerful drugs than we ever thought.”

    http://www.fasebj.org/content/27/9/3879.full
    A new pleiotropic effect of statins in elderly: modulation of telomerase activity

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Gosh, Charles, we had no idea statins were such miracle drugs. Thanks for sharing — as usual.

      Reply
          1. Galina L.

            In his comments on different blogs Charles said that due to a Familial hypercholesterolemia he choose to take a very small dose of a statine to keep his TC level at mid-200-s (as far as i remember) instead of mid 300. He is overall in a good health and doesn’t observe any side-effects from his medication. I think it would be better to monitor cardiovascular markers rather than fight cholesterol numbers because statines are very dangerous drugs, but what to do is obviously his choice.

            Reply
          2. Mike G

            Tom,

            Another follow up question is: what other cell types have increased telomerase activity? The answer is: cancerous tumor cells. So taking statins could increase the likely-hood that your white blood cells will start dividing out of control – leading to leukemia, not a longer life span.

            Reply
            1. charles grashow

              To Tom and Galina

              I do not have FH (I’m apo 3/3) but I do have arterial plaque (on the widow maker)

              I’ve slowed the progression dramatically thru supplements, diet and low dose stain (20 mgs Atorvastatin QOD)

              My CAC has gone from 30 in 12/07 to 48 in 2/14.

              These are the results of my last blood test drawn of 5/11/15 (Quest Labs)

              TC – 129 mg/dl
              HDL – 54 mg/dl
              Direct LDL – 67 mg/dL
              Triglycerides – 36 mg/dl
              Non-HDL Cholesterol – 75 mg/dl
              Cholesterol/HDL Ratio 2.4

              Cardio IQ LDL Particle Number – 873 nmol/L
              Risk: Optimal <1260

              Small LDL – 160 nmol/l
              Risk: Optimal <162

              Medium LDL – 144 nmol/l
              Risk: Optimal <201

              Large LDL – 569 nmol/l (Particle # – Small LDL – Medium LDL)

              Apo A1 – 137 mg/dL Reference Range 94-176
              Apo B – 56 mg/dL Reference Range 52-109
              ApoB/A1 ratio – 0.41
              Risk, Male: Optimal < 0.77

              Homocysteine, Serum 10.3 umol/l Reference Range <11.4

              Liproprotein A <10 nmol/l Reference Range 3.3%

              Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio 3.3 Reference Range 1.3 – 12.0

              EPA/Arachidonic Acid Ratio 5.0
              Risk: Optimal >0.8

              Arachidonic Acid 0.3% Reference Range 0.3 – 3.3%
              EPA 1.5% Reference Range <2.3%
              DHA 3.1% (H) Reference Range 0.4 – 3.0%

              Also had this test done to check the health of my endothelium
              EndoPat Score – 3.56
              Green Zone. Score between 2.1 and 3. 

              Carotid Artery Duplex
              Test was done on 2/17/14
              Technique – Real time transverse and sagittal images of the carotid and vertebral vessels were obtained as well as Doppler. Measurement of carotid stenosis is based on velocity parameters that correlate the residual internal carotid diameter with North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET) – based stenosis levels
              Findings – Pulse Doppler Peak Systolic (PSV) and End Diastolic Velocities (EDV)
              Right
              CCA 72 cm/sec PSV
              ICA 68 cm/sec PSV
              ECA 66 cm/sec EDV
              ICA 22 cm/sec EDV
              LEFT
              CCA 100 cm/sec PSV
              ICA 68 cm/sec PSV
              ECA 67 cm/sec PSV
              CCA 27 cm/sec EDV
              ICA 25 cm/sec EDV
              Right
              ICA/CCA PSV Ratio – 0.9
              ICA/CCA EDV Ratio – 2.0
              Left 
              ICA/CCA PSV Ratio – 0.7
              ICA/CCA EDV Ratio – 0.9
              Comments – Flow in right vertebral artery is antegrade, 40 cm/sec and flow in left vertebral artery is 50 cm/sec.
              Impression – No hemodynamically significant stenosis
              http://www.asecho.org/wordpres
              Degree of stenosis, % 
              Normal
              ICA/PSV, cm/s <125
              Plaque Estimate, % 0
              ICA EDV, cm/s <40
              ICA CCA PSV ratio <2

              I do eat full fat dairy, grass fed meat, pastured eggs, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, etc.

              And no I do not work or have any association with Big Pharma.

            2. Bob Niland

              Charles, statins do not arrest or reverse CAC scores, they apparently make them worse. Both of these papers are from this year:

              JAHA: Risk Factors for Long-Term Coronary Artery Calcium Progression in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (free fulltext)
              http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/4/8/e001726.full
              “In our study, statin use at exam 1 was strongly associated with subsequent CAC progression…”

              JACC: Impact of Statins on Serial Coronary Calcification During Atheroma Progression and Regression (paywalled)
              http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=2211958
              “Conclusions
              Independent of their plaque-regressive effects, statins promote coronary atheroma calcification.”
              This might be a Nissen contribution:
              “These findings provide insight as to how statins may stabilize plaque beyond their effects on plaque regression.”

              Nissen cheers on plaque growth as stabilized by statins. CAC scores can be reversed without statins, primarily by diet (not a consensus diet, of course).

            3. charles grashow

              @Bob who said

              “statins do not arrest or reverse CAC scores”

              William “Wheat Belly” Davis did

              https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/25226795/William_Davis_MD_Omega3_VitD_Study_2009.pdf
              Effect of a Combined Therapeutic Approach of Intensive Lipid Management, Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation, and Increased Serum 25 (OH) Vitamin D on Coronary Calcium Scores in Asymptomatic Adults

              All patients were counseled to consume a high-fiber, low saturated fat, and low glycemic index diet, consistent with the National Cholesterol Education Program Therapeutic Lifestyle Change recommendations.

              The mean intake of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) was 3590 6 1545 IU (median 4000 IU; data not shown). Individual doses of fish oil ranged from 4.0 to 10 g /day, depending on the initial TG levels, and averaged 4.8 g/d with a median value of 4.0 g/d (data not shown). About 77% of men and 100% of women received a statin agent (simvastatin, rosuvastatin, atorvastatin, or lovastatin) in the interval between scans 1 and 2; 83% of men and 80% of women received nicotinic acid (extended-release). About 45% of men and 50% of women received an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (lisinopril, ramipril) or an angiotensin receptor blocker (losartan, valsartan, candesartan, and olemesartan) for hypertension; 14% of men and 10% of women received a beta-blocker (metoprolol or atenolol).

              Our findings lend support to the concept that dietary changes and the addition of omega-3 and vitamin D3 supplements to pharmacological therapy targeting LDL cholesterol 60, HDL 60, and TG 60 mg/dL may slow or reduce progression of coronary calcium scores in a substantial proportion of patients.

              SO – low fat diet, statins + Vitamin D3 – your thoughts

      1. Walter Bushell

        One think is that most published studies are wrong.

        We have this “publish or perish” thing in academia and thus academics are driven to publish any garbage they can come up with and get through peer review. This is made worse by counting the references made by other researchers, because the papers that support the consensus viewpoints are most likely to be published.

        Most researchers don’t understand statistics and will call in,
        maybe, someone from the math department after the study
        has been completed to shape the raw data into a publishable mess.

        Reply
      1. Bob Niland

        re: They may extend lifespan…

        By 4 days:
        http://www.dietdoctor.com/the-terrifyingly-tiny-effect-of-statin-drugs

        If that.

        Now that BMJ report was a meta-analysis, and those are always extra suspect, but consider the “literature” that they reviewed. It would have to have been overwhelmingly industry-sponsored work. As I understand it, there has been only one independent study of all-cause statin outcomes (ALLHAT-LLP), and it showed zero benefit.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Given the severity of the side effects, there’s no way I’d take a statin. The risk vs. reward ratio is way off.

          Reply
    2. The Older Brother

      Well that makes perfect sense since obviously telomere length equals mortality. Or does it?

      From The Journals of Gerentology:

      Abstract

      Telomeres, the DNA–protein structures located at the ends of chromosomes, have been proposed to act as a biomarker of aging. In this review, the human evidence that telomere length is a biomarker of aging is evaluated. Although telomere length is implicated in cellular aging, the evidence suggesting telomere length is a biomarker of aging in humans is equivocal.

      and

      Results

      …To date, 5 of 10 studies did not find a significant relationship between shortened telomeres and increased risk of mortality. Telomere length did not predict mortality in a prospective population study of the oldest old (≥85 years) (19) nor in three cross-sectional studies examining individuals in their 70s (21,22,26). In the fifth study, Bischoff and colleagues (20) found no correlation between telomere length and survival in a cohort of Danish twins and singletons (mean age = 81 years), with chronological age being a better predictor of survival.

      (full report @ http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/66A/2/202.full#T1 for report.)

      Well, that’s odd, isn’t it. It’s almost as if the statin boosters are trying to claim some vaguely associated biomarker of health as being causal, then using drugs to manipulate said marker, then further asserting that manipulation as equating to improved health outcomes. Even thought the marker’s association has subsequently failed to be established in several more rigorous studies.

      Who would do that?

      Oh, that’s right, forgot who we were talking about. My bad.

      Cheers

      Reply
    3. Stephen T.

      Charles, you tell us that statins extend life by reducing cholesterol. Could you please explain the following?: It is a small selection of complete contradictions that you’d need to explain.

      • France has the highest rate of saturated fat consumption in the world and a heart disease rate one third of the UK’s. A number of other countries show similar results, including, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Germany. (WHO figures.)
      • Switzerland has the second highest rate of saturated fat consumption in the world and the second lowest rate of heart disease.
      • In America of 137,000 people, in 541 hospitals, who’d had a heart attack, 78% had below average cholesterol. (American Heart Journal, 2009)
      • Japanese consumption of saturated fat has increased by 200 – 300 % in the last fifty years. Cholesterol levels rose from 3.9 to 5.1 and CHD fell by 60%.

      Lowering cholesterol achieves what exactly?

      Reply
      1. charles grashow

        @Stephen T

        http://www.ahjonline.com/article/S0002-8703(08)00717-5/fulltext
        Lipid levels in patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: An analysis of 136,905 hospitalizations in Get With The Guidelines

        “Only 1.4 percent of patients met the recommendation for both an LDL level of 70 or lower and an HDL reading of 60 or higher”

        With regard to Japan – The decline in CHD mortality is attributable to large declines in blood pressure levels and the prevalence of smoking.

        With regard to the French paradox – http://www.healthassist.net/food/french/french-paradox.shtml

        Reply
  5. Linda

    Catherine, your husband was very lucky to return to normal after discontinuing statins! I am one of the more unfortunate ones. Only two months on Pravastatin caused me to go from walking normally to only ambulating with a walker! At first, I had intense pain, but luckily due to diet changes and taking walloping doses of gelatin daily, I have managed to get rid of the pain most of the time. Apparently the crippling part causing me to have to use a walker is permanent, as it has been over three years.

    I agree with Tom- we need to continue to shout from the rooftops about statins! People are still being injured or killed by the drugs. I doubt seriously if the statins did one thing to prolong my life, and it really angers me to still see ads for statins and how wonderful they are!

    Reply
    1. Catherine

      That’s dreadful, Linda – I believe he was lucky, as you say. It also shows that the hospital had totally disregarded the recorded cholesterol reading on his records. He has an arthritic knee (bless him, he does seem to be rather afflicted, doesn’t he?!!) and he said that even this wasn’t as awful as the aches and pains he had whilst he was taking statins. I really hope that you continue to improve after your own experience – someone, someday, must be held responsible for situations such as yours. It’s unforgivable, in my opinion.

      Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        At 4.0 or 155 US, he should have been put on cholesterol supplements inclusive or told to eat many eggs or both, stat. That reading for cholesterol is *dangerously* low.

        Reply
  6. Catherine

    My husband was prescribed statins following a mild heart attack four years ago, despite the fact that, prior to the attack, his cholesterol level had been recorded as being below 4.0 (British system of measuring it, I don’t know what that would equate to in the US). About a week later, he was complaining of feeling very tired, and that his muscles ached, but we put that down to the fact he was recovering from a very traumatic experience. Once he was back at work, though, he found that he tired very quickly, felt that he couldn’t remember things properly, had a constant “brain fog”, and one evening when he got home, he could barely walk up the stairs because his legs ached so much. I googled “statins” and found Dr Kendrick’s wonderful blog, and printed out some of the things he wrote about them to show to my husband. He stopped taking the Simvastatin right away, and within a couple of days, he was pretty much back to his usual self. Since then, another doctor has prescribed him statins, following a diagnosis of male breast cancer, but thankfully, he refused to take them – why on earth would you prescribe statins to someone with cancer? Excellent post, as usual, Tom.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      He was lucky to return to his usual self. I’ve read cases of people who never fully recovered their muscle function.

      Reply
      1. Tanny O'Haley

        After taking statins and stopping 10 or 12 years ago (I can’t remember) when I now take a blood test my liver enzymes show high. They ask me if I’m on statins or a heavy drinker. I’m no longer on statins and don’t drink alcohol. I believe that statins permanently damaged my liver. I also have chronic muscle pain, though that may be because I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013. Thinking about it, I never had a tremor until I started taking statins. I wonder if it’s just a coincidence.

        It’s interesting to me that when they see liver damage they think alcoholic or statin user.

        Reply
        1. Galina L.

          May be all people who develop a hand tremor after being treated with a statine, should be checked for a stanines-induced muscle damage and file a court suit.

          My periodontist went into a disability retirement because his hands started tremoring, and a biopsy indicated a permanent statin damage. It started several months after he stopped taking statines because his leg muscles became weaker.
          Such horrible, crippling, dangerous drug! The side effects could be easily perceived as an aging or a Parkinson or an Alzheimer.

          Reply
          1. pam

            can he take coQ10? it might help a little

            (my husband also developed hand tremor within a month of simastatin; (this is probably the worst of all statin i think)

            he was told it was “essential tremor” by his doc due to “aging” (translate “we don’t know”)

            his tremor has improved slightly after being off. but it’s never completely gone.

            horrible drug indeed

            Reply
        2. pam

          my colleague had Parkinson; he also takes statin.
          (i don’t know the order of which happened first; dont’ want to be nosy)
          but he also has very noticeable hand tremor. & looked tired all the time.

          Reply
        3. Lucy

          My brother had the same thing happen to him. We have have naturally high cholesterol. The doctors have been telling me I am going to die since I was 18. I don’t know what my cholesterol is anymore, I quit measuring. I tried the statins and the made me feel like hell and ruined my sex life. My brother took them and now he has elevated liver enzymes and then the sometimes go to normal, but then up again. That started after he took lipitor. I won’t have heart scans or anything. I dont’ think it helps and results in over treatment which can also be harmful. If I have chest pain, I will go to doctor. Otherwise, no more cholesterol measuring and no more statins.

          Reply
      2. Bob Niland

        And you can expect to never get back any lost memories.

        Expect, however, to hear more and more about the “recently discovered” problem of “statin intolerance”. Why?

        Because statins are almost all off-patent now, and PCSK9 inhibitors are arriving just in the nick of time to fix that problem. But the P9s are so high-priced, that it will take some shoving to migrate the hapless victims off statins.

        And sorry, but there is as yet a complete lack of outcome (all-cause mortality) data for P9s. P9s may actually have value for people with certain conditions (like FH), but as one lipid blogger put it, we won’t know until the body counts are in.

        For the vast majority of people to whom statins have been pushed, you can get superior results, with no side effects, with diet alone.

        Meanwhile, here’s a handy field guide for spotting a statin quack:
        • prescribes based only on the nearly worthless standard lipid panel
        • fails to provide outcome data for someone with your presentation
        • fails to advise of side effects, many serious, some irreversible
        • fails to advise on side effect countermeasures, like CoQ10
        • dismissive of your side effect complaints (esp. those unlisted)
        • silent on diet, or recommends a diet that causes heart disease (whole-grain, high-carb, low-fat, low-sat, high PUFA)
        If this describes your MD, you need to find real doctor, stat.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Dr. Kendrick suggested in a recent post that once the next-generation cholesterol drugs come around, we’d suddenly be treated to more articles about the dangers of statins. Maybe the UK article was serving that purpose.

          Reply
      3. Galina L.

        Yes, my periodontist had to go to disability retirement at his 50-s because statines permanently damaged his hands muscles .

        Reply
      1. Catherine

        Yeah, you’d think, wouldn’t you? I was horrified – this was the cardiologist at the hospital that treated him for the heart attack.

        Reply
      2. Erica

        My overall cholesterol was 188 and my doc tried to put me on statins. It’s because I have more plaque in my arteries because I have diabetes, doncha know. This is the same doc who wouldn’t do the VAP test because he thought it was ‘voodoo.’

        Reply
  7. ian mcleod

    i told my doctor after my bypass that i would not take statins . he said i could die–i told him we are all going to die so whats the big deal?. glad i have a mind of my own

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      After seeing what statins did to my dad’s brain, I’d rather check out a few years earlier and be lucid for the whole ride.

      Reply
  8. Firebird

    My doctor tried to get me to take statins 4-5 years ago…even had me go through a rigorous stress test, which I passed. The cardiologist said my heart was pretty muscular and there were no signs of blockages. Still, she advised me to watch my cholesterol “in case” I get heart disease. Even with a clean bill of health, the doc still wanted me on a statin. I refused. In a one month span prior to all this, I managed to get my overall cholesterol number down to 300 from 330…using Niacinamide and Lecithin…cheap and available at The Vitamin Shoppe. The doctor said that drop, 10%, was not significant by his standards, though I suspect he would have been thrilled if those numbers dropped from statin use.

    His last ditch effort to get me on a script was to put me in time-release niacin. Yep. He wanted to put me on a $30 Rx for the same thing I was getting for $8 at the health food store. Lots of damage to my neck by shaking my head while banging it on my desk.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Take a statin in case you get heart disease?!! Good grief, does she put people on Metformin in case they develop diabetes?

      Reply
      1. Bob Geary

        Sadly, I think that’s REALLY common.

        My mother-in-law has been on statins for a couple of years now, because her cholesterol was “too high.” She has no past history of heart disease, and no current symptoms of heart disease – the prescription seems purely driven by an arbitrary number that needs to be lower.

        Since being on the statins, she’s been confused and forgetful – I’ve noticed her struggling to remember words, pausing mid-story because she’s lost the thread, etc. She’s noticed it too, and was concerned enough to get herself tested and evaluated for Alzheimer’s – but not concerned enough to even TRY stopping the statins.

        Last week, her fasting glucose levels got high enough to move her from “prediabetes” to “diabetes,” which is a common side effect of statins. This has her completely despondent – but still not despondent enough to even TRY stopping the statins.

        This makes me angry every time I think about it. There is ZERO evidence that statins have EVER prevented a first heart attack in a woman over 60 – yet her doctor has her convinced that the statins (and soon, presumably, then insulin) are all that’s keeping her alive, and that stopping them would be suicidal. (And the fact that she’s diabetic, even with those life-saving statins AND her low-fat diet and aerobic exercise? Clearly a sign that she’s STILL eating too much fat and not exercising enough…)

        The lid will eventually be blown off this thing, I’m sure – and when it is, I hope the resulting class-action lawsuits will BURN WITH FIRE the companies that have made billions selling us these not-just-worthless-but-dangerous drugs. I only hope that my mother-in-law is around to see that happen 🙁

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          The Older Brother nailed it in a previous comment: statins are the thalidomide of our generation.

          Reply
    2. Galina L.

      I remember a comment on the Hyperlipid blog left by a person who had serious muscle complications after taking Niacinamide .

      Reply
      1. pam

        niacin? also seems to raise BG (i remember from Dr. Davis so he does not recommed it. but i can’t remember the URL. have to dig iti out)

        Reply
  9. Linda

    Catherine, your husband was very lucky to return to normal after discontinuing statins! I am one of the more unfortunate ones. Only two months on Pravastatin caused me to go from walking normally to only ambulating with a walker! At first, I had intense pain, but luckily due to diet changes and taking walloping doses of gelatin daily, I have managed to get rid of the pain most of the time. Apparently the crippling part causing me to have to use a walker is permanent, as it has been over three years.

    I agree with Tom- we need to continue to shout from the rooftops about statins! People are still being injured or killed by the drugs. I doubt seriously if the statins did one thing to prolong my life, and it really angers me to still see ads for statins and how wonderful they are!

    Reply
    1. Catherine

      That’s dreadful, Linda – I believe he was lucky, as you say. It also shows that the hospital had totally disregarded the recorded cholesterol reading on his records. He has an arthritic knee (bless him, he does seem to be rather afflicted, doesn’t he?!!) and he said that even this wasn’t as awful as the aches and pains he had whilst he was taking statins. I really hope that you continue to improve after your own experience – someone, someday, must be held responsible for situations such as yours. It’s unforgivable, in my opinion.

      Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        At 4.0 or 155 US, he should have been put on cholesterol supplements inclusive or told to eat many eggs or both, stat. That reading for cholesterol is *dangerously* low.

        Reply
  10. ian mcleod

    i told my doctor after my bypass that i would not take statins . he said i could die–i told him we are all going to die so whats the big deal?. glad i have a mind of my own

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      After seeing what statins did to my dad’s brain, I’d rather check out a few years earlier and be lucid for the whole ride.

      Reply
  11. Dianne

    Even my family doctor, who has tried several times to prescribe statins for me, said she wouldn’t prescribe them for my husband because with his Alzheimer’s he had enough trouble remembering things. My question, of course, is why would she push them at a woman with minimally high cholesterol and a (so far) functioning brain — which I’d like to keep?

    Reply
    1. Walter Bushell

      AFAIK there have been no studies showing that women benefit from statins under any circumstances.

      Reply
  12. Galina L.

    I suspect that eating a high fat cholesterol-rich diet has an opposite effect than statines – it slows down aging. My suspicion is based complitely on an anecdotal evidence.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      It is anecdotal, but I’m one of the anecdotes. I’ve lost track of how many people have told me I don’t look my age. I think if nothing else, quality fat is good for the skin.

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        Same here. I turned 51 three weeks ago and had people in the early to mid 30s remarking that they thought I was a couple of years older than they were.

        Reply
      2. Thomas E.

        Plural of anecdote is not data!

        But, when you see a plethora of anecdote, you’ve got to say Whoaaaaaahhhhh!

        To all of the people who have, or relatives of those people who have been affected by statins, my heart goes out to y’all.

        My wife and I are watching my MIL go through the “standard” of care regimen, started with statins, now metaphornin, now chemotherapy. Despite my family thriving on a LCHF, my children are growing like weeds and my wife and I are shrinking (like treated weeds 🙂 ), she still gets in her 350-500g of carbs a day.

        But our 7 y.o. son made us proud last Sunday. Mother-in-law was watching him, he got hungry but refused her fruit snacks, chips and other manufactured food she had on hand.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton

          If he’s seven and already convinced to make smarter choices, you’ve done something right.

          Reply
  13. Dianne

    Even my family doctor, who has tried several times to prescribe statins for me, said she wouldn’t prescribe them for my husband because with his Alzheimer’s he had enough trouble remembering things. My question, of course, is why would she push them at a woman with minimally high cholesterol and a (so far) functioning brain — which I’d like to keep?

    Reply
      1. Dianne

        She said, “Statins do save lives.” It sounded like a quote from somewhere — maybe a pharmaceutical company brochure?

        Reply
  14. Galina L.

    I suspect that eating a high fat cholesterol-rich diet has an opposite effect than statines – it slows down aging. My suspicion is based complitely on an anecdotal evidence.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It is anecdotal, but I’m one of the anecdotes. I’ve lost track of how many people have told me I don’t look my age. I think if nothing else, quality fat is good for the skin.

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        Same here. I turned 51 three weeks ago and had people in the early to mid 30s remarking that they thought I was a couple of years older than they were.

        Reply
        1. Nads

          52 here and everyone thinks I’m much younger. Still have a very young body, after being overweight til I was 44. No aches and pains and loads of energy make you feel young too. Four years off sugar, and three years of real food only and lowish carbs.

          Reply
          1. Tom Naughton Post author

            Yup, I feel younger than my age. For me, that’s more important than looking younger than my age. Having strength and energy and endurance at age 56 is great.

            Reply
            1. Sandy

              Since I ditched the carbs and started eating more fat a couple of months ago (thanks mostly to you and your movie, Mr. Naughton), I feel at least 10 years younger – probably more like 20, it’s just that I can’t remember exactly when I last felt this good, so it’s hard to come up with a number. No aching joints, my ankles aren’t swollen and painful, I have energy, and I just “feel” better within myself. The way I felt before, I sure as heck didn’t want to know how horrible old age would be. Maybe that’s the point behind them encouraging high carbs/low fat and statins. Maybe they figure we’ll feel so horrible we’ll do ourselves in before we start draining those Medicrap funds. That’s my crack-pot theory of the day.

            2. Tom Naughton Post author

              Maybe, but I think it’s more likely people will drain more Medicare funds as they rely on drugs and surgeries to keep them alive when the carbage-induced diseases set in.

      2. Thomas E.

        Plural of anecdote is not data!

        But, when you see a plethora of anecdote, you’ve got to say Whoaaaaaahhhhh!

        To all of the people who have, or relatives of those people who have been affected by statins, my heart goes out to y’all.

        My wife and I are watching my MIL go through the “standard” of care regimen, started with statins, now metaphornin, now chemotherapy. Despite my family thriving on a LCHF, my children are growing like weeds and my wife and I are shrinking (like treated weeds 🙂 ), she still gets in her 350-500g of carbs a day.

        But our 7 y.o. son made us proud last Sunday. Mother-in-law was watching him, he got hungry but refused her fruit snacks, chips and other manufactured food she had on hand.

        Reply
        1. Bob Geary

          Apparently, at least according to him, the guy who originally said that thing about anecdotes and data was misquoted, and was making exactly the opposite point – that the plural of anecdote IS data! (http://blog.revolutionanalytics.com/2011/04/the-plural-of-anecdote-is-data-after-all.html)

          Which makes a hell of a lot more sense, when you think about it. People who sniff at personal experience as “mere anecdote” are essentially saying that one should treat every single experience that happens to one as a weird unique statistical outlier until they can see a peer-reviewed study confirming it…

          Reply
          1. Galina L.

            The famous diabetic educator Hope Warshow who is famous for her opinion that diabetics have the right to enjoy the same food as everybody else (and cover it with the necessary amount of insulin and diabetic drugs), rejects work made by Dr.Bernstein because his recommendations are based on what she considers to be an anecdotal evidence and a practice-generated data (opposite to a research data which she approves). Real-life data is the accumulation of individual experiences, end it is no good from some people point of view.

            Reply
  15. Superchunk

    I wonder if I’m the only person who immediately thought “Statins?” in response to hearing of Janet Yellen’s recent on-stage meltdown…not that she’s all that sharp normally, but she can usually stay functional.

    Reply
    1. Galina L.

      Well-health-insured people may take so many medications with such side effects as dizziness,drowsiness, lightheartedness, or weakness, that the medication-induced meltdown could be caused easily, even by multiple drugs interactions. Such wide-spread pills as blood-pressure meds can really do number on people, sleep-aids are tricky, not to mention things for so called “mental health”. It is the great advantage of taking care of health through a diet and a life-stile when positive things pile on each other, not negatives adding quickly up.

      Reply
  16. Superchunk

    I wonder if I’m the only person who immediately thought “Statins?” in response to hearing of Janet Yellen’s recent on-stage meltdown…not that she’s all that sharp normally, but she can usually stay functional.

    Reply
    1. Galina L.

      Well-health-insured people may take so many medications with such side effects as dizziness,drowsiness, lightheartedness, or weakness, that the medication-induced meltdown could be caused easily, even by multiple drugs interactions. Such wide-spread pills as blood-pressure meds can really do number on people, sleep-aids are tricky, not to mention things for so called “mental health”. It is the great advantage of taking care of health through a diet and a life-stile when positive things pile on each other, not negatives adding quickly up.

      Reply
  17. Annlee

    It’s worth noting that bisphosphonates Ithe anti-osteoporosis series of choice) depress the same pathway, the Mevalonate pathway, just at a later step. Scroll all the way down here, last diagram, right side – http://courses.washington.edu/bonephys/opbis2.html. I felt the same on Actonel as I had on statins, and quit it just about as fast. I frankly trust human biochemistry far more than any “lifestyle” disease drugs. Antibiotics I respect – though I never need them anymore.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Antibiotics have been a godsend, but of course they’ve been over-prescribed, which is leading to resistant bacteria.

      Reply
  18. Annlee

    It’s worth noting that bisphosphonates Ithe anti-osteoporosis series of choice) depress the same pathway, the Mevalonate pathway, just at a later step. Scroll all the way down here, last diagram, right side – http://courses.washington.edu/bonephys/opbis2.html. I felt the same on Actonel as I had on statins, and quit it just about as fast. I frankly trust human biochemistry far more than any “lifestyle” disease drugs. Antibiotics I respect – though I never need them anymore.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Antibiotics have been a godsend, but of course they’ve been over-prescribed, which is leading to resistant bacteria.

      Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      It’s an interesting example of the well-known “nocebo” effect, which is the opposite of the placebo effect: if you think something will make you feel bad, it will. What we have in this study are people ingesting various levels of gluten for … wait for it … three days, then self-reporting their symptoms. I seriously doubt three days on any diet is sufficient to determine the effects.

      The ability of gliadin to open the tight junctions in the gut is well established. Gut permeability is definitely a health hazard, but I doubt most of us would feel significant effects in just three days.

      Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s an interesting example of the well-known “nocebo” effect, which is the opposite of the placebo effect: if you think something will make you feel bad, it will. What we have in this study are people ingesting various levels of gluten for … wait for it … three days, then self-reporting their symptoms. I seriously doubt three days on any diet is sufficient to determine the effects.

      The ability of gliadin to open the tight junctions in the gut is well established. Gut permeability is definitely a health hazard, but I doubt most of us would feel significant effects in just three days.

      Reply
  19. Ulfric Douglas

    “maybe the manufacturers can drop the price and sell high doses of the stuff as rat poison.”
    B-But rat poison (warfarin) is already great!
    It prolongs the life of thousands of old fogeys with dicky tickers,
    unlinke statins 🙁

    Reply
  20. Ulfric Douglas

    “maybe the manufacturers can drop the price and sell high doses of the stuff as rat poison.”
    B-But rat poison (warfarin) is already great!
    It prolongs the life of thousands of old fogeys with dicky tickers,
    unlinke statins 🙁

    Reply
  21. David

    Tom,
    Did you ever think you’d agree with Dr. Joel Fuhrman? (Although he still cites the cholesterol hypothesis that higher LDL levels –> more oxidized LDL –> formation of plaque)

    http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/risks-associated-with-statin-drugs.aspx

    “To summarize, the following risks have been associated with statin drugs:
    Liver dysfunction
    Myopathies
    Acute kidney injury
    Cataracts
    Diabetes
    Cognitive problems
    Reduced physical fitness
    Possible acceleration of heart disease or heart failure”

    Reply
  22. David

    Tom,
    Did you ever think you’d agree with Dr. Joel Fuhrman? (Although he still cites the cholesterol hypothesis that higher LDL levels –> more oxidized LDL –> formation of plaque)

    http://www.drfuhrman.com/library/risks-associated-with-statin-drugs.aspx

    “To summarize, the following risks have been associated with statin drugs:
    Liver dysfunction
    Myopathies
    Acute kidney injury
    Cataracts
    Diabetes
    Cognitive problems
    Reduced physical fitness
    Possible acceleration of heart disease or heart failure”

    Reply
  23. Michele

    Reading all of this has me thinking. I have been on simvistatin for about 7 years, I am now 47. I was put on it because I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes and was told all diabetics were put on it as a preventative. Now, I am really concerned, maybe I should have never started taking it. I had no idea of these side effects. I don’t have any as of yet, but who knows what the future holds. I am really worried now.

    Reply
  24. Michele

    Reading all of this has me thinking. I have been on simvistatin for about 7 years, I am now 47. I was put on it because I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes and was told all diabetics were put on it as a preventative. Now, I am really concerned, maybe I should have never started taking it. I had no idea of these side effects. I don’t have any as of yet, but who knows what the future holds. I am really worried now.

    Reply
  25. Razwell

    They also increase the likelyhood of developing Parkinson’s Disease by TWICE. Dr. Huang and others found this.

    Reply
  26. Razwell

    They also increase the likelyhood of developing Parkinson’s Disease by TWICE. Dr. Huang and others found this.

    Reply
  27. CDville

    Statins have a small place; they are helpful for some patients. They just don’t deserve the reputation they’ve been given as miracle workers. My doctor has just a few patients on statins, yet the office receives mail from the insurance companies every day telling him patients (by name) have diabetes or some other risk factor for heart disease and should be on statins. Such mail goes straight to the shredder.

    Reply
  28. CDville

    Statins have a small place; they are helpful for some patients. They just don’t deserve the reputation they’ve been given as miracle workers. My doctor has just a few patients on statins, yet the office receives mail from the insurance companies every day telling him patients (by name) have diabetes or some other risk factor for heart disease and should be on statins. Such mail goes straight to the shredder.

    Reply

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