Statin Drugs Cause Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure

By Dr. Linda J. Dobberstein, DC, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

February 16, 2015

Statin Drugs Cause Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure
"Statin Drugs stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure" is the title of a research study published this past week. It has not made mainstream news at the time of this article writing, but it is of utmost importance to the health of the tens of millions taking statin drugs for cholesterol. The evidence continues to pile up and prove that statin drugs are hazardous to your heart and health.

The study, published in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology February 6, 2015, discusses the process of how statin drugs cause the demise of heart health, worsen atherosclerosis and induce heart failure. The study’s authors are located in Japan at the Nagoya City University. If and when this news reaches the American public, the tens of millions of patients on statin drugs with worsening heart disease and heart failure should be flooding their physician’s office and the drug companies’ door with phone calls demanding explanations and reprimand. So far that has not happened.

Mitochondria Damage

The second finding of the study is of little surprise. It shows that statin drugs are toxic to the mitochondria, or the energy producers in cells. Mitochondrial damage in the heart is a downward slope to cardiomyopathy or heart failure. This is a dangerous, although often subtle, effect. Statins impair the heart muscle mitochondria function, severely disrupt ATP production, and alter intracellular signaling proteins. This impairment leads to muscle cell dysfunction and eventually apoptosis or muscle cell death. This is like pouring concrete into the cellular engines of energy production and heart muscle contraction.

Other Side Effects

Expand this picture further. We have skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, and smooth muscle. The side effects of statin drugs are often discussed as skeletal muscle weakness and pain and in recent years the increased development of heart failure (cardiac muscle failure). This is most often in the context of high dose statins. There are, however, other side effects that may be linked with statin drugs and how they affect mitochondria. Common side effects with the drug simvastatin include headaches and constipation. One doesn’t normally think of headaches and constipation concerns linked with mitochondria, but they can be. Both the nervous system and smooth muscles have high levels of mitochondria. Bowel motility is dependent upon smooth muscle function and nervous system activity. When there is a disruption in the health of mitochondria in the body, one of the symptoms may be constipation.

This is the same with migraines. Some types of headaches, i.e. some subtypes of migraines are related with mitochondria dysfunction. Joint pain and tendon problems may also be related. Don’t forget the brain and side effects of being forgetful or depressed. Our brain desperately needs healthy mitochondria to function effectively. It is common to dismiss these symptoms, attributing them to poor diet, stress, or aging. Yet, how many statin users have the common symptoms of constipation, headaches, joint pain, and feel a little less energetic, forgetful, and weaker than they did a few years ago and chalk it up to aging. Often they go to their physician and because they do not have outright symptoms of rhabdomyolysis and liver failure from the statin drug, it is chalked up to stress and getting older. The traditional medical and research communities are heavily debating these side effects and are not owning up to the real damage caused by statins. Many are looking for more ways to prescribe statins other than for cholesterol problems.

The question remains: how many people are going to suffer further heart disease with sky-rocketing rates of heart failure and subsequent loss of function and life linked with statin induced side effects? How many burgeoning statin drug class action law suits will it take to stop the pharmaceutical industry from this massive debacle and cover-up resulting in human tragedy? One is too many. It is time for the medical and pharmaceutical industry to acknowledge the truth and look at real solutions for heart disease.

The researchers from the headline study said "Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs. We propose that current statin treatment guidelines be critically reevaluated." They were polite in their request and recommendations, but what about you? Are you going to follow the mainstream herd mentality, or are you going to look at the physiology and stand up for your health? Talk to your cardiologists and see if they understand these principles of physiology. If they did, they should be the first to stop prescribing these dangerous meds. Take charge of your health today!

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