Have you noticed a sudden onset of muscle pain or weakness? What about tingling or cramping in your legs? Have you suffered from mental confusion lately? Before you chalk it up to aging, let me ask you one question: are you taking a statin drug? If so, you might be surprised to learn that your symptoms may be common statin side effects.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs are not effective tools in the primary prevention of heart disease. Most people hear the statistics on the statin drug commercials stating, “Lipitor reduces the risk of heart attack by 36 percent…in patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease.” This sounds like pretty good odds, right? What they don’t tell you is that 100 people need to take a statin drug for 3.3 years before one heart attack is prevented. Hopefully, it’s your heart attack that is prevented.
This number, 100, is referred to as the NNT or number needed to treat in order to prevent “x”; however, most people don’t get to hear about those statistics. Instead, pharmaceutical companies’ present statistics in a way that makes statin drugs look like the hero all Americans have been waiting for.
Look at it this way. Imagine your daughter’s soccer team is holding a raffle to raise money to help them attend the state championships. Your chances of winning are one in 100, but hey, it’s for a good cause, right? The risk-benefit ratio is relatively small. It’s a win-win situation. Can the same be said of your chances with statin drugs? Do statin drugs come with any risks?
What if I gave you and 99 other individuals were asked to take a statin drug each day for 3.3 years and were also advised that many in the group would experience statin side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, muscle pain and weakness, sexual dysfunction, and mental confusion over the course of that period; but the good news is that within the group, one heart attack would be prevented. Oh, and I forgot to mention one other small statin side effect: your risk for cancer would increase. Does this sound like a reasonable risk to you?
This is the risk you are taking with a cholesterol-lowering drug.
Statin drugs, such as Lipitor, restrict your body’s ability to make cholesterol. Cholesterol-lowering block a liver enzyme, HMG CoA Reductase, thereby inhibiting the production of cholesterol. Statin drugs are good at lowering cholesterol, but don’t think that stopping a natural biochemical process will not have any consequences. Remember, cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, but rather it is crucial to the proper functioning of our body. If statin drugs solely lowered cholesterol that alone would be damaging enough, but statins don’t stop there. By poisoning our liver in this fashion, we’re not only stopping the production of cholesterol, but also inhibiting CoEnzyme Q10, bile acids, vitamin D, our sex hormones, vitamin E, Selenium and Zinc.
What is the result? Debilitating statin side effects.
Irritability and short tempers
Rapid loss of mental clarity
Muscle aching and weakness
Tingling or cramping in the legs
Inability to walk
Liver damage and abnormalities
Congestive Heart Failure
Drug companies do an excellent job at embellishing the slight benefits of statin drugs while downplaying statin side effects.
Ironically, the small shred of benefit that statin drug manufacturers cling to have nothing to do with lowering cholesterol. Statin drugs have a slight anti-inflammatory effect. As we have discussed, heart disease is caused by inflammation. Instead of poisoning our bodies’ basic, God-given processes, what if we focus on reducing inflammation instead? Why don’t we start focusing on therapies that have side benefits instead of statin side effects?
There are plenty of other natural ways to reduce inflammation and lower your risk for heart disease.