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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

Men: Statins could be killing your mojo (and wrecking your brain and muscles)

I dislike statin drugs! You know – those ‘miracle’ pills that it seems like every doctor and cardiologist prescribes so that you won’t get that heart attack you are destined to, as a result of your high cholesterol. The drugs that it was suggested should be handed out at McDonalds, or put in our water supply to save us all from dying of a heart attack.

Why do I say I hate them? The side effects, and the lack of evidence that they do much to save lives.

I was talking to a friend recently, who told me the Doctor put him on a new drug. “Which one?” I asked. “A statin – he said he puts everyone on it as a preventative” “Do you have high cholesterol?” “No, and scans showed my blood vessels were normal for my age” He’s mid 50’s.
“Hows your mojo?” I asked. “Funny you should mention that, it’s gone down to nil – not even interested, I am really concerned – this has never happened before.”
“Have you noticed any difference in muscle strength?” “I have!, I used to be able to do 13 pull-ups and recently, no idea why I’ve only been able to do about 4, I’ve been really worried about that too, I get physically tired and don’t have the strength I used to have at work either.”
“What about your brain – any difference there?” “Yes that too – I feel vague all the time and I just can’t think as well, or remember things – something else I’m really worried about”
“Did you know these are all side effects of statin drugs, and I’m hearing a similar story from many people I talk to on statins?” He looked at me stunned – he had no idea that all these changes were due to a drug that supposedly was going to save his life. He was frightened of what was happening, and had no idea why he suddenly had a host of problems. This same person was in pain from a gout attack, it seems he has severe gout attacks very frequently recently. I googled Statin and gout – guess what – it is yet another listed side effect from Statin Drugs.

He also said he noticed other changes, dry skin and thinning hair – also side effects reported by people on statins .

This is why I hate statins, the side effects appear to happen to a large number of people who take them. They sap muscle strength, even causing severe muscle pain, they affect your brain and your memory, they affect a man’s libido by decreasing testosterone. Testosterone is made from cholesterol. This article Sexual Side effects of Statins reviews a number of studies showing a link between statin drugs and low libido in men.

What concerns me is the number of people who are being put on statins, when the difference they make doesn’t appear to be very great. I spoke to a doctor recently who worked out that for every 56 people taking statins, one person would be saved a heart attack. On the other hand studies have shown that they increase your risk for a multitude of other health issues. In this article about a major statin risk study “The researchers found that the outcomes that were significantly associated with statin use were myopathy (muscle weakness or pain), cataracts, kidney failure, and moderate or severe liver dysfunction.” (Statin side effects examined)

“Muscle pain may occur because statins block the production of co-enzyme Q-10, which is essential for energy production in all muscles.
Nerve damage and memory problems may be linked to reduced cholesterol production.
Cholesterol is essential to maintain the myelin sheath, which surrounds and protects the nerve cells and is used in the brain to build synapses, which create and store memory.”

What concerns me is that many who are put on statin drugs are elderly. They may not put down deterioration in muscle strength, libido, or memory to a side effect of the what Doctors will tell you is a safe medication, but to deterioration due to the aging process. The stories I hear are from younger people, in their 5o’s usually, who are generally active and working. I can’t think of one person in this age group who did not notice some deterioration in health since they started taking these drugs.

If your Doctor suggests statins, do take the time to do your research and question your Doctor about the the necessity for you of taking them, and look at alternative ways to reduce your risk of heart disease.

If you are already on Statins, and have noticed an number of health changes since starting the drugs, research Statin side effects to see if your health changes could be related. Here is a checklist of 26 common side effects.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9HFZT5x9Xc&feature=player_embedded]

Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, talks of the dangers of lowering cholesterol with Statin Drugs

There are many dietary and lifestyle changes you can make that will reduce your risk far more than taking this cholesterol reducing “mallet”. Whats more – reducing cholesterol may make no difference to your risk of heart disease, when it appears that inflammation is actually the cause of clogged arteries. (More on this later) Here’s an interesting graph showing the correlation of heart disease and cholesterol.

The other side of statins: They’ve saved countless lives – but now doctors fear for some, the side effects could be devastating

Statin side effects examined

Healthy Skeptic’s Series on cholesterol and statins

Statins and the Cholesterol hypothesis part 1, PaleoNu

Lipid-lowering treatment to the end? A review of observational studies and RCTs on cholesterol and mortality in 80+-year olds

Dr Briffa’s articles on Cholesterol and Statins (a must read)
http://www.drbriffa.com/category/cholesterol-and-statins/
http://www.drbriffa.com/category/cholesterol/

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