Study: Statins Damage Muscle

Wednesday, 20 Feb 2013 11:38 AM

By David Brownstein, M.D.

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Statin drugs are the most commonly prescribed medication for elevated cholesterol levels. Researchers recently assessed the effect of statins on the inflammatory process induced
by injury to the muscles, and published their findings in the December 2012 issue of the journal Muscle and Nerve.

The researchers divided rats into four groups: a control group, a statin-treated group, a group treated with statins and subjected to muscle injury, and a group subjected to injury only.

The results showed that the animals treated with statins exhibited significantly greater structural muscle damage compared to the control group and the injured group not given statins.

Statin drugs lower lipid levels by poisoning an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, limiting
cholesterol production. There is no doubt that statins lower cholesterol levels. But is that a wise thing to do? Cholesterol has many important functions in the body, including helping repair injuries. After an injury, one of the body’s first reactions is to increase cholesterol
levels.

Poisoning the enzyme that makes cholesterol does not make sense. Every country where the
World Health Organization has collected data has shown an inverse relationship between cholesterol levels and death rates — that is, higher cholesterol means lower death rates.

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