Statins Used for Cholesterol Increase Risk for Injury and Arthritis

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Statins' health risks

Below you will find the summary from recent research published in JAMA (journal of the american medical association), the premier resource for medical research.  We’ve known for years that statins can cause fatigue and muscle pain, but recent research proves it can do far more than that.  If you are taking a statin, I’ve posted some tips below the article to help reduce the chance of harmful side effects.

DALLAS, TX – The use of statins appears to be associated with an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries, including an increased risk of dislocations, strains, and sprains, according to a new analysis[1]. Researchers suggest the full range of musculoskeletal adverse events might not be fully known and that further studies are needed, especially in active individuals.

These findings are concerning because starting statin therapy at a young age for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases has been widely advocated,” report Dr Ishak Mansi (VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas) and colleagues in a paper published online June 3, 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine. “Moreover, the numbers needed to be exposed for one additional person to be harmed were 37 to 58 individuals for various outcomes.”

The study included 6967 statin users propensity-matched with 6967 nonusers. Of the statin users, the majority was treated with simvastatin (73.5%) and approximately one-third had been prescribed maximum doses of the drugs, including simvastatin 80 mg, atorvastatin 80 mg, or rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca) 40 mg. Simvastatin 80 mg is currently restricted on the US market because of concerns about muscle damage.

Information from Industry

In the propensity-matched analysis, treatment with a statin was associated with a 19% increased risk of any type of musculoskeletal injury (p<0.001), a 13% increased risk of dislocations, strains, and sprains (p=0.001), and a 9% increased risk of musculoskeletal pain (p=0.02). There was a trend toward a 7% higher risk of osteoarthritis/arthropathies.

In contrast, researchers observed no association between the number of years an individual took simvastatin and the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.

If you or someone you know is taking a statin, follow these tips:

  • One of the known causes of muscle pain is the reduction of CoQ10, which is an anti-oxidant necessary for muscle tissue repair, including cardiovascular tissue.  Taking 100mg of CoQ10 daily in addition to a statin can reduce the likelihood of muscle pain and fatigue.
  • Taking magnesium (glycinate) allows muscles to relax, including cardiovascular tissue.  This can promote heart health as well healthy muscle, bone and nerve tissue.
  • EPA/DHA fish oil helps to reduce bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and reduce inflammation, which is a known cause of elevated cholesterol.  A minimum of 2,000 mg of purity certified and stabilized fish oil needs to be taken to see any therapeutic benefit.
  • High fiber foods such as raw vegetables and raw nuts help to drive bad cholesterol out of the blood stream.  Avoiding high animal fat foods such as dairy and red meat can also be beneficial.   A diet high in raw vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, good fat such as avocado, salmon, extra virgin olive oil and also complex carbohydrates like fruit can lower your inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors.  The mediterranean style diet, which includes low glycemic load food with exercise lowers metabolic syndrome by 22%, that number goes up to 43% when you add a medical food like ultra meal plus 360.
  • You can ask your doctor to try a non-statin cholesterol lowering medication first, which lowers the absorption of dietary fat, and does not target liver function.
  • Red yeast rice is a natural alternative to statins.  Coratin by Metagenics supports healthy lipid metabolism and combines plant sterols and red yeast rice to support heart function.
  • Slow release niacin can be used to increase good cholesterol and lower triglycerides.

Garlic, Arginine and folic acid have proven patient benefits at reducing cardiovascular risk factors along with a healthy diet, exercise and the above mentioned supplements.  Ultra Meal Plus 360 is a meal replacement shake that can be used for breakfast daily with water, frozen fruit, kale or spinach and 2 Tbsp. of chia seeds to help reverse high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure more effectively than diet or exercise alone.

For more information, watch the video on how to “lower your numbers naturally” in the Video section. 

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