Statin drugs reverse the benefits of exercise

Statin Drugs were introduced to the market in 1989, the rate of death by cardiac event has doubles since 1989!

Statins Can Undo the Benefits of Exercise -

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, discovered that statin use led to dramatically reduced fitness benefits from exercise, in some cases actually making the volunteer LESS fit than before!

The participants in the study included 37 overweight, sedentary men and women, all of whom had symptoms of metabolic problems, such as high blood pressure or excess abdominal fat. None of them had exercised regularly within the past 12 months, and most had slightly but not excessively elevated cholesterol levels.

Before the trial, muscle biopsies were taken from each participant to evaluate mitochondrial content, and their aerobic fitness was determined using treadmill testing. All participants were instructed to maintain their regular diet. The participants were then divided into two groups. One group was given a daily 40 mg dose of simvastatin (Zocor). The other group did not receive any medication. Both groups then began a supervised 12-week exercise program, walking or jogging on a treadmill for 45 minutes, five days a week. At the end of the three-month long trial, their aerobic fitness and muscles were retested. The results were astounding:

  • On average, unmedicated volunteers improved their aerobic fitness by more than 10 percent. Mitochondrial content activity increased by 13 percent
  • Volunteers taking 40mg of simvastatin improved their fitness by a mere 1.5 percent on average, and some had reduced their aerobic capacity at the end of the 12-week fitness program. Mitochondrial content activity decreased by an average of 4.5 percent

According to senior study author John P. Thyfault, a professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri:

"Low aerobic fitness is one of the best predictors of premature death. And if statins prevent people from raising their fitness through exercise, then that is a concern."

How Statins Might Undo Fitness Benefits and Make Your Heart Health Worse

The key to understanding why statins prevent your body from reaping the normal benefits from exercise lies in understanding what these drugs do to your mitochondria?the energy chamber of your cells, responsible for the utilization of energy for all metabolic functions.

The primary fuel for your mitochondria is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and one of the primary mechanisms of harm from statins in general appears to be related to COQ10  depletion. This also explains why certain statin users in the featured trial ended up with worse aerobic fitness after a steady fitness regimen.

It's been known for many decades that exercise helps to build and strengthen your muscles, but more recent research has revealed that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential role exercise can play in your health. A 2011 review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism pointed out that exercise induces changes in mitochondrial enzyme content and activity (which is what they tested in the featured study), which can increase your cellular energy production and in so doing decrease your risk of chronic disease.

The researchers stated:

"Increasing evidence now suggests that exercise can induce mitochondrial biogenesis in a wide range of tissues not normally associated with the metabolic demands of exercise. Perturbations [changes] in mitochondrial content and (or) function have been linked to a wide variety of diseases, in multiple tissues, and exercise may serve as a potent approach by which to prevent and (or) treat these pathologies."

Increasing mitochondrial activity is incredibly important because free radicals, which are toxic byproducts of metabolism as well as exposures to chemicals, pollutants and other toxins, can overwhelm your body's defenses, leading to oxidative damage to cells and tissues that can destroy cellular proteins, lipids and DNA, as well as lead to the loss of mitochondrial function. In the long-term, irreversible damage in the mitochondria can occur, leading to:

  • Lower threshold for physical exercise
  • Impaired ability to utilize carbohydrates and fat for energy
  • Insulin resistance
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Accelerated aging

If You're on a Statin Drug, You MUST Take COQ10 

If you take a statin drug without supplementing with CoQ10 or ideally, the reduced form, called ubiquinol, which is far more effective your health is at serious risk. CoQ10 is used by every cell in your body, but especially your heart cells. Cardiac muscle cells have up to 200 times more mitochondria, and hence 200 times higher CoQ10 requirements than skeletal muscle.

Now imagine if you start straining your heart with exercise and not counteracting the COQ10 depletion caused by the drug... it's no wonder, really, that statin users couldn't improve their fitness levels! There simply wasn't enough mitochondrial fuel in their system. This is why supplementing with ubiquinol or CoQ10 is so critical when you're taking a statin drug. A recent study in theEuropean Journal of Pharmacology7 showed that ubiquinol effectively rescued cells from the damage caused by the statin drug simvastatin, thereby protecting muscle cells from myopathies.

Premature aging is yet another side effect of statin drugs, and it's also a primary side effect of having too little CoQ10. Deficiency in this nutrient also accelerates DNA damage, and because CoQ10 is beneficial to heart health and muscle function this depletion leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness and, ultimately, heart failure...

Again demonstrating the necessity of CoQ10 supplementation during statin therapy, a recent study8 evaluating the benefits of CoQ10 and selenium supplementation for patients with statin-associated myopathy found that, compared to those given a placebo, the treatment group experienced significantly less pain, decreased muscle weakness and cramps, and less fatigue.

Statins also interfere with the mevalonate pathway, which is the central pathway for the steroid management in your body. This too could be a contributing factor as to why statins have such a detrimental impact on your ability to reap health benefits from exercise. As previously explained by Dr. Ron Rosedale:

"First and foremost, cholesterol is a vital component of every cell membrane on Earth. In other words, there is no life on Earth that can live without cholesterol. That will automatically tell you that, in and of itself, it cannot be evil. In fact, it is one of our best friends. We would not be here without it. No wonder lowering cholesterol too much increases one's risk of dying. Cholesterol is also a precursor to all of the steroid hormones. You cannot make estrogen, testosterone, cortisone, and a host of other vital hormones without cholesterol."

Beware the Health Hazards of Statin Drugs!

First, if you are a woman, it's critical for you to know that statins are classified as a "pregnancy Category X medication" meaning,it causes serious birth defects, and should NEVER be used if you?re pregnant or planning a pregnancy.  Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration9 (FDA) also announced it?s considering additional warning labels for statin drugs. Among them are warnings that statins may increase your risk of:

In all, statin drugs have been directly linked to over 300 side effects.