Statin Drugs And Their Double-Whammy Effect On Our Bodies
There has been past concerns about the side effects of these types of drugs called statins, which are used to lower elevated levels of cholesterol in people. And after years of voiced concerns, FDA recently issued a warning to users of statin drugs (e.g., Lipitor, Vytorin, Crestor) that it can cause memory loss, along with other serious side effects.
Statin Drugs Cause Memory Loss
There are myriads of reports from people citing bouts of memory lapses after taking statin drugs to lower their elevated levels of cholesterol. Some of the common symptoms were forgetfulness, disorientation, and confusion. On the Wall Street Journal’s February 12th 2008 edition of the Health Journal, it mentioned that “… anecdotes linking statins to memory problems have been rampant for years”. It is interesting to note that once these individuals stop taking such drugs as Lipitor, their bouts of memory lapses disappear.
The brain contains cholesterol, which can be spotted in areas that shield the nerve cells and also in the synapses that transmit the electrical signals. The glial cells found in the brain produces cholesterol for the very purpose of providing synaptic facilities for the nerve cells. There is a study that suggest that the brain crosses the blood-brain barrier to get its cholesterol from the bloodstream when it cannot produce its own. Therefore, it makes sense that lower levels of cholesterol would negatively impact our thought and memory processes of the brain.
Yeon-Kyun Shin, a professor of biophysics at the Iowa State University, was involved in a study cited by Iowa State University in Februrary 2009 that found that statin drugs that lower cholesterol may also stop the brain from making its own cholesterol. He went on to say that such a process is critical for “efficient brain function”, and if your brain is deprived of cholesterol, “then you directly affect the machinery that triggers the release of neurotransmitters”. Simply put, it negatively affects your cognitive functions, including “how well you remember things”.
Statin Drugs Could Predispose Individuals To Heart Disease
As mentioned earlier, statin drugs are commonly being prescribed to lower elevated levels of cholesterol, with the goal of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. And these drugs, like Lipitor, are very effective in reducing cholesterol in the blood, However, at the negative end, these drugs inhibit the synthesis of CoQ10, leading to sub-optimal levels of CoQ10. And according to an article on The Biamonte Center for Clinical Nutrition website, a reduction in CoQ10 levels may result in myopathy, a disease of the muscular system, characteristic of muscular weakness and non-functioning muscle fibers.
Since the heart is one big muscle, long-term use of statin drugs could potentially predispose individuals to heart disease by lowering their CoQ10 levels. Wow, isn’t it ironic that cardiovascular disease is the very condition that these drugs are meant to prevent?
So what’s good for the heart is bad for the brain, and potentially bad for the heart? What a predicament, huh? To attack elevated levels of cholesterol and the unintentional block of CoQ10 synthesis, you may want to take the dietary and exercise route, while supplementing with CoQ10. However, always consult your primary care doctor or medical professional before dumping those statin drugs for alternative treatments.