When statins attack muscles the effect is deep seated

statin pulling cholesterol off the muscleIt seems that every other person is on a statin, with the hopes that it will protect them from a heart attack, by lowering their so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL cholesterol).

What few people realize, is their statin may end up attacking a few muscles along the way.

Statin induced muscle melt downs

A statin attack on a muscle, can cause a muscle meltdown. The official term describing the problem is rhabdomyolysis, which translated means muscle (myo) splitting (lysis).

It sounds painful and it is.

The muscle becomes too weak to work properly.

But the real trouble arises when the kidney, which is tasked with handling the fall out from the muscle melt down, becomes overwhelmed, leading to kidney failure.

Muscles are structurally defective

Researchers from the University of Bern and Tufts looked inside muscles of people who had suffered a statin muscle attack.

In the study they looked at 83 bits of muscle (biopsies), 20 of these bits came from people who had never taken a statin, the rest came from people who were currently taking statins or had taken statins in the past.

Muscles that had been exposed to statins, weren’t quite right, structurally speaking.

The not quite right, was not restricted to the people currently taking the statin, the muscle anomalies also appeared in people who had discontinued taking the drug.

Cholesterol holds cells together

Statins work by blocking the enzyme HMG co-reductase, which is involved in manufacturing cholesterol and a few other things as well.

Shutting down cholesterol production means that there is less cholesterol available to do the things cholesterol is supposed to do. One of which is to firm up the membranes of cells.

If you remember from high school biology, plants had cell walls which made them all tough and strong, animal cells missed out on this method of membrane re-inforcement. The reason, a big immovable cell wall doesn’t allow for much movement, specifically getting up and moving from point A to point B.

Big cell walls were out in animal cells, so to stiffen things up, animal cells introduced cholesterol into their cell membranes. Firm but flexible, cholesterol was the key to mobility and muscle power.

Low levels of cholesterol impede muscle power

Some of the other things manufactured by the enzyme HMG co-reductase are also pretty important for the muscle to function properly. Shortages of cytochrome Q10 are also believed to contribute to muscle pain and muscle meltdowns.

Bad genes and tired muscles

Muscle meltdown doesn’t happen in everyone, although this research suggests most muscles end up being “touched” by statins. Officially, about 7 % of people who take a statin can expect some kind of muscle revolt.

Carrying SLCO1B1*5 gene, puts you at a bigger risk, but why this particular version of the SLCO1B1 gene causes risk is still a little unclear. Of course, “knowing” you carry the SLCO1B1*5 gene is also likely to be unclear, since this pharmacogenomic test is not routinely performed yet.

Exercising is good for the heart, but a vigorous muscle work out, increases the risk of a short fall of cholesterol arising thus precipitating a statin attack.

So if you’re taking a statin and feeling achy and very sore, don’t just chalk it up to “old age”. You may be about to be a victim of a statin attack. Stopping the statin can avert the attack, so seek medical advice.

Weigh up the risks

No drug is perfectly safe. Any time you take medication, you need to way up the pros and cons, the medical terminology for this is the risks versus benefits.

Unfortunately, the medical establishment often focuses on the risk of a heart attack, rather than the risk of a muscle attack, prescribing statins to all and sundry.

In my opinion, for the most part, the level of protection offered by a statin does not outway the risks for the vast majority of people.

Cholesterol not the enemy

High cholesterol levels are a sign of trouble, not the cause of the trouble.

Elevated cholesterol is the body’s attempt to dispatch band aids/plasters to the endothelial cells that are being damaged by the chemical process of oxidation, caused by unrestrained inflammation.  The secret to “fixing” the problem, is to lower the inflammation, not to destroy the band aid. 

There are lots of ways to lower inflammation that are as effective as statins but do not put muscles etc at risk. A good place to start would be to get the 7 Big Spoons™ sorted.

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion
 
MSU researcher studies ties between cholesterol drugs, muscle problems - press release from Michigan State University. 
 
The influence of SLC01B1 (OATP1B1) gene polymorphisms on response to statin therapy. Pharmacogenomics J (2010) 10:1–11. Romaine SP, Bailey KM, Hall AS, Balmforth AJ
 

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Further reading

cholesterol turning sticky because of sugar cholesterol for heart attack rescue insulin supervising plaque formation in artery
Meet the real villain in the high cholesterol saga Should you feed a heart attack a high fat meal ? Insulin steers the assembly of killer blood clots

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  1. By » Blog Archive » Round up 23 Jan – 27 Jan on February 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

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