Statins and Exercise: The Scary Truth

If you take Lipitor (or other statins) you NEED to read this article. Pretty eye-opening stuff. Researchers recently completed a study to see what impact statins (drugs commonly used to lower cholesterol) have on the body. It’s alarming, to say the least.

To learn more about the effect statins have on exercising muscles, scientists in Strasbourg, France, recently gave the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor to a group of rats for two weeks, while a separate control group was not medicated. Some of the rats from both groups ran on little treadmills until they were exhausted.

It was immediately obvious that the medicated animals couldn’t run as far. They became exhausted much earlier than the rats that had not been given statins.

If you’re thinking that not running as far isn’t that big of a deal, check out what the research revealed that happens at the cellular level:

The differences were even more striking at a cellular level. When the scientists studied muscle tissues, they found that oxidative stress, a measure of possible cell damage, was increased by 60 percent in sedentary animals receiving statins, compared with the unmedicated control group.

The effect was magnified in the runners, whose cells showed 226 percent more oxidative stress than exercising animals that had not been given statins.

The medicated running rats also had less glycogen or stored carbohydrates in their muscles than the unmedicated runners. And their mitochondria, tiny mechanisms within cells that generate power, showed signs of dysfunction; mitochondrial respiratory rates were about 25 percent lower than in the unmedicated runners.

A 226% increase in possible cell damage? SCARY! If you’re taking statins, I would take a long hard look at what other options you have. I would also suggest talking to your physician about this specific study to see what they have to say about it.

QUESTION: If you are taking statins, what are your thoughts on this research?