Taking a Statin? Read This Now

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with their opinions on taking supplemental testosterone. This Friday, we’ll dive into the mailbag and publish a few responses (anonymously of course).

In the meantime, if you’re taking a statin (or know someone is who is), please read on.

Fatigue. Liver damage. Digestive Distress. Memory Loss. Muscle pain.

The potential side effects of statins aren’t pretty. And while statins are quite efficacious at lowering cholesterol levels, all available data do not indicate statins are efficacious for actually reducing the risk of death.

I recently convinced my father to stop taking his statins. Based on all available research, it appears they do more harm than good.

If you do take statins, however, you must make sure your Vitamin D levels are in the optimal range.

New research published just this past January in the journal Atherosclerosis looked at the incidence of muscle pain, the most common statin side effect, and blood levels of vitamin D among 5,907 people over the age of 40.

The average vitamin D level of all the participants was 23.6ng/mol, indicating that most adults in the study could stand to increase their Vitamin D intake.

While the Institute of Medicine considers 20-30ng/mol to be within the healthy range, the Vitamin D Council and the Endocrine Society prefer levels between 30-50ng/mol.

But even more importantly, the researchers discovered that participants with the lowest vitamin D levels (less than 15ng/mol) had significantly higher odds of experiencing musculoskeletal pain compared to non-statin users. In fact, they were almost 2 times as likely to report having muscle pain.

The researchers concluded that their results indicate vitamin D deficiency could increase the risk of muscle damage as a side effect of statin use.

If you take a statin, and especially if you experience muscle pain, you must get your Vitamin D levels tested and make sure they are optimal. Also, you should talk to your doctor about supplementing with CoQ10, as it’s well known that statins deplete CoQ10 levels in the body.

Even if you don’t take a statin, everyone can benefit from getting their D levels in the optimal range. It seems new research is coming out every week about how important this nutrient really is.

The best way to get Vitamin D is to get outside for 15-20 minutes every few days and expose your bare arms. If you can’t do that, or live in the northern hemisphere, you’ll probably need to supplement to get your D levels up.

Look for a product that uses the D3 form, as it’s the active form in your body. D2 isn’t quite as effective.

To Living Well,
Jasmine LeMaster

Source:
Vitamin D status modifies the association between statin use and musculoskeletal pain: a population based study. Atherosclerosis. 2015 Jan;238(1):77-82. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.11.012.

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