Drs BA Golomb and MA Evans recently wrote a review of the many papers that dealt with the adverse effects of statins, an immensely popular (and profitable) class of drugs that lowers blood cholesterol levels. One of the potential little side effects is rhabdomyolysis, a devastating muscle-wasting disease described by Stedman’s Medical dictionary as “an acute, fulminant, potentially fatal disease that destroys skeletal muscle and is often accompanied by the excretion of myoglobin in the urine.” Others side effects are cognitive loss (decreased ability to think soundly), neuropathy (nerve deterioration), pancreatic and liver dysfunction and sexual dysfunction. The authors also mentioned that most physicians are unaware of these problems.
I recently commissioned research that shows that most physicians, as well as their patients are woefully ignorant of the importance of vitamin D. So how do the two tie together? In an earlier post on heart disease, I cited the research by Dr Ed Giovannucci and his colleagues at Harvard. They showed that men with the lowest levels of serum (blood) vitamin D were about 2.4 times as likely to suffer a heart attack as those whose levels were highest. They also showed that those with the lowest vitamin D levels also had the lowest HDL, the “good cholesterol.” As also pointed out in my earlier blogs, vitamin D has the ability to reduce arterial calcification and reduce inflammation, both risk factors for heart disease.
Vitamin D also increases muscle strength rather than reducing it and increases fertility in men and women as well as protecting the nervous system and enhancing cognitive abilities. This can all be done for about $15 per year worth of supplementation, and sunlight is free. Compare that to the thousands of dollars required to poison oneself with statin drugs. Which way would you like to bet? Remember to check with your doctor before reducing or changing medications, as withdrawal could also be dangerous. Meanwhile, stop eating junk food and get some healthful outdoor exercise!
 Golomb BA, Evans MA. Statin adverse effects: a review of the literature and evidence for a mitochondrial mechanism. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2008;8(6):373-418.
 Giovannucci, E. et al. 25-hydroxy-vitamin D and risk of myocardial infarction in men. Ann Intern Med 2008;168:1174-80.