Statin cholesterol lowering drug simvastatin may slow exercise training and lead to unhealthy eating in people with prediabetes (and others).
Statins are commonly prescribed to people with prediabetes-metabolic syndrome who have a problem with their metabolism leading to unhealthy cholesterol-lipid levels which can be determined through blood tests.
Statin use has been linked to muscle aches and problems along with problems in the functioning of the small “organelles” in our cells called mitochondria. These mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouses of our cells because they take part in producing energy for our bodies. Because of this, researchers have looked into whether statin use alters adaptations to exercise training by negatively affecting the numbers of mitochondria in muscle cells and/or causing the mitochondria not to work as well as they should.
It is well-known that exercise increases one’s fitness and the amount of mitochondria in muscles. So scientists set out to see if this same increase happens in people who are taking a statin medicine. They investigated how much cardiorespiratory fitness and skeletal muscle mitochondria improvement occurred in people on simvastatin as they were participated in aerobic exercise training over a 3 month period of time. They concluded,
Simvastatin attenuates increases in cardiorespiratory fitness and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content when combined with exercise training in overweight or obese patients at risk of the metabolic syndrome.”
In other words, overweight people with prediabetes who were taking a statin cholesterol medicine did not get the same benefits from exercise.
If you have prediabetes metabolic syndrome, and you are on a statin, do not stop taking this medicine. But do talk to your doctor about making lifestyle changes, adding some form of exercise to your weekly routine and eating real food that has not been made by a machine.
While indicated for many patients, like other drugs, there are side-effects you should be aware of. The problem is most people are not willing to engage in the lifestyle changes that may just be the key to getting them off drugs. Exercise is medicine.
Statin drugs will not protect you from an unhealthy lifestyle
There is some recent evidence that people who take statin medicines may have a more carefree attitude about their lifestyle choices when it comes to choosing what foods to eat because they believe they are protected by their statin medicine from the unhealthy effects of poor food choices.
A recent study looking into the eating habits of statin users over ten years found,
Calorie and fat intake increased among statin users during the decade — an indication that many patients might be abandoning heart-healthy lifestyles and assuming that drugs alone will do the trick.”
If you are on a statin medicine for an unhealthy cholesterol-lipid level, do not believe you are “protected.” Your goal should be to improve your health so you may take less drugs or stop taking the medicine altogether. Work with your doctor on this. Do not think of it as something you need only to slow your deteriorating health. Food is medicine.
If you have a family member on a statin medicine, listen to how they may be speaking about the food they eat, or if they have been experiencing muscle cramping when walking for exercise – they could be giving you signs of problems related to statin use.
I have previously posted in greater length on where statin medicines came from and how they may decrease the amount of an important nutrient in your body needed for you to make energy. As a matter of fact, reduced amounts of this nutrient may play a role in the development of nerve damage found in the feet of people with prediabetes and diabetes, known as peripheral neuropathy. To read that article, click HERE.