For the past five years I have been talking about the importance of the mevalonate pathway and the inevitable problems to come from inhibition of this vital biochemical complex especially at its very beginning. Think of the mevalonate pathway as a tree with multiple branches and then think of the effect of our statins drugs as "girding" this tree at the base, in the misguided efforts to block cholesterol.
The pharmaceutical industry threw caution to the wind 15 years ago when the national priority to lower cholesterol so fogged our minds that they focused just on the cholesterol branch of the mevalonate pathway and completely disregarded the important consequences of collateral damage to the other main branches of the tree from statin drugs. The predictable result of all this has been our bizarre spectrum of statin associated side effects ranging from cognitive, to myotoxic, neurotoxic, neurodegenerative and even behavioral.When the powerful statins cut cholesterol 50%, CoQ10 is also likely to be cut by a similar amount. Therein lies the problem, for CoQ10 has vital roles in energy production, cell wall integrity and mitochondrial anti-oxidation, all of which leads to the enormous variety of symptoms and problems we now are seeing.
And what about another major branch of the mevalonate tree, that of dolichol? I have been talking of the consequences of statin associated dolichol inhibition for years now, calling attention to the importance of this substance in neuropeptide formation and our feelings of thought, sensation and emotion. More recently, I have pointed at dolichol inhibition as a possible cause of statin associated behavioral side effects, such as irritability, hostility and depression, while wondering how, with so few proteins, such amazing subtlety of emotion could be created.
Now, however, I have learned that along with peptide assembly within the endoplasmic reticulum of every cell is the process of sacharride attachment. It is here in the heart of every cell that sacharrides (sugars) are attached to proteins to give a far broader range of diversity and information transfer than protein alone. This process is called glycosylation and it demands a ready supply of dolichol.No longer do we consider sugars as just simple fuel. The effects of these eight vital sugars on the resulting peptide structure being created in the endoplasmic reticulum and companion piece, the Golgi apparatus, is just short of miraculous. And this attachment of sugars, this glycosylation, is completely dependent on dolichol's orchestration. Throw in a statin and what do you have? An inevitable inhibition of dolichol (roughly comparable to the degree of cholesterol inhibition.) The resulting effect upon our body of this dolichol theft is completely unpredictable for this is at the very center of cell communication and immunodefense.
Dolichols may well be fully as important as CoQ10 in this unfortunate game of statin roulette that Big Pharma has placed us in. Statin damage is often additive to pre-existing impairment of glycolysis from aging, disease and poor nutrition. Glyconutrients, now increasingly available as a source of these vital sugars, may offer hope to thousands of statin damaged victims to help the body repair the effects of impaired glycolysis. It is much too early to talk of proof of effect for studies are only now in the planning stage. However, based upon my six years of research, I anxiously look forward to the results.
Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor