Among the side effects reported from statin drug use there has been a broad complex of emotional and behavioral symptoms.
Reports by anxious patients, concerned family members of caregivers have included aggressiveness, hostility, irritability, paranoia, road rage type outbursts, homicidal ideation, severe depression resistant to most therapies and as a natural follow-on to depression, a number of suicides have been reported where family members assert vehemently that, "It was the statin that did it."
Dolichol inhibition is suspected as a major contributor to such behavioral change because of its established role in neuropeptide formation, where it orchestrates the processes of peptide strand formation in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus.
Just as cholesterol synthesis is inhibited by reductase inhibitors of the mevalonate pathway, so must dolichols (and CoQ10) for their formation depends upon the integrity of this same pathway. The finding of emotional and behavioral consequences of statin drug use should come as no surprise for dysfunction of dolichol managed pathways seems all but inevitable.
Additionally, that low cholesterol plays an important role in cognition and behavior independent of glial cell inhibition is now well known to exist via the seleno-protein pathway. When disrupted this pathway leads to cognitive dysfunction as well as myopathy.
Now we find a study on the American Journal of Epidemiology by Zhang, Muldoon and others (yes, the same Muldoon having reported 100% cognitive dysfunction among statin users) reporting on the association of low serum cholesterol with negative mood, decrements of cognitive function and various types of aggressive behavior in adolescent children.
This association is not minor and was based upon detailed and well-controlled studies of a large population group and, surprisingly, existed only for the non-African-American segment of the group studied. When all the possible confounding factors were accounted for, the tendency for violence and aggressiveness persisted among Caucasian children and adolescents.
The authors report an across the board correlation of low cholesterol with many other studies including those with conduct disorders, violent behavior, criminals and psychiatric patients and even controlled dietary studies of non-human primates, reflecting on a species correlation. The result is a strong positive correlation between low cholesterol and aggressiveness.
So, if a surprisingly large segment of our society is already aggression prone because of low serum cholesterol, can you imagine the effect of wide scale use of statins to lower cholesterol even more?
Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor