Ten Common Myths about Statins and Cholesterol - 3 of 3

by Duane Graveline, MD, MPH

Myth 8.) Statins Do Not Affect Your Personality or Emotion.

Completely wrong! Statins can have a most profound effect on personality and emotion.

This effect is quite predictable if one understands the role of dolichols, another offspring of the mevalonate pathway that is inhibited by statins.

Statins are reductase inhibitors and in their goal of inhibiting cholesterol, as a consequence, also inhibit dolichols along with CoQ10, selenoprotein, normal phosphorylation, nuclear factor-kappa B, and Rho.

Dolichols orchestrate the entire process of glycoprotein synthesis, which includes the category of neurohormones —  our hormones of emotion. Every emotion, thought and sensation we feel is the result of a combination of sugars and protein strands, like popcorn on a string, created in the endoplasmic reticulum of every cell, under the supervision of dolichols.

Only certain sugars are involved in this process and these sugars have the important role of telling the molecular strand in what direction and how much to fold.

In molecular biology, structure determines function, so very tiny changes in the structure of the resulting molecule can cause dramatic differences in effect. Irritation escalates into rage and the molecular structure for jealousy warps into homicidal ideation.

These strands are then passed on to the Golgi apparatus, where they are packaged and transferred down the axons of nerve fibers to storage depots, near the nerve synapses, until they are needed.

The result of dolichol inhibition is altered neurohormone synthesis. Drug company biochemists should have seen this coming. They know all about dolichols.

Myth 9.) If a Statin Gives You Problems, Switching to a Different Statin is the Solution.

Rarely will this work because all statins have similar, if not identical, mechanisms of action and adverse reactions. The only significant variable is the relative strength. Crestor 2.5 = Lipitor 5 = Zocor 5 = Mevacor5 = Pravachol 10 = Lescol 20.

Rather than change statins, I would cut the dose and observe. Increasingly we are hearing from the research community that cholesterol is irrelevant to cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is the problem. For this, (hs)CRP is currently the best relevant marker and a low dose statin a possible option.

The medical community is finding inflammation a far more logical candidate for atherosclerosis causation, and acceptance is coming fast.

Myth 10). The Drug Companies Did Not Know About the Importance of CoQ10 to Statin Users.     

Wrong, terribly wrong and for some, deadly wrong. As early as 1990 Merck applied at the U.S. Patent Office for a patent for the addition of CoQ10 to lovastatin, their new statin at that time. The justification was “to help prevent the inflammation to come.”

The patent was granted and promptly shelved, documenting for the entire world that the effects to come from statins blocking the mevalonate pathway and with it our synthesis of CoQ10, were well known.

They decided to take a chance and market Lovastatin with no further attention to CoQ10 impact. It turned out that lack of CoQ10 has been the major trigger for most of the adverse reactions from statins — reactions that would kill hundreds with rhabdomyolysis and incapacitate tens of thousands of others with severe myopathy, peripheral neuropathy and atypical, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

CoQ10 is far more important than we thought ten years ago. Now we realize it is absolutely critical to good health and longevity and the last time most of us had sufficient CoQ10, was when we were children, and our mitochondria were bursting with the vitality of abundant CoQ10.

Then we become adults and gradually our ability to synthesize CoQ10 just melts away, along with our energy, and we become old. Not only is CoQ10 part of the actual structure of each of our mitochondria in its role of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, but it is our primary anti-oxidant superbly located right where the action is — where free radicals accumulate and begin their frantic search for their lost electron.

Ordinarily, CoQ10 will neutralize these free radicals before they do too much damage, but not if our CoQ10 supplies are low, which they almost always are when one is over fifty. Increasingly with age, mitochondrial mutations result.

CoQ10 (ubiquinone) supplementation is strongly advised in Canada for all those taking statins. Statin drug packaging inserts and advertising, are required to include a warning about the ubiquinone depleting effects of statins and the possible consequences of low levels of CoQ10.

Statins and CoQ10 Deficiency

Duane Graveline MD MPH
Former USAF Flight Surgeon
Former NASA Astronaut
Retired Family Doctor

July 2016

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