Updated: Jun 18, 2021
Statins are a class of wonder-drugs here to save the world from the diseases of civilization. Or at least that is what conventional recommendations would have you believe. High cholesterol? Cardiovascular disease? Stroke? Dementia? Cancer? Hypertension? The list of conditions that doctors are prescribing them for grows on a daily basis. Statins go by various names, but you may know them best by their brand names that are endlessly advertised on television commercials day and night, such as Lipitor, Mevacor, Crestor, and Zocor, among many, many others.
Now, what if we told you that these “magic pills,” are actually stripping you of your micronutrients and are likely contributing to the very conditions they are designed to prevent. It’s true, statins, along with just about every other prescription medication, are what we call Everyday Micronutrient Depleters (EMD), a term we cover in much greater depth in Naked Calories. Basically, these drugs deplete us of the very micronutrients that could prevent the health condition or disease they are prescribed to “cure.” Statins original mechanism of action was thought to be based on inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis, thereby lowering serum cholesterol levels; however, subsequent studies have shown that other mechanisms may play a greater role.
While much of the hype behind statins relies on their cholesterol synthesis inhibition, this is not necessarily the best thing for us (which is something we briefly touched upon in our saturated fat blog, and will be discussing further in an upcoming one dedicated to cholesterol). This is because cholesterol is an essential precursor to the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile salts, and vitamin D, and deficiencies in these will lead to a host of issues. However, almost paradoxically, various studies have found vitamin D activity to actually increase during the administration of statins.
A novel hypothesis by Grimes published in The Lancet in 2006 suggested that perhaps statins could act as analogues of vitamin D, as the benefits of the two are similar. Testing this hypothesis, in 2007 Wu-Wong, Nakane, Ma and Ju, also in The Lancet, found that at least in vitro, statins did not activate vitamin D receptors, but did not rule out the possibility of their acting as precursors that are metabolically activated in vivo.
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