As Yogi Berra would’ve said… “It’s deja vu all over again.”
A new study out about statins argues that people who quit because of the side effects should just buck up and take them anyway.
Why? Because the researchers insist those side effects aren’t even real. There in your head. And no, I’m not kidding.
It would be an absolute outrage if they made this claim just once. But it’s not once. It’s not even twice.
It’s multiple times now… including at least three times over the past year with different studies published in:
- European Heart Journal (the latest one)
- The BMJ (aka British Journal of Medicine)
- The Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Maybe they’re trying to hit every country and continent world-tour style. Wake me up when they get to the Antarctic Medical Journal.
You might think multiple studies making basically the same point about statins could mean they’re onto something. But that’s not necessarily the case. And doesn’t appear to apply here at all.
So allow me to share the bigger picture of what’s really going on. And offer some advice on protecting yourself when the statins hard sell comes your way once again.
The new line of bull about statins
Those reports have one thing in common, including the newest one. And that is the claim that YOUR statin side effects aren’t REALLY side effects.
They’re more like wishful thinking. Only the “wish” apparently is a side dish of severe muscle pain with your statins.
The medical term, in this case, is the nocebo effect. The nocebo effect is the opposite of the placebo effect I’ve written about before in Healthier Talk. It’s when you’re so convinced you COULD suffer a side effect that it actually happens.
Kooky, right? Well, that’s not actually the kookiest part. You see, I do believe the nocebo effect happens from time to time. In fact, my mother was a nurse, and she used to call this effect “self-fulfilling prophesies.”
But I also DON’T believe it’s super common. Or that it would be attached so specifically to one category of drugs in particular.
After all, ALL drugs have potential side effects. So why aren’t we all suffering from all of them all the time if the nocebo effect is so strong?
This brings me to the truly kooky part. The team behind the new statins study claims HALF of all cases of statin side effects so severe that people quit are actually nocebos. HALF!
They also insist that nearly everyone – 93 percent – can stay on statins with no problems or only minimal ones. Predictably, the meta-study ends with a plea to people who’ve quit to try again.
And honestly, it’s all so dismissive and insulting that I think there might be some steam coming out of my ears as I type this.
Avoiding statin side effects
The researchers essentially claim that half of the people who feel side effects from statins, such as muscle pain, are making it up. Either that or they’ve subconsciously willed themselves into suffering, at the very least.
If you want to give statins another chance, you should talk to your doctor about it. But you shouldn’t feel pressured into trying these drugs again. Because there are valid reasons to not want to take one.
It’s not just because of the potential for muscle pain. There are plenty of other side effects to worry about when taking statins, including…
- brain fog
- kidney damage
Oh, and let’s not forget, statins could also trigger diabetes.
But those aren’t even the biggest strike against these drugs. The fact is, statins basically attack the WRONG target.
The drugs reduce LDL cholesterol, but it’s not your biggest enemy. Much of LDL is fluffy and harmless and passes through your blood vessels with no problem. In fact, you even need some LDL to function.
Your body uses LDL to protect nerves, make healthy cells, and even produce hormones. But statins can reduce overall LDL to basement-low levels in some cases. And that can backfire on you.
Instead, you want to address the small dense LDL particles or very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL or remnant cholesterol). But statins don’t target those specifically.
You need a better approach.
Those tiny dense particles are caused by the damage of oxidative stress. Astaxanthin, vitamin E, and fish oil can help fight off oxidation and target its ugly cousin, inflammation.
That, in turn, can lead to real and lasting cardiovascular protection without the dangers of statin drugs.
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