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Statins may diminish benefits of exercise

May 24, 2013

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that statins may block some of the benefits of exercise.  Statins are drugs used to lower cholesterol and include brand names such as Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor.

According to a New York Times blog, “[R]esearchers from the University of Missouri and other institutions gathered a group of overweight, sedentary men and women, all of whom had multiple symptoms of metabolic problems, including wide waistlines, high blood pressure or excess abdominal fat.”  They underwent 12 weeks of aerobic exercise training with half of the group receiving a statin (simvastatin 40 mg/day).

After three months, the unmedicated participants had a 10% increase in cardiorespiratory fitness compared to the meager 1.5% increase in those taking the statin.  The study’s authors concluded: “Given the strong independent cardio-protective effects of increasing cardio respiratory fitness or lowering LDL, the benefits and risks of each should be carefully considered when choosing treatment modalities.”

The study revealed statins may affect the production of an enzyme which contributes to the health of the mitochondria, microscopic organelles that generate most of a cell’s energy.  Those not taking the statin had a 13% increase in mitochondrial activity in their muscles, while those taking the statin saw a 4.5% decrease.

John P. Thyfault, a professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri and senior author of the study, explained that those taking statins “were not getting the same bang from their exercise buck.”

This study, while provocative, is not conclusive. Forbes reports that Robert Eckel of the American Heart Association has raised questions about the study. “The bottom line is that the [statin] may impact on your training.”  He stressed that further research is needed.

Statins have been beleaguered by multiple lawsuits, linking them to numerous side effects.

At Elk & Elk, we are currently taking Lipitor cases involving the link between Lipitor and the increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Contact us for a free consultation if you are a post-menopausal woman and have taken Lipitor. At Elk & Elk, we put our resources to work for you. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or contact us online to see for yourself the serious work we do here at Elk & Elk: the home of serious lawyers for serious injuries.