by Julian Whitaker, M.D.
How Statins Harm the Brain
When you really think about it, it’s obvious that these drugs would adversely affect cognition.
Your brain contains an abundance of cholesterol, much of it in the myelin sheaths that insulate the neurons and speed up nerve conduction. Recent research reveals that cholesterol is also required for the formation of synapses, the areas between neurons where nerve impulses are transmitted and received.
In fact, cholesterol is so important that it is manufactured by the glial cells in the supportive tissues of the brain.
Curbing synthesis of such a crucial compound has an inevitable downside. Suicide and violent behavior have long been linked to very low cholesterol levels.
Now, data from the ongoing Framingham Heart Study demonstrates that older people with low total cholesterol (under 200) are much more likely to perform poorly on tests of mental function than those with high cholesterol (over 240).
These drugs harm the brain in other ways as well. As you may know, the enzyme pathway that statins disrupt in order to suppress cholesterol production is also involved in the synthesis of coenzyme Q10, which is required for energy production in the mitochondria of the cells. When you block that enzyme, cholesterol goes down, but so does CoQ10—by as much as 50 percent in some patients!
Low CoQ10 Levels = Bad News
The brain, heart, and skeletal muscles are the body’s most voracious consumers of energy, and it’s only natural that these are the systems most acutely affected by inadequate stores of CoQ10. Deficiencies in this essential compound are known to underlie the muscle problems and heart failure so often linked with statins. It’s high time we recognize that CoQ10 depletion is also a factor in cognitive dysfunction and other neurological consequences of these drugs.
Statins also appear to adversely affect tau, a protein made by brain cells that helps maintain their structure. Abnormal tau proteins promote the formation of the neurofibrillary tangles that appear in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Abnormalities in tau proteins are also linked to other neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Among the thousands of patient stories Dr. Graveline has amassed are a disturbing number with these and other serious neurological problems. He, I, and others believe the link with cholesterol-lowering drugs is clear and unequivocal.
Julian Whitaker, MD, has practiced medicine for more than 30 years, after receiving degrees from Dartmouth College and Emory University. In 1979 he founded the Whitaker Wellness Institute, located in Newport Beach, CA. For more information on the clinic, call (800) 488-1500 or visit www.whitakerwellness.com.
Dr. Julian Whitaker is the author of 13 health books, including Reversing Hypertension, The Memory Solution, Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks, The Pain Relief Breakthrough, Reversing Heart Disease, Reversing Diabetes, and Dr. Whitaker's Guide to Natural Healing.