Statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor are among the most widely prescribed medications in the world. Over 25% of adults over the age of 40 take a statin drug to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. While statins are effective at reducing LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, their use can come with side effects and unintended consequences. One hidden downside to statin use is nutrient depletion leading to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. This article will examine how statins deplete essential nutrients, the deficiencies they cause, and how to test for and correct these deficiencies.
How Do Statins Deplete Nutrients?
Statins reduce cholesterol production by inhibiting an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. This enzyme is involved in the synthesis of cholesterol, as well as important nutrients like coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and vitamin K2. By inhibiting this pathway, statins block the natural production of these nutrients in the body. Statins are also known to reduce the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K. They do this by binding to transport proteins that normally carry fat-soluble vitamins through the intestine and into the bloodstream. Another way statins deplete nutrients is by increasing the excretion of nutrients through the urine. Trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium can be lost through increased urinary output. Overall, statins disrupt multiple mechanisms that lead to lower vitamin and mineral levels throughout the body.
Major Nutrient Deficiencies Caused by Statins
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that supports energy production in the cells. Since statins block CoQ10 synthesis, blood levels of CoQ10 can drop by 40-50% after starting statin therapy. This CoQ10 deficiency can cause muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, and in some cases, heart failure. Supplementing with CoQ10 has been shown to improve statin side effects and prevent cardiovascular problems.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Research shows that statin use inhibits vitamin D activation and causes vitamin D deficiency. This is concerning since vitamin D is essential for bone health and immune function. Low vitamin D is linked to osteoporosis, frequent infections, mood disorders and heart disease – conditions that statin users are already at risk for.
Vitamin K2 Deficiency
Vitamin K2 works synergistically with vitamin D to regulate calcium metabolism and bone mineralization. By interfering with K2 production, statins can cause arterial calcification and increase risk of osteoporosis. Vitamin K2 deficiency is also linked to heart disease since K2 helps prevent arterial calcification.
Statins have been shown to decrease blood selenium levels. Selenium is a trace mineral that supports thyroid hormone metabolism and protects against oxidative damage. Low selenium can lead to thyroid dysfunction, impaired immunity and cardiovascular problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Statin-Induced Nutrient Deficiencies
Statin users should be aware of the following signs and symptoms that may indicate an underlying nutrient deficiency:
- Muscle pain, weakness, cramps, spasms
- Fatigue, low motivation, lack of energy, brain fog
- Poor sleep, insomnia
- Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
- Increased infections and slow wound healing
- Poor recovery from exercise and training
- Hair loss, brittle nails
- Depression, anxiety, irritability
- Digestive issues like bloating and nausea
These non-specific symptoms can greatly impact quality of life. Many statin users unknowingly attribute such symptoms to normal aging rather than identifying a treatable deficiency.
Testing for and Correcting Nutrient Deficiencies
If you are on a statin drug and experiencing potential deficiency symptoms, the first step is to get tested. Blood tests can check levels of CoQ10, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, selenium, and other nutrients. Based on test results, your doctor may advise supplementing to restore optimum levels. Some key supplements to consider are:
- CoQ10 – 100-200mg per day to replenish cellular energy
- Vitamin D – 5000 IU or more daily to maintain blood levels over 50 ng/mL
- Vitamin K2 – 100-200 mcg daily for bone and heart health
- Selenium – 200mcg per day to support thyroid function
- B Complex – to help mitigate statin side effects
- Magnesium – 500mg daily to replace depleted stores
Dietary changes can also help increase intake of deficiency-preventing nutrients:
- CoQ10 – Organ meats like liver, heart, beef; fish like mackerel, herring, trout
- Vitamin D – Fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver
- Vitamin K2 – Grass-fed dairy, natto, egg yolks, chicken livers
- Selenium – Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, mushrooms, eggs
Additionally, IV vitamin drips and intramuscular injections can help quickly restore micronutrient levels. Clinics like the IV Drip Clinic in London offer customized vitamin drips with options like the Heart Health Drip which contains CoQ10, B vitamins, magnesium sulfate, and vitamin C. The Super Immunity Drip boosts selenium, zinc, vitamin C and magnesium to strengthen the immune system. For those unable to visit the clinic regularly, at-home IV therapy is also available. Intramuscular shots of vitamin D or vitamin B12 can also effectively treat deficiencies. Under a doctor’s supervision, these IV and injection therapies can rapidly normalize nutrient levels.
Not only does the IV Drip Clinic provide vitamin drip therapy in their London clinic, they also offer a convenient mobile IV service. The clinic’s team of nurses can visit patients in their homes or offices to administer IV drips and injections. This provides easy access to IV nutrition therapy for those with busy schedules or mobility challenges.
The Benefits of Mobile IV Services
The IV Drip Clinic’s mobile service offers several advantages over in-clinic treatments:
- Convenience: Gets treatments to patients wherever they are located rather than having to visit the clinic
- Flexibility: Drips and injections can be scheduled at times that fit the patient’s schedule best, including evenings and weekends
- Comfort: Being treated in a familiar environment can help patients feel more relaxed
- Saves Time: No need to commute to and from the clinic for appointments
- Accessibility: Makes IV therapy available to those who can’t easily access the clinic due to health conditions, disabilities, or lack of transportation
With a skilled nurse overseeing the entire process, mobile IV therapy is just as safe and effective as in the clinic. The IV Drip Clinic can bring vitamin infusions, micronutrient shots, and other injectable treatments right to your front door. Their mobile service expands access to advanced IV nutrition therapy for deficient patients across London.
Statins provide an important cholesterol-lowering benefit that helps reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the unintended side effects of impairing the body’s natural nutrient production can take a toll on wellbeing. Statin users should be aware of their increased risk for deficiencies of CoQ10, vitamin D, K2, selenium and other micronutrients. Blood testing can uncover any deficiencies, which can then be corrected through strategic supplementation and dietary choices. For those with busy lifestyles or difficulty absorbing oral vitamins, the IV Drip Clinic offers convenient at-home or in-clinic IV and injection therapies. Addressing the nutrient depletion effects of statins provides the best opportunity to gain their benefits while maintaining excellent physical and mental health.