Statins and the Depression Connection: Were you depressed before you went on a Statin Drug?
Statins appear to be correlated with the onset of depressive symptoms along with hostility, rage, suicidal ideation, suicide, and combativeness.
Dr. Graveline from www.spacedoc.com states that statins interfere with the biochemistry of the dolichols which are metabolic pathways that are necessary to form our neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are considered messenger molecules that are the basis for our thoughts and emotions. Since statins inhibit dolichols, cell communication is also inhibited as well as neuro-hormone production.
What you should know if you are on or going on a Statin medication
There are numerous individual reports of those who experienced depressive symptoms once starting on a statin. For those wanting to report their symptoms a good place to do so is at www.statineffects.com in which all person reports are collected on not just depressive symptoms but any symptoms from statin usage.
If you are thinking of going on a statin (or any other medication for that matter) visit www.askapatient.com and here you will find people noting their symptoms from various drugs (you click on the drug you want to see symptoms for). On this site there are numerous negative reports of statin side effects.
Did you know that having low total cholesterol is not necessarily a good thing?
Upon research, it has been reported that total cholesterol (TC) levels are consistently lower in more severely depressed and aggressive people. (we need cholesterol!) So is it the statin that is causing the depressive side effects or is it because the statin is bringing the TC levels too low? (Below 160 is when symptoms have been noted).
Other studies show that the type of statin you use may also impact what symptoms are expressed.
As a result, both may have an impact. There are numerous reports of those on statins and having cholesterol in the 200’s and reporting depressive symptoms while others have lower TC. Could the nutrient deficiencies that statins cause also have an impact on depression symptoms? Many factors related to the medication use may be creating the symptoms.
Low Cholesterol and brain function
Yeon-Kyun Shin, a professor of biophysics at Iowa State University and an expert in brain signaling has demonstrated that lowering cholesterol through the use of drugs interferes with brain function. In one experiment, Shin showed that having cholesterol present increases the protein function involved in neurotransmitter release machinery from the brain cells by five times. If you try to lower the cholesterol by taking medication that is attaching the machinery of cholesterol synthesis in the liver, that drug goes to the brain too. And then it reduces the synthesis of cholesterol which is necessary in the brain.
The bottom line
Why are you on a statin medication and do you really need to be on this medication?
In the end, research does not support the advice that a low cholesterol level will prevent heart disease. Heart disease is a disease of systemic inflammation. We need to realize that cholesterol is not the enemy-we need cholesterol! It is a very critical biochemical needed for proper brain function along with sex hormone and vitamin D production.
If you are on a statin also be aware of the nutrient deficiencies it may create. Your omega 3 fatty acids, ubiquinol, vitamin D, vitamin E, and selenium levels may be impacted as well.
What to do instead of using a statin drug
If you want to prevent heart disease you need to change your diet and lifestyle to reduce inflammation. Avoid sugar, refined and processed foods and eat whole foods as much as possible. Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Make vegetables and salads the biggest portion of your meals with moderate amounts of protein and only small amounts of starches. Pass up the French fries and deep fried foods and opt for your starchy carbs in the form of beets, carrots, sweet potato , small amounts of beans and legumes or non- gluten whole grains.
Supplements and herbs can be supportive as well, however making diet and a lifestyle change for heart health needs to come first. As I often say to my clients, you can take all high quality, expensive supplements in the world, but if you still eat “like crap” you will still feel like crap. .
I encourage you to do your own research if you are on a statin medication and to take control of your own health instead of leaving it in the hands of others
Bowden, J. & Sinatra, S. (2012) The Great cholesterol Myth. MA: Fair Wind Press.
Feingold, J. et. al. (3/18/14) What Proportion of Symptomatic side effects in patients taking statins are
genuinely caused by the drug? Systemic review of randomized, placebo controlled trials to aid individual patient
choice. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. www.cpr.sagepub.com
Graveline, D. (11/10) Depression and Statin Drug Use. www.spacedoc.com
Kaplan, A. (11/30/10) Statins, cholesterol depletion-and mood disorders-what’s the missing link?
McTaggart, L. (8/16)The damaged brain. What doctors don’t tell you. www.wddty.com
Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate) and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in addressing root causes of your health condition instead of symptom management. She is the author or the Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition guide E book which you can find on kindle books at amazon.com or her website. If you would like to learn more about her services visit www.trufoodsnutrition.com
As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure or diagnose. This article is for educational purposes only