Statins can mess with your muscles. Now researchers think they might know why

A discovery has been made that could shed light on why it is that statins cause problems in some patients. According to research carried out by a coalition of British universities in collaboration with a start-up immunology company, statin drugs interact with a ‘gap junction protein’ called GJC3 that releases ATP, which is a major signalling molecule for inflammation in the body.

Statin drugs are known to cause harmful effects such as muscle toxicity in some patients, and the researchers say their work provides a significant new target in the fight against these side effects.

Dr Andrew Marsh, of the University of Warwick, said: ‘Statins are powerful cholesterol-lowering medicines that are widely prescribed to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease. Gap junction proteins are important in forming communication channels between cells and organs in the body.

‘In this new research, two clinically used statin therapeutics have been found to interact with an important part of GJC3, a gap junction protein which acts to release ATP, a signalling molecule that is key to the body’s response to injury and inflammation.

‘Many people know ATP as the cell’s main energy transfer molecule, but when released outside cells, ATP coordinates how tissues including our liver and muscles deal with recovery from injury. These results may give us better understanding of how some of the harmful effects of statins in some patients, such as muscle toxicity, might come about.’

The research paper, which has been published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, was a collaboration between scientists and clinicians at the University of Warwick, the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and Tangent Reprofiling Ltd.

Professor Donald Singer, the study’s lead investigator, said: ‘Finding additional ways in which statins act at the cellular and molecular level is important for giving clues to potential new medical applications for these drugs. These results may also give us better understanding of how some of the harmful effects of statins in some patients might come about.’

  • Yev 95

    The details on how statins damage muscles and other tissues have been known quite well for a long time, such as by their impairment of oxidative cell metabolism, the increase in inflammation and cell destruction, the lowering of cholesterol and steroid hormone production, the promotion of pancreatic injury, etc. – rather thoroughly explained in this scholarly article on how statins, and a cholesterol-lowering popular diet pill advertised by Dr. Oz, promote diabetes: google or bing “Do Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects Boost Diabetes?” – at supplements-and-health dot com (look at Figure 7, for example, to see how irrational it is to block the production of cholesterol!).

    The most reliable evidence has long tied statin use with memory problems, muscle disorders, liver damage, cataracts, nerve damage, pancreatitis, erectile dysfunction, brain dysfunction, diabetes, and with an increased risk of cancer and higher mortality (statins only somewhat reduce the risk of non-fatal heart attacks).

    But few people are aware that the medical claims of benefits of statins are mostly based on junk studies conducted by people with vested interests. And, logically, it’s mostly the corporate medical business and other people with similar vested interests tied to it (eg, mouthpieces, hacks) who promote the alleged value of these highly lucrative products.

    Because the cholesterol-heart disease theory, or rather medical dogma, is wrong, the use of statins is also wrong by logical extension.

    The real truth is that statins have almost no real benefit in the very vast majority of users. They do more harm than good (read Uffe Ravnskov’s “The Cholesterol Myths” and Malcolm Kendrick’s “The Great Cholesterol Con”). It’s one of many “scientific” scams of the mainstream medical business.