The Effects of Statins on the Benefits of Exercise

According to doctors, statins, which are the prescribed drugs for lowering cholesterol, have prevented millions of people from having heart attacks. These drugs have saved many lives. However, a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found out that these drugs, which include Lipitor, may counteract the benefits of exercise which has been proven to help enhance cardiac health.

The senior study author John Thyfault, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri says, “Our research suggests that statins block exercise’s ability to increase mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cell and where oxygen is consumed and converted to energy so that muscles can contract”.

If this is the case, the findings seem to create a mystery. Does this mean that a person on statins shouldn’t exercise at all? Should an individual with disease risk factors or family history of heart problems skip statins and focus on exercise?

According to Thyfault, statins may have blunted the mitochondrial production of the patient and aerobic capacity, however, it doesn’t mean they blackballed the advantages of exercise. Thyfault believes that people should not be overly eager to take statins especially when cholesterol levels are not high.

Read more on statins and exercise here.