Articles by Dr. Arnold

Articles by Dr. Arnold

Small RhombusHealth articles by Dr. Fred Arnold focus on prolotherapy, pain rehabilitation and natural healing.

Articles by Dr. Fred Arnold

Dr. Fred Arnold



It is a common belief by many medical professionals that statin drugs lower the Incidence of cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL cholesterol. However, a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that LDL cholesterol levels do not lower heart disease risk and do not lower the incidence of you dying from a heart attack. LDL cholesterol levels are considered the “bad cholesterol” and is why many doctors prescribe statin drugs to lower it. In this recent study the researchers evaluated 1,469 women between the ages of 72-78 and the relationship between their LDL levels and their chances of dying from cardiovascular disease for a 10 year period. During this time, 134 women died from cardiovascular disease that had nothing to do with high LDL levels. The women with the highest levels of LDL cholesterol were no more at risk than those with the lowest levels! They discovered that "Baseline serum total and LDL cholesterol were not associated with atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality" and had no effect on dying.The study showed that a diet very high in saturated fat was "associated with the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality". They discovered that those eating the most animal fat had three times the risk of dying (16% death rate in 10 years) than those who were eating the least (5% death rate). 1

Examples of statin drugs include atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), simvastatin (Zocor), and lovastatin (Mevacor). The most common statin side effects include headache, difficulty sleeping, muscle aches, tenderness or weakness, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, abdominal cramping or pain, bloating or gas and diarrhea. Other side effects include diabetes, dementia, memory loss, muscle wasting, and heart failure. It’s important to remember that statins may also interact with other medications you take. Some people who take statin medication to lower their cholesterol may have severe muscle pain and this intense pain is a symptom of rhabdomyolysis. The most common signs and symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include severe muscle aching throughout the entire body, muscle weakness, and dark or cola-colored urine. The higher the dose of statins, the higher the risk of rhabdomyolysis becomes. If you have moderate or severe muscle aches after starting a statin drug you should stop taking your statin drug and seek medical care.3

Research has shown that statin drugs deplete the body of a very important nutrient called Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which has the important responsibility of producing cellular energy. However, as you age your natural levels go down. Therefore, if you are older and you are taking a statin drug you increase the side effects of statins discussed earlier. Although, the research has established this fact, very few patients are ever told of this cause and effect relationship. Taking CoQ10 supplements can help to increase the levels in the body and reduce statin related problems. Research shows that taking CoQ10 supplements might also function as a natural treatment to help reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve energy and treat heart conditions (arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease). Although CoQ10 has few side effects, the most common is stomach upset. CoQ10 can also lower blood sugar, so diabetics need to be careful or avoid it. If you are taking a blood thinner, this enzyme should not be used without the close supervision of your doctor. Based on their individual health condition, anyone taking a statin drug should consider CoQ10.2

Based on the evidence that statin drugs do not always prevent cardiovascular disease, other considerations to lower cardiovascular risk should also be considered:

  1. Diet: reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates, starch and saturated fat in the diet and include 30-40 grams of fiber each day.
  2. Life Style: reduce stress, alcohol, get adequate sleep and perform regular exercise.
  3. Supplements: fish oil, nitric oxide supplements, and niacin.
  4. Hormones: Keep your hormones balanced and replaced any deficiencies with bio identical hormones.
  5. Chelation IV Therapy: Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT): a seven-year clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) involved 1,708 patients and 55,222 IV Chelation infusions. The study showed important cardiovascular improvement in patients who received Chelation IV therapies.

Each of these steps can help to protect your heart without causing the serious side effects of statin drugs

If you are taking a statin drug, realize the side effects of the drug before taking the medication and be aware that statin drugs do not always lower cardiovascular risk. Consider supplementing CoQ10 to off-set the side effects of any statin drug. Know that there are many other ways to lower cholesterol and reduce cardiovascular risk other than taking a statin drug.


  1. Blekkenhorst LC, Prince RL, et al. Dietary saturated fat intake and atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality in elderly women: a prospective chart study. Am J Clin NUTR. 2015 May 6."
  2. Smith, Pamela Wartian, MD, MPH, What You Must Know About Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & More, Choosing the Nutrients That Are Right For You, Square One Publishers, Garden City Park, NY, 2008, pp. 189-191.
  3. WebMD, Statins, Side Effects of Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Drugs