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Statins Impair Immune System Function

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The statin drug Zocor (simvastatin) has been shown to directly compromise the immune response to an opportunistic infection.  This is not good news for any person taking any statin, as the type of impairment involved seriously compromises basic immune system function.

The production of cholesterol is much like an automobile assembly line, except with multiple branches that build other things at the same time (a novel system of efficiency).  The various molecules produced are vital to your survival.  Indeed, cholesterol synthesis is the backbone of survival.  The primary cholesterol production line is called the HMG-CoA reductase pathway.  Important branches include the production of selenoproteins that run your antioxidants and thyroid, as well as the production of coenzyme Q10 and vitamin D.  One of these branches involves the production of novel compounds called isoprenoids (geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate and farnesyl pyrophosphate).  Isoprenoids also occur in nature in fat-soluble nutrients like carotenes.  In fact, the power of tocotrienol vitamin E compared to regular vitamin E is due primarily to the fact that tocotrienols have a side chain molecule that is an isoprenoid.  These isoprenoids play a vital role in attaching fatty substances to proteins, a process called protein prenylation.  Proper protein prenylation is required for the healthy function of many cells in your body, including the prevention of cancer.  Taking any statin reduces the protein prenylation activities in your body via suppressing the production of the isporenoids needed to carry out this activity.  This is a highly undesirable side effect of statins.

The new research looked into the function of macrophages, important members of your front line immune troops.  Some macrophages were treated with Zocor at a relevant physiologic dose and others were not.  They were then exposed to a common bacterial infection.  The Zocor-treated macrophages experienced a double-negative whammy.  Their ability to engulf the bacteria was crippled.  Next, the macrophages generated excessive inappropriate inflammatory signals.  The researchers traced the molecular malfunction to the fact that the statin blocked proper protein prenylation within the macrophage, crippling its function.

While I have tried to make this rather complex issue as simple as possible to understand, the bottom line is that this is a highly adverse effect on human immunity that will cause more severe infections in humans or allow low-grade infections to gain a hold within the human body and wreak havoc to health.  In turn, these infections will increase the overall inflammatory burden that is now known to be a primary contributing factor to poor health and all "diseases of aging."  On this point alone the use of statins should be banned for 95% of the people currently taking them as there is no way the benefits could possibly outweigh the risks.  The medical profession prescribing these drugs invariably ignores or doesn't understand this type of study and hopes the general public doesn't understand health well enough to be concerned.



By Byron J. Richards Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, Inc.
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.

Author: Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, Inc.

Biography: Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a world renowned natural health expert. Richards is the first to explain the relevance of leptin and its link to solving obesity.

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