Well, it's been a very busy month so far with the CHFA West show in Vancouver, meetings, seminars, etc. Now that I'm back and caught-up on the work that piled up, here is a study that showed simvastatin (a popular statin-type medication used to reduce cholesterol levels) minimizes the cardiovascular benefits gained from exercise.
Statin use has been linked to skeletal muscle pathologies and impaired mitochondrial function (due to an induced depletion of CoQ10), but it was unclear whether statin use alters adaptations to exercise training.
Of course, in theory it would be obvious that statins would negate the benefits of exercise. This is because statins block the key enzyme in the body's production of cholesterol, but this also blocks the body's production of CoQ10. CoQ10 is essential in the energy-making process (in the mitochondria) in every cell, and the mitochondria produces about 90% of the energy our cells need. Since exercise and physical activity requires large amounts of energy, an induced depletion of CoQ10 from statin use would logically impair exercise performance, muscle function, and the benefits from physical activity.
The researchers in this new study examined the effects of simvastatin on changes in cardio-respiratory fitness and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content in response to aerobic exercise training. Sedentary overweight or obese adults with at least 2 metabolic syndrome risk factors were randomized to 12 weeks of aerobic exercise training or to exercise in combination with simvastatin. The primary outcomes were cardiorespiratory fitness and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content.
Results showed that exercise (on its own) increased cardio-respiratory fitness by 10%. However, this was attenuated by the addition of simvastatin resulting in only a 1.5% increase. Similarly, skeletal muscle mitochondrial activity increased by 13% in the exercise only group, but decreased by 4.5% in the group that also received simvastatin.
This is more reason for anyone taking any type of statin medication to supplement with CoQ10 (and I also recommend vitamin D3, whose production is also decreased by statin use).
Read some other articles from the links below (under Related Posts) to dig deeper into the topic.
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Source: Simvastatin impairs exercise training adaptations
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