Statins and Strength

February 3, 2008

A friend sent me this research paper Download riechman_jgms_2007.pdf titled:

"Statins and Dietary and Serum Cholesterol Are Associated With Increased Lean Mass Following Resistance Training"

The conclusion of this study was that people who ate more dietary cholesterol enjoyed greater gains in muscle mass following resistance training.

They speculated that since cholesterol is involved heavily in cellular repair and production it stands to reason that if a person had too little cholesterol they might not repair damaged muscle tissue well enough.

"Cholesterol may play a role as an essential building block to repair micro tears that occur in the skeletal muscle membrane with RET (resistance training)."

Makes sense to me.

But what they also found which they were shocked at was that folks who took statins which are known to cause muscle weakness and damage also experienced greater gains in muscle mass after following a resistance training program.

"We observed greater hypertrophy in participants using certain statins. This result was unexpected considering that several studies have reported adverse effects of statins on skeletal muscle."

This is cool.

It appears that the ‘damage’ that statins cause without resistance training leaves the muscles weaker and smaller. BUT when you toss weight lifting into the mix, the body sees fit to repair, rebuild and upregulate the muscles damaged by both modalities. Nifty, right?

So if your statinating yourself (which I DO NOT advise) you’d be wise to hit the weights once or twice a week.

(Pfizer and Merck would be smart to suggest this to their users.)

They also found that, contrary to popular belief, people who had higher intakes of cholesterol did NOT have increased cardiovascular health risk factors. (Resistance training also decreased body fat % and blood pressure significantly.)

Resistance training sure sounds like a better ‘statin’ than statins themselves, no?

In sum, having a higher cholesterol intake does NOT increase cardiovascular risk factors and aids muscle growth significanlty when strength training. Strength training increases muscle mass, strength, endurance, decreases body fat, body fat percentage and blood pressure.

So, why is it that you’re taking a statin again?

And if you are…

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