Side effects from statins and alternat... - Cholesterol Support

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Side effects from statins and alternative medication.

sylvc54 profile image


I wonder if anybody can give me any advice. I have a family linked high cholesterol and follow a healthy diet exercise and am not overweight but can't get cholesterol level down naturally. Can't take statins because of side effects. Doctor now put me on nicotinic acid. Can anybody give me any information on this. Is it effective and will the well documented side effects subside.

Also, I have long term muscle damage due to the statins. I do some exercise and have just started Pilates but that seems to be aggravating the situation. I would be grateful for any advice anybody can give

10 Replies

There are a lot of posts with some answer to statin side effect!

What are your lipid numbers? When was it last tested?

The only person who can advice you is your GP as ha has access to your medical records!

A life style change and regular exercise can help towards a healthy life.

This is a previous post on taking niacin which may be helpful.

Both my Doctor and the Cardiologist he referred me to suggested that we start slowly with statins - and put me on the lowest dose of Crestor (rosuvastatin) 5mg. This has caused me no problems at all and combined with some dietary measures has reduced my total chol level form 8.7 down to 4.4 - all other numbers in my lipid profile are now well within recommended levels. Perhaps I have just been fortunate? - but many people I hear from who report statin side-effects seem to be on very high levels like 40mg

lynsreid profile image
lynsreid in reply to Bazza1234

I have been prescribed the same dose as you but I read that Crestor is so powerful that a 5mg dose of this is equivalent to a 40mg dose of a more traditional statin. I didn't want to take statins but conceded when I thought it was a small dose, now I'm confused and disheartened. Have I interpreted this wrong?

I take 60 mg and have muscle pain what do you take pls?

sos007 profile image

Nicotinic acid is Niacin, vitamin B3. It is very effective and was the original treatment for cholesterol before statins were invented.

Side effects include elevated urate (uric acid) which can potentially lead to gout. Eat a bowl of blueberries daily and you'll neutralize the uric acid. Liver toxicity is also possible but depends on dosage. I take 500 mg which is a low dose that is tolerated very well. There of course is 'the flush'. Take an aspirin 30 minutes prior to dosage and eat a small handful of nuts just before ingesting the Niacin and be sure to take it with a full glass of cold water. These precautions will mitigate the flush which tends to dissipate significantly after the first 7 days of use.

A healthy diet means different things to different people. Focus on an anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates all sugars and simple carbohydrates. Avoid packaged foods which tend to have hidden sugars. Also have legumes (beans, chick peas, and lentils) as the core of your diet. All of these are high in fiber which is essential in lowering cholesterol. Drink 2 cups of decaf green tea daily and one cup of ginger tea. In addition, an apple per day is essential for lowering cholesterol. Have a spinach or arugula salad daily with olive oil dressing. These greens are vasodilators which lower your blood pressure.

Good luck!

sylvc54 profile image
sylvc54 in reply to sos007

Thank you for this very useful advice. It's much appreciated

sos007 profile image
sos007Ambassador in reply to sylvc54

My pleasure - you can view my previous post on 'Niacin' here:

You can read my journey in coming off statin drugs here:

For the record 'exercise' is also in the eyes of the beholder. You need to elevate your heart rate above 120 bpm for at least 30 minutes each day. That means a brisk walk. Walking a dog usually won't get your heart rate up enough because the dog will usually stop repeatedly.

I have a Fitbit device which measures my activity and heart rate. I target 15,000 steps daily. This usually requires a one hour walk in addition to my normal daily activities.

Exercise plays a significant role in controlling cholesterol.

One last thing, dietary fiber also plays a huge role in removing excess cholesterol from your body. The legumes I mentioned above are all high in fiber.

Another method to increase fiber is to take Metamucil on a daily basis. Start with one tablespoon mixed into a cup of water and stir vigorously, then drink non-stop until finished. Do this after your evening meal each night for a week. Then try and do this twice per day, once after lunch and once after dinner. There might be some bloating initially as your body adjusts. Read the label and get the Metamucil that has no sweeteners in it.

Here's a great recipe that gets all things that reduce cholesterol into one meal:

It is hearty and tasty.

Good luck!

I am over 70 and after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and being nearly 20 kgs overweight took up Ironman when I was 65 and succeeded in making Hawaii IM world championships and am now 70 kgs with BP lowered and cholesterol down to under 5 with good HDL to LDL ratios (>4:1). I am firmly of the opinion that to do this you need to quit eating ANY high GI carbo or fructose containing food (sucrose is 50% fructose) and only have low GI fruits eg strawberry blueberry raspberry the odd apple etc within a normal meal for your odd treat. I found that the book Primal Endurance by Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns encapsulated what I think is right in terms of exercise and the lecture on line from this guy sums up the biochemistry (I did a thesis in biochem in my youth!). Go to Ivor at and if you are brave enough (under the supervision of a knowledgeable Dr who is an Insulin Resistance specialist and NOT your typical GP who knows @@@@all and is pre programmed by Framlingham) then you can get shot of the statins and attack the root cause of the problem. My only concern is to ensure you are not one of the genetically predisposed to atherosclerosis rather than the carbohydrate over eating type so make sure that is covered by your Dr.

Unfortunately I am the former and have inherited the gene from my parents.

I am not overweight, I have eaten a healthy diet for many years. I work out at the gym four times a week and brisk walk most days. I have recently started Pilates sessions but because of my muscle damage caused by statins have found that this is aggravating my hip problems so have given this a rest for now.

I am open to all suggestions but find it near impossible to reduce my cholesterol.

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