Just found a Study that shows that onl... - Cholesterol Support

Cholesterol Support

8,857 members2,532 posts

Just found a Study that shows that only about 20% of Athletes tolerate statins, as opposed to about 80% of the general population.


Hi All

I have been a lifelong cyclist, competitive till 45 (71 now) and able to ride at 25 AV.

Then, of course, slightly slower each year.

So, at age 50, I rode at 23 AV, at 60 rode at 20 AV.

Age 66, I was riding with my 17 AV group up a steep hill and felt 'weak and strange'.

Never felt like this in my whole life - so straight to A+E.

Not much found there, but many months of tests later, a CT Angiogram showed an Agatston Score of 1315 - superhigh (normal is 0-60).

2 vessels were 75% blocked and 1 was 95% blocked - so, I was booked for a CABG in 8 weeks time in Feb 17.

My Cholesterol was 3.6 on a vegan diet - and I was told that the severe blockages were down to Genetic Atherosclerosis.

However, I was still able to ride at 17 AV.

Took just 3 doses of Simvastatin 5 mgs before the CABG and straightaway my AV Speed fell from 17 to 12 AV.

Dr changed this to Rosuvastatin, saying it was less likely to cause aches.

Took it for 12 weeks.

The CABG was a very successful op - thanks NHS!

However, the aches that started with those statins continued and are still there now 4 years after stopping statins.

Reading up on the aches, I have come across this article - which described a test that showed that all the athletes (with Familial Hypercholesterolaemia) who took low dose statins, had aches.


Taking those statins was THE biggest mistake of my life!

However, I still ride my bike every Sunday at about 10-12 AV, the speed of a Leisure Cyclist - nothing will stop me riding my bike!

Thank you


36 Replies

Hi - all I can say is my husband took all the various statins on offer over a period of time and it was pure hell - in the end he could not walk more than 50 m. For the last 10 years he has been in alternative medications with no issues. Statins may be great for some but not for others. Talk to your GP about Ezetimibe and Bezafibrate

Alpsholiday in reply to Gela64

Sorry to hear about your husband getting muscle problems with statins.I am assuming the aches went away after stopping them?

Yes the alternatives target cholesterol in the blood and do not target the liver.

Statins, that target the liver, and muscles 'compete' for the same liver enzyme - hence the muscles become deficient in this enzyme that they need to function.

My cholesterol has always been low on a vegan diet as there is no cholesterol in the vegan diet and the liver then makes all that it needs.

I shall not visit any alternatives, as my problem is not cholesterol, but genetic cardiac atherosclerosis - for which (I've asked everyone) there is no answer.




Thank you for writing your story in detail. I have learned few things.

I have high cholesterol and high blood glucose. My life style change is keeping me in control.

I watch out for free and hidden sugar in food and drinks and regular exercise, just walking, I tried to ride a bike, at 75, I find the balance a problem.

Take care.

Thank you sandy

Yes do try cycling, maybe on a trike, as it's fun!


Hi sandy

I asked in a previous post if anyone knew which was the enzyme that both liver and muscles 'compete' for in the liver - but didn't get any answers.

Any ideas please?



I am afraid I do not have an answer to your question.


Since you asked the question I have been looking at some of my saved information.

The information in this below link may help.


Please read the last section.

"Clarifying the meaning of risk"

Thank you very much sandy for sharing the link.However, the message said to Log In to read the article

I assume that means paying ££s, so I'm not keen on that



DakCB-UK in reply to Alpsholiday

I do not know but the medics monitored my creatinine and creatine kinase closely after I reported spasms and cramps. They got alarmed when my ck spiked to treble its usual, almost 400.

Alpsholiday in reply to DakCB-UK

Hi dak CB

Sorry to hear about your own statin problems, which pushed your CK over range - hope you are on the mend now - I trust you've stopped statins?

I've had every test over the first 3 years - private and NHS - I've spent over £13k

- Muscle biopsy, 5 MRi's, 2 EMGs, 8 Medichecks, 4 ultrasounds, 8 CK tests, 100s of Supplements, 1 Rhabdo test at A+E and nothing was found at all, to explain the aches.

So, I surmise that my muscles have been affected in a 'subtle' way, that there's no test for?

However, whatever it is, it has made my Vastus Medialis very stiff and achy, affecting my ability to push the pedals down.

That's the main muscle group that has been affected - accounting for 90% of the aches.

Cyclists 'feel' the effort in the Vastus the most of all the 4 quad muscles.

If I could clear these Vastus medialis aches, I wouldn't worry at all about the other 10% in the upper body! as I would be able to max it on the bike at 17 AV again! My lifelong habit!

All the best!


Go to your doctor and ask for an alternative.

Alpsholiday in reply to Andyman

Hi andyman

If my then GP pulled me off the statins when I complained the aches were still there on rosuvastatin, I may not have these long lasting muscle aches now.

I have lost faith in doctors I'm afraid - as I am now unable to ride my bike at my max anymore.


Andyman in reply to Alpsholiday

But you can ask for an alternative. Your giving up when there is a solution.

Alpsholiday in reply to Andyman

Thanks andyman for contributing to my post.

However, I'm not looking to lower my cholesterol, as it's always been at about 3.6.

What I would like is any tips as how to beat genetic cardiac atherosclerosis, if you have any.

For example, My wife 'found' me Vit K2 Mk7 after my CABG - it takes calcium out of the blood and deposits it in the bones, where it belongs.

I had 3 year follow up scans last April to check the cardiac function of the grafts, and they are All Clear!

So, I shall continue with K2/Mk7 forever!



Out of interest, which K2 brand/product did your wife purchase and what daily dose did/do you use?

Alpsholiday in reply to Andyman

Hi andyman

This s my post from 8 months ago about vit K2/Mk7



DakCB-UK in reply to Andyman

The "solution" is likely to be trying every other statin in turn, enduring pain repeatedly, then a PCSK9 inhibitor and watch half your skin flake off. Until bempedoic acid is approved, I can't blame anyone for going independent.

Statins are the devil .... Its sad when something is supposed to help causes more problems. I can’t imagine why a statin 4 yrs after stopping it would still cause pain issues, anything is possible.

Alpsholiday in reply to Batty1

Hi Batty

My extensive reading on this suggests something on these lines?

800 out of 1000 who take statins won't have any problems, usually muscle aches

Of those 200 who have problems, if they stop the statin, 199 will find the aches eventually go away, in weeks or months.

However, that last 1 in a 1000 will find that the aches are long lasting and may well be permanent.

And 1 in a 1000 people who take the most prescribed meds in the world is many millions!



Just a thought but you can get aches from a vit d3 deficiency. I found just getting up from a chair was painful until it was treated and that was in my 40’s.

Re cholesterol, have a look at sea buckthorn oil supplements as an alternative to statins.

Thank you for the sea buckthorn oil tip - I have never come across that

I do take 15ug D and my Labs are 100 (50-175)

Once again, my cholesterol level is not the problem, as, on a vegan diet it's 3.6

The problem is genetic cardiac atherosclerosis - which nobody has an answer for - I've asked everyone

I don't have the usual lifestyle factors for atherosclerosis

Obesity, no exercise, high animal fat diet, boozing smoking et al

I am a lifelong Cyclist, BMI 21, no alcohol, no smoking, vegan diet

So, it must be genetic?



I’d try Cod Liver oil (oil not capsules) and PharmaN Q10 gold 100mg caps. You might be surprised.

Hi craigside

Are you recommending cod liver oil and Ubiquinol for the muscle aches or genetic atherosclerosis please?




I’d say always do your own research. However, my younger athlete brother (20 yrs doing the iron man) suffered heart attack and died @56, atherosclerosis (plaque build up arteries) was the cause. Had no symptoms due to being so fit.

I got myself heart scan etc., I’m told my cardiac age is “below 35” with zero plaque build up in arteries, and I’m 59.

I keep in shape but I’m no athlete.

Neither of us smoked, don’t drink much, good diets. Only difference I can see is I’ve taken CL Oil and Q10 for past 25 years. Makes you think?

Thanks craigside

Sorry to hear about your young fit brother who had a heart attack and died.So easily could have been me on my Heart Scare Day in May 16 climbing a steep hill with my 17 AV group.

The first and last 'heart' symptom I've ever had.

Went straight to A+E and the rest you know.

Your zero plaque build up is great, keep doing what you're doing.

How are your 'epilepsy type' episodes now?

Are you still off the Stanols?

I must say I've never heard that they can cause neurological issues - but you stopped them and you say that helped.

I can't do cod liver oil as I'm vegan and I did try 12 weeks on 200 mgs Ubiquinol in summer 18 - with no effect on the muscle aches, so stopped.

All the best with your own health!



Totally fine and healthy. I don’t worry about cholesterol anymore, your body needs it particularly your brain. I’ve always been “over 6” but have zero plaque? I take oats and am now around 5.5 which is fine.

Good luck

Q10 is good for heart health.

I use glucosamine sulphate and also collagen alongside CLO and Q10 which is great for muscles and joints- I weight train regularly and mountain bike. I still feel ironclad tbh and certainly not 59....

Did they run genetic tests on you to determine that you had "Genetic Atherosclerosis"?

Also, did you take any calcium supplements in the years leading up to cardiovascular CABG issues?

I knew someone who took Simvastatin and ended up with liver damage and muscle damage, and was considering suing. I know another person on Rosuvastatin who mentions backache and muscle ache, but is an avid believer of Statins, so won't even pause the statins for a few days/weeks to see if the pain lessens.

Hi londinium

Thanks very mch for tips.

Will be back tomorrow


Hi londinium

1- No tests for genetic cardiac atherosclerosis are available.

This is arrived at, on a balance of probabilities, after eliminating the usual causes of cardiac atherosclerosis - high cholesterol, high BMI, No exercise etc.

2 - Yes I've always taken Calcium 1.2 g as a vegan diet is insufficient.

3 - Yes, absolutely agreed that statins are the medicines from hell for the very few like me, whose muscle aches persist, long after stopping them.

It makes me so angry that there are even doctors out there, like the Daily Mail GP Dr Martin Scurr, who says that "Statins do NOT cause muscle pain - it is the NOCEBO effect - that is, if you are 'expecting' muscle aches with statins, then you WILL get them.

4 - Incredible that you know someone who persists on statins despite muscle aches!



Very few medics will go against the grain, even if they know otherwise... and especially if pharma pay them or their newspaper to promote/peddle an ideology.

The person who has backaches and muscle pains won't consider it being triggered/worsened by statins, and as she was told she's a "heart attack or stroke waiting to happen". So she takes them and thinking they're saving her life.

I was recently offered genetic lab tests by a "metabolic cardiologist", but I think I'll give it a pass, as one of the lab results that I'm interested in seeing, is one that won't be provided: apoe4

Hi londinium

Apoe4 was a new one for me!

Looked it up and for sure I will not bother about it again.

After all, if it's genetic, it's out of our hands?



A positive apoE4 result would require dietary attention/amendments.


Could this be claudication? Have you had an MRI of your femoral arteries?

Alpsholiday in reply to Hidden

Hi James

I had very severe cardiac atherosclerosis (Calcium score 1315 - super high) which has thankfully been remedied with the triple CABG in Feb 17.

I've had the carotid, arms and legs scanned as well, thinking they too were clogged up, but they were all 100% clear.

In fact my femoral artery was measured at 1cm (normal is 0.2 cm) which they said was exercise related



Alpsholiday in reply to Hidden

Sorry James, just noticed typo, normal is 0.5 cmThank you for responding

All the best !


You may also like...