Beware: Cholesterol Drugs Might Cause Depression

Multiple reports suggest strong association between cholesterol lowering statin drug use and affective disorders of all kinds, including depression and its most extreme form, suicide, and other affective manifestations include hostility, aggressiveness, rage, combativeness, accident proneness and special proneness for use of addictive substances.

"He or she is not the person I married," is a frequently recurring statement from spouses of statin users. And more ominously is the statement from surviving wives, "there was nothing wrong before his statin. "
The mechanism of action in explaining the association of these reactions to statins appears to be interference with the biochemistry of dolichols, one of the vital metabolic pathways collaterally affected by the use of statin drugs.

Dolichols are absolutely necessary for the formation of neuropeptides, known also as messenger molecules. These chains of peptides not only are the basis of every thought, emotion and sensation we have ever experienced; they are our every thought, emotion or sensation in a process we are only just beginning to understand.

In the tiny microtubular factories within each of our cells peptide segments are stacked one by one into the desired chain and passed on to the Golgi apparatus for packaging and delivery to other cells via the axons of nerves. This entire complex of activity is orchestrated by our dolichols and inevitably compromised by Statins. Need it be stated, the effects on human emotionality can be extremely varied.

Another reason for the potential danger of the excessive lowering the cholesterol levels might be related to drop it to the unacceptable low levels in the human body. Some doctors today are convinced that the lower one's cholesterol, the better. If your cholesterol is too low you have an increased risk of mood disorders, depression, stroke and violence. Artificially lowering cholesterol is dangerous because we need cholesterol to manufacture sex hormones, vitamin D, DHEA and cell membranes. Lowering cholesterol artificially affects mental acuity and severely disables the ability to cope with physical and mental stress.

Studies have shown a three to 13-fold rise in violent deaths among people taking cholesterol lowering drugs. This is not surprising when you realize that cholesterol is vital to the nervous system and too-low cholesterol triggers brain chemistry changes. Cholesterol levels directly affect the activity of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter implicated in the control of violent behaviors. Indications are that lowered cholesterol levels lead to lowered brain serotonin activity and this can lead to increased violence.

While arranging the aggressive fight with cholesterol, remember that far from being a health destroyer, cholesterol is absolutely essential for life. According to PROTEIN POWER, by Michael and Mary Dan Eades:
"Although most people think of it as being "fat in the blood," only 7 percent of the body's cholesterol is found there. In fact, cholesterol is not really fat at all; it's a pearly-colored, waxy, solid alcohol that is soapy to the touch. The bulk of the cholesterol in your body, the other 93 percent, is located in every cell of the body, where its unique waxy, soapy consistency provides the cell membranes with their structural integrity and regulates the flow of nutrients into and waste products out of the cells.
"In addition, among its other diverse and essential functions are these: Cholesterol is the building block from which you body makes several important hormones: the adrenal hormones (aldosterone, which helps regulate blood pressure, and hydrocortisone, the body's natural steriod) and the sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone). If you don't have enough cholesterol, you won't make enough sex hormones.
  • "Cholesterol is the main component of bile acids, which aid in the digestion of foods, particularly fatty foods. Without cholesterol we could not absorb the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K from the food we eat.
  • Cholesterol is necessary for normal growth and development of the brain and nervous system. Cholesterol coats the nerves and makes the transmission of nerve impulses possible.
  • Cholesterol gives skin its ability to shed water.
  • Cholesterol is a precursor of vitamin D in the skin. When exposed to sunlight, this precursor molecule is converted to is active form for use in the body.
  • Cholesterol is important for normal growth and repair of tissues since every cell membrane and the organelles (the tiny structures inside the cells that carry out specific fundtions) within the cells are rich in cholesterol. For this reason newborn animals feed on milk or other cholesterol-rich foods, such as the yolks of eggs, which are there to provide food for the developing bird or chick embryos.
  • Cholesterol plays a major role in the transportation of triglycerides -- blood fats -- through the circulatory system.

Official recommendations for several drugs already include disclaimer related to the possible depression related side effects. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a product label change for the cholesterol-lowering drugs Zetia (ezetimibe) and Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin), adding depression as a possible side-effect.

Letters to the drugs' co-marketers, Schering-Plough Corp. and Merck & Co., the FDA said depression will be added to the section of the drugs' package insert concerning adverse reactions in post-marketing experience. The new language also will be included in a section of the patient package inserts listing possible side effects of the drugs.

Vytorin is a combination of Zetia and simvastatin. Simvastatin is marketed by Merck under the brand Zocor.

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