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Study: Cholesterol-Lowering Statin Drugs Associated with Increased Shingles Outbreaks

The back of a girl suffering from infectious shingles disease

The back of a girl suffering from infectious shingles disease. [1]

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

A recent meta-analysis review study [2] looked into the association of cholesterol-lowering statin drug use with herpes zoster or shingles outbreaks, and determined there was a strong association of higher risk of shingles for older people who take statin drugs.

Herpes zoster, more commonly known as shingles, is a painful skin irritation marked by rows of small sores with tiny blisters. It often strikes people over 50 who have experienced chickenpox during childhood.

It’s suspected that this occurs when one’s cellular immune system is lowered enough to allow activating the dormant varicella virus (chicken pox) remaining after an earlier recovery from it. 

What may appear at first as non-threatening small skin lesions can become painful and more debilitating than chickenpox.

This reactivated, more virulent form of varicella virus can damage nerves enough to develop into postherpetic neuralgia, which rephrased in layperson’s language is “after herpes came intense nerve pain.” 

Acute and chronic peripheral nerve pain may exist in the areas where the shingles skin lesions are located. The consequences can be lethal.

An Overview of This Recent Study 

This type of study pools several published studies on the same topic from various sources and analyzes them to determine their strengths and weaknesses to arrive at a more reliable conclusion with more evidence than any single study could manage. (Source) [3]

The review study Association between statin use and herpes zoster: systematic review and meta-analysis [2]was published by BMJ Open. 

The researchers at Wenzhou Medical University in Wenzhou, China, were compelled by the worldwide distribution of statins to look into side effects. In this review, they looked into the potential of statin’s immuno-modulating properties which could cause herpes zoster and create public health concerns.

They reviewed six studies totaling over 2 million participants after searching several large databases with the keywords “statins” and “herpes” from 1980 – 2018. The study authors stated in their study introduction:

Herpes zoster occurs as a reactivation of a latent infection with varicella-zoster virus (VZV) [chicken pox], causing postherpetic neuralgia and acute and chronic pain.

As statins are commonly prescribed worldwide, if statin use increases the risk of VZV reactivation, this adverse effect may present substantial public health implications.

Many epidemiological studies have reported an association between statin use and the risk of herpes zoster, but there has been no meta-analysis to systematically evaluate all available data. To address this need, we conducted a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies to assess the association between statin use and the risk of herpes zoster. 

The researchers based their study selections on the following criteria: 

They chose observational studies to allow the conclusion that an association exists without determining a causal relationship. The researchers also developed ways to eliminate repetition of study reports appearing in multiple publications. 

They sorted out studies in two layers: first by abstract, then by full text to get to the six studies incorporated within their review. The researchers deduced there was an overall 18 percent increased risk factor for shingles among statin users.

However, the mechanics or biochemical reactions of statins to cause shingles remained uncertain. The wide heterogeneity [4] of subjects in the studies analyzed was considered a non-factor in their conclusion, which was: 

Our meta-analysis indicates that the use of statins may increase the risk of herpes zoster. (Source: Full study text) [2]

Just Another Nail in the Coffin That Statins Refuse to Die In

An earlier 2013 Ontario, Canada population study, not a review, associating herpes zoster with statin use was previously published by Health Impact News with its conclusion:

Among older patients, treatment with statins is associated with a small but significantly increased risk of herpes zoster. 

The small but significant risk was 13 percent among the cohort of statin users in Ontario, Canada. (Source) [5]

Some may have considered this added adverse side effect as another nail in statin’s coffin. But there have been so many other bigger side effect “nails” reported from statin users, especially among those taking statins as a preventative therapy, such as:

Yet, the statin myth persists despite the adverse side effects listed as well as others less prevalent and not listed. The mainstream media, with its pharma advertising revenue, supports prescribing statin drugs as a prevention for heart disease because of the medical consensus of a handful of doctors, many with ties to the very pharmaceutical companies producing statin drugs.

These handfuls of select doctors, mostly with those conflicts of interest, have convened every few years to lower the heart disease risk factors, thus increasing the available market for prescribing statin drugs. See:

Network of Cholesterol Skeptics Researchers: Abandon the LDL Cholesterol Theory of Heart Disease and Look at More Important Risk Factors [6]

There are Better Ways to Boost Heart Health than Lowering Cholesterol Directly

The very action of lowering cholesterol is off because the rising scientific evidence is showing that the cholesterol/lipid (fat) theory of heart disease is wrong. Cholesterol is vital for our overall health in many ways. 

Ironically, the side effects are produced by the unnatural effect of pharmaceutically-inducing low cholesterol, the intended target. They are not from some other toxic elements within the drug.

One major reason is that it cuts off the body’s ability to produce CoQ10, which is vital for heart muscle health and cellular energy throughout the body. Cholesterol is needed to convert sunlight into vitamin D3.

Cholesterol makes up our cell walls throughout the body and forms most of our brain tissue and protective nerve myelin sheathing [7].

Studies have shown people with high cholesterol outlive those with low cholesterol [8]. There has been some association of statin use to cancer.

The statin beast will survive as long as the well-protected lipid theory of heart disease persists in the mainstream media and doctors’ offices. The dogma remains a truth even among too many alternative medical practitioners.

There are ways to protect against cardiac disease without pharmaceutical drugs and without lowering cholesterol. One of cholesterol’s many functions is to patch arterial inflammation and remove calcified plaque from arteries. It stands to reason that the liver produces less cholesterol if it is not needed for that.

So, it could be that inadvertently lowered cholesterol with natural treatments for heart health could be the result of cleaner arteries that don’t demand damage control from cholesterol. 

Yet that’s not the way natural health products and treatment protocols are promoted to a public brainwashed by the cholesterol con.

Promoting lower cholesterol as a result of natural heart health protocols is more a marketing gimmick, like promoting distilled water as gluten-free. 

Here are some natural ways to protect against heart disease and recover from it. 

Easy to Use Effective Natural Heart Health Remedies [9]

The Natural Product Doctors Have Been Using for Years to Prevent Heart Attacks [10]