How do statins work?

Treating high cholesterol


Statins help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol. LDL is the bad cholesterol that can lead to coronary problems, diabetes and other serious medical conditions. What is not so widely known is how these drugs work. Let’s take a look at the process to understand better what statins are doing to the body and why they are often prescribed for people who have high cholesterol.

The Process

Once the body receives a dose of statins, those drugs go right to work on the cholesterol. They may not get rid of the cholesterol already present in the body, but they do affect the way the body produces more cholesterol.

Cholesterol is essential for the cells in the body to do all the jobs they are supposed to do, but many of us have far too much LDL, or unhealthy, cholesterol. The statins actually hinder the body from producing more cholesterol from the food it consumes. Cholesterol is manufactured in two different ways - by the blood and the liver. However, the liver produces all the necessary cholesterol, and the blood makes additional cholesterol.

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Even more cholesterol comes directly from the foods we eat. Not all foods have cholesterol, but the ones that do tend to be the ones that taste really good. So, it’s easy to get way too much cholesterol in the body.

With so many sources bringing in cholesterol, it’s easy to see why some people have far too much of it in their system.

Statins attack the cholesterol process in the blood, helping to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the body. Over time, even the cholesterol that’s stored up will start to decrease as new cholesterol gets blocked from forming and being housed within the body.

What Statins Can’t Do

It’s important to note that statins are not the only thing working inside your body to get rid of cholesterol when you take this drug. Your liver contains some tiny receptors that filter bad cholesterol out. This amazing bodily process gets rid of excess cholesterol naturally. However, there is a slight problem that keeps the liver and these receptors from doing their job correctly.

When you have a diet that is full of trans fats and saturated fats, the receptors and their abilities are dulled. They no longer get to be as effective as they are supposed to be. Instead, they work at a sluggish pace and only get rid of a small amount of cholesterol.

What statins cannot do is affect how trans and saturated fats harm your liver and its cholesterol-reducing processes. Statins simply have no effect there, so you need to make some changes on your own to help the process along.

What you can do is exercise regularly and start eating a healthy diet. This is going to take a lot of stress off your body and get rid of the cholesterol that has built up over time. It also allows your liver and its receptors to work the way they are supposed to, giving them a chance to filter out unnecessary and harmful cholesterol.

That’s why doctors so often recommend that you couple statins (such as FluvastatinPravastatin, or Simvastatin) with adequate amounts of exercise. If you want to get the most benefit out of using these drugs, then you have to partner them with a healthy lifestyle.

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