Moderate Intensity Exercise Beneficial in Statin Users, Study Suggests

In both asymptomatic and symptomatic statin users, a moderate-intensity endurance and resistance exercise training program improves muscular performance, capillarization, and mitochondrial content without worsening muscle complaints, according to a study. In addition, fitness training may help symptomatic statin users enhance their quality of life.

Moderate Intensity Exercise Beneficial in Statin Users, Study Suggests
Image: Older People Exercising | InStyleHealth


A 12-week endurance and resistance exercise training program was completed by symptomatic and asymptomatic statin users (n=16 in each arm, mean age 644) and non-statin users (controls; n=20; mean age 635) in this study.

Before and after training, the authors measured maximal exercise performance (peak oxygen consumption), muscle performance, and muscular symptoms. They also took muscle biopsies to look at citrate synthase activity, ATP production capacity, muscle fiber type distribution, fiber size, and capillarization.

Type I muscle fibers were less common in symptomatic statin users than in controls at the start (p=0.06). With no between-group differences, exercise training enhanced muscle strength (p<0.001), fatigue resistance (p=0.01), and muscle fiber capillarization (p<0.01).

In the whole group, exercise training improved citrate synthase activity (p<0.01), while asymptomatic statin users showed less improvement than controls (p=0.02). Following training, however, there was no change in peak oxygen consumption, ATP generation capacity, fiber size, or muscular complaints in any of the groups.

Notably, only symptomatic statin users' quality of life improved after training (p<0.01).

"In patients with hyperlipidemia, the combination of statin therapy and physical exercise reduced cardiovascular disease risk more than either treatment alone," the authors said. "However, training adaptations may be hampered by mitochondrial dysfunction associated with statin medication."


Source: J Am Coll Cardiol 2021;78:2023-2037

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