Simvastatin may blunt the impact of aerobic exercise in overweight or obese patients at risk of the metabolic syndrome, a small study found.
Researchers looked at the effects of simvastatin on changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content in sedentary overweight or obese adults with at least two of the five metabolic syndrome risk factors from the National Cholesterol Education Panel Adult Treatment Panel III criteria.
Thirty-seven people (18 exercise plus statins; 19 exercise only) were randomized to 12 weeks of aerobic exercise training or to exercise in combination with 40 mg per day of simvastatin. Exercise consisted of staff-monitored sessions at the university's gym while attached to a monitor, with 30 minutes of treadmill walking or jogging at 60-75% of heart rate reserve on 3 days during the first week, 5 days during the second week, then 45 minutes of treadmill walking or jogging at 60-75% of heart rate reserve 5 days per week.
Results appeared at the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
At 12 weeks, body weight decreased significantly in the exercise group (P<0.01 for change within group) but not the exercise plus statin group (P<0.01 for between group difference in change from baseline), as did fat mass in the exercise group (P<0.05) compared to the exercise plus statin group, (P=0.056). Lean body mass increased significantly in the exercise plus statin group only (P<0.05 for with-in group change from baseline; P<0.05 for difference in between-group change from baseline).
Cardiorespiratory fitness increased by 10% (P<0.05) in response to exercise training alone, in line with what would be expected, but was simvastatin patients achieved only a 1.5% increase (P<0.005 for group by time interaction). Similarly, skeletal muscle citrate synthase activity increased by 13% in the exercise only group (P <0.05), but decreased by 4.5% in the simvastatin plus exercise group (P<0.05 for group by time interaction).
"Therapeutic options which minimize the adverse effects of LDL lowering therapies on adaptions to exercise training are warranted," researchers wrote.