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Some lipid-lowering agents, for example, nicotinic acid and fibrates, decrease an individual’s ability to oxidise fat during exercise. However, it is unclear whether statins affect whole-body fat oxidation during exercise in patients. This study investigated whether fatty acid oxidation is impaired in a dyslipidemic population, while walking at a moderate intensity.
Patients (n=16), walked for 45 minutes on a treadmill at 50% of their estimated VO2max, in the absence and presence of their prescribed statin. Fat oxidation was investigated by examining respiratory data, and circulating plasma glycerol and free fatty acids.
Analysis of respiratory data indicated a progressive increase in fat oxidation over time, along with a decrease in carbohydrate oxidation, for all patients during exercise, in both the absence and presence of a statin (P≤0.05). The increase in the percent of energy derived from fat was further supported by the observation of a significantly progressive increase in circulating glycerol and free fatty acids during the exercise period. However no significant difference in the extent of change was observed when comparing the respiratory and biochemical response to physical activity in the absence and presence of the prescribed statin.
There is no evidence of a negative impact of statins on the ability to use fat as a fuel for moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Given the importance of physical activity, this result encourages patients to exercise by walking regularly, with the confidence that substrate metabolism is unaltered in the presence of this class of lipid-lowering drug.
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Matuszek, M. A., & Grant, R. (2018). Statins do not impair whole-body fat oxidation during moderate-intensity exercise in dyslipidemic adults. Exercise Medicine, 2:12. doi:10.26644/em.2018.012