Flu vaccinations may not work in people taking cholesterol lowering drugs
Two studies have shown that statins inhibit the immune system from responding properly to the flu vaccine.
Ironically people over the age of 65 are the ones most likely to be taking a cholesterol lowering drug, and these same people are most likely to be encouraged to get vaccinated. From the research it appears that their immune system is not able to produce antibodies against the flu virus as well.
Interestingly earlier studies have shown that people over the age of 65 in general often mount a poor response to vaccination. It just isn’t as effective for them. Then of course the whole issue of flu vaccination is controversial and many researchers believe it offers more harm than good.
Cholesterol is a very important molecule in your body. It has many vital functions that help to keep you healthy. Elevated cholesterol can be a health concern if part of the condition known as metabolic syndrome, familial hypercholesterolemia, or if present in type 2 diabetics. Unfortunately, statin drugs often cause dangerously low cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is actually good for your immune system.
Some research has shown that people with higher levels of cholesterol in their blood are less likely to experience infections; particularly severe infections that result in hospitalization. Cholesterol is a complex topic that you can read more about in our book Cholesterol: The real truth. Please don’t discontinue any medication without prior consultation with your doctor.
Reference: Iribarren C, et al. Cohort study of serum total cholesterol and in-hospital incidence of infectious diseases. Epidemiol Infect 1998;121:335–47.