Tens of millions of Americans are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs—mostly statins—and some “experts” claim that many millions more should be taking them.
I couldn’t disagree more.
Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, that is, they act by blocking the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol (HMG-CoA reductase). The fact that statin drugs cause side effects is well established—there are now 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk.
For starters, reported side effects include:
- Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Immune depression
- Pancreas or liver dysfunction, including a potential increase in liver enzymes
Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs’ adverse side effects, but cognitive problems and memory loss are also widely reported. A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur. There is evidence that taking statins may even increase your risk for Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Statins currently available on the U.S. market are:
- Advicor (lovastatin with niacin) – Abbott
- Altoprev (lovastatin) – Shionogi Pharma
- Caduet [atorvastatin with amlodipine (Norvasc)] – Pfizer
- Crestor (rosuvastatin) – AstraZeneca
- Lescol (fluvastatin) – Novartis
- Lipitor (atorvastatin) – Pfizer
- Mevacor (lovastatin) – Merck
- Pravachol (pravastatin) — Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Simcor (niacin/imvastatin) – Abbott
- Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) – Merck/Schering-Plough
- Zocor (simvastatin) – Merck
Ninety-Nine Out of 100 People Do Not Need Statin Drugs
That these drugs have proliferated the market the way they have is a testimony to the power of marketing, corruption and corporate greed, because the odds are very high— greater than 100 to 1—that if you’re taking a statin, you don’t really need it.
The only subgroup that might benefit are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.
If your physician is urging you to check your total cholesterol, then you should know that this test will tell you virtually nothing about your risk of heart disease, unless it is 330 or higher.
HDL percentage is a far more potent indicator for heart disease risk. Here are the two ratios you should pay attention to:
1. HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio: Should ideally be above 24 percent. If below 10 percent, you have a significantly elevated risk for heart disease.
2. Triglyceride/HDL Ratio: Should be below 2.
I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who were actually at low risk for heart disease due to their elevated HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen many people with cholesterol levels under 200 who had a very high risk of heart disease, based on their low HDL.
Your body needs cholesterol—it is important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function.
There is also strong evidence that having too little cholesterol increases your risk for cancer, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, suicide, and violent behavior.
Parents Beware: Outrageous New Push to Put Kids on Statin Drugs!
In a bold attempt to increase profits before the patent runs out, Pfizer has now introduced a chewable kid-friendly version of Lipitor. Its US patent for Lipitor expires in November 2011, and seeking to boost sales of the drug, children have become the new target market, and the conventional medical establishment is more than happy to oblige.
Researchers and many doctors are now calling for universal school screening of children to check for high cholesterol, to find those “in need of treatment.” In addition, older siblings, parents and other family members might be prompted to get screened as well, the researchers say, which would uncover additional, previously undiagnosed adults in need of the drug.
This is clearly NOT the way to improve public health. On the contrary, it could produce a new, massive wave of extremely dire health consequences in just a few years time.
So rather than improving school lunches, which would cost about a dollar a day per child, they’d rather “invest” ten times that for tests and drugs that in no way, shape, or form address the root cause, which is an improper, unhealthy diet!
All they’re doing is allowing all the industries to maintain or increase their profits: Big Pharma; Big Sugar; Big Corn and the processed food industry.
You, and your children! And in far more ways than one.
I will address this issue in depth in a future article, so please stay tuned…
If You Take Statins, You Must Take CoQ10
If you take statin drugs without taking CoQ10, your health is at serious risk. Unfortunately, this describes the majority of people who take them in the United States.
CoQ10 is a cofactor (co-enzyme) that is essential for the creation of ATP molecules, which you need for cellular energy production. Organs such as your heart have higher energy requirements, and therefore require more CoQ10 to function properly.
Statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which can have devastating results.
Physicians rarely inform people of this risk and only occasionally advise them to take a CoQ10 supplement. As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure.
Coenzyme Q10 is also very important in the process of neutralizing free radicals. So when your CoQ10 is depleted, you enter a vicious cycle of increased free radicals, loss of cellular energy, and damaged mitochondrial DNA.
If you decide to take a CoQ10 supplement and are over the age of 40, it is important to choose the reduced version, called ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is a far more effective form—I personally take 1-3 a day since it has such far ranging benefits.
Optimizing Your Cholesterol Levels, Naturally
There’s really no reason to take statins and suffer the damaging health effects from these dangerous drugs.
The fact is that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol.
It follows, then, that my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol have to do with modifying your diet and lifestyle:
- Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet. Eat the right foods for your nutritional type, and consume a good portion of your food raw.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil.
- Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats as appropriate for your nutritional type.
- Exercise daily. Make sure you incorporate peak fitness exercises, which also optimizes your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
- Address your emotional challenges. My favorite technique for stress management is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
- Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.
Unlike statin drugs, which lower your cholesterol at the expense of your health, these lifestyle strategies represent a holistic approach that will benefit your overall health—which includes a healthy cardiovascular system.