Statin drugs to reduce cholesterol levels are one of the most widely prescribed drugs. The myth that cholesterol is the cause of heart disease has sadly perpetuated over several decades despite much evidence to the contrary. Cholesterol actually plays vital roles in the body, such as:
- Cholesterol is critical to the structure of key proteins involved with nerve transmission.
- Cholesterol is needed for nerve cells to live longer.
- Cholesterol supports serotonin utilization. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in mood. Low serotonin symptoms include depression, anxiety, insomnia, carbohydrate cravings.
- Cholesterol is the building block for many important hormones, including hormones that regulate mineral metabolism and blood sugar, hormones that help us deal with stress, and all the sex hormones, such as testosterone, progesterone, and estrogens.
- Cholesterol helps fight infections and is important for immune function in general.
- Cholesterol is needed for repairing wounds.
- Cholesterol is needed for all cell membranes
- Cholesterol is needed to make Vitamin D. People with optimal levels of vitamin D have the lowest incidence of flus/colds, cancers, and autoimmune diseases, and vitamin D is also important for heart health, metabolism, and thyroid function.
If you consider the above benefits of cholesterol, then you can look at the following list of side effects linked to statin drugs as they correlate with the above:
- Polyneuropathy (tingling and/or pain in hands and feet and difficulty walking)
- Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease have been linked to statin drugs
- Mental slowing and memory impairment
- Poor immune function
- Some studies suggest statins increase risk of cancers. In every study with rodents, statins have caused cancer. Most human trials aren’t carried out long enough to detect any increase in cancer rates, but in one trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin were 1500 % higher than those of control subjects.
- If you don’t have the building block to make your hormones, then imagine all the symptoms of low testosterone, low estrogen, low progesterone, and deficiency of adrenal (stress) hormones. Click here to test yourself and see symptoms that relate to deficiencies of these hormones.
- Muscle weakness, muscle cramps, muscle atrophy, and muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Liver damage
- Studies have shown that statins increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Heart failure (ironic, isn’t it? The enzyme blocked by statin drugs is also the enzyme that makes CoQ10 in the body. CoQ10 is a critical antioxidant, and also is required for energy production in your cells, including heart muscle. When you deplete CoQ10 due to being on a statin drug, your heart muscle weakens along with all your other muscles.)
Here are a few more interesting factoids:
- On Pfizer’s own newspaper ad for Lipitor, it boasts that Lipitor reduces heart attacks by 36 percent. But there is an asterisk. And when you follow the asterisk, you find the following in much smaller type: “That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor.”
- In 2006, a study reported: While Zetia (a non-statin cholesterol lowering drug) does lower cholesterol by 15 percent to 20 percent, trials did not show that it reduces heart attacks or strokes, or that it reduces plaques in arteries that can lead to heart problems.
-Moreover, the trial by the drugs’ makers, which studied whether Zetia could reduce the growth of plaques, found that plaques grew nearly twice as fast in patients taking Zetia along with Zocor (Vytorin) than in those taking Zocor alone.
- Young and middle-aged men with cholesterol levels over 300 are slightly more at risk for heart attacks. Those who have cholesterol levels just below 300 are at no greater risk than those whose cholesterol is very low. For elderly men and for women of all ages, high cholesterol is associated with a longer lifespan.
- There is no evidence that saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods contribute to heart disease.
- Sugar and other refined carbohydrates (e.g. breads, pasta) increase insulin levels which are well known to cause plaque in the arteries. This is why diabetics develop cardiovascular disease at a rapid rate (ie high levels of sugar and insulin circulating in the blood). Statin drugs will not protect you from this.
Now that you are armed with all of the above information, you may be asking how to protect yourself from heart disease. Here are a few tips:
- Manage your stress. Deep breathing exercises can be done anywhere at any time and don’t cost a thing.
- Get moving. Even 5 minutes a day of cardio is better than nothing.
- Reduce inflammation, which is at the heart of causing heart disease:
-Take Omega-3s such as krill or fish oil
-Avoid sugar which is inflammatory
-Eat real food and avoid manufactured foods, such as what’s found in boxes and wrappers
-Avoid eating fried foods and other foods cooked at high temperatures. Try to eat a lot of foods in their raw form.
- Quit smoking.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Make sure you are getting adequate intake of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as B vitamins and antioxidants. Vitamins are a good way to ensure this.
*Information obtained from mercola.com and Weston A. Price Foundation.
*Necessary Disclaimer: The above information is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.