Years ago research seemed to point to cholesterol having a big effect on heart disease, but more recent research indicates that damaged LDL cholesterol is actually the culprit. In the meantime the cholesterol myth has perpetuated the low fat diet myth and popularity of statin drugs Is it a correct assumption to believe that lowering everyone’s cholesterol is going to prevent heart disease? And as it is with all drugs one has to weigh the pros and the cons…or risk vs. benefits. When deciding whether or not to prescribe a medication for a patient, a physician has to weigh the potential gains versus the potential risks, much like a cost/benefit analysis in business. There are some many risks and side effects associated with taking statins: this is not to say that statins are wholly without merit for a much smaller patient demographic than what the current medical field as whole is prescribing.
Who should take statins?
Some doctors agree that statins are appropriate in non-diabetic (statin users have a higher risk of diabetes) middle-aged men who have demonstrated heart disease (particularly those that have had a heart attack or have acute coronary syndrome) and middle-aged men that are clearly at high, imminent risk. Statin Drugs have been given out like candy to many patients who have suffered many side effects including memory loss, increase of diabetes, depletion of Vitamin D, and CoqQ10. Click here to see blog about former astronaut, Dr. Graveline when he started taking statins.
In layman’s terms: in a big picture overview looking at many different large trials, people in the low-risk group who only had high cholesterol and no other factors were more likely to die on a cholesterol-lowering treatment than those on placebo.
Women also have not fared well on statins in these studies. In the 4S study, women showed a 12 percent increase in overall mortality compared to those on placebo.
Numerous studies have shown that the elderly do better overall with higher cholesterol, with better cognitive scores and less risk of all-cause mortality. A large 10-year study published in 1996 in the Lancet found that “each 1 mmol/L [40 mg/dL] increase in total cholesterol corresponded to a 15 percent decrease in mortality.”
Other Side Effects of Statins
Regarding an increase in arterial plaque deposits, Dr. Campbell said, “Two recent studies that have come out … in Atherosclerosis 6,673 patients showed that statins had a 52-percent increase in the prevalence and extent of calcified coronary plaques compared to non-users. Then there was another study in Diabetes Care showing that type-2 diabetics with advanced atherosclerosis who used statins have significantly higher amounts of carotid artery calcifications compared to those who use it less or don’t use it at all.” Dr. David Perlmutter, widely regarded as an expert in the neurological field, says that cognitive issues with statins “are rampant.” And states that worst side effect of statins is that they keep the body from making coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). As mentioned earlier, statins block the enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, which in turn prevents the liver from synthesizing cholesterol. The problem is, blocking that enzyme also inhibits the production of CoQ10. This is problematic as CoQ10 is needed in every cell of the body. It is needed for cell growth and maintenance, it is a potent antioxidant, it helps enzymes do the work of digesting food and performing other processes, it helps the heart in many ways, and guards against cancer. Depleting CoQ10 leads to more free radical production, which (in Perlmutter’s opinion) essentially cancels out any antioxidant benefits statins may have. Unfortunately, the Heart Association has even narrowed the parameters of people they think should be on statin drugs.
If not statins, then what?
So if cholesterol is not the villain of heart disease it comes from somewhere and it’s still far and away the leading cause of death in America in any given year. (Heart disease kills as many people as all forms of cancer and all traffic fatalities combined.) Plaque still builds up in arteries, people suffer from hypertension, and heart attacks are still killers. Dr. Sinatra an alternative cardiologist summed up the feelings of our panelists when he said, “So our plea … is instead of focusing on cholesterol, let’s focus on other factors that cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the body that leads to illness whether it’s cardiovascular disease, neurological, or even cancer
How to Fight Inflammation
A couple of Nutrients that Help Fight Inflamation and help lower cholesterol on high risk people 1. Vivix is a resveratrol plus product that is 10 x More effective than Resveratrol alone. Here is a study completed at University of New York Buffalo that showed that Vivix is very effective at reducing inflammation 2. Fish Oil (Shaklee OmegaGuard) – Fish oil is an essential fatty acid (you have to get this through diet) fish oil helps fight off inflammation. Large enough amounts omega-3’s reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Fish oil has been found to benefit cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis 3. For those that fall into the category of at high risk…this does not mean if you just have high cholesterol then use a plant sterol product like Cholesterol Lowering Complex