Statins, Cholesterol & Your Health

Thirty six million Americans take a statin every day, generating annual sales of 26 billion for the manufacturers, and making two statins – Lipitor and Zocor – the top two best-selling drugs in the USA. Numerous doctors are coming forward and taking a different stance on statin usage.

Osteopathic physician Dr. Joesph Mercola has stated the following, “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.”

Is Dr. Mercola alone? Hardly! In fact, way back in 1977 five studies came to the conclusion that total cholesterol is a not a risk factor for heart disease. What about the touted “bad” LDL cholesterol (that actually serves beneficial roles in the body)? The same studies showed that LDL is marginal at best for predicting heart problems, and that your Triglyceride:HDL ratio was the best predictor of heart disease.

In fact dozens of studies show that low levels of cholesterol (below 150) increase our risk of cancer seven-fold, and levels below 160 can increase one’s risk of stroke and mental diseases. To me this makes perfect sense as our brain is heavily dependent upon cholesterol to properly function. More than twenty studies show that seniors with high cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol.

Dr. George Mann who is part of one of the longest running trials spanning three generations describes the cholesterol topic as, “Greatest scam in the history of medicine”.

The question begs to be asked; if total cholesterol is meaningless for heart health, why are statins prescribed, and do they actually show to be of benefit? Dr. Dwight Lundell, heart surgeon who has performed over 5,000 heart surgeries explains what the research actually shows behind statin medications:

Do modestly lower heart attack rates in middle-aged men with heart disease
DO NOT lower death rates in men who do not have heart disease
DO NOT decrease death rates or heart attack rates in women
May not be beneficial due to cholesterol lowering effects, but are anti-inflammatory

Whether or not a statin should be prescribed to you is easy, just look at the first three bullet points above. Which category do you fall into?

What about the side effects of statin drugs? I could devote a whole article to these, but in short they include: memory loss, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart failure, muscle aches and pains and tendon/ligament damage. Some of the side effects can be lessened by discussing Co-Q10 (better yet Ubiquinol) supplementation with your doctor. Statin medications can deplete Co-Q10 levels in the body by 50% in just thirty days. Co-Q10 is vital to every cell in your body for energy production and especially for your heart.

To summarize, statin drugs carry a host of side effects and are proven to only be effective for an extremely small percentage of the population. The fact that they are anti-inflammatory leads me to question, are there safer alternatives out there that can accomplish the same thing? Be in charge of your health and work with your doctor to come up with the best strategy to improve your health. Very rarely will the best answer be in a prescription bottle.

A few really great videos on the subject can be found here:

http://vimeo.com/12515845

http://vimeo.com/12516115

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