Statins and Cholesterol

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People are still taught that cholesterol and LDL cholesterol is an extremely important marker of their health, and the fact is, that actually cholesterol in and of itself is a very poor marker of health and risk of cardiovascular disease.
First, an explanation of terms:  Cholesterol–this is a waxy substance produced by our livers in the same pathway we make CoQ10, one of the most valuable antioxidants in our body.  Cholesterol is the core of all our hormones, and is anti-inflammatory.  It can, in some people, begin a process in the endothelium, the lining of our blood vessels, called atherosclerosis, which develops into obstruction, leading to a possible heart attack or stroke.    LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”)–this means cholesterol is attached to a protein which brings the cholesterol into the blood stream; HDL (high density cholesterol) cholesterol (“Good Cholesterol”)–this means cholesterol is attached to a protein which removes it from the blood stream and takes it to the liver.  Triglycerides are fats in the blood and are more associated with a high carbohydrate than high fat diet.
Statins are given out like Halloween candy to any patient who has elevated cholesterol.  And, some studies do indeed supportthat if a patient has had heart disease, statins can have a very tiny effect of reducing the risk of them having a heart attack or stroke.  However, in a large meta-analyses of studies on statins, it was found that among those with pre-existing heart disease that took statins for five years:  96% saw no benefit; 1.2% had their lifespan extended; 2.6% were helped by preventing a repeat heart attack; 0.8% were helped by preventing a stroke; 0/6% were harmed by developing diabetes; and 10% were harmed by muscle damage.  In another meta-analyses of patients without heart disease who were placed on statins for five years: 98% saw no benefit at all; 1.6% were helped by preventing a heart attack; 0.4% were helped by preventing a stroke; 1.5 were harmed by developing diabetes; 10% were harmed by muscle damage.
So, in that meta-analysis, MORE people developed diabetes from statins than those were received prevention from a heart attack or stroke!  
 
Statins have thus been shown to only help men under 80 years of age with pre-existing heart disease.
Statins have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in all populations, BUT, the reductions are very, very modest. 
In men under 80 without pre-existing heart disease, men over 80 with or without heart disease, and women of any age with or without heart disease, statins have not been shown to extend lifespan. 
 
Statins are associated with numerous side-effects:
1. Lack of production of CoQ10–this nutrient is so valuable to the heart, naturopathic physicians oftentimes recommend it if patients have any heart disease, and it absolutely must be supplemented if you are on CoQ10, in a crystal free form.
2. Raising blood sugars–statins can raise blood sugars up to 30 mg/dl in patients with diabetes and even up to9 mg/dl in those without.
3. Muscle damage–CoQ10 is also used in the muscle cells for structural support, so without that nutrient being made, muscle cell walls can be damaged, causing achiness, pain, and even disintegration of the cells (a medical emergency called rhabdomyolysis).
4. Transient Global Amnesia–memory damage occurs in some taking statins
Naturopathic medicine can be very valuable in significantly reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease without using statin drugs.  Through diet diaries; innovative blood work panels which give us much more pertinent information than cholesterol to help uncover if a patient has more significant, and more genetic cardiovascular risks; through analysis of lifestyle, stress and nutrient intake; naturopathic physicians have excellent success in keeping patients healthy without the need for statin drugs.
For instance, our physicians at AIMS have eradicated hypertension in patients coming to her on two medications for it, solely by the use of a 10 day vegetable juice fast.
There are many wonderful naturopathic modalities we can use with patients to reverse and prevent cardiovascular disease!
If you, (or a loved one), are concerned about your cholesterol, coming to see a physician at AIMS will be to your benefit.
– Dr. Mona Morstein

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