Sometimes blind faith leads to a disaster, sometimes a miracle.
Where will you end up?
If you’re one of the millions of people diagnosed with high cholesterol, you will more than likely be given a prescription “statin” pill. It’s easier to take a statin, truly I get it, it’s hard to control diet and to exercise and to live a life of limitations after all this time. For a satirical look at what you need to do before taking a statin, read my quick (and somewhat silly) scenario at the doctor’s office here.
Now, let’s get back to the statins, these work well to reduce cholesterol:
-Lovastatin for Mevacor
-Atorvastatin for Lipitor
-Pravastatin for Pravachol
-Fluvastatin for Lescol
-Simvastatin for Zocor
-Pitavastatin for Livalo
-Rosuvastatin for Crestor
-Others in combination form
What do they do?
Statins affect many pathways in the body. They are strong anti-inflammatories, so strong that they are being tested for their use in cancer patients! As for cholesterol reduction, they work by crushing a natural enzyme in your body that would otherwise allow you to make your own cholesterol.
Statins do not suck out gooey cholesterol from your arteries, nor does it negate cheese fries.
No, these drugs merely suppress new production of cholesterol. Here’s where blind faith (take this pill and you’ll feel better) collides with scientific research.
This year a study was published (in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology), entitled,
Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms. Repeat: “Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure.” Whoa!
The researchers concluded, “The epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs.” What an irony! The problem is that many other studies have found similar disastrous effects on the heart. It has to do with mitochondrial dysfunction, which means that the little generators in your heart cells get sick.
Your heart is a very high energy muscle. It requires thriving, mitochondria in order to churn out ATP, your energy molecule. Statins are toxic to mitochondria because they deplete coenzyme Q10 which is needed for healthy mitochondria. Statins also deplete a special protein called “Heme A” that totes oxygen and iron to your heart. The long-term depletion interrupts ATP production and leads to cellular fatigue among other major problems. You cannot survive long-term without adequate ATP production so it needs to be restored. Fatigue, cramps, muscle weakness, memory loss, depression, cancer … you must have ATP in your body or else! (Biting my lip)
Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of vitamin K2 which we manufacture if we have healthy intestinal gut flora.
I don’t know anyone who has a perfect gut. K2 also comes from fermented veggies. It protects our arteries from calcium plaques or atherosclerosis. Without enough K2, statin-induced or not, we are compromised. (Eyes rolling now).
Today, we know statins block very special, powerful selenium-containing proteins known as selenoproteins, the most famous of those is called glutathione peroxidase, which protects muscle tissue from free radical damage (oxidation).
What’s the busiest muscle in your body? It has to work 24/7. It’s your heart! (Smacks forehead).
Your heart muscle cells are ‘burned’ form all the oxidation (due to the impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis) and this is a factor in congestive heart failure. This reminds me of Keshan’s disease which is heart failure due to low selenium.
If you have to take statins, please use the lowest dose possible. Be diligent about putting back the nutrients that statins interfere with such as the coenzyme Q10, selenium, and vitamin K2, along with other heart healthy nutrients. There are exceptions to taking these nutrients so ask your doctor (yes, the same one that gave you the statin.)
This is a classic case of drug mugging, and I hope you will consider replenishing some of the affected nutrients, especially if you have uncomfortable or new symptoms. I wrote about this in my book, Drug Muggers. Remember to talk to your physician about dosages of these vitamins, because it is highly individual; dosages vary from person to person based upon age, sex, weight, kidney or liver function, even genetic SNPs and much more. Also, keep in mind how important nutrients are in your body. Your body runs on the essentials, it does not run because of medication. As an example, if you have low levels of a natural B vitamin (folate) then you cannot properly methylation. If your methylation pathways are hindered, your toxins build up and your cholesterol ratios are adversely affected. There are over 200 drugs that reduce folate, all discussed and listed in my Drug Muggers book. For that matter, there are many SNPs that cause illness, or personality quirks and traits, so read my article on “Genes, Methylation and Your Health” right now. Please be sure to leave me your comments below, on my forum where we can discuss things together and help one another. Everyone, chime in!
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.