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Statins and the Cholesterol Myth

Once you start taking a medication, you always have to take the risk of having to deal with its side effects. A group of cholesterol lowering medications called Statins are not exceptions either.

Human heart illustrationThe heart is a muscle. Statins can be harmful to muscles.

Statins’ side effects include muscle pain and muscle wasting

Two of the most well known side effects are muscle pain and muscle wasting. It is due to the fact that the statin medications stop an enzyme in the liver that makes cholesterol. It is all very well; stopping the problem at its core. However, that same enzyme called HMC-CoA reductase is also responsible for producing Coenzyme Q10. This enzyme’s main role is inside the mitochondria - the battery of our cells.

CoQ10 is crucial for energy production in each cell in our body, especially in muscle cells which need large amounts of energy. Now, which is the muscle in our body that is working all through our life, constantly whether we are awake or asleep? Our heart. So it is a little bit contradictory to take a medication for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases that can actually be harmful for the very centre of the cardiovascular system, don’t you think?

Statins or a heart attack – a false dilemma

Resent research posted in the August issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science showed another harmful side of statin drugs.

"The millions of adults who currently use prescription statins to control their cholesterol levels may be inadvertently increasing their risk for developing age-related cataracts."

Lead author Elizabeth Irving, research chairwoman in the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada added:

"They're taking statins for a reason. If you're going to have a heart attack or get cataracts, what would you choose?"

What I would say is that it is a poor and shameful comment. There is a better alternative which can address not just cholesterol levels, but all other aspects of our health: the natural way.

Normal Cholesterol Levels vary

Cholesterol levels can be higher than normal for many reasons. Our liver makes 80% of it and the rest we take in through our diet. Eating a low saturated fat diet is therefore helpful, but does little on its own.

Our genetic make-up also determines our normal levels, it is very individual. Women after menopause have higher cholesterol levels, simply because cholesterol is the raw material for our hormones, and at menopause we stop making those hormones and the liver keeps making the raw material for a while. It is completely natural and our job is to assist the body in removing the excess - naturally. This is the step where nutritional therapy can be most effective.

High cholesterol not the sole cause of damage

Having high cholesterol is just one of many factors that can contribute to cardiovascular diseases. The main problem behind hardening and narrowing of the blood vessel is inflammation and damage made by inflammatory cytokines, a by-product called homocysteine, high blood-sugar levels and so on. Once the blood vessel is damaged, cholesterol can build up on the scar tissue. All this is not prevented by low cholesterol levels.

Good Cholesterol

On the other hand, too low cholesterol levels can cause problems. The accepted normal total cholesterol is around 5 (it used to be higher and drug companies are working hard to make the levels even lower.), but what is more important is the ratio: that the bad cholesterol is low and there is a fair amount of good cholesterol around (at least 1.5) to do its job.

Cholesterol is essential for life, as a vital component of cell membranes and hormones. Unsurprisingly then, low cholesterol damages cell membranes, affecting the nervous system and the ability to deal with stress.

Contrary to what we are told, lower socioeconomic groups who die from heart diseases more frequently, have lower cholesterol levels than higher socioeconomic groups.

Low cholesterol levels predispose to cancer: among low-cholesterol populations, approximately three times more people die from cancer compared with their high-cholesterol counterparts.

More Revealed in this Documentary

By the 10th of September a documentary will be available online, called "Statin Nation: The Great Cholesterol Cover-up" by director Justin Smith, which blows the lid on statins and the cholesterol myth. Health experts reveal the details and the background of these medications, showing why one of modern medicine’s most cherished theories are wrong, and putting the boot into a “wonder drug” that causes more problems than it solves and made $13 billion for Pfeizer in 2010! Well worth watching it online on demand.

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