With 500+ cholesterol-myth books available, you may have heard:
- Cholesterol is not the problem.
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs, the statins, are killers.
- If cholesterol is too low, you may get Parkinson’s.
- Statins are shown to increase calcification of coronary plaque, i.e. atherosclerosis.
- Statins cause muscle-wasting (and the heart is a muscle).
- The statin industry rakes in $100 billion per year. In return it saves 1 in 100 statin-takers from one heart attack. Pretty nice, huh?
To start with, high cholesterol levels don’t actually cause heart disease.
Inflammation from a poor diet and stress is the root cause of heart artery blockages.
When the inner lining of an artery gets inflamed and raw, Cholesterol arrives as a bandage to patch the damage.
Then more blockage builds up, choking the blood supply to the heart, and often a clot gets lodged in the narrowed artery. Heart attack.
If we didn’t have the inflammation, cholesterol wouldn’t have to bandage it.
Cholesterol is always helping us in many ways:
– Every cell in our body needs this waxy cholesterol.
– It holds cell membranes together and keeps them strong.
– The liver naturally manufactures 75% of our cholesterol. (Only 25% of our cholesterol comes from our food.)
– Cholesterol is needed to make hormones and vitamin D.
– Cholesterol nurtures and protects our brain.
It provides a protective myelin sheath around our nerves, which is vital for a healthy nervous system and brain. In fact 25% of our cholesterol stays in the brain.
(Parkinson’s patients tend to have a lack of cholesterol.)
. . . And we’re trying to get rid of this substance??
Years ago Big Pharma decided to snuff out LDL cholesterol.
You’ll remember HDL is the good cholesterol because it does not make deposits in your arteries, in fact it removes arterial plaque. LDL is considered the bad cholesterol because it can form plaque in the arteries.
Statin drugs inhibit a liver enzyme that helps produce cholesterol. When the liver can’t produce as much cholesterol as it wants to, it pulls extra LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream to assist in its process. So we have lower LDL in the blood. Then our blood levels look happy.
(And who knows what may be impacted in the tissues, hormones, nerves, brain . . .)
Okay. These statin drugs are:
Cerivastatin (now off the market because it killed people)
The good thing is, statistics tell us, out of 100 people taking statins, one person will be saved from one heart attack.
Statins provide only a tiny amount of protection against heart disease, and they have many rough side effects.
Scientists have determined statins do increase the risk of:
- Atherosclerosis, hardening arteries
- Cancer (of skin, lung, bladder, colorectal)
- Cognitive impairment, memory loss
- Depression, irritability, confusion, dizziness
- Musculoskeletal disorders, muscle weakness (including heart)
- Parkinson’s disease and polyneuropathy
- Sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction
- not to mention all the side effects listed by your pharmacist
All statins deplete your body of coenzyme Q 10 which helps produce cellular energy. In this way statins may cause fatigue, weakness, soreness.
So if you do take statins, be sure to take CoQ10.
That is, if you’re not yet convinced to drop the statins altogether. I mean, how lucky are you feeling, with these odds?
Researchers have found definite correlation between stress and heart attacks. In cultures/times/places with cohesive families, social solidarity and strong community friendships, the incidence of heart attack can be practically nothing. But when communities are disrupted and relationships disintegrate, heart disease soars.
In particular, social dislocation – large populations forced to move away from their community – suffered a marked increase in heart attacks for several years afterward. This has been shown to happen for many cultures worldwide.
The biological explanation is that unhealthy stressors raise cortisol levels, which damage the endothelium (inner lining of arteries) and increase blood clotting. Both of these factors increase plaque growth and heart disease.
What’s a gray-haired girl to do?
The song bubbles up, so familiar:
Healthy foods, good hydration, daily exercise,
friendly relationships, and stress-relieving approaches like forgiveness, gratitude, massage, energy work, and meditation will ease your heart and enliven your life.
Among those 500+ books, I have consulted these:
Stop Worrying about Cholesterol, by Dr. Richard Tapert
The Great Cholesterol Con, by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
Ignore the Awkward – How the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive, by Dr. Uffe Ravnskov
I also have enjoyed Dr. Joseph Mercola’s numerous articles.
see also Clear the Sludge without Statins