Statin Drugs are one of the biggest money makers of all time for the pharmaceutical industry and their presence is growing globally. With a promise to lower "deadly" cholesterol levels in a time where heart disease is a truly deadly and scary reality for many modern citizens, the sell is an easy one. Recommended cholesterol guidelines lower regularly, seemingly increasing the need for these "wonder drugs." However, behind the promise of safety lies many inconvenient truths...
Cholesterol has never been proven to cause heart disease. The correlation simply doesn't exist as a causal relationship. Instead cholesterol protects against heart disease. Statin drugs reduce cholesterol in the body, reducing the bodies natural defenses against heart issues and leaving the body vulnerable to many side effects, some of which include:
The most common statin side effects include:
- difficulty sleeping
- flushing of the skin
- muscle aches, tenderness, or weakness
- drowsiness/ weakness
- nausea and/or vomiting
- abdominal cramping and/or pain
- bloating and/or gas
Which statin side effects are serious?
Myositis, which is inflammation of the muscles, can occur with statins. The risk of muscle injury increases when certain other medications are coupled with statin use. For example, if you take a combination of a statin and a fibrate -- another cholesterol-reducing drug -- the risk of muscle damage increases greatly compared to someone who takes a statin alone.
Other dangers of statins include other muscle conditions, which can be serious in rare cases. First, there can be statin muscle pain. Known as myalgia, this pain can generally be resolved quickly by discontinuing the medication.
Statins can also cause your CPK levels to be mildly elevated. CPK or creatine kinase is a muscle enzyme that can be measured in the bloodstream. Muscle pain, mild inflammation, and possibly weakness are also seen. This condition, though uncommon, can take a long while to resolve.
The third and most severe serious side effect of statins is called rhabdomyolysis. Muscles all over the body become painful and weakened because of extreme muscle inflammation and damage. CPK levels are extremely elevated as well. The kidneys can become overworked trying to eliminate a large amount of muscle breakdown caused by statin use. The severely damaged muscles release proteins into the blood that collect in the kidneys, thereby causing damage. This can ultimately lead to kidney failure or even death.
Common Misconceptions and Reality
- MISCONCEPTION: eating fat will increase your cholesterol levels.
- REALITY: If you don't eat enough fat your body will INCREASE your cholesterol. Eating enough fat (the right amount for your body varies by individual needs) will lower cholesterol. It is all dependent on your unique needs. Your body works together with your diet to make sure you have the right amount of cholesterol given your specific requirements. There is not a universal number or level that should be followed by everyone because every body has different requirements depending on several factors.
- REALITY: The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile without which is necessary to digest food. Taking Statins interferes with the bodies digestive capability causing irreparable liver damage, even failure. Often we don't notice liver damage till it is too late because the liver can operate normally as low as 38% efficacy (which is technically dysfunctional, although not noticeable). If someone is given statins with a compromised liver then their risk increases exponentially for damage or failure.
- MISCONCEPTION: Lower Cholesterol is good for the heart and as a result of the efficacy of other organs.
- REALITY: Lowering Cholesterol increases the risk that your body won't be able to heal correctly, in event of a crisis. Why? because cholesterol helps with to heal wounds, develop scar tissue, etc. internally and externally. If a person is prone to bleeding etc then their cholesterol levels will be higher than someone who is not prone to this.
- REALITY: Statin Drugs are shown to contribute to brain damage and memory loss given that brain tissue is made up of cholesterol and special cells in the brian actually produce cholesterol.
- MISCONCEPTION: Statin Drugs are good for the heart.
- REALITY: Statin Drugs lower Co-Q10 levels, one of the most powerful antioxidants of the heart.After age 60 our bodies ability to produce this enzyme are reduced. Taking Statindrugs after this age increases risk for coronary artery disease due to the lack of Co-Q10
- eat a healthy diet. Eat regular snacks every 3 hours, eat whole, organic (local if possible) foods. Stay away from refined carbohydrates and refined sugars. Avoid Soy products. Supplement your nutrition with whole food and herbal supplements such as Standard Process and MediHerb. Work with a holistic practitioner (chiropractor, acupuncturist, naturopath, etc.) to ascertain your bodies specific needs and to satisfy them.
- exercise regularly. 30 minutes of activity 3-5 times a week minimally keeps your heart in good working function! Try cardiovascular exercise such as walking and restorative/resistance practices such as Yoga and Pilates.
- be true to yourself. Identify your emotions, accept them and live without that emotional weight bearing you down. A good mental status is connected to a strong physical one.