I am soooo frustrated by the bulldozing of so many people in to taking Statins. These are drugs that reduce the output of cholesterol from your liver. The public message is pretty unanimous – high cholesterol causes heart disease and stroke so lowering cholesterol with Statins is the answer.
Jeremy Vine was discussing use of Statins on his radio 2 show on Wednesday due to the new recommendations from NICE – the National Institute for Health Care Excellence, who advise the NHS on medication use. They are now recommending that everyone over the age of 50 should be put on Statins – whaaatttt!
Argghhhhhhh! This is an outrage! Why on earth would a healthy 50 year old want to take medication, especially a medication that for many cause muscle aches, lethargy, skin complaints, digestive upset, and so it goes on. Also, and very importantly, Statins inhibit the liver’s production of a very important enzyme that keeps the heart healthy. Co Enzyme Q10 is essential for keeping the muscles in the body working well. This includes the heart muscle! CO10 is also part of the complex system of energy generation within the cells and is a powerful antioxidant, protecting our cells from damage. Inhibiting this vital enzyme is a madness when these drugs are supposed to support heart health.
Another big gripe I have is that the message of high cholesterol being bad has resulted in low being better and even lower being even better. THIS IS SIMPLY WRONG. There is a reason our liver produces up to 85% of the cholesterol circulating in the body. CHOLESTEROL IS ESSENTIAL TO LIFE. Without it we die, very quickly. Cholesterol is essential to convert sunshine in to vitamin D through the skin;? cholesterol is a core ingredient in the production of many hormones; cholesterol protects our cells, fuels our brain, mends damaged arteries ….
There is NO clinical data to support the use of Statins in women – FACT!? There is? a small group of men, those who have a history of heart disease, who seem to benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of Statins. So put them on natural ant-inflammatories. Also, food has very little bearing on cholesterol levels. Cutting out eggs, shellfish, butter etc. will not have a lowering effect on your circulating cholesterol. In fact, some studies suggests that eating more healthy fats like those in egg yolks, butter, well-made cheeses, etc. actually reduce your liver’s output of cholesterol.
Statins are the most prescribed drug in the USA. I believe it is a similar picture here in the UK. Once upon a time GP’s recommended Statins if total cholesterol was over 6. Then 5 became the magic number. Now it’s being reduced to 4.5. Who is setting these standards, the drug companies maybe? The lower the ‘safe’ level of cholesterol, the more people taking their drugs.
There is not scope in this rant of mine to cover the complexities of cholesterol readings but suffice to say, a total cholesterol reading tells us very little, it’s far, far more complex than that and understanding the intricacies of cholesterol is still emerging.? HDL (so called good cholesterol) and LDL (so called bad) is also far too simplistic. In fact LDL is highly useful. It’s the cholesterol being pumped out by the liver, doing important jobs, so it isn’t bad. It is only bad if cholesterol becomes oxidised and triggers inflammation. The cause of cholesterol becoming oxidised is complex, but suffice to say, an unhealthy diet high is sugars and industrialised fats (cooking oils / processed foods) will cause these issues – it’s not cholesterol that is causing the problem.
I know it is really hard to challenge your GP when you are being told Statins are safe, effective and should be taken due to your age / medical history etc. I urge you to arm yourself with information to be able to question the need for you to go on these drugs that inhibit a life giving substance from your liver. If you are pursuaded they are right for you, then you MUST, MUST, MUST take a COQ10 supplement in the form of Ubiquinol (not unbiquinone) to compensate for your inability to make this essential enzyme.
Oh, by the way, if you are worried that your cholesterol is too high, your GP / family etc. are putting on the pressure to take Statins but you’re really not keen, look in to Red Rice Yeast. This also inhibits the liver’s output of cholesterol, but with non of the side-effects. Remember, low cholesterol is not necessarily good, but if you want to do it in a gentler way, red rice yeast will do the job. Take one that contains CoQ10. Of course there are other dietary and lifestyle measures that can also help … that’s another blog, but please, don’t be sold the Statins-story … it is fundamentally flawed.