The fact that statin drugs cause side effects is well-established, and this latest study from the UK adds liver problems, acute kidney failure, muscle weakness and cataracts to the already fat list.
So Many People are Using Statins, it Boggles the Mind
In the UK, it won’t be long before one in four adults over the age of 40 are taking a statin drug, and physicians there have access to a computer program designed to analyze everyone within a 35-year age bracket to determine if they need to jump on the statin bandwagon.
Similarly, here in the United States the U.S. government’s National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL (bad) cholesterol to specific, very low, levels back in 2004.
Before 2004, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy. The updated guidelines, however, recommended levels of less than 100, or even less than 70 for patients at very high risk, which increased the market for statin drugs exponentially.
Researchers are also urging cholesterol screening for about one-third of teens who are overweight or obese, which will put many of these kids right in the line of fire to be prescribed a dangerous statin drug.
The drug companies even tried to claim that statins should be used to treat the swine flu last year, if you can believe that!
The “experts” like to argue that statins have few downsides, so why not try them, just in case?
Of course, those “few downsides” can include muscle pain and weakness, peripheral neuropathy, and heart failure. Not to mention the 900 studies that show statin drugs are dangerous.
900, Yes 900, Studies Prove Statin Dangers
A paper published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, also called statins.
Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs’ adverse side effects, but cognitive problems and pain or numbness in the extremities are also widely reported. A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur as side effects.
The problem, however, is the fact that statin drugs oftentimes do not have any immediate side effects, and they are quite effective, capable of lowering cholesterol levels by 50 points or more. This makes it appear as though they’re benefiting your health, and health problems that appear down the line are frequently not interpreted as a side effect of the drug, but rather as brand new, separate health problems.
For starters, some of the possible consequences of taking statins in strong doses, or for a lengthy period of time, include:
* Cognitive loss
* Frequent fevers
* Sexual dysfunction
Other serious and potentially life threatening side effects include, but are not limited to:
* An increase in cancer risk
* Immune system suppression
* Serious degenerative muscle tissue condition (rhabdomyolysis)
* Pancreatic dysfunction
* Hepatic dysfunction. (Due to the potential increase in liver enzymes, patients must be monitored for normal liver function)
Further, adverse effects are dose dependent, and your health risks can be amplified by a number of factors, such as taking other drugs (which may increase statin potency), metabolic syndrome or thyroid disease.
If You Take Statins, You Must Take CoQ10
If you take statin drugs without taking CoQ10, your health is at serious risk. Unfortunately, this describes the majority of people who take them in the United States.
There are no official warnings in the U.S. regarding CoQ10 depletion from taking statin drugs, and many physicians fail to inform you about this problem as well. Labeling in Canada, however, clearly warns of CoQ10 depletion and even notes that this nutrient deficiency “could lead to impaired cardiac function in patients with borderline congestive heart failure.”
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant compound that is central to the process of energy production within your mitochondria, and in the quenching of free radicals.
Statins have been found to impair mitochondrial function, which leads to increased production of free radicals.
At the same time, statins also lower your CoQ10 levels by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production – the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports CoQ10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.
The loss of CoQ10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage your mitochondrial DNA, effectively setting into motion an evil circle of increasing free radicals and mitochondrial damage.
This explains why statins are particularly dangerous if you have existing mitochondrial damage, as your body relies on ample CoQ10 to bypass this damage.
If you determine after reviewing the evidence that CoQ10 makes good sense to use as a supplement, it is important to take the reduced version if you are over 40 years old. This is called ubiquinol and it is FAR more effective. I personally take 1-3 a day as it has many other benefits.
High blood pressure and diabetes are linked to higher rates of mitochondrial problems, so if you have either of these conditions your risk of statin complications increases, according to the authors of this review.
Additionally, since statins can cause progressive damage to your mitochondria over time, and your mitochondria tend to weaken with age anyway, new adverse effects can develop the longer you’re on the drug.
Most People do Not Need Statin Drugs
That these drugs have proliferated the market the way they have is a testimony to the power of marketing, corruption and corporate greed, because the odds are very high, greater than 100 to 1, that anyone taking statin drugs does not need them.
The ONLY subgroup that MAY benefit are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures to normalize cholesterol.
If your physician is urging you to get a total cholesterol level check — many do and will prescribe you a statin drug depending on its result — you should know that this test will tell you virtually nothing about your risk of heart disease — unless it is 330 or higher.
And, perhaps more importantly, you need to be aware that cholesterol is not the CAUSE of heart disease.
If you become overly concerned with trying to lower your cholesterol level to some set number, you will be completely missing the point, and may also be missing some important heart disease markers.
In fact, I have seen a number of people with levels over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their elevated HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests:
* Your HDL/Cholesterol ratio
* Your Triglyceride/HDL ratios
HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent, it’s a significant indicator of risk for heart disease.
You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2.
Optimizing Your Cholesterol Levels, Naturally
There’s really no reason to take statins and suffer the consequences from these dangerous drugs. When you follow the simple guidelines below, you will optimize your health in such a way that your cholesterol levels will naturally become optimized, without any side effects:
* First, normalize your insulin levels by eliminating sugar and grains.
* Second, you can take a high-quality krill oil that is chock full of beneficial, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
* Exercise. Make sure you are getting exercise nearly every day. Pay particular attention to the type that nearly everyone fails to teach about and that is anaerobic sprint cardio training.
* Eat the right foods for your nutritional type, and eat a good portion of your food raw.
* Additionally, if you are a man, or a woman who is in menopause, you should check your iron levels, as elevated levels of iron can cause major oxidative damage in the blood vessels, heart and other organs. Excess iron is also one of the major contributing factors of cancer risk.
* Address your emotional challenges, and maintain positive outlets for your stress.
* Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol excessively.
Unlike statin drugs, which lower your cholesterol at the expense of your health, these lifestyle strategies support your health on a body-wide basis, and your cholesterol levels will follow suit.