More than 40 million people around the world take cholesterol lowering drugs called statins. For the last four decades fat and cholesterol have been the villains in heart disease. Saturated fat is linked to artery clogging. Lowering cholesterol has become a popular theme and statin medications are the most prescribed drugs today. The National Heart Foundation guidelines have clearly stated that saturated fat and cholesterol must be reduced to lower the risk of heart disease.
The idea that saturated fat clogs your arteries by raising cholesterol levels first came into being in the 1950’s. Nutritionist Ancel Keys became intrigued with the soaring rates of heart disease after World War II. He compared the rates of heart disease and fat consumption in six countries. The more fat people ate, the higher the rate of heart disease. But Keys withheld data from sixteen other countries. Later when researchers plotted all 22 countries the correlation wasn’t found to be perfect. Also just because there is a correlation does not mean it is the cause. The study by Ancel keys is a textbook example of manipulating the data to get the result that you want. Researchers carried out half a dozen trials in the next 15 years that failed to confirm the idea that you could live longer by reducing the saturated fat in your diet or reducing the total fat in your diet. The American Heart Association was also reluctant to lend credence to Keys theory. But he managed to score a position on the association’s advisory panel where he pushed for the acceptance of his ideas. Finally they made a change and claimed that dietary fat was a cause of heart disease.
Two trials costing over 250 million dollars and involving hundreds of thousands of patients failed to prove that lowering saturated fat would reduce your risk of dying from heart disease. The authorities responded by saying that they must have done the study wrong. Hundreds of articles refuting the cholesterol hypothesis have been published in the world’s leading medical journals but they rarely get noticed by mainstream media.
Statin medications became popular because they lowered cholesterol like no other medication before them. This was great news to the people who were pushing the cholesterol theory. But the reality is lowering cholesterol with medication doesn’t guarantee you won’t have a heart attack. Over the decades drug companies have had an enormous vested interest in statin drugs.
How do Statin medications work
Statins work by disabling a critical step early in the formation of cholesterol. They block a biochemical pathway in also very high up in the pathway it blocks the production of a compound called Mevalonate that’s the precursor for many other compounds when you block this pathway you block the ability of cells to bio synthesize cholesterol.
Think of it as a tree and you’re cutting it off at the trunk then all the branches will be affected. So not only do you lower cholesterol you lower other compounds. One of those compounds is coq10. Heart muscles are active 24 hours a day and use a huge amount of energy. Hence the heart muscle has the highest concentration of CoQ10. By taking statin medications to reduce cholesterol we are blocking the most important molecules in the function of heart muscle. So we are raising the risk of heart muscle failure.
Statins also damage muscle tissue causing permanent so pain and weakness. A 2010 review of statins found that up to 15% of statin uses experienced muscle problems. Also the breakdown of muscle tissue releases a protein called myoglobin. Myoglobin degrades into a chemical that damages the kidneys and can cause a fatal kidney disease called rhabdomyolysis. Other complications can include blood clots and cardiac arrest. Statins also damage the liver which causes fatigue, pain in the upper abdomen, dark colored urine or yellowing of the skin or eyes. These are signs the statins may be damaging your liver. Statins also damage the nervous system.
Peripheral neuropathy is one symptom beginning with tingling and prickling of the hands of the feet as well as numbness. These symptoms can escalate to burning pain and paralysis even when statins are used in relatively low doses. The incidence of severe motor and sensory neuropathy increases as much as 14 times over patients who are not taking statins. Then there are other problems like mental confusion and memory loss similar to Alzheimer’s. They also cause mood changes, depression, increased hostility and aggression. A study at Harvard Medical School released in January of 2012 found that long-term statin users increase their odds of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 50%.
High cholesterol is not a disease, it is a risk factor like being overweight or a poor lifestyle. For those at the highest risk, the drugs for lowering cholesterol could prevent a future heart attack or stroke. At the same time drugs to lower cholesterol could seriously injure or kill you. A healthy diet and lifestyle will not only lower cholesterol levels it will also reduce the risk of heart disease.