A Simple Way to Reduce Your Cholesterol - Better than Drugs
Posted By Dr. Mercola | July 24 2010
Two years ago, a study known as the JUPITER trial suggested the cholesterol-lowering statin drug might prevent heart-related death in many more people than just those with high cholesterol.
Now, however, researchers say that the JUPITER results are flawed -- and that they do not support the benefits initially reported.
Not only is there no "striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications", but a new report has also called into question drug companies' involvement in such trials.
ABC News reports:
"... major discrepancies exists between the significant reductions in nonfatal stroke and heart attacks reported in the JUPITER trial and what has been found in other research ... 'The JUPITER data set appears biased,' [the researchers] wrote in conclusion."
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Tens of millions of Americans are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs—mostly statins—and some "experts" claim that many millions more should be taking them.
I couldn't disagree more.
Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, that is, they act by blocking the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol (HMG-CoA reductase). The fact that statin drugs cause side effects is well established—there are now 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk.
For starters, reported side effects include:
- Muscle problems, polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), and rhabdomyolysis (a serious degenerative muscle tissue condition)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Immune depression
- Pancreas or liver dysfunction, including a potential increase in liver enzymes
Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs' adverse side effects, but cognitive problems and memory loss are also widely reported. A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur. There is evidence that taking statins may even increase your risk for Lou Gehrig's disease.
Statins currently available on the U.S. market are:
- Advicor (lovastatin with niacin) – Abbott
- Altoprev (lovastatin) – Shionogi Pharma
- Caduet [atorvastatin with amlodipine (Norvasc)] – Pfizer
- Crestor (rosuvastatin) - AstraZeneca
- Lescol (fluvastatin) – Novartis
- Lipitor (atorvastatin) - Pfizer
- Mevacor (lovastatin) – Merck
- Pravachol (pravastatin) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Simcor (niacin/imvastatin) – Abbott
- Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) – Merck/Schering-Plough
- Zocor (simvastatin) – Merck
Ninety-Nine Out of 100 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 if you're taking a statin, you don't really need it.
The ONLY subgroup that might benefit are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.
And, even more importantly, cholesterol is NOT the cause of heart disease.
If your physician is urging you to check your total cholesterol, then you should know that this test will tell you virtually nothing about your risk of heart disease, unless it is 330 or higher.
HDL percentage is a far more potent indicator for heart disease risk. Here are the two ratios you should pay attention to:
- HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio: Should ideally be above 24 percent. If below 10 percent, you have a significantly elevated risk for heart disease.
- Triglyceride/HDL Ratio: Should be below 2.
I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who were actually at low risk for heart disease due to their elevated HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen many people with cholesterol levels under 200 who had a very high risk of heart disease, based on their low HDL.
Your body NEEDS cholesterol—it is important in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. Cholesterol also helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function.
There is also strong evidence that having too little cholesterol INCREASES your risk for cancer, memory loss, Parkinson's disease, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, suicide, and violent behavior.
Parents Beware: Outrageous New Push to Put Kids on Statin Drugs!
In a bold attempt to increase profits before the patent runs out, Pfizer has now introduced a chewable kid-friendly version of Lipitor. Its US patent for Lipitor expires in November 2011, and seeking to boost sales of the drug, children have become the new target market, and the conventional medical establishment is more than happy to oblige.
Researchers and many doctors are now calling for universal school screening of children to check for high cholesterol, to find those “in need of treatment.” In addition, older siblings, parents and other family members might be prompted to get screened as well, the researchers say, which would uncover additional, previously undiagnosed adults in need of the drug.
This is clearly NOT the way to improve public health. On the contrary, it could produce a new, massive wave of extremely dire health consequences in just a few years time.
So rather than improving school lunches, which would cost about a dollar a day per child, they'd rather "invest" ten times that for tests and drugs that in no way, shape, or form address the root cause, which is an improper, unhealthy diet!
All they're doing is allowing all the industries to maintain or increase their profits: Big Pharma; Big Sugar; Big Corn and the processed food industry.
You, and your children! And in far more ways than one!
I will address this issue in depth in a future article, so please stay tuned…
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.
CoQ10 is a cofactor (co-enzyme) that is essential for the creation of ATP molecules, which you need for cellular energy production. Organs such as your heart have higher energy requirements, and therefore require more CoQ10 to function properly.
Statins deplete your body of CoQ10, which can have devastating results.
Physicians rarely inform people of this risk and only occasionally advise them to take a CoQ10 supplement. As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually heart failure.
Coenzyme Q10 is also very important in the process of neutralizing free radicals. So when your CoQ10 is depleted, you enter a vicious cycle of increased free radicals, loss of cellular energy, and damaged mitochondrial DNA.
If you decide to take a CoQ10 supplement and are over the age of 40, it is important to choose the reduced version, called ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is a FAR more effective form—I personally take 1-3 a day since it has such far ranging benefits.
Optimizing Your Cholesterol Levels, Naturally
There's really no reason to take statins and suffer the damaging health effects from these dangerous drugs.
The fact is that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol.
It follows, then, that my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol have to do with modifying your diet and lifestyle:
- Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your diet. Eat the right foods for your nutritional type, and consume agood portion of your food raw.
- Make sure you are getting plenty of high quality, animal-based omega 3 fats, such as krill oil.
- Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats as appropriate for your nutritional type.
- Exercise daily. Make sure you incorporate peak fitness exercises, which also optimizes your human growth hormone (HGH) production.
- Address your emotional challenges. My favorite technique for stress management is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
- Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.
Unlike statin drugs, which lower your cholesterol at the expense of your health, these lifestyle strategies represent a holistic approach that will benefit your overall health—which includes a healthy cardiovascular system.
New Bombshell of Disastrous Side Effects from Statins
The number of people on these hazardous drugs is staggering – as is the mounting evidence of catastrophic side effects… 900 studies so far. Cognitive decline, muscle decline, pancreatic and liver damage… which are you in line for?
Does High Cholesterol REALLY Cause HeartDisease
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Can it Get Much Worse? Drug Company Now Claims Statins Recommended for Swine Flu
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Why You Should Avoid Red Rice Yeast
This natural "supplement" may be just as hazardous to your heath as other prescription medications to lower cholesterol.
6 Ways to Reduce Inflammation -- Without a Statin Drug
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Statin Drugs: Another Industry-Sponsored Study, Another Deceptive Result
Is it true that statin drugs can lower your risk of heart attacks by over 50 percent, or is this simply another deceptive marketing ploy?
Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Will Wreck Your Muscles
Researchers continue to find more reasons to avoid these drugs like the plague.
Cholesterol Pill Taken by Thousands Causes Cancer
Why increase your risk of dying from cancer when treating high cholesterol has nothing to do with taking a drug?
Why are Cholesterol Drugs Being Recommended for 8 Year Olds?
Are these dangerous drugs ever really necessary to protect kids' hearts?
1.5 Million More People to Be Prescribed Useless Cholesterol Drugs
Are you on the new drug "hit" list?
How You Have Been Fooled By Good and Bad Cholesterol
Even most physicians are confused about this important health concern.
How Statin Drugs Wreck Your Muscles
Yet another reason to avoid these drugs like the plague.
Lipitor Ads Spark Congressional Probe
Drug giant Pfizer is in hot water again over fraudulent peddling of their unnecessary, toxic solutions.
Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs: What Are Drugmakers Hiding?
Another $4-billion scam resulting in nearly 1 million unnecessary prescriptions.
The Next Statin Scam: Preventing Strokes
Even if statin drugs prevent strokes from recurring, you'll still die earlier from other causes.
Fish Oil Works Better Than Statins at Improving HDL Cholesterol
Omega-3 fats do more to normalize your cholesterol than Lipitor and the other statin drugs, and are safer and less expensive as well.
Lawsuits Debate Lasting Lipitor Damage
Why use dangerous statin drugs when simple, highly effective alternatives that treat the true cause are readily available?
Will Statins Help ''Cure'' ED?
Statin drugs could improve ED -- but the solution is worse than the disease.
Could a Generic Zocor ''Hurt'' The Statin Market?
Statin drugs could improve ED -- but the solution is worse than the disease.
Statin Drugs do NOT Prevent Cancer
It has now been conclusively shown that the cholesterol-lowering drugs have no effect whatsoever on cancer, despite previous arguments to the contrary.
FDA Screws Up Again
The FDA rejected a petition to have the controversial cholesterol drug Crestor, linked to serious muscle damage, withdrawn from the market. How can this...
Lipitor, Severe Diabetes a Fatal Combination
If you struggle with high cholesterol, you will certainly want to review my latest comments on using Lipitor to treat it.
Generic or Name Brand: Do You Really Need a Statin Drug?
Cheaper statin drugs are not good news for you, even if they paid you to take these drugs you should refuse.
Lipitor No Better Than Other Cholesterol Drugs
In spite of the manufacturer's claims, Lipitor is not only not as effective but may also have worse side effects.
Cholesterol's Contribution to Prostate Cancer
High cholesterol is likely to increases your risk of prostate cancer. Although statin drugs lower cholesterol levels, they are not your best option to reduce...
Crestor and Other Statins: Are They Really Worth the Risk?
The statin Crestor is being promoted as the "best" statin drug on the market, but are any of these cholesterol-lowering drugs worth the serious risks they pose? And, is lowering cholesterol really the best way to prevent heart disease in the first place?
Will Statins Become OTC Drugs in the U.S.?
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More Insane Uses for Statin Drugs
Do you have statins in your medicine cabinet? Find out which statins were removed from pharmacy shelves because of dangerous side effects.
The Truth About Crestor: Is Crestor Dangerous And, if so, Why?
The intensive marketing of the super-strong cholesterol-lowering statin drug is setting off warning bells among many doctors and patients. Is Crestor putting you at risk?
The Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven't Been Told About Cholesterol-Lowering Medication
If you're one of the millions of Americans currently taking statin drugs, don't miss this important and revealing article. Find out what you haven't been told about statin drugs to lower cholesterol that could dramatically affect your health today and in the future.
Statins, Calcium a Deadly Mix
Even if cholesterol levels are under control with taking statins, you still might be at risk of having a heart attack. Find out how calcium build-up in the coronary arteries is counteracting the benefits of statins.
Cholesterol Lowering Drugs to Go Over the Counter
Some of the world's biggest drug companies have been busy trying to convince regulators to allow cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to be sold over the counter. See how the United States could be next in line after Britain in making the move to selling cholesterol-lowering drugs over the counter.
Will Cholesterol Drugs go Over the Counter Soon?
Dangerous statin drugs, used by millions of Americans to lower cholesterol, may soon be available over the counter. Find out why these drugs are not a good way to normalize your cholesterol.
Safety Concerns Surround the Latest Statin, Crestor
Some experts are concerned by this drug's potential serious side effects. Find out how to lower your cholesterol naturally and avoid dangerous statin drugs.
Cholesterol Drugs Actually Cause Heart Disease
Cholesterol drugs are prescribed for millions of people even though they lead to a life-threatening deficiency of CoQ10, which can actually cause heart failure.
'Experts' Recommend Higher Doses of Cholesterol Drugs
'Experts' say using high doses of cholesterol drugs can reduce the risk of heart attack, bypass surgery and chest pains. Find out how this could affect your physical and financial status.
The Cure for High Cholesterol--Hint it is NOT a Drug
Avoid using statin drugs to lower cholesterol levels with these natural solutions and reap great health as a side effect. If you or someone you know has high cholesterol this is a must read.
New Cholesterol Guidelines Issued
New federal guidelines have changed the "normal" range for cholesterol so now even more people will be put on cholesterol-lowering drugs.
New Cholesterol Guidelines for Converting Healthy People into Patients
Instead of preventing cardiovascular disease, the new guidelines may transform healthy individuals into unhappy hypochondriacs obsessed with the chemical composition of their food and their blood, destroy the joy of eating, and divert health care money from the sick and the poor to the rich and the healthy.
Cholesterol Guidelines Fraught With Massive Conflict of Interest
Eight of the nine influential doctors responsible for forming new cholesterol guidelines may be blinded by dollar signs. It seems they have been making money from drug companies by urging patients to take their drugs.
Lunatic Recommendations For Statin Drug Use
"Experts" from the American College of Physicians recommended that most diabetics should be taking cholesterol-lowering medication to reduce their risk of having a heart attack--even if their cholesterol levels fell in the normal range.
More Reasons to Avoid Statin Drugs / Does Lipitor Raise Lp(a)?
Lipoprotein (a) is one of the strongest indicators for heart disease, yet very few doctors check their patients' Lp(a) levels. What's worse is that when they do, they often prescribe statin drugs as a solution to elevated levels.
Common Cholesterol Drug Lowers Cholesterol but Not Death Rate
In one of the largest cholesterol-drug trials ever conducted, statins did not lower death rates. Find out what you can do to lower your risk of heart disease, the number one killer in the United States.
Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs are Less Effective in Reality than in Trials
Cholesterol levels dropped one-third less than expected among statin users. People must take the pills in order for them to be effective and many forget or choose not to.
Cholesterol Drugs: How Expensive is Too Expensive?
It may be too expensive to treat every person who has high cholesterol with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Better alternatives reviewed.
Cholesterol Lowering Drugs Suppress Immune System
Statins, have been found to suppress the immune system. In an interesting twist on the findings of this adverse effect, however, it is being hailed as a benefit. The researchers have focused on the fact that the drugs may be useful for treating transplant patients. However, how this immune suppression could affect the vast majority of patients taking the drugs is not discussed.
Low Cholesterol Causes Aggressive Behavior
Despite the fact that most people are worried about having cholesterol levels that are too high, yet another study has found that low cholesterol is actually associated with adverse behavioral effects such as aggression and depression.
Low Cholesterol Linked to Depression
Results of a study conducted by Dutch researchers provide additional evidence for a link between low cholesterol levels and an increased risk of depression in men.
HALF the population will be taking Statins
A prominent medical authority announced his prediction that 50 percent of the entire U.S. population could be taking statin medication.
Low Cholesterol Linked to Stroke Risk
If your cholesterol levels are too low, it may increase your risk of stroke.
Low Cholesterol Linked to Violence
Lowering cholesterol could trigger changes in brain chemistry that encourage violent behavior.
The Baycol Statin Recall and Safety Issue:
In August 2001, Bayer AG, the maker of Baycol (cerivastatin), a popular cholesterol-lowering drug used by about 700,000 Americans, pulled the medicine off the market after 31 people died from severe muscle breakdown, a well-recognized side effect of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Related articles follow:
Statins: Is the Danger in the Dose?
Here is the hard data on Baycol-associated adverse reactions. If you or someone you know is taking one of the statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, this is a "must-read" article by Jay Cohen, MD to help you understand the potential dangers that this exposes you to.
Baycol Pulled From Market as Numerous Deaths Linked to It
Baycol, a cholestrol-lowering drug (statin), has been voluntarily pulled off the market because of numerous deaths associated with its use.
The Baycol Recall: How Safe is Your Statin?
With the recall of Baycol, patients are now searching out a new drug to take its place, but are other statins really safe? Here are some precautions necessary for anyone taking Baycol or any statin.
Baycol: Another Fluoride Drug Bites the Dust
Baycol is just one of many fluoride drugs to be pulled from the market due to health hazards posed. Read about this and some of the others in this informative article written by Andreas Schuld and Wendy Small.
BMJ: Bayer faces potential fine over cholesterol lowering drug
Bayer might have to pay a fine to the German government of about $23,400 for withholding from the German authorities information on the drug's potentially fatal interaction with another drug.
Lipitor Tied to Liver, Kidney Injury, as Well as Muscle Damage
It seems that Baycol is not alone among cholesterol lowering drugs in posing serious dangers to the public. A number of legal actions are also being pursued against Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer of the Lipitor.
" ... Public Citizen, representing 135,000 consumers nationwide, hereby petitions the FDA pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act 21, U.S.C. Section 355(e)(3), and C.F.R. 10.30, to add a black box warning and additional consistent bolded warnings about this serious problem to the label of all statins marketed in the United States."
"Doctors and the public must be warned to immediately discontinue use of statin drugs at the onset of muscle pain, muscle tenderness, muscle weakness or tiredness."
"Prompt cessation of the use of statins at the first sign of muscle pain, muscle tenderness, muscle weakness or tiredness and prompt evaluation by a physician including a blood test for creatine phosphokinase (a measure of muscle destruction) may avoid the progression to more extensive muscle damage, rhabdomyolysis and death."
"Rhabdomyolysis has been reported with all statins currently marketed in the United States."
About the Experts
Joseph Mercola, DO
Uffe Ravnskov, MD
Born 1934 in Copenhagen, Denmark Graduated 1961 from the University of Copenhagen with an M.D. 1961-1967: Various appointments at surgical, roentgenological, neurological, pediatric and medical departments in Denmark and Sweden. 1968-1979: Various appointments at the Department of Nephrology, and the Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden. 1975-79: As an assistant professor at the Department of Nephrology. 1973: PhD at the University of Lund. 1979-2000: A private practitioner. Since 1979 an independent researcher. A specialist in internal medicine and nephrology. Honored by the Skrabanek Award 1998.
For more information about him, see Dr. Ravnskov's Web site.
Jay Cohen, M.D
Jay Cohen, M.D., is an associate professor of Family and Preventative Medicine and of Psychiatry at the University of California in San Diego. He is the author of two books and has numerous papers published in peer-reviewed journals. His book, Over Dose: The Case Against the Drug Companies, is an outstanding read
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