Once again, statins are in the news. This time it’s Crestor, a statin said to be protective against heart disease. There have been studies in the past that said statins were safe and effective, and then found to be harmful. And there will be others in the future. Bottom line: statins are not the miracle drugs they claim to be.
The bad news is that all of them have potential side effects. I’ve told you in the past that taking lovastatin can cause liver toxicity. And all statins reduce your body’s stores of coenzyme Q10, a nutrient essential to heart and brain health. In fact, if you’re taking any statin you should be taking at least 100 mg of CoQ10 a day. Many doctors of integrative medicine believe that 200 mg or more a day is necessary to protect the heart and brain.
And now, new treatment guidelines will result in more people than ever becoming eligible for cholesterol-lowering drugs. The new criteria from NCEP III assume that all lifestyle recommendations to lower cholesterol will fail.
This is not necessarily the case. Even the chief science officer for the American Heart Association, Sidney Smith, says that diet and exercise are just as important as the drugs.
Well, he almost got it right. Diet and exercise are more important than statins. For instance, eating beans will lower your cholesterol with no side effects (except for a little gas – and you can avoid the gas by taking a digestive enzyme with your meals).
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Reducing sugars will lower your cholesterol too. And so will reducing your stress.
You have many choices, and I’ve talked about them in detail in my newsletter in past articles. Do yourself a favor. Go to my website and search for articles about diabetes or blood sugar. You’ll find information on many options to reduce your cholesterol. You’ll also see why cholesterol is not an accurate predictor of heart disease! You’ll learn about fibrinogen and why it is even more important to control. You’ll also find simple solutions you can present to your doctor that go beyond pharmaceuticals.
This one-sided view of disease care – take more drugs – infuriates me. Yes, many people will opt to take a pill rather than change their lifestyle. But until all treatments options are presented, and put into practice, I predict we'll see more side effects and even deaths from increased drug use and abuse. The tragedy is that much of this is avoidable. You don’t have to be a victim. Try all the lifestyle changes you can before you even consider a cholesterol-lowering drug.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Venis, Sarah, "Huge increase in patients eligible for lipid-lowering drugs", The Lancet, Vol 359, January 19, 2002.