We have been told over an over again that high cholesterol (LDL the "bad" kind)causes heart disease. This has allowed doctors to write million of prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. Ironically half of the people having heart attacks do not have high "bad" cholesterol.
Erin Quinn a healthwriter shares her insight on a recent article about a new research called JUPITER that found that what causes heart disease is high inflamation in the body. The focus of the study was the link between C-reactive protein (CRP) and inflamation in the body. A statin drug was given to people with normal LDL but high CRP. The study showed that the statin drug reduced the incedence of heart attacks, stroke and cardiovascular-related deaths by 44%. The results showed a clear link between high CRP inflammation and heart disease, but what about the millions of people currently taking statins such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor, in other words those who have high LDL? Will these drugs avoid heart attacks even if their CRP levels are normal? Should statin drugs continue to be taken "just in case"?
Is it really plausible to lower bad cholesterol levels with statin drugs without risking your health? Dr Sinatra from the New England Heart and Longevity Center in Manchester Connecticut does not recommend using statin drugs as a preventive measure, especially for women. He thinks the risk is too great.
There is no agreement in the medical community about the side effects of statin drugs but you have probably noticed the small print of the major side effects that appear in many ads. Muscle weakness and pain are the most common and also the reason why many people stop taking statins. Many doctors are beginning to worry about more serious problems including peripheral neuropathy and various cognitive and psychiatric effects like Alzheimer-like symptoms. For women, the concerns are elevated risk of breast cancer. Dr Sinatra states that along with blocking cholesterol, statins also block "squalene", an antioxidant and immune system booster that is vital to preventing breast cancer. He also states that side effects are more common in women, especially postmenopausal women.
And how about lowering LDL cholesterol too much? After all, every cell in the body needs LDL cholesterol to grow and repair itself, and the body uses it to produce hormones(including those governing sexual function) Some medical data indicates that low LDL (bad cholesterol) have been found to be linked to Parkinson's disease and possibly ALS (lou Gehrig's). The ramifications of keeping LDL levels as low as those in the JUPITER study (from 108 to 55 after a year)and for years to come for those taking statins for decades are not well-understood. Do statins inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in the brain thus causing amnesia, confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation and dementia? Many of these symptoms have been reported by people taking statins. So how do you prevent these side effects of statins therapies? Here are a couple of supplements Dr Sinatra suggests in the article:
Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10)- 100-180 mg a day
Squalene found in olive oil. One-two tablespoons each day
Lycopene found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit and papaya. Or take supplements 100-250 mg daily
Turmeric -very potent anti-inflammatory herb OR Zyflamend (a mix of 10 herbs including turmeric.
How to lower Cholesterol without Drugs:
1. Take Red yeast rice extract - your doctor can help find the right dosage
2. Niacin - a B3 vitamin form. It boosts HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowerd LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides (another fat linked to heart disease)
3. Fish Oil - the American Heart Association recommends 2-4grams daily
4. Sytrinol - recent research found that taking this supplement daily it reduces LDL by 20-30%
5. Fucothin - this supplement boosts the metabolism and helps people lose weight, especially in the belly area. It does not lower cholesterol but by losing belly fat the body's inflammation will also be reduced including high blood pressure
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