Statins... Cholesterol Lowering Drugs! Is there really a viable alternative?
May 2004, Warren Matthews
The last two issues of Xtend-Your-Life which focused on CoQ10 created a great deal of interest amongst readers. What most people found shocking were the references to the extent that the statin cholesterol lowering drugs deplete the body's reserves of CoQ10 and inhibit the body's ability to
The last two issues of Xtend-Your-Life which focused on CoQ10 created a great deal of interest amongst readers. What most people found shocking were the references to the extent that the statin cholesterol lowering drugs deplete the body's reserves of CoQ10 and inhibit the body's ability to produce more.
The net result of this is that those people who are on statin drugs and who don't take CoQ10 are actually INCREASING their risk of a cardiac event, not lowering it as they thought! This is not widely known, even amongst physicians. So, if you are on a statin drug PLEASE go and buy yourself a CoQ10 supplement... (Sorry... but we do not manufacture this nutrient, so we can't supply it).
In case you missed the newsletter about the impact of statins on CoQ10 you can go direct to an abstract on this subject by clicking here. You will find it fascinating reading. A warning... it is a big file so it may take a while to download if you are on a slow connection.
OK... so you have high cholesterol, and you are on a statin drug, or, your Doctor wants you to prescribe you one! What then are your options? Are there any natural alternatives that don't carry the risks that statin drugs do, and are they really viable? In order to make an informed judgment it is important that you understand the different ways that your cholesterol can be lowered. By understanding this you can better judge the likely efficacy of a natural alternative.
To maximize your chances of normalizing your cholesterol levels naturally you need to take a multi-pronged approach. In fact, you need to tackle it in seven different ways. Let me try to explain the different ways as briefly as possible:
Reduce the production of the cholesterol by the liver. (Note: about 80% of the cholesterol in your body is produced by the liver with the other 20% coming from diet).
Reduce intake of cholesterol in your diet. (However, this has minimal impact. A 20% reduction in dietary cholesterol will only equate to about a 4% reduction overall).
Reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the Gastro- intestinal tract.
Increase bile acid secretion which can convert cholesterol to bile acid and thus inhibit absorption.
Reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the arteries.
Emulsify the cholesterol to help prevent it from hardening the arteries.
If you tackle the problem of high cholesterol by addressing all the above methods you have a good chance of being successful using natural methods. An advantage of using natural methods is that you won't force your cholesterol levels to dangerously low levels. More on that soon!
Most drugs, and for that matter most natural supplements deal with either one or maybe two of the above seven factors.
The statin drugs target the blocking of cholesterol production by the liver. They are very powerful, and for most people effective. They work by inhibiting an essential enzyme needed to synthesize cholesterol. But unfortunately as you know from our earlier articles they also inhibit the production of CoQ10 as well. As to be expected from a powerful drug such as this there are inevitable side effects which at best may be aching muscles or at worse permanent liver damage.
In other words the 'cure' could potentially be worse than the primary problem. What is even worse is that these drugs are so powerful that they have the ability to lower your cholesterol levels to a degree that can be dangerous! There is evidence that total cholesterol of 180 or less increases your risk of a stroke!
Not only that, but there is evidence that 'forced' low cholesterol levels can lead to senility, depression, impotency and a host of other problems. Cholesterol is needed by the body to manufacture sex hormones and a host of other substances. That's why the liver produces it!
The statin drugs are not the only substances that block the enzymes needed for the body's cholesterol production. There are some natural substances that work in the same way. The most effective one being red rice yeast extract which contains a molecule almost identical to the synthetic statin molecule. It is so similar in fact, that this natural substance is now banned in many countries where it is treated as an unapproved drug! It is claimed that it has the potential for similar side effects to that of a statin drug. It is also likely to inhibit CoQ10 production.
Good luck and good health,