One out of four people over 55 years of age are taking statin drugs. At one point in time, some doctors wanted statin drugs to put into our water supplies (like fluoride). Statin drugs are prescribed for high cholesterol. All prescription drugs have side effects. Statin drugs have many serious health concerns.
The most common side effects of statin drugs are headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty sleeping. However, you might also experience memory loss, confusion, high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. If you are taking other prescription drugs, the side effects can get much worse.
First, is high cholesterol a real health risk? We are told if our HDL cholesterol is over 200 mg/dL that we face a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Yet, research shows that half the people who die of heart attacks and strokes have normal cholesterol levels (under 200 mg/dL). How can taking a drug to lower cholesterol be only 50% effective at best?
Every cell in our body requires cholesterol. Statin drugs shut down our body’s ability to manufacture cholesterol by blocking the production of co-enzyme Q-10. Co-Q-10 is needed for heart health. Remove it and your heart can be in danger. We can also obtain cholesterol through our diet. Foods high in dietary cholesterol are eggs, butter, fish, sausage, cheese and red meat.
It’s not the cholesterol that is flowing around in your bloodstream that creates a problem. It is the oxidized cholesterol that creates the problems. Oxidized cholesterol builds up in your bloodstream by eating fried foods (chicken and French fries to name a couple), eating excess polyunsaturated fatty acids (most of your vegetable oils) and cigarette smoking. Partially hydrogenated oil (trans fats) are possibly the unhealthiest fats to consume.
The inflammation is countered by cholesterol. Cholesterol attaches itself to the inflamed area and acts as a band-aid to reduce the inflammation. You take statins to reduce heart attacks and strokes and it increases your risk of getting heart attacks and strokes.
There are probably some people who truly benefit from statin drugs. The figures I’ve read indicate less than 5% of people on statin drugs should be on them. The rest have no real health benefit.
Instead of using the specific test results of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol, you should be talking to your physician about the ratio of your HDL cholesterol to your total cholesterol. A ratio of less than 3.5:1 indicates a lower risk. Anything higher than 5:1 indicates something more serious.
Want a better test? Use the ratio of your triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. Anything less than 2.0 is considered very healthy. Anything above 6.0 is considered a health concern.
A better heart risk assessment can be determined by having a homocysteine level test. Normal range for homocysteine is between 4.9 and 11.7 micromoles per liter of blood. Homocysteine levels above 12 indicate increased risk of disease.
I consider the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids to be the gold standard for heart health. American diets are excessive in omega-6 fatty acids. An ideal ratio would be 1.0 – equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-6 fatty acids. Anything less than a ratio of 4:1 indicates a 70% decrease in total mortality. Since inflammation is the genesis of 80+% of all disease, it makes sense to reduce those things causing inflammation – like excess omega-6 fatty acids.
If you are taking statin drugs, talk to your physician about your ratios, especially the ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. Consider having a homocysteine level test performed to identify more quantitatively your heart risk. Want to know what your body’s level of inflammation is? Ask for a c-reactive protein blood test. Anything close to zero is best when it comes to c-reactive protein.
I always add c-reactive protein, homocysteine level, vitamin D, and other tests to my annual physical. My c-reactive protein is unmeasurable. My homocysteine levels are normal. My other blood tests are all in the optimum ranges. Please talk to your doctor about the best way to assess your overall health and especially your heart health.