Statins have been considered a standard prescription drug by medicine practitioners as an effective treatment to reduce or prevent heart disease. Despite the large numbers of Americans taking Statin medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control (2012, CDC), heart disease was still ranked as number as the number one illness related cause of death, and has maintained this position for over 10 years. Statins have been used in the US for over 30 years, yet Heart Disease has been edging out cancer, which is a close second place.
The Statin-Heart Disease connection came about when cholesterol was identified as an indicator of heart disease. The study responsible for this is the Framingham study, and was conducted during the 80’s. The outcome of this study then focused on a need to keep one’s cholesterol levels low as being a good indicator of heart health. The common ways this was addressed was by taking Statin medications, and to adopt a so called, “heart healthy low fat” diet. Without proper nutritional balance, many Americans adopted a high carbohydrate diet of refined foods and refined sugars, but “low fat.” This type of diet has contributed to the prevalence of heart related illnesses, diabetes and obesity.
For decades, organized healthcare has touted the effectiveness of Statin medications amidst the ever-growing prevalence of heart disease. Today, Statins are the most widely prescribed medications throughout America, with some estimated 32 million Americans taking Statin Medications today according to Harvard School of Medicine. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/statin-use-is-up-cholesterol-levels-are-down-are-americans-hearts-benefiting-201104151518
What you should know about Statin Drugs:
1.The health risk calculator for cholesterol appears flawed
Leading Cardiologists admit that the cholesterol “over predicts” heart attack risk is “flawed”, and now Dr Peter Libby MD, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s hospital says they have a “real disaster in terms of credibility”, and “something is terribly wrong”. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/health/risk-calculator-for-cholesterol-appears-flawed.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&nl=todaysheadlines)
2.Statin drugs are good for lowering cholesterol, but not at reducing heart disease. According to Cardiologists at Cleveland Heart Lab, at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, 50% of all heart attacks and strokes occur in people who have normal to below average cholesterol. This indicates that high Cholesterol alone is a poor predictor of heart attacks and strokes.
3. A byproduct of taking Statins is that the liver becomes “more sick,” which contributes to a lowered level of health for you. In your liver, 80-90% of your cholesterol is made by your liver, versus dietary intake of cholesterol containing foods. The use of Statin medications serves to shut down the enzyme in the liver that produces cholesterol, which limits the amount of cholesterol produced. It does not heal the cause of why your body is producing more cholesterol than it should.
Other known issues with Statin drugs
4. Statin drugs cause neuropathy. Neuropathy refers to “nerve pain”. The outer coating of our nerve cells, called the Myelin sheath, is a cholesterol based fatty sheath. Statin drugs inhibit our ability to make this sheath, which leaves our neurons in a damaged, weakened, and irritated state; as a result we can experience pain. Neuropathy is a common side effect of Statins.
5. Statin drugs cause myopathy, which is the most common side effect. Myopathy is a term that means muscle pain. Your liver also processes and packages most of your body’s proteins, and proteins are needed to repair muscle. Statins disrupt protein synthesis, leaving your body unable to adequately repair muscle tissue. Interestingly, your heart is also a muscle, therefore places the Statin user at an even greater risk for heart troubles!
6. Statin drugs can cause elevated blood sugar levels.
The FDA now requires this risk to be labeled on all Statin medications. Erratic blood sugar contributes to a host of additional problems, including diabetes. One of the most common complications of diabetes is heart attack and stroke!
7. Statin drugs can cause memory loss.
The FDA has mandated this warning be added to the labels as well. Memory loss is a symptom of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and traumatic brain injury.
8. FACT: Cholesterol is needed by your body!
Cholesterol is used to make many of your hormones, to include your sex hormones. Taking Statins is a powerful and unintentional way of throwing your hormonal system into an unnatural state of disarray.
We require cholesterol in order to metabolize cholesterol!
Cholesterol makes up “bile salts” which are a component of bile. Bile is the mostly green fluid produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, which is used to emulsify, digest and remove cholesterol and other fatty acids. Statin drugs make it harder to make bile, and cholesterol, which in turn makes it harder for your body to metabolize cholesterol, in spite of seeing lower cholesterol values in the blood after taking Statins.
Not all cholesterol is the same
Oxidized cholesterol is the culprit of plaque, not the non-oxidized type of cholesterol tested in a standard lipid panel. Oxidized cholesterol has been transformed into a solid, which can now clog blood vessels. The non-oxidized form cannot. Oxidized cholesterol can be detected, and even lowered with proper care, but your doctor has to use the right test, and have a good protocol in place to create a favorable outcome. We use the Ox-LDL lab test developed by cardiologists at Cleveland Heart Lab.
Elevated cholesterol levels indicate a metabolic problem.
Elevated cholesterol indicates that we have a liver metabolism problem, not necessarily an impending heart disease problem. Usually when our liver starts to raise cholesterol levels in the body, it due to nutritional deficiencies, including: Vitamin C, many of the B vitamins, plant sterols, chromium, selenium, glutathione, copper, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and enzymes.
Because our liver produces most of your body’s cholesterol in our body, when these levels elevate, this indicates that your liver is losing its ability to metabolize cholesterol. Tumeric and krill oil are two supplements among many that can be used to help your liver metabolize cholesterol, thereby lowering its levels.
Alternative healthcare protocols for heart disease
The real cause of heart disease is inflammation!
Inflammation is what damages and scars the inner lining of our blood vessels, which in turn allows oxidized solids, such as plaque, to deposit into these freshly cut scars. The byproducts of inflammation transform cholesterol into its oxidized, solid form. It’s the oxidized form of cholesterol that we need to be concerned about, but this is not what’s tested in your standard lipid panel. The standard lipid panel tests for the pre-oxidized form of cholesterol.
Identifying oxidized solid cholesterol in your body and determining heart attack risk
There is a test to detect oxidized solid cholesterol in the body, called Ox-LDL. This test measures the amounts of oxidized cholesterol in your body, which is the kind of cholesterol found in plaque. This test was developed by leading cardiologists at Cleveland Heart Lab. The other test looks at a very specific enzyme, called Myeloperoxidase, that is capable of detecting “vulnerable plaque.” Vulnerable plaque is plaque embedded in your blood vessel walls that is capable of clogging your circulation. It can be large enough to break away, float through your bloodstream and block a smaller blood vessel further downstream. These tests provide a more accurate method to detect heart disease, and is a part of a larger Inflammation Panel that we recommend to many of our patients.
Besides providing the capability of predicting these impending heart events, our protocol is designed to help your body reduce the inflammation that lowers the level of health, well-being, energy, and quality of life that we all deserve to have. We have a choice as to how we want to lower the inflammation and restore healthy cholesterol levels, and reduce these levels in a way that promotes health and well-being. Contact us today for more information on scheduling a consultation or taking the Cleveland Heart Lab test.