A new study has made headlines and has people buzzing. Apparently, if everyone takes the cholesterol-lowering statin drug CRESTOR, you’ll have a 54% lower risk of a heart attack! It’s a miracle!
Folks, this kind of information is disturbing for many reasons. First off, guess who funded this study? AstraZeneca, maker of Crestor! Secondly, a nasty side effect of taking this drug surfaced: many people in the study taking Crestor (vs those taking a placebo) saw blood sugar levels rise or were newly diagnosed with diabetes. Reduce heart attack; get diabetes!
So, the recommendation is that everyone now begin taking this drug to prevent heart incidents. Do you know what other side effects (besides diabetes) statins carry? How about muscle pain and weakness, most likely due to severe depletion of CoQ10, an important antioxidant that supports muscle function. Wait, isn’t the heart A MUSCLE? There’s also fatigue, neuropathy, dizziness, cognitive failure, oh, and potential heart failure. Must be that if you starve the heart of CoQ10, it stops working?
Here’s the scenario: a busy doctor is working in his/her office when a pharmaceutical rep stops in and presents these results. Too good to be true! Here is the study: give your patients crestor, lipitor, or vytorin (other statins), oh and here’s a golf vacation for prescribing my drug company’s drugs. Well, the doctor agrees with the rep and accepts his/her vacation and puts his/her patients on said statins. And that’s how it happens. Any drug company can fund a study and publish favorable results. And just because it’s FDA approved, does that mean it’s safe? Remember what happened with Vioxx, the drug approved for pain, arthritis, etc? It caused up to 130,000 heart attacks and was eventually pulled off the market. Drug companies don’t want to wait years to run studies before they release new drugs on the market, because they’re losing lots of potential money on that drug. So they release drugs without thorough testing, and bad side effects (death, for example) surface before the drug is pulled off the market.
The pharmaceutical industry is a 643 BILLION dollar industry. They benefit from keeping you on drugs and will gladly give you more drugs to combat the side effects of the ones that are making you feel like shit. They don’t want to empower you to make healthy decisions, they want to keep you sick and on their drugs.
Back to statin drugs, cholesterol-lowering miracles. Cholesterol is synthesized in the liver, and your body needs cholesterol to make hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is not bad, but when levels are too high, it can build up and becomes oxidized, causing arterial damage and clogging arteries, leading to heart disease. If you go to your doctor with high cholesterol, does you doctor ask you what you’re eating? Probably not, but maybe you think saturated fat is the culprit, because that’s what you heard. Wrong. The famous Framingham Study found that saturated fat was not responsible for high cholesterol. The dietary culprits are actually too much sugar, eating oxidized fats such as hydrogenated oils and margarine, and a congested liver.
Let’s talk sugar. I’m not just talking cookies and candy, but also white flour and grains and alcohol, all quickly converted to sugar in the body. Sugar has long been linked to increased free radical damage, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Sugar increases triglyceride levels, and high triglycerides are linked to heart disease. Cut down on sugar, processed foods, glutinous grains and white rice.
Let’s talk liver. First off, drugs are hard on your liver! Your HDL (good) cholesterol helps remove excess cholesterol from the body by transporting it to the liver for its breakdown and excretion. A congested, overworked liver therefore cannot remove excessive cholesterol from the blood supply. Try adding a milk thistle and/or oregon grape root liver tonic to your diet, and cut down on the booze and junk foods. See my previous post on how to love your liver.
Know what else can cause high cholesterol? Constipation. When you’re not having a poop every day (at least one, max 3), waste sits in your colon and toxins and cholesterol are reabsorbed into the body. Ever wonder why Quaker Oats claims to lower cholesterol? Because it makes you regular! That fiber sure does get things moving, binds to toxins, and sweeps the colon clean. Better yet, try psyllium or flaxseed.
Cholesterol levels should be somewhere around 200. Big Pharma wants you to gets yours as low as possible, maybe somewhere around 120-150. This is not healthy. Low cholesterol has been linked to depression and increased mortality.
What to do if your levels are too high? Over 250? High LDL (over 130), low HDL (under 50)?
*take care of your liver, as mentioned above. See my “Love Your Liver” post.
*reduce sugar, sodas, processed foods, gluten (white, rye, barley, spelt, teff), white rice, white potatoes, hydrogenated fats, canola, margarine.
*Try CoQ10, garlic, pantothenic acid, or plant sterols.
*Make sure you’re regular – aim for a bowel movement once a day minimum.
*Get moving. Exercise!
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.
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