In 2004, the National Cholesterol Education Program issued guidelines calling for Americans to lower their LDL cholesterol to less than 130 mg/dL. In 2006, a review of the literature found that there was no strong evidence to support the NCEP recommendations. The review noted that dropping LDL cholesterol below 130 mg/dL showed no decreased risk of cardiovascular death in elderly people, and that having high HDL was protective when LDL was around 130 mg/dL.
Every cell in the body needs cholesterol to make the cell membrane flexible and waterproof. Cholesterol is needed for tissue repair. It is the main building block of vitamin D and several hormones which are essential for normal body function. Cholesterol is also a powerful antioxidant.
Statin drugs interfere with the liver’s ability to synthesize cholesterol. There is a sequence of 32 distinct biochemical reactions to produce cholesterol, and statin drugs stop this sequence at the third step. The tenth step produces CoQ10 (ubiquinone), which is an antioxidant that all cells need to produce energy from glucose. The heart, since it beats constantly, has the highest requirements for CoQ10. Heart failure is one of the side effects of CoQ10 deficiency. CoQ10 also maintains the integrity of the cellular membrane, which has recently become known as the true brain of the cell. To offset for this side effect, studies indicate 200-600 mg/day of CoQ10 should be taken with a statin drug. Step 30 of the cholesterol synthesis sequence produces a compound that synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight, so statin drugs keep your body from making its own vitamin D. Statin drugs also inhibit nuclear factor kappa B (NFKB), which is a part of the immune system that helps fight infection and cancer.
There are no studies that prove significant improvements in overall mortality for women, or for people over age 65, who take statin drugs. The statin drug companies distort the statistics on mortality. In a study where 100 patients take statin drugs, 2 will have a fatal heart attack, while 3 of 100 people taking a placebo will die of a heart attack. To prevent a single heart attack, 100 people must be treated with statin drugs. The absolute risk reduction is an unimpressive 1%. The drug companies, however, promote statin drugs according to the relative risk reduction, which is a 33% reduction.
In studies on rodents consuming a similar relative dose of statin drugs prescribed to humans, the rodents developed cancer. Statin drugs raise a person’s risk of polyneuropathy (nerve damage) by 1600%. Signs of polyneuropathy include pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, and difficulty walking. The degree of symptoms is proportional to the duration of statin drug usage. Statin drugs are also known to cause myopathy (muscle damage) which is characterized by muscle wasting, weakness, and fatigue.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be 44% more effective than statin drugs in reducing death from heart attack and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to be 32% more effective than statin drugs in reducing all causes of death.
These facts have been brought to you by the world’s leading medical journals. You want references? We’ve got ‘em!
About the author: Dr. Barbara Kaiser, DC, CCWP, is a wellness-certified family chiropractor at Vital Life Chiropractic in Eagan, Minnesota.