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Cholesterol; What Does The Research Really Say?

By   /   February 9, 2012  /   Comments Off



Your liver manufactures cholesterol. Adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are necessary to catalyze these reactions. Inadequate levels of any of these agents will inhibit these pathways.

If reducing cholesterol levels lowers the risk of heart disease, you would assume that people who lower their cholesterol levels will live longer as compared to those who do not lower their cholesterol levels. I would believe the most important statistic of any study is the mortality rate. Who is alive at the end of the study? The American Heart Association cited a few studies and the results are as follows;

20,536 adults, ages 40-80 that were at a high risk for heart disease were followed for five years. Patients were randomized into two groups: a placebo group and a group that received Zocor (simvastin) 40mg/day. The placebo group had an 85.4% chance of surviving after five years as compared to 87.1% in the Zocor treated group. Therefore the numbers show an absolute reduction in mortality of 1.7%. Not a huge decline!

Of 5804 adults who were examined to look at the effect of Pravachol (pravastatin) versus placebo in the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. At the end of the trial (three years), the placebo group had 89.5% alive compared to the treatment group of 89.7% alive; a 0.2% difference. Again, that is not a huge difference. One notable side effect was that cancer was significantly increased in the treatment group. These are just two of many such studies!

How do cholesterol-lowering drugs work? Statin drugs poison the enzyme HMG-CoA Reductase, which is a precursor enzyme to Cholesterol production. Examples of statin drugs include Lipitor, Crestor, Mevacor, Pravachol, and Zocor. Some of the side effects are muscle pain and weakness, body aches and pains, heart failure, brain fog and memory, cancer and depression.

One main reason these side effects occur is because they deplete an enzyme called C0Q10. C0Q10 is necessary for maintain optimal muscle function. It is also essential for cellular energy production. The heart muscles contain one of the largest amounts of CoQ10 in the body. If statin-induced muscle pain and weakness progresses, it can lead to a potentially fatal condition called rhabdomyolysis.

How do you avoid rhabdomyolysis and other muscle problems with statins? Keep your CoQ10 levels elevated. If you take a statin for any reason you should also take C0Q10 along with it. A suggested does would be 100mg to 300mg a day.

Brain fog and dementia: Adequate cholesterol levels are necessary for proper brain function. Much of the brain is composed of fats (the majority of which is cholesterol). Over 50% of dry weight of the cerebral cortex (thinking part of the brain) is cholesterol.

Cancer: All of the cholesterol drugs, including the older medications, the fibrates and the newer statins have been associated with increased rates of cancer. Breast cancer rates in humans that took statins were shown to increase by 1500%.

What can you do to help support your cholesterol without taking a statin?

  • Niacin
  • Fish Oil
  • Policosanol
  • Garlic

These are the natural products that have research supporting them that indicate they may help lower your cholesterol and maintain it. Diet and lifestyle are also very important for maintain proper cholesterol levels.

In 2004, Lipitor was the most prescribed drug in the United States. Over seven million prescriptions were written, bringing in revenue of over 7.7 billion. The next most profitable drug was Zocor which brought in over 4.5 billion dollars in revenue. In conclusion you may want to research your choice for supporting your cholesterol. Look at the risks and benefits of statin drugs.


Jami Jones is a Natural Health Consultant and owner of Nature’s Cure.



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