We have been talking a lot about heart disease lately. First we were thrilled with the scientific findings linking heart disease to sugar, have a look at our blog from February 14, 2014. Because we firmly believe that it is the sugar, not the fat, that is killing us.
Last week we focused on cholesterol and how our medical system focuses too much on blood cholesterol as a risk for heart disease. Cholesterol is being treated as a single risk factor instead of one risk factor among many. Are you at risk of heart disease if the only risk factor you have is high cholesterol? Many studies show that this is not the case. Yet it seems that most doctors automatically prescribe statins after blood work shows elevated cholesterol, whether you have other risk factors for heart disease or not.
Statins are the most widely prescribed drug in the world! In Canada the top selling pharmaceutical in Canada is the statin Lipitor.
How do statins work? Statins are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase which helps synthesize cholesterol in the liver. The liver accounts for approximately 70% of total cholesterol in the body.
The benefits of statins are questionable in those with elevated cholesterol levels and NO PREVIOUS cardiovascular disease. But there are countless studies proving adverse effects from stations including muscle problems, diabetes, abnormal liver tests, and neurological problems.
Statins also deplete your body of CoQ10, an anti-oxidant made in the body which our cells use to convert food energy into cellular energy. Symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency include mental and physical fatigue, increased pain and an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia, and a weakened immune system.
Statins can lower the body’s synthesis of CoQ10 by as much as 40%!
Ironically low levels of CoQ10 causes inflammation that leads to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, raising 2 risk factors for heart disease.
Statins may also impair the function of all sterols in the body such as cholesterol (remember from last week’s blog cholesterol has A LOT of benefits for the body), vitamin D, sex hormones and cortisone.
If you are on a statin talk to your doctor about the big picture. What are your other risk factors for heart disease? What risk factors do you have control over (dietary changes to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, less sugar, quit smoking, less alcohol, exercise, lower your body fat %, work on reducing stress). Do you need to be on a statin?