Contrary to popular belief, high cholesterol is not a primary risk factor for heart disease. It’s actually a vital nutrient needed for health that shouldn’t be artificially and indiscriminately suppressed.

However, one in 4 Americans over the age of 45 is on a statin drug to lower their cholesterol. 

Unfortunately, while statins may decrease the frequency of mild heart attacks, they will not necessarily lower your risk of heart disease or death from a major heart attack because of the damage they do to your muscles, including your heart muscle. On a side note, statins’ ability to lower the risk of minor heart attacks is likely related to their ability to lower C-reactive protein, far more so than the lowering of cholesterol.

However, according to Dr. Duane Graveline, author of “The Dark Side of Statins: Plus, the Wonder of Cholesterol,”, you only need one-tenth of the dosage, say 2 milligrams (mg) rather than 20 mg to get this anti-inflammatory benefit, and there are far safer and more effective ways to lower inflammation than taking a statin, even at a low dosage. As Stephanie Seneff, Ph.D., senior research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, “You’re trading heart attack for heart failure, and I think a heart attack is preferred over heart failure.” There are three primary reasons why statins fail to decrease the rate of death from heart disease:

Statins lower your cholesterol, which is an important precursor for many of your steroid hormones, including progesterone, testosterone, aldosterone, cortisol and vitamin D. Cholesterol sulfate (produced when you expose your skin to the sun) enters cell membranes and helps build structured water that protects against oxidative damage. Cholesterol is also needed to create DHEA sulfate.

2.They also deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is needed for muscle health, and lowers your levels of vitamin K2 and HMG co-enzyme A reductase, the latter of which is an enzyme your liver uses to make ketones. So, if you’re on a statin drug, you have dramatically impaired ketone production, even if you’re fasting.

3.Statins also lower dolichol, which Graveline believed is just as important as CoQ10. Not only does dolichol play an important role in mitochondrial function, it is also responsible for the process of putting sugar chains on top of glycosylated proteins. This is important because these so-called glycosaminoglycans help maintain the barrier function in the cell and regulate the uptake of nutrients.

In practical terms, this means that your muscle cells (including your heart cells), which require lots of energy, get heavily impacted by statins. One side effect from lack of dolichol is Type 2 diabetes, and statins have indeed been found to cause drug-induced diabetes. Dolichol also fixes DNA mistakes. CoQ10, a powerful antioxidant, also helps, and both of these DNA “repair masters” are depleted by statins.

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