Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Myths and Statin Drugs
First, let me explain all the things we need cholesterol to do in order to carry on a simple daily activity.
Next, here are some simple things you can do to avoid heart disease.
Now here are a set of statements representing myths or fiction and a statement of truth to follow each regarding cholesterol.
MYTH: People with high cholesterol are more prone to heart attacks.
TRUTH: Young and middle-aged men with cholesterol levels over 350 are slightly more at risk for heart attacks. Those who have cholesterol levels just below 350 are at no greater risk than those whose cholesterol is very low. For elderly men and for women of all ages, high cholesterol is associated with a longer lifespan.
MYTH: Cholesterol & saturated fat clog arteries.
TRUTH: There is very little cholesterol or saturated fat in the arterial plaque or clogs. Most of
the material is a calcium deposit akin to lime and most of the fatty acids are unsaturated.
MYTH: Eating saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods will cause cholesterol levels to rise and make people more susceptible to heart disease.
TRUTH: Many studies show no relationship between diet and cholesterol levels; there is no evidence that saturated fat and cholesterol-rich food contribute to heart disease. As Americans have cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods, rates of heart disease have gone up.
MYTH: Cholesterol-lowering drugs have saved many lives.
TRUTH: In the two most recent trials, involving over 10,000 subjects, cholesterol-lowering did not result in any improvement in outcome.
MYTH: Countries that have a high consumption of animal fat and cholesterol have higher rates of heart disease.
TRUTH: There are many exceptions to this observation, such as France and Spain. Furthermore, an association (called a "risk factor") is not the same as a cause. In wealthy countries where people eat a lot of animal foods, many other factors exist that can contribute to heart disease.
And finally I want to point out the dangers of the Statin drugs that do not seem to be discussed much.
Modern cholesterol-lowering drugs act by inhibiting an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) needed
for the formation of cholesterol in the liver. These HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, called statins, are sold as Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravacol, Zocor, etc.
WEAKNESS and MUSCLE WASTING: This is the most common side effect of statin drugs, occurring in as many as one in three users. Muscle aches and pains, back pain, heel pain, weakness and slurring of speech result from statin interference with the production of Coenzyme Q10 (CO-QlO)' needed for the muscles to function. These side effects are more common in active people and may not show up until three years after commencement of treatment.
HEART FAILURE: Rates of heart failure have doubled since the advent of statin drugs. The
heart is a muscle that depends on a plentiful supply of Co-Q10.
POLYNEUROPATHY: Tingling and pain in the hands and feet as well as difficulty walking occur frequently in those taking statins, conditions often blamed on "old age" rather than on the drug.
COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT: Many patients have reported memory loss and brain fog, including total global amnesia (episodes of complete memory loss). The implications for pilots and those driving cars and trucks are profound.
CANCER: In every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer. Most human trials are
not carried out long enough to detect any increase in cancer rates, but in one trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin were 1500 percent higher than those of controls.
DEPRESSION: Numerous studies have linked low cholesterol with depression.
In short, there is no evidence that cholesterol is harmful to the body and hundreds of studies showing how it helps.