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Is Your Rx Harming You?
What You Should Know About Statin Drugs …
Plus How to Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally


Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. Generally, if your total cholesterol level is 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher, or your LDL (bad) cholesterol is 130 mg/dL or higher, you may be considered a candidate for statin drugs.

drug costs

Statin drugs brought in nearly $28 billion in sales in 2006 ... but at what cost to your health?

Statins work by interfering with an enzyme that your body needs to make cholesterol. Along with lowering cholesterol, the drugs -- which include Lipitor, Zocor, Mevacor, Pravachol, Crestor and others -- may also help your body reabsorb cholesterol that has accumulated on your artery walls, helping to prevent further blockage.

To get an idea of just how many people may be taking these drugs, the American Heart Association reports that 37.2 million Americans have total cholesterol levels of 240 or higher, while about one-third of adults have LDL levels of 130 or higher.

Further, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of Crestor in people with normal cholesterol levels and no heart disease. The reason? They say it may help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

If this sounds too good to be true … simply pop a pill, even if you’re currently healthy, and reduce your risk of a future heart attack … it very well may be. You see, statin drugs are not without risks themselves, and even though millions of Americans are eating them like candy, their safety -- and effectiveness -- is currently being hotly debated.

What are the Risks of Statin Drugs?

In one of the most revealing looks into the true side effects of statin drugs, a review published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs found nearly 900 studies of adverse effects linked to the drugs.

"Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs' adverse side effects," Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and co-author of the study, told EurekAlert. "But cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy, or pain or numbness in the extremities like fingers and toes, are also widely reported."

Other side effects included increases in blood glucose levels, tendon problems and an increase in liver enzymes, leading to permanent liver damage. Because of this latter risk, people taking the drugs must have their liver function tested periodically.

Nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches and skin rash are other known side effects.

Statin drugs are also known to block the production of important nutrients in your body, including CoQ10, which is beneficial to heart health and muscle function. If CoQ10 levels become depleted, it can actually cause heart failure.

There is even a link to cancer. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:

“In every study with rodents to date, statins have caused cancer. Why have we not seen such a dramatic correlation in human studies? Because cancer takes a long time to develop and most of the statin trials do not go on longer than two or three years. Still, in one trial, the CARE trial, breast cancer rates of those taking a statin went up 1500 percent.

Manufacturers of statin drugs have recognized the fact that statins depress the immune system, an effect that can lead to cancer and infectious disease … “

How Effective are They?

Given all the risks, you would expect the benefit of taking statin drugs to be substantial, right? Well, statin drugs do lower cholesterol very well.

However, there is growing evidence that lowering your cholesterol may not be the panacea to preventing heart disease that many people think it is.

“Nowhere is the failure of our medical system more evident than in the wholesale acceptance of cholesterol reduction as a way to prevent disease,” write Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD in “Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines.” They continue:

“Most doctors are convinced -- and seek to convince their patients -- that the benefits of statin drugs far outweigh the side effects. They can cite a number of studies in which statin use has lowered the number of coronary deaths compared to controls. But as Dr. Ravnskov has pointed out in his book The Cholesterol Myths, the results of the major studies up to the year 2000 … generally showed only small differences and these differences were often statistically insignificant and independent of the amount of cholesterol lowering achieved.

In two studies, EXCEL and FACAPT/TexCAPS, more deaths occurred in the treatment group compared to controls. Dr. Ravnskov’s 1992 meta-analysis of 26 controlled cholesterol-lowering trials found an equal number of cardiovascular deaths in the treatment and control groups and a greater number of total deaths in the treatment groups.

An analysis of all the big controlled trials reported before 2000 found that long-term use of statins for primary prevention of heart disease produced a 1 percent greater risk of death over 10 years compared to a placebo.”

Recent studies, too, have found no benefit among the vast majority of patients from drugs like Lipitor and Zetia, regardless of how much cholesterol levels decline.

How to Lower Cholesterol, and Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease, Without Drugs

What may be an even more telling marker of your heart disease risk than cholesterol levels? Inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of many diseases, both physical and neurological, including heart disease.

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Making excess cholesterol is actually your body’s response to inflammation, so if you have high cholesterol you probably have high inflammation levels too.

Many doctors these days are looking to more natural methods to lower cholesterol for their patients by determining WHY the body is making more cholesterol. Determining the cause of the inflammation, which often is due to poor diet and the consumption of processed foods or lack of live healthy raw foods, reduces cholesterol.

Some of the primary keys to lowering both inflammation and cholesterol naturally include:

  • Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and buy whole foods whenever possible. As you switch over to more fresh foods, we highly recommend you take advantage of the healthy and absolutely delicious recipes in Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes. When prepared with locally grown ingredients from a source you trust, these are among some of the healthiest meals you can eat.

  • Exercising regularly. If you’re looking for an exercise program you can do right from your own home, we highly recommend adding SheaNetics from, a mind-body workout, to your exercise routine.

SheaNetics, founded by fitness expert Shea Vaughn, blends ancient and contemporary movements with eastern philosophy, creating a stylized approach to fitness designed to improve the quality of today’s western living.

Shea spent years researching and teaching in the commercial fitness industry and has a first-hand understanding of the physical, mental and emotional benefits of living a life of exercise.

The range of SheaNetics students are impressively diverse from 25- to 75-year-olds, men and women, fitness buffs and athletes, people who want to get in shape, those who wish to maintain their present state of fitness and many who want to take it to a higher level.

  • Not smoking

  • Managing stress in your life. If you find you’re living in a chronic state of stress, we suggest you read these past articles for ideas on how to relieve stress and get into a more positive mindset:

You can also try The Pure Relaxation CD, which will calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body. These meditations are unique in that they guide you to relax in a natural, effortless way.

Testimonial Secrets From Winner of Sexiest Woman Over 50, Mimi Kirk

Even the Mayo Clinic maintains that making the above lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke better than taking medication alone.

Further, many people naturally lower their cholesterol with a high-quality 21-Day Purification Program such as prescribed by many knowledgeable physicians. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, please schedule a visit with your health care practitioner, and ask him or her about the 21-Day Purification Program.

Recommended Reading

10 Foods that Keep Your Arteries Clean

High Cholesterol? The TOP 12 Non-Drug Strategies to Increase Your HDL Levels

Sources March 1, 2010 January 26, 2009

American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs 2008;8(6):373-418. January 14, 2008 January 17, 2008 June 14, 2004

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