Friday, August 28, 2009

Side Stepping Statins

HMG-CoA-reductase enzyme inhibitors are what we have come to know as statins. Prescribed with brand names such as Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor, Pravachol, Crestor and Baycol. Each are a variation of a drug that mimics the hydroxmyethyl glutaric acid combining to form mevalonic acid that naturally occurs in our tissues.

These drugs, like a well meaning government program, may do more harm than good.

In The Scary Truth About Statins, Dr. Stephen Sinitra say statins taken to ward off heart disease "is the biggest myth in medicine now." New studies are determining that inflammation, not cholesterol, is what needs to be addressed when attempting to prevent heart disease.

200 million statin prescriptions filled routinely for one year alone and they are one of the most prescribed medications in the country. 11 million people are reported to be on statins despite some serious side effects such as muscle weakness and pain, aching joints and cognition failures. I guess when faced with a heart attack, patients will do anything to ward it off. Except for making lifestyle changes that include losing weight, getting more sleep, taking supplements and participating in stress reducing activities such as meditation.

While the muscle weakness and pain are the main reason people quit statins, there are serious, debilitating and perhaps permanent side effects such as diminishing libido , neurological damage, liver damage and heart failure that should have us avoiding pharmaceutical statins completely.

Statins inhibit Co-Q10 in addition to cholesterol. Co-Q10 is necessary for the body's production of energy. When inhibited by these drugs, our cells break down, leading to neuropathy and nerve damage. That weakness and pain in the muscles that statin users suffer - that's coming from statins creating inflammation (remember those study linking inflammation to heart attacks and strokes) in the muscle fibers, causing them to breakdown then release muscle fiber debris in to our bloodstream, resulting in kidney blockage. Co-Q10 is a vital element to life.

Statins inhibit cholesterol. This is a bad thing. Cholesterol is primary to our health and well being. In addition to rescuing damaged tissue and cell support, it is a building block to the hormones estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and aldosterone. In reverse, if hormone production is reducing or imbalanced, due to stress or aging, cholesterol levels will increase. How many cardiologists order a hormone panel before writing that Lipitor prescription? Beware: if you are in perimenopause, menopause or andropause, hormones may be attributing to your rising cholesterol and, in some medical opinions, taken into account in any cholesterol treatment.

There are alternatives to expensive pharmaceutical drugs. Some cardiologists turn to red yeast rice supplements when encountering "statin intolerant" or statin refusing patients. Made from fermented rice, these supplements are widely available and Merck is in the market with its brand, Mevacor. This over-the-counter remedy is affordable and is a completely natural HMG-CoA-reductase inhibitor, coming with the same side effects as the pharma statins. Along with RYR extract Niacin (B vitamin that boosts HDL, lowers LDL), Fish oil (reduces triglycerides), Glucomanann (absorbs intestinal bile), Sytinol and Fucothin (metabolism booster) are part of a heart-healthy wellness plan.

Lipitor, a patented chemical

Red Rice Yeast fungus

Afraid to side step your statins?

Restore CoQ10 with supplementation. Lycopene (red fruits and vegetables) is an antioxidant which lowers inflammation. Tumeric (Indian cuisine) is anti-inflammatory. Available as a supplememt in addition to being a great spice.

A 20 mg , 90 ct Lipitor prescription filled at CVS Pharmacy is $383. For the price of a mid-size car payment, we voluntarily pop a pill that has a 50% chance of doing us no good in preventing a heart attack, causes us memory lapses or worse, destroys our muscle fibers, diminishes our body's capacity to make energy, damages our nerves and interrupts our desire to wango tango. This is the best our doctors and pharma companies offer?

Doug was one of those statin users that discontinued the drug due to muscle pain and decreased energy. After researching statins, I am thankful he listened to his body. I don't know about you but getting off my bum and rethinking what I stuff into my mouth seems to be a better solution.

I prescribe Doug Bell a date with me at Fitness 19, dinner of roasted chicken rubbed with turmeric, Smokey Robinson on the music system and some time under the covers.


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