Millions of people take statin drugs to help lower their cholesterol. Unfortunately, most of those people are completely unaware of the many very serious potential side effects these medications can cause, especially when taken for extended periods of time. Whether you are taking Lipitor, Crestor, Pravachol, Zetia, Zocor or one of the other statins, you are putting your health at serious risk.
What are statin medications and how do they lower cholesterol?
Statin is the more common name for a class of drugs called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. What these medications do is interfere with the production of cholesterol in your liver by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme involved in the process. So as a result your liver produces less cholesterol and there is less floating around in your bloodstream.
What are statin side effects and are they serious?
The problem is that while statins are reducing cholesterol they are disrupting other important body processes at the same time. This disruption has been shown to cause two very serious medical issues:
1) extreme muscle breakdown called rhabdomyolysis that can lead to kidney failure and eventually death, and
2) extreme liver enzyme concentrations that can lead to liver disease and liver failure.
These are two very serious conditions that shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, all statins are required to have a warning in the prescribing information stating that you should report any muscle pain, tenderness or weakness immediately as it may be a sign of muscle disease and you must have your liver enzymes checked regularly to make sure they aren’t elevated.
Although that’s reason enough to not be on a statin drug, there are a number of other equally serious potential adverse reactions patients have experienced with cholesterol drugs. Here is a very abbreviated list just to give you a general overview:
1) The FDA recently announced the requirement of new warnings concerning an increased risk of Type II Diabetes as well as memory loss and confusion as a result of statin usage.
2) New research shows that taking higher doses of statin drugs increased your risk of kidney complications by 34%.
3) Most surprisingly, mounting research shows that statin drugs may actually worsen your heart health in two very direct ways. Statins increase insulin resistance, which can lead to chronic inflammation. Inflammation is one of the main precursors of heart disease! Also, along with cholesterol statins inhibit the production of a very important enzyme called CoQ10. This enzyme is crucial for energy production in the body. And guess which organ requires a LOT of energy? That’s right…your heart. Scary isn’t is?
4) Muscle breakdown, liver and kidney failure and diabetes, worsened heart health not enough for you? How about erectile dysfunction, pancreatic inflammation, anemia, mood swings, confusion, hair loss and an increase in cancer risk? The list truly does go on and on. All of these are very real potential side effects of a medication that most people do not even need to be on.
Here are some other facts about statin drugs that may surprise you:
1) Despite what you may think statin drugs have not been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. One of the largest studies ever conducted involved the effects of Lipitor over a three year period. The result? A 3% reduction vs 2% in the placebo. What does that mean? That for every 100 people taking Lipitor and suffering all of those potential side effects for over three years, only 1 additional person did not have a heart attack in the Lipitor group vs. the placebo (sugar pill) group. Fascinating huh?
2) Statin drugs essentially address just one issue: lowering LDL cholesterol. There are other equally important risk factors for heart disease, including triglycerides (fats), C-reactive protein levels, and homocysteine. Not to mention HDL, the “good” cholesterol. So if any or all of those other factors are within normal range, you might not even need to be on a statin drug to begin with.
3) Statins are not the only way to deal with a cholesterol “problem”. We put that in quotes because cholesterol is an important, essential part of daily body function. But let’s say your cholesterol is sky high and you do need to address it. There are many other effective, safer methods to do so including small dietary changes, moderate exercise and herbal supplements, among others. So statin drugs should really be a last resort, if you take them at all.
Featured Natural Statin Alternative
Some members of our staff have been taking a special natural cholesterol lowering formula with vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts to help lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as decrease triglycerides (fats) and promote overall heart health.
The ingredients of this special formula have been shown to be much safer than the statin medications prescribed by many doctors. Some of the ingredients have actually outperformed statin medications in clinical trials.
Take a look at this natural cholesterol formula and find out how it can help significantly lower your cholesterol levels as well as promote overall heart health.
Natural alternatives to statin medications
Although statin medications can lower cholesterol levels, there are natural alternatives which may be a better, safer option for you. There are natural nutrients that have been shown to not only lower LDL cholesterol, but also lower triglycerides (fats) and increase the good HDL cholesterol.
Some of these nutrients have actually been proven to outperform statin medications, without the potential statin side effects. Take a look at some of these nutrients below:
Policosanol – a natural extract from sugar cane which has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels as well as raise HDL (good) cholesterol. More importantly policosanol has been proven to be free of side effects, unlike the statins.
Guggulipid Extract – an ancient herb from India recently shown to lower cholesterol levels and can also reduce triglyceride levels, another risk factor for heart disease.
Tumeric Extract – much evidence points to the fact that tumeric may lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, in addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Green Tea Extract – green tea is widely used for many medicinal purposes, and has been shown to reduce triglycerides as well as LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Green tea also has antioxidants that can prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.
Read more about natural cholesterol lowering nutrients here.
As with all health supplements, make sure you consult your physician or qualified medical professional before taking any cholesterol lowering nutrients or supplement to avoid statin side effects.