An Effective Natural Alternative to Statin Drugs to Lower Cholesterol
by Dr. Michael Murray
Elevated cholesterol levels are certainly an independent risk factor for heart disease and strokes. However, there are other important risk factors that are almost entirely ignored by most physicians and unknown to most of the general public. While smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity join elevated cholesterol levels as major risk factors research over the past decade have documented that factors like low levels of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammation often overshadow these so-called major risk factors.
The reason why we are so concerned about cholesterol is almost entirely due to the pharmaceutical industry. It is very interesting to note that more than half of people dying from a heart attack or stroke have low to normal cholesterol levels. What is the drug companies and government’s response to this fact? Well, they simply recommend lowering the suggested target LDL levels from the current 100 mg/dl to 70 mg/dl in patients considered to be high risk for heart attack. It is very interesting to me that six of the nine expert members of government panel that drafted the new guidelines had either received grants from or were paid consulting or speakers’ fees by the companies that make some of the most popular statins, including Pfizer’s Lipitor?, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pravachol?, Merck’s Mevacor?, and AstraZeneca’s Crestor?. Clearly there may be a conflict of interest here with these experts as these new guidelines will surely dramatically increase the number of patients on statin drugs. Keep in mind that these drugs are already the biggest money makers in the drug industry. Statin sales surpassed $15 billion last year.
Are all of these prescriptions for statins legitimate? Probably not, while high cholesterol levels need to be addressed there may be better approaches for most people. While the drug company reps often state that statins are so safe and effective they should be placed in drinking water, the reality is that they are very expensive medicines and carry with them considerable risks for side effects. Some of the side effects noted with statins include:
?Liver problems and elevated liver function tests
?Interference with the manufacture of coenzyme Q 10.
?Rhabdomyolysis (muscle pain and weakness), the breaking down of muscle tissue which can prove fatal.
?Polyneuropathy (nerve damage) with chances of nerve damage 26 times higher than the normal population.
?Brain and central nervous system functions (after prolonged use some patients suffered measurable decline in mental function).
?Possible increased risk of cancer and heart failure with long-term use.
If you have high cholesterol levels, I would certainly encourage you to try dietary, lifestyle, and supplement strategies first before taking a drug. And, if you are taking a statin, I strongly recommend taking the following supplements to reduce the likelihood of suffering from their side effects:
?MultiStart (age and gender specific multiple vitamin and mineral formulas). Follow label instructions.
?Enriching Greens - a great tasting “greens drink” containing highly concentrated “greens” like chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass juice, barley grass juice, etc., and