A heading from the book “The Great Cholesterol Myth” by Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr. Jonny Bowden caught my attention – “Dying with corrected cholesterol is not a successful outcome” [2012, page 97]; more about this later.
Cholesterol was first identified in solid form in gallstones in 1784 and it has since exerted an almost hypnotic fascination for scientists. Cholesterol is the most highly “decorated” small molecule in biology. Thirteen Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scientists who devoted major parts of their careers to cholesterol.
The winners dictate history and, similar to this, the rich Big Pharma are telling us, via their representatives/missionaries (aka doctors) what we should take. As profits for the companies and their shareholders are more important than ethics, you may have noticed that many medicines and vaccinations have been pushed to a wider group of people, younger and older alike; some, would say, they are doing so for our well-being. Meanwhile if we look at World prescription statistics of Statins, the UK is in second place, just after the USA. This “business” was worth around $35.3 billion globally in 2009. [New drugs that will replace Statins are on the market; some of these are Repatha and Praluent. Plenty of side-effects will still be “available”].
Less than two decades ago, “safe” cholesterol levels were set at higher limits but sales of Statins in early 1990s were only amounting to $1.0 billion per annum. By reducing the upper limit to 5.0mmol/L, a massive chunk of the population came to be over the “safe” limit and prescriptions of Statins started pouring in.
Misleading articles about “the good, the bad and the ugly” cholesterol started appearing in every magazine and newspaper back in the 90s and we were all asked to eat margarine as this was much better than butter (not).
(Fake) studies showing that Statins would prevent heart disease and lower mortality rate were published in several Countries on the basis of the “Lipid Hypothesis” (Framingham, CPPT, 4S, HPS were some of these studies) . These were often inaccurate or conveniently “manipulated” to mislead often very busy physicians that, similarly to Chinese whispers, would all agree how good Statins were for the population without ever reading and questioning any report. Ask your GP or cardiologist to name one single study or report proving that Statins actually save lives, please? Should you find one, please let me know.
Back in 2001 a product called Cerivastatin, made by Bayer AG, was taken off the market as this caused the death of 50 patients by rhabdomyolysis (skeletal muscle that breaks down rapidly). In 2010 the British Medical Journal published a study that statins may raise cataract and kidney risk. Other common side-effect include liver dysfunction, kidney failure, increased risk of higher blood sugar levels (diabetes), memory loss and confusion and muscle complaints (myalgia – a weaker form of rhabdomyolysis).
The two main sources of cholesterol in humans are dietary intake and synthesis in the liver from fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; some is also manufactured elsewhere in the body, particularly in the adrenal glands and reproductive organs. We absorb cholesterol with many of the foods we eat, about 25% of our daily “intake” of cholesterol – roughly 300 to 500 mg — comes from what we eat and the remaining 75%— roughly 800 to 1,200 mg – is made by our body. To put these amounts in context, consider that total body stores of cholesterol are about 30 to 40 gm (i.e., 30,000 to 40,000 mg) and most of this resides within our cell membranes. Every cell in the body can produce cholesterol and thus very few cells actually require a delivery of cholesterol. Cholesterol is required by all cell membranes to produce steroid hormones and bile acids. Of the cholesterol input to the intestines via bile production, 92-97 percent is reabsorbed in the intestines and recycled via enterohepatic circulation.
“Statin drugs lower blood cholesterol levels much more effectively than any diet or drug regimens that were available before the discovery of stains” [by Akira Endo, 1976] – (in case you missed it, that was 1976). However – Ref.: JAMA. 2016;316(19):1997-2007. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.15450 – [a November 15, 2016 link] article: “Statin Use for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Adults” states: “”evidence is yet not sufficient to assess the benefits and harms of starting statins for primary prevention of cardio vascular disease events and mortality”.
Going back to: “Dying with corrected cholesterol is not a successful outcome” simply means that according to other studies, not one single life is actually saved despite having lower cholesterol, thanks to Statins. Briefly, these studies point to reducing inflammation of the arteries and not lowering cholesterol to save lives.
Having said all that, I am sure that there are those that still opt for Statins as the best healthy solutions as “the doctor knows best” (a certain J. Hutton, annoying, pedantic and tedious person on Facebook, comes to mind).
At this point, away from Statins of “all sorts”, please allow me to tell you how to reduce cholesterol…naturally.
I will state the boring, obvious first: stop smoking, exercise (walking a lot will do), cut down on fatty foods (no fried food, quick snacks, chips, sausages, bacon etc.), cut down on alcohol intake, try the Portfolio Diet, increase high fibre in your diet and eat more Soya products. At least these will point you in the right direction.
Start your day with a nice cup of green tea with one freshly squeezed lemon in it. Once you get used to that add (don’t if you have high levels of uric acid in your blood) one tea spoon of organic cider vinegar too. Give it a couple of days, and you will get use to the taste. Eat some fresh organic live yoghurt , plain with no “extras” (fruit or seeds or else). Add to the yoghurt organic almonds, walnuts, pieces of fresh apple and organic oat flakes. “Carry” with you: <organic-seeds> pumpkin , sunflower, flax, hemp, sesame, chia and eat them on their own or use them by adding them to your meals during the day.
Good and healthy foods include fish, fruit and vegetables and a bit of Google search will give you ideas on types and recipes. As well as the benefits of Red rice and mushrooms like Reishi and Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus, has been shown in animal models to decrease lipid levels), I would like the reader to consider any of these natural supplements
- Algin (seaweed)
- Alpha-linolenic (omega-3 fatty acid)
- Barley Grass (organic powder)
- Cobalamin Vitamin B-12
- Glucosamine + Omega-3
- Inositol** is a vitamin-like substance. It is found in many plants and animals. It can also be made in a laboratory.
- Karela /Bitter melon
- Milk thistle
- Red clover
** Manufacturers are quick to take advantage of “fear” in the general public. Many cholesterol lowering supplements (drinks, margarines) use plant sterols and stanols and inositol hexaniacinate. These and red yeast rice and gugulipid are excellent means to lower cholesterols (triglycerides too) but, please read the small print about ingredients. A “famous” product on the market claiming to reduce cholesterol contains: Water, Rapeseed oil, Olive oil, Plant stanol ester (plant stanol 7%), Vegetable oil, Buttermilk powder, Salt (0.9%), Emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides “E471” of fatty acids, soya lecithins), Preservative (potassium sorbate), Acidity regulator (citric acid), Flavourings. Thus please watch out and stay away from “glittering” marketing products.
At no point I am suggesting that anyone taking a cocktail of the above 24 supplements together and daily (there are about 100 of them in total) will lower his/her cholesterol. To the opposite, should you even take half of them you may cause more harm to your health than actual benefits.
The whole point of this article is to point out that Statins kill and if there is anyone serious enough to wanting to lower his/her cholesterol, there are certainly excellent, successful and natural alternatives.
It is ‘legally required’ to state: – Any medical information provided is only for general guidelines as a first aid. It is always better (?) to see a doctor (?) depending upon the intensity of the case. The views expressed above are entirely those of the author…. but you also have the choice to see a Naturopathist or see a doctor specialised in “Functional Medicine”.
Article by A.B.M. Procaccini – Naturopathist