Cholesterol and Statin Drugs
I have to confess I'm a little nervous to submit this post. I fully realize that a lot of what I'm presenting here will go against everything we've been told as a society for decades. But for that reason I feel this information is worth sharing, no matter how controversial the ideas may be. Today's topic: cholesterol.
In today's low-fat world, we're told daily that dietary fat and cholesterol are making us fat and giving us high blood pressure, leading to strokes and heart attacks. Those allegations couldn't be further from the truth, but if you go to the doctor and find you have "high cholesterol" (which isn't difficult to achieve - the ideal numbers get lower and lower by the year in order to sell more pharmaceutical drugs), you'll likely be prescribed some form of statin medication - the most common type of cholesterol lowering drug.
But what is cholesterol? Well, the truth is, cholesterol is vital and necessary to the health of our bodies. That's what it is.
Ok. Enough with the snark. What is cholesterol, really? Cholesterol is an integral part of the membrane of EVERY cell in your body. Along with saturated fat, another bad word in today's fat-phobic society, it keeps every cell membrane strong and stable. Without it, toxins and nutrients would pass in and out of the cells freely, completely messing with the metabolic health of each cell.
About 25% of the body's cholesterol is found in the brain as a component of the fatty myelin coating of every nerve. Cholesterol is a major ingredient of all steroid hormones (sex hormones secreted by the adrenals, ovaries, and testes). It plays a huge role in immunity by clearing infections. It's an antioxidant! It's also a major player in the body's healing process. The list of cholesterol's functions could keep going but I want to take a moment to look at that last one a little deeper.
We put our bodies through a lot. Nicks, cuts, scrapes, inside AND outside, are inevitable. When there's an injury, who's the first responder? You guessed it, cholesterol. I already mentioned its ability to fight off infection, but it also lays the initial patchwork of the healing process. This is important when we start talking about blood cholesterol levels. What elevated cholesterol tells me is that there's some sort of injury that isn't given time to heal properly before it is repeatedly re-injured. When this process keeps looping, that's when the cholesterol (along with platelets and other healing agents) builds up and causes problems. But to blame cardiovascular problems on cholesterol is like blaming traffic on the paramedics responding to a crash on the highway.
Unfortunately, a large number of medical professionals only focus on the build-up, they don't try and find the root causes (namely systemic inflammation from insulin resistance and the overconsumption of processed foods...but I digress). So let's prescribe a drug to lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood and our problem is solved! Right? Not quite.
The list of negative effects of statins on the body is a little overwhelming to say the least. It includes:
· Muscle damage, nerve damage, liver damage...let's just call it cell damage leading to a failing body
· Cardiovascular damage - because we've eliminated the main healing ingredient
· Vitamin and mineral deficiencies - In particular CoQ10, Selenium, Vitamin D
· Memory loss, confusion
· Diabetes - by affecting your insulin levels
· Endocrine (hormonal) imbalances
· Birth defects
· Increased risk of cancer - remember what I said about cholesterol being an antioxidant?
Additionally, low serum cholesterol levels are linked to depression. Low brain cholesterol levels are linked to depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. On top of all of that, it's been proven that statins don't actually decrease your risk of heart attack all that much. The actual findings from the initial studies were skewed to show a 36% drop in risk. However, when looking further into the data, we see that the "relative risk" drops from 3% to 2%. That ominous list of potential dangers doesn't seem worth the 1% drop in risk to me.
There are a ton of natural ways to reduce cholesterol without statins and their harmful side effects. Some examples would be red rice yeast and Omega-3 fatty acids. But, like I said before, this doesn't address the underlying reasons we might have high cholesterol in the first place. Every body will have a different set of circumstances but we would start by removing refined and processed foods - the true cause of weight gain and cardiovascular issues. Implementing a real, whole food diet is the first step. The next goal would be to address digestion, blood sugar balance, and any potential toxins/stressors in the body. After working on these key ideas we can expect to see a drop in systemic inflammation and cholesterol levels will normalize.
Every body is different, everyone has different nutritional needs, so the protocols mentioned above would need to be custom tailored to fit your needs. How do we know what those needs are? Well, I know a guy who can help... Schedule a free 10-minute phone/in-person consultation with me and let's get started giving your body what it wants to function optimally!
*** The information found on this website should not be construed as medical advice or treatment of medical conditions. Only your healthcare professional can provide you with medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional regarding all matters of your health and before making dietary changes.