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The Truth About Statin Drugs and the Alternatives That Really Work

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statins-759x500-2 In his book Change or Die, Alan Deutschman explores the human desire to resist lifestyle change, even in the face of death. And, chances are, there are few professionals more acquainted with this resistance than physicians – specifically cardiologists.

So, more often than not, physicians write out a prescription for statins without even discussing alternatives with their patients. And patients, without knowing there are alternatives, don’t explore other treatment options or inquire about the potential consequences to their health.

But could it be said that if people were truly aware of the risks of statin drugs they’d think twice? Moreover, if consumers knew that the pills touted as cholesterol cure-alls were risking everything from their brain health to their nervous system health to their vision health to yes, even their heart health, would they still be so unwilling to change a few lifestyle habits?

Make no mistake, sometimes a patient’s “unwillingness to change” is predicated upon the fact that he or she isn’t motivated to, given there’s a “perfectly safe” pill to take instead.

While Big Pharma likes to call statin side effects rare, many statin users suffer painful side effects that take them by surprise. Now, as more and more dangerous side effects are linked to statin use, many physicians and experts are beginning to question whether or not these side effects are as rare as they were portrayed by the Big Pharma reps pushing the pills.

Why You Should Be Wary of Big Pharma’s Cholesterol “Solution”

Emerging research is showing that statins are not the wonder drugs they were once thought to be. Their effects wear off quickly if you stop taking them; they do little to raise good cholesterol; and they actually do little to decrease cardiovascular-related deaths. In fact, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that less than 3% of people get any benefit, and the rest just get risks and complications while another study found statin drugs were “surprisingly ineffective.”

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No Benefits…But Lots of Side Effects

Many people experience fatigue, aches and pains, general muscle soreness and headaches within days of beginning to take cholesterol-lowering medications. Many report

  • Memory loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Liver problems
  • Vision trouble
  • Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting

However, what is extremely scary is that these medications can actually compromise your heart, thanks to the depleting of a nutrient your heart desperately needs.

Depleting a Vital Nutrient Your Body Needs

It is widely known that in blocking cholesterol production in the liver, cholesterol-lowering medications also severely deplete your body’s natural levels of CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which can be very dangerous. A Columbia University study found that within 30 days of taking a statin, your levels of CoQ10 can be decreased by half![3] Not only does CoQ10 help your heart, it boosts cellular energy throughout your entire body, fights fatigue and supports healthy brain function. CoQ10 depletion is to blame for many of the side effects associated with statins, including fatigue, muscle pain, weakness and memory loss.

Do Your Heart a Favor — Consider Natural Options First

What is disheartening about this entire situation is there are much safer ways to lower cholesterol: Exercising and eating right are obvious options that have proved to be helpful, as well as supplements such as bergamot orange, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and French maritime pine bark. Furthermore, some leading cardiologists believe that even eliminating wheat from the diet can impact cholesterol levels.

Cardiologist William Davis, New York Times best-selling author of Wheat Belly, believes that taking  wheat out of the diet can lower cholesterol. In his blog, “Say No to Statins,” Davis describes how one of his patients made drastic improvements in her health, ”without drugs, without statins, without cutting the fat in her diet.”

“She accomplished this by eliminating wheat and sugar, even though wheat is the cornerstone of every conventional dietary program, including that from the American Heart Association,” Davis says. “She did the opposite of their advice and achieved astounding improvements.”

Davis is not the only cardiologist or doctor in the U.S. to agree that statins are not always the way to go. Davis is joined by Mark Hyman, MD, the medical director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, Josh Axe, MD and WebMD, and many more, in questioning the use of statins.

Lastly, research has shown that cholesterol imbalance is not the only risk factor when it comes to heart health, and that a more comprehensive approach is the best long-term solution. The best things you can do for your heart are to exercise, eat well and manage stress. However, making lifestyle changes is often easier said than done. That’s why I recommend supporting your heart health with specific dietary supplements as part of a conjunctive strategy.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our article 7 Things to Try Before Going on a Statin.

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