PROBLEM: Viewing Statins as the Only Solution
Coronary heart disease is the leading single cause of death in the United States.1 There are several risk factors for heart disease, including family history, high blood pressure, and high levels of LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol, but many people focus heavily on the dangers of high cholesterol. Because it can be difficult for people to keep the recommended balance between LDL and HDL (or “good”) cholesterol, many turn to medications. Statin drugs are the most commonly prescribed class of medications in the United States, and though they are very effective at reducing cholesterol production in the liver, they may not be the healthiest way to do so.
The possible side effects of statin drugs include, but are not limited to:2
- Rapid loss of mental clarity
- Kidney failure
- Muscle aches
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or cramping in the legs
- Inability to walk
- Destruction of skeletal muscle
- Impair muscle formation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Temperature regulation problems
- Nerve damage
- Mental Confusion
- Liver damage and abnormalities
- Congestive heart failure
- Increased risk of cancer
Certain side effects, such as memory loss, muscle pain, and diabetes are more common for women than men.3
Statins can also lead to a depletion of Coenzyme Q10 in the body, which is part of why statins can cause so many harmful side effects.4 Your cells need CoQ10 to function, and though the levels decline with age, statins only accelerate this process.5
Though they are potentially harmful, statins show little evidence of prolonging life for men without heart disease, and women with or without heart disease.6 If statins are so heavily relied on, why aren’t they saving more lives?
1 “Cardiovascular Disease Statistics,” American Heart Association, http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4478 (accessed December 20, 2010).
2 Ladd R. McNamara, M.D., The Cholesterol Conspiracy, OrthoMolecular Medicine (2006).
3 Catherine Elton, “Do Statins Work Equally for Men and Women?” TIME, March 29, 2010, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1973295,00.html (accessed December 20, 2010).
4 Ladd R. McNamara, M.D., The Cholesterol Conspiracy, OrthoMolecular Medicine (2006).
6 Tara Parker-Pope, “WELL; Great Drug, but Does It Prolong Life?” The New York Times, January 29, 2008, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0DE2DD1631F93AA15752C0A96E9C8B63 (accessed December 20, 2010).
7 Ladd R. McNamara, M.D., The Cholesterol Conspiracy, OrthoMolecular Medicine (2006).
9 Mayo Clinic staff, “Top 5 lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol,” MayoClinic.com, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/reduce-cholesterol/CL00012/NSECTIONGROUP=2 (accessed December 21, 2010).
10 “The New Low-Cholesterol Diet: Oatmeal & Oat Bran,” WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/the-new-cholesterol-diet-oatmeal-oat-bran (accessed December 20, 2010).
11 Mayo Clinic staff, “Cholesterol: Top 5 foods to lower your numbers,” MayoClinic.com, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002 (accessed December 20, 2010).
12 “Good Fruits & Vegetables for Lowering Cholesterol,” Livestrong.com, http://www.livestrong.com/article/261460-good-fruits-vegetables-for-lowering-cholesterol/ (accessed December 20, 2010).