Doctors usually prescribe drugs called statins to the patients who have high cholesterol levels. In fact, statin drugs are the most prescribed drugs in the whole world. Statistically, one of three senior women and one of two senior men take these drugs. The sale of statins is one the most profitable activities of pharmaceutical companies.
At the same time, we are also witnessing an epidemic of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (which is now the sixth leading cause of death in the USA).
So does this mean that there is a connection between the wide use of statins and dementia (or Alzheimer’s)? And can statins really protect us from heart disease?
We will need to examine the following evidence in order to get the answers to these questions:
The Brain Needs Cholesterol!
- The brain consists of 60% fat and most of that fat is cholesterol.
- Cholesterol is a crucial part of every single brain cell.
- Your brain cells will die if there is not an adequate amount of cholesterol.
- You may find it hard to believe, but 25% of the cholesterol in the body is in the nervous system.
- Drugs that reduce cholesterol levels prevent the production of neurotransmitters, which causes memory loss and impairs other cognitive functions.
- It is scientifically proven that high cholesterol levels actually reduce the risk of development of dementia in elderly people.
Statin Side Effects
- Statin drugs such as Mevacor, Crestor, and Lipitor are linked to memory loss and learning difficulties.
- Regular use of statins reduces the production of a heart-protecting nutrient called CoQ10, which leads to constant fatigue and frequent pain in the muscles.
- Some studies even suggest that people can become anxious, depressed and even suicidal if they take statin drugs.
- According to Psychology Today, people whose diet is low in fats and especially low in cholesterol are at much higher risk of developing depression. They also have a higher suicide risk (click here for more info: http://www.livescience.com/46532-suicide-risk-adhd.html)
- Pharmaceutical companies are legally required to put a warning label on every bottle, which states that the use statins increases the risk of memory loss, confusion, muscle weakness, liver damage, and diabetes.
- One recent study has shown that 48% of the women who regularly take statin drugs will develop diabetes over time. It was also noted that this increases the risk of dementia.
- The use of statins causes loss of libido because cholesterol is a building block of sex hormones.
Now when you know everything about the side-effects of statins, you must be wondering how to reduce cholesterol naturally? But, you may be asking yourself a wrong question since the real question that must be answered is – Do high cholesterol levels really cause heart diseases?
Here are some facts which will help you learn the answer
- Statistically, only 25% of all the people who had experienced a heart attack have high levels of cholesterol.
- The rest 75% have normal cholesterol levels.
The Cholesterol-Heart Disease Myth
There is scientific evidence which suggests that fat and cholesterol don’t cause heart disease. According to a study published in the National Institutes of Health, the participants who increased their fat intake to 50% of calories had actually experienced improvements in their nutritional status. In addition to this, this change didn’t negatively affect the risk factors of heart disease. It has been discovered that diets rich in fat reduces triglycerides and normalizes LDL (the bad cholesterol). This is a shocking revelation considering the fact that almost everyone believes in the theory which claims that “fat causes heart disease”.
The graph below made of data provided by the World Health Organization clearly shows that there isn’t a direct correlation between cholesterol and diseases. You can notice that Switzerland (whose citizens have highest levels of cholesterol) is a country with one of the lowest rates of heart diseases in the world.
The AHA’s “Prudent” Diet Is a Killer
The landmark Lyon Diet Heart Study included 650 participants who were overweight, smoked, sedentary, and with very high cholesterol levels. Or in other words, the participants were people at extremely high risk of experiencing heart attacks. Half of them were put on a Mediterranean diet while the other half were put on the so-called “prudent” Western-type diet that was recommended by the American Heart Association. After some time, the study was stopped before it was completed because it was deemed unethical. Not a single participant of the ones who were on a Mediterranean diet had experienced a heart attack despite the fact that their cholesterol remained at the same level. But on the other hand, many of the people on the “prudent” diet were dying, so the researchers thought that it was unethical to continue with the study.
The Low-Fat Fail
It looks like some of the experts are finally starting to believe that low-fat diets do not prevent heart disease or obesity.
Here is a statement of Harvard School of Public Health about the “low-fat fail”:
“Well, it’s time to end the myth regarding low-fat diets. The low-fat approach to eating hasn’t helped us control weight or become healthier. Why hasn’t cutting fat from the diet paid off as expected? Detailed research — much of it done at Harvard has shown that the total amount of fat in the diet is not linked to weight or disease.”
The graph below shows how the introduction of low-fat guidelines by the US government in the 1970’s is correlated with the ever-increasing rates of obesity among the citizens of the USA.
Treat the Patient, Not the Numbers
Unfortunately, most doctors are still more worried about reducing the levels of cholesterol than the state of the overall health of their patients.
The common testing for HDL (good) cholesterol or LDL (bad) cholesterol levels is completely outdated idea.
The test that can give you a good information about your risk of developing heart disease is the measuring of the LDL particle size. Large LDL molecules are just moving through the blood stream without making any harm. On the other hand, small LDL molecules are caused by oxidation and are very dangerous because they can attach to the artery walls and cause inflammation, thus leading to a development of plaque.
If the HDL and LDL levels of cholesterol are not good predictors of heart disease, then what is?
Two of the most important markers are your small particle LDL and your ratio of triglycerides to HDL. For instance, if your triglyceride level is 100 and your HDL is 50, this gives you a ratio of 2 (a ratio of 2 or under is a good one). If the ratio is higher, it is recommended to lower your triglycerides. You can do that if you reduce the intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates and increase the intake of healthy fats.
What is the real Cause of Heart Disease?
According to Dr. Jonny Bowden and Dr. Stephen Sinatra, the authors of The Great Cholesterol Myth , these are the five biggest contributors to heart diseases:
- Inflammation is linked with every degenerative disease. It causes micro injuries to your arteries, which leads to a formation of plaque.
- Sugar is highly inflammatory and its regular consumption leads to a formation of plaque. In addition to this, it is scientifically proven that sugar increases stress hormones.
- Stress greatly increases blood pressure. In fact, blood pressure is a measure of stress applied to artery walls.
- Free radicals attack LDL by converting it from large (safe) into small (harmful) particle LDL.
- Trans fats increase the levels of bad cholesterol and reduce good cholesterol. They also increase inflammation and raise triglycerides.
Here are some simple recommendations of Dr. Bowden and Dr. Sinatra that can help prevent heart disease:
- Immediately reduce the intake of sugar, grains, and vegetable oils that are full of omega-6 fats (such as canola oil).
- Consume more heart-healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and avocado.
- Exercise more often.
- Reduce stress.
- Drink alcohol in moderate amounts.
- Avoid smoking at any costs.
- Add quality supplements to your diet (like omega-3 essential fatty acids)
Why Doctors Still Advise Their Patients To Use Statin Drugs?
One recent study has shown that 65% of doctors don’t warn their patients about the side effects of statin drugs because:
- They don’t believe that there’s a connection between the use of statins and increased rates of heart diseases
- Or they have been “influenced” by the pharmaceutical giants.
Pharmaceutical companies have a huge interest in continuing to promote the use of these drugs because the statins industry is worth a whopping 31 billion dollars.