By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
A large study has just shown that cholesterol lowering drugs actually cause heart disease. Statins have been a controversial topic for a long time. In recent years research is showing that their benefits have been very over stated while their side effects are becoming more apparent.
A new groundbreaking study led by Dr Okuyama and his team has shown that statins actually promote hardened, calcified arteries (atherosclerosis) as well as heart failure. They do this in a number of ways:
- Statins act as mitochondrial toxins by depleting the body of co enzyme Q10 and heme A. These two compounds are vital for energy production in cells. By depleting heart cells of energy, this raises the risk of heart failure and also fatigue.
- Statins inhibit your body’s production of vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables, but K2 is the more biologically active form. It helps to keep calcium in your bones and away from soft tissue. If you don’t get enough vitamin K2, your arteries are likely to undergo hardening (calcification).
- Statins inhibit your body’s production of selenium-containing enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase. Low levels of glutathione in the body promote oxidative stress and free radical damage. Low selenium levels may be a factor in congestive heart failure.
The study authors evaluated more than 20 major research papers on statins, and the conclusions drawn should make all physicians re-evaluate how they prescribe these drugs. Some of the most interesting statements from the researchers include:
“We have collected a wealth of information on cholesterol and statins from many published papers and find overwhelming evidence that these drugs accelerate hardening of the arteries and can cause, or worsen, heart failure.”
“The hypothesis that statins protect the heart by lowering cholesterol is flawed and high cholesterol is not necessarily linked to heart disease.”
Why is it that these findings are only being made public now? Dr Okuyama said that “Many earlier industry-sponsored studies, which show the benefits of statins, are unreliable. They were carried out before new regulations were introduced in 2004 which insist on all trial findings, both negative and positive, being declared.”
Dr Peter Langsjoen is a heart specialist in Texas and is a co-author of the study. He said “Statins are being used so aggressively and in such large numbers of people that the adverse effects are now becoming obvious. These drugs should never have been approved for use. The long-term effects are devastating.”
Statins do have their place. They can help to reduce the risk of a heart attack in men who have already had one heart attack. The problem is these drugs are often prescribed to healthy people who do not have risk factors for heart disease. It’s also important to remember that cholesterol lowering drugs raise the risk of type 2 diabetes. Diabetics typically have a shorter lifespan and suffer with numerous health conditions that significantly reduce quality of life.
If you are taking a statin please don’t discontinue it. It is very important to seek medical advice. Perhaps your cholesterol can be improved with diet and lifestyle changes and the use of nutritional supplements. If you are not happy with the advice you’re getting from your doctor, perhaps it’s time to seek another opinion. Maybe your doctor is not fully up to date with the literature.
For more information about cholesterol and heart disease please see our book Cholesterol: The Real Truth.