Friday, April 13, 2012

Statins For Everyone?

There is a new idea amongst physicians that everyone who has elevated cholesterol should be on statins for prevention of heart attacks. This is even if they do not have high blood pressure or have a personal history/family history of cardiovascular disease. I wonder who's brain-child this was? Hmmm, could it have anything to do with the huge amount of money statins pull in for the pharmaceutical companies that sell them? How delightful for them to be able to sell them to every adult in the United States if they could.  Pfizer’s statin drug Lipitor (Atorvastatin calcium) was listed as the number one highest grossing drug in America in 2010. It grossed 7.2 billion  in  in 2010. Statins are big money for pharmaceutical companies.

I would never take a statin personally and in my opinion healthy people should not take statins. I am not a supporter of statins in any shape or form.  There are other effective means to reduce cardiovascular risk, including dietary changes, weight loss, and increased exercise. Nutriceuticals, and herbs would be my choice, not statins. Not only will these activities reduce cardiovascular risk, they will also improve many other aspects of a persons life such as increased longevity, sexual function, and improved mood. 

There was a recent meta-analysis in healthy but high-risk men and women showing no reduction in mortality with statin therapy, as well as a recent Cochrane review showing similar results. The Cochrane review also observed that all but one of the clinical trials providing evidence on this issue were sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. It is well established that industry-sponsored trials are more likely than non–industry-sponsored trials to report favorable results for drug treatment because of biased reporting, biased interpretation, or both of trial results. The Cochrane review of statin studies included the following in their conclusion “there was evidence of selective reporting of outcomes, failure to report adverse events and inclusion of people with cardiovascular disease. Only limited evidence showed that primary prevention with statins may be cost effective and improve patient quality of life. Caution should be taken in prescribing statins for primary prevention among people at low cardiovascular risk.”

Plus, there is the adverse effects associated with statins, including cognitive defects and diabetes. 

A recent article in the respected medical journal Jama, "Healthy Men Should Not Take Statins" included the following information. " Data from a meta-analysis of 11 trials including 65, 229 persons with 244, 000 person-years of follow-up in healthy but high-risk men and women showed no reduction in mortality associated with treatment with statins. A 2011 Cochrane review of treatment with statins among persons without documented coronary disease came to similar conclusions."

"For every 100 patients with elevated cholesterol levels who take statins for 5 years, a myocardial infarction will be prevented in 1 or 2 patients. Preventing a heart attack is a meaningful outcome. However, by taking statins, 1 or more patients will develop diabetes and 20% or more will experience disabling symptoms, including muscle weakness, fatigue, and memory loss."

Holistic practitioners have been telling people for years they can support normal cardiovascular health through healthy life choices such as dietary choices, exercise, weight loss, nutrition and herbs. These are still the healthiest methods to support your cardiovascular system.

If you take statins

If You Take Statins,  Take CoQ10. Statins deplete your body of CoQ10.

CoQ10 is a co-enzyme that is essential for the creation of ATP molecules, which you need for cellular energy production. Organs such as your heart have higher energy requirements, and therefore require more CoQ10 to function properly. 

 As your body gets more and more depleted of CoQ10, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness, and eventually it can lead to heart failure.

 Coenzyme Q10 is important in the process of neutralizing free radicals. So when your CoQ10 is depleted, you enter a vicious cycle of increased free radicals, loss of cellular energy, and damaged mitochondrial DNA.

If you decide to take a CoQ10 supplement and are over the age of 40,  the reduced version, called ubiquinol is suggested. 

General Suggestions to Support the Cardiovascular System
Exercise daily. Get sun and fresh, clean air and water and plenty of sleep.
Eat only fresh, organic foods.
Do not eat processed foods.
Reduce all forms of sugar and decrease grains in your diet.
Eat a lot of cold water fish such as salmon and sardines or supplement with omega 3 fatty acids.        
Eat raw, organic dairy and organic pastured eggs.
Use heart-healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil.
Eat raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats (make sure they are not grain fed at the end).
Add more garlic and onions to your diet.
Identify and eliminate food sensitivities.
Encourage daily exercise/movement.
Remember relaxation. 
Do not smoke and be moderate with alcohol.





  1. bravo Sharol, bravo! a very sensible, much needed, helpful post!! thank you!

  2. A very interesting post, I have elevated cholesterol Sharol, I'm not overweight, do not smoke and eat almost no meat and my herbal doctor said to try some artichoke tablets for at least 6 months . I take them after my meal two times a day. I'm curious.

  3. Hello Rita,

    I can't speak to your specific situation, but I have a post that talks about artichoke in one of the herb class posts. You can find it here