The Truth About Cholesterol and Statin Drugs
August 5, 2015
One in four Americans over the age of 40 is currently taking a statin drug under the illusion that it will decrease their risk for heart disease. Statin drugs cause severe side effects, including muscle pain, muscle damage (including damage to heart muscle) and inhibition of the production of CoQ10. In addition to memory issues and risk of dementia, Statins also increase the risk of diabetes.
Statins may also provoke heart failure and atherosclerosis. The current widely-held belief of the general public is that cholesterol reduction with statins decreases atherosclerosis. However, there is an interesting article published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology showing that statins actually stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure.
The outcome of the study: “The epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis, therefore, may paradoxically be aggravated by the prevalent use of statin medication.” The researchers propose that the current statin treatment guidelines be seriously reevaluated.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, yet in many instances it may be prevented when individuals make healthy dietary and lifestyle choices.
An Astounding Realization
Dr. David Diamond is a neuroscientist with a PhD in biology. He's also a Professor of Psychology, Molecular Pharmacology, and Physiology at the University of South Florida and a Research Career Scientist at the Tampa VA Hospital. He ended up investigating both diet and statins as a result of having to address issues with his own health, and what he came up with is completely different from current standards in the industry of medicine.
When he discovered that his triglycerides were too high (at 750) and his “good” cholesterol or HDL (at 20-25) was too low, he increased his exercise and dieting. (A healthy triglyceride level is below 150-100, and a healthy level of good cholesterol is above 40 or 50 or above.) After five years, however, he saw that his numbers did not change. Realizing it had to be his nutrition, the only thing he "knew" and had been taught was that saturated fat is bad for you, that it causes heart diseases, and that cholesterol clogs your arteries — both of which he now knows are wrong...
After doing research, he discovered the connection of carbohydrates in the diet to triglycerides and HDL, and realized that it wasn’t the fat that needed avoided, but the carbohydrates! His doctor naturally rejected this idea when discussing it with him, but nevertheless, from the many studies he had read, he knew of the linkage between carbohydrate consumption, elevated blood sugar, and triglycerides. "Well, the very first paper I looked at indicated that triglycerides are primarily produced from excess carbohydrates, particularly glucose and fructose,' he says. 'And as far as HDL levels, you see an association of low HDL levels in people who have high blood sugar. With that, Dr. Diamond opposed his doctor’s advice, and dramatically reduced non-vegetable carbohydrates and ate as much saturated fats as he wanted. Eventually his triglycerides dropped to 150 and his HDL increased from 30 to 50 – ALL WITHOUT ANY DRUGS WHATSOEVER. It turned out that you can achieve rapid reversal of high triglycerides by cutting out carbs and increasing healthy fat.
"This had a profound effect on me,' Dr. Diamond says. 'I was indignant, really, and this sense of indignation grew on me. I really felt I had been deceived; that it's the carbohydrates that we need to worry about, not the fat in particular. The demonization of saturated fat and cholesterol — I realized it actually led me astray... To clarify, the good fats are the natural fats. When you're talking about natural saturated fats, you're looking at high-quality fats. Partially hydrogenated fats – especially the unnatural oils like corn oil and soybean oil, which becomes heavily oxidized [when heated] — are very unhealthy. It's not that I eat fat with reckless abandon. I avoid those artificial vegetable fats and stay with the fats that are really high quality, such as avocado and olive oil. I cook with coconut oil.'"
Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat that is excellent for cooking, as it oxidizes much less than other oils when exposed to high heat. Coconut oil also has potent anti-inflammatory activity. On a side note, a novel point about coconut oil that many are unaware of is that for those who suffer from a genetic condition called beta thalassemia — or chronic low cholesterol, which can be quite harmful — coconut oil can be used instead of drugs to raise your cholesterol. Conventional medicine insists that high cholesterol is bad for your heart, but excessively low cholesterol can have very serious consequences, including an elevated risk of dementia, depression, and aggression. Low cholesterol can also cut your life short by increasing risk for cancer and hormone deficiencies, including Vitamin D!
The Truth About Dietary Cholesterol
"For elderly people, someone over 60 years of age, high cholesterol is associated with better health and greater longevity. This completely surprises people. But people 65 years of age with a total cholesterol of about 300 will live longer than someone whose cholesterol is below 200," Dr. Diamond says, and people with cholesterol levels of 180 or below have a much higher risk for cancer than people whose level is 280.
Most doctors firmly believe that dietary cholesterol clogs arteries and causes heart attacks. Dr. Diamond believed this too before his discovery. Your liver, to a great extent, actually controls the level of cholesterol in your blood. And while people with heart disease have cholesterol clogging their arteries, it's not the consumption of cholesterol that causes it to accumulate there. Clogged arteries are caused by inflammation in the arterial wall, and your body attempts to protect itself by packing cholesterol there. The question is, what causes the inflammation in the arterial wall? Key dietary factors promoting chronic inflammation are: sugar, trans fats, and oxidized cholesterol, which again is what you get when you heat partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Interestingly, research has shown that vegetable oil consumption actually lowers cholesterol levels. Hence if you give corn oil to people who have heart disease, you would expect them to have a greater longevity and better health. Naturally, this was not the case. A trial published in 1965 tested that hypothesis by giving men diagnosed with heart disease a couple of tablespoons of corn oil each day. Their health outcomes were then compared to men with heart disease who did not receive corn oil. The men who consumed the corn oil had lower cholesterol and twice as many heart attacks and deaths from heart disease compared to the group that basically ate what they wanted!!
You would think this should have stopped any kind of belief that lowering cholesterol is good for you, and the paper had explicitly stated that people with heart disease should not consume corn oil because it is unhealthy. Yet, the American Heart Association still recommends corn oil to people because it lowers your cholesterol and the corn oil industry is a sponsor to the American Heart Association.
The Reason Why Doctors Are Misinformed About Nutrition
The medical profession's ignorance about cholesterol was crafted by careful design, starting over a century ago with the Flexner Report, funded by the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations, who wanted nutritional science to be excised from the medical school curriculum.
They were successful in this endeavor, and for the past hundred years, most physicians have been, and still are, nutritionally ignorant. The reason for this, if you haven't yet deduced it, is because if you know how to heal with food, why would you prescribe drugs? What doctors are taught about nutrition in medical school is wrong. And it's wrong by design to generate disease that increases profits for the drug companies, which are outgrowths of the chemical industry that the Carnegie and the Rockefeller foundations supported in the 1900s.
Take Control of Your Health
Twenty-five percent — or one in four — of Americans over the age of 40 are currently taking a statin. It's almost guaranteed that someone you know is on this drug. Dr. Diamond's story demonstrates just how important it is to take control of your health. Even PhDs need to do their own research when it comes to their health. No one is immune to well-meaning but misguided advice from their doctors.
Indeed, many people face real dilemmas when it comes to their health, because they're unsure of who's actually giving them the correct information. Look at your situation and ask yourself, "is what I'm doing working?" If like Dr. Diamond you've been on a low-fat diet and exercising for ages and see no improvement, chances are you got it all wrong. The question then becomes, are you willing to try a different route?
There's simply no doubt that conventional dietary recommendations are largely responsible for many of our current health epidemics, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. In essence, the recommendations are converse to the truth. Most doctors recommend a low-fat, high-carb diet and artificially sweetened "diet" foods and beverages to lose weight and protect your heart.
In reality, this is a sure-fire recipe for insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, and related diseases. Many would lose weight and improve their health by turning the traditional food pyramid upside down, getting the majority of your calories from healthy fats, along with a moderate amount of high quality protein, and very little non-vegetable carbohydrates. Vegetables can be consumed without limits.
Nutrients that help support cardiovascular health and lipid levels:
- CoQ10 is depleted by statins. It promotes overall cardiovascular health and function and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
- Plant sterols have been shown to be beneficial for individuals that have not responded well to dietary modifications. Phytosterols have significant LDL cholesterol-lowering properties, as they inhibit absorption of cholesterol by lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.
- Dietary fiber supports cholesterol and triglyceride reduction.
- Fish oils have a dramatic effect on lowering triglycerides and have a significant effect on improving LDL and HDL particle size that is not typically seen on the traditional lipid panel. At Murray Avenue Apothecary, we offer non-burp Wild Omega Fish Oil capsules.
- Other nutrients that have lipid-lowering properties include niacin, red yeast rice, annatto tocotrienols. MAA carries Red Yeast Rice and No-Flush Niacin.
- Sugar Manager is a product available at MAA that maintains healthy sugar levels.
- Crave Arrest is also a product from MAA that combats carbohydrates and controls cravings.