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Holistic Medicine Secrets: Cholesterol Lowering Medications - Should I Take Them?

Dec 5, 2007
First, I encourage you to learn about why our bodies produce cholesterol. We have learned that cholesterol is not the best indicator for heart disease.

You are much better off knowing if your arteries are inflamed (C-reactive-protein test), and knowing their elasticity (Cardiovascular Profile test). In my other articles, I go over these tests and their benefits.

If you have significantly elevated cholesterol, you should pay attention to it and treat it. Much depends on how elevated your cholesterol is, and if you're willing to do some work to improve your risk of heart disease instead of just starting on the statin drugs.

If you are seriously considering a statin drug, you should understand the full picture.

Statin drugs are prescribed like candy. They are among the top two profit-making drugs in world, which makes them a multi-billion dollar class of drugs.

Statin drugs have significant risks: they cause decreased levels of Co Q10, they put strain on your liver and they frequently cause leg pain.

When I go to seminars about heart disease, I always hear other doctors saying, "Well, my patients won't exercise and they won't change their diets, so we have to give them these medications."

I don't think that's true. I think that patients aren't educated enough, and in that a 5 or 10-minute office visit, the physician cannot educate a patient. If patients are educated about what it takes to turn their health around, they are much more willing to make important changes in their lifestyles.

A careful analysis of the numerous studies published on the use of statin drugs would suggest that the people who may benefit from statin drugs are men who have already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease - not just with high cholesterol.

In my opinion, the benefits of statin drugs, if they actually have benefits, are much less than people think. If you go to see your cardiologist and you have advanced heart disease and a total cholesterol reading of 380, maybe you should go on statin drugs.

Unfortunately, most cardiologists and most primary care physicians have not spent the time, probably because they don't have the time, to educate themselves on what other options there are for decreasing the risk of heart disease besides taking statin drugs.

There have been no studies designed to compare a holistic alternative medicine approach to going on statin drugs. Those studies will probably never be done because they would not benefit the pharmaceutical companies that are making the medications and often funding the research.

So the question remains, are the side effects worth the benefit? The answer is not completely clear.

Dr. Malcom Kendrick states, "Statin drugs will not, on average, increase your life expectancy by one single day. Or to put it another way, taking a statin drug may change what is written on your death certificate, but it will not change the date." (The Great Cholesterol Con, pg. 160)

If statin drugs are effective, it probably doesn't relate so much to cholesterol as to inflammation.

Statin drugs have anti-inflammatory properties, but so do many wonderful nutrients. So if the benefits of statin drugs are primarily for anti-inflammation, maybe people should consider taking anti- inflammatory nutrients instead of taking anti- inflammatory drugs with negative side effects.

If you do take statin drugs, you should really be taking Co Q10, magnesium, antioxidants and fish oil. There is no question about it: if your arteries are in bad enough shape to need a statin drug, you should certainly take the basic nutrients that support the health of those arteries.

Both men and women may also want to consider taking testosterone after the age of 50 while taking a stain drug.

I have written many other articles about alternative approaches to heart disease prevention including anti-inflammatory nutrients where you can learn more.
About the Author
I would like to offer you free access to my weekly Holistic Medicine Newsletter, Healthy Perspectives, where you can receive additional information on important health topics.

You can sign up by going to Holistic Medicine

Dr. Lisa Hosbein, MD, FACOG - The Wellness Doctor at Holistic Medicine
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