Health Alert 154
Would you take a prescription drug you don’t need? Drug companies are marketing doctors to tell you just that.
Pharmaceutical reps are passing studies to doctors that seem to say healthy adults should take a statin drug such as Lipitor. Pfizer generates billions of dollars on Lipitor every year. They then use those profits to sponsor studies supporting more use of their drug. Billions more will be earned from healthy patients if these new recommendations are followed.
Today we’ll separate the drug company hype from the real facts. You will see why statins make a poor substitute for natural solutions.
* Don’t Believe the Hype! *
Using statins will lower your cholesterol. But, statins can endanger your health. Remember, cholesterol is the principle building block for testosterone. Statins can actually reduce your “good” cholesterol. Statins block Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an essential nutrient. CoQ10 deficiency is common in our population. It is nearly guaranteed if you take a statin for long enough. Worst of all, they can cause rhabdomyolysis.
Rhabdomyolysis causes muscle deterioration with pain, tenderness and/or weakness. The statin drug, Baycol, was withdrawn from the market in 2001 by after 31 deaths from rhabdomyolysis were reported in Baycol users2.
Far more commonly, statins cause CoQ10 deficiency. There have been at least 100 studies at major universities and hospitals linking CoQ10 deficiency with heart disease. CoQ10 is required for deriving energy from oxygen. Without it, energy-guzzling organs like your heart, brain, kidneys and liver suffer.
If taking statins to reduce cholesterol makes you tired, weak and weary, you are less likely to exercise and eat right.
*A Better Solution *
There are better ways of lowering your cholesterol than taking statins. You may be risking your good health.
• First, don’t take a statin when you have healthy levels of cholesterol.
• If you are taking a statin to lower your cholesterol ask your doctor about any alternatives. If your doctor prescribes statins, insist on a liver function test every three months. If there is any sign of liver toxicity, you must stop the drug.
• Use natural alternatives to statins. Policosanol is an organic alcohol derived from plants that will lower cholesterol. Nutrition chain stores sell policosanol under many brands.
• Eat a diet with reduced carbohydrates. Increasing proteins and reducing carbohydrates lowers cholesterol levels.
Al Sears, MD
1 “About Cholesterol” 2004 Feb 10. American Heart Association. 2004 Feb 10. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=512.
2 FDA Talk Paper, “Bayer Voluntarily Withdraws Baycor.” 2001 Aug 8. United States Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. 2004 Feb 10. < http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/baycol/default.htm.>
3 Herman RJ. Drug interactions and the statins. CMAJ 1999; 161(10):1281-6. 2004 Feb 10. < http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/reprint/161/10/1281.pdf>