Consider this before taking statins/cholesterol lowering drugs

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) found in the human body. Your cells need cholesterol to function and your liver produces it in your body. You can also get it from foods such as meats, fish, egg, butter and other milk products. Over the years, it has been believed that cholesterol can get to the walls of your arteries and stay there, thus thickening the arteries to get narrower and clog the blood vessels. This can increase over a period of time, which can lead to reduced flow of blood, leading to damages in important body parts (like heart disease and stroke).

What are statins/cholesterol lowering drugs?

Statins is class of drugs that lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. Statins work by blocking enzymes in the liver that help making cholesterol. This enzyme is called hydroxy-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMG-CoA reductase). Hence, statins are called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Side effects of statins/cholesterol lowering drugs

There are numerous side effects of statins or cholesterol drugs. Dr. Mercola calls them “dangerous” drugs. Some of known side effects are:

Muscle problems Nerve damage in hands and feet Acidosis
Immune depression Pancreas/Liver dysfunction Anemia
Sexual Dysfunction Cataracts Memory Loss
Lou Gehrig’s disease Diabetes Cancer
Asthma Adverse effect during pregnancy

Cancer is an interesting side effect of statins. For a while, the industry claimed that statins may protect us against cancer. Some researchers have found flaws in some of these studies. There is also strong evidence that they may actually be causing cancer. When given to the rodents at levels given to patients for attaining similar cholesterol lowering results, several cholesterol lowering drugs, including statins have been found to be carcinogenic. But association does not prove causation and it is hard to prove that statins cause or or prevent cancer but the preponderance of evidence suggest that they cause cancer.

What if high cholesterol is actually desirable?

In spite of what we have been taught and what has become conventional thinking, there are cases where high cholesterol may actually be preferable to low cholesterol. An increasing body of evidence seem to suggest that. Consider a few of them:

Protection against infectious disease

American researchers have found years ago that low cholesterol predicts an increased risk of dying from disease of the stomach, the intestine and the lungs. In an experiment conducted in the San Francisco area, researchers followed more than 100,000 healthy individuals for fifteen years. At the end of the study, they found that those who had low cholesterol at the start of the study had been admitted to hospital more often because of an infectious disease

Lower chance of contracting HIV and AIDS

Low cholesterol also predisposes individuals to higher chance of being infected by sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS. A study conducted in Minnesota concluded that young unmarried men with a previous sexually transmitted disease or a lung disease were twice as likely to test positive for HIV when compared to those with high cholesterol.

Another study of more than 300,000 young and middle aged men, after 16 years, found that four times more people with low cholesterol died of AIDS when compared to people with high cholesterol.

People inclined to high cholesterol actually lived longer!

Perhaps the most interesting study is the Dutch study done on people with familial history of hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol). Researchers identified 412 individuals who had a 50% chance of having the condition of hypercholesterolemia (genetically speaking). They researched official death records of ancestors of these individuals to find out their longevity. They found that these individuals actually lived longer than the general population. Since the main cause of death those days was infectious disease, they researchers suggested that the cause of this might be because high cholesterol protected them against infections

Who needs cholesterol lowering drugs?

Almost no one! According to Dr. Mercola, ninety nine out of 100 people taking statin drugs really do not need them.

Risks and Benefits

Studies also indicate that the risks of taking cholesterol lowering drugs may not outweigh the benefits. Some researchers are calling for a pull back of policies directed at identifying and treating high blood cholesterol and put a hold on the drive for human intervention. We should intervene only if there is convincing evidence that the net effects of these drugs are beneficial to us. In the wake of conflicting research findings, this recommendation seem to be wise. However, it is unlikely that pharmaceutical companies and other drug pushers who profit from it would let its cash cow slip away.

Bottom line: Explore your options in alternative medicine. And, as always, turn towards good diet, exercise, sound sleep, clean air and water and all that good stuff

Staitns/Cholesterol Lowering Drugs in India and US

Bezafibrate – Globez, Beza XL, Bezalip, Fenolip
Choline – Baby & ME, B-Active, B-Protin, Dexolac, Ecoprot, Grow UP, Hepa-Pro, Humly, Impact, Kabipro, Ketikid Kids-PRO
Evolocumab – Mibe, At – Heart-EZ, Atix- EZ, Atofast -EZ, Atolife-EZ, Atorvik -EZ, Avascare-EZ, Avas-EZ, Bitorva, Etimibe, Ezedoc, Ezee, Ezentia, Ezerem, Ezetib, Ezevas, Ezibloc, Ezibloc, Eziwa
Fluvastatin – Lescol XL
Gemfibrozil – Lopid OD, Lipizyl, Losterol, Triglyd, Gempar, Normolip , Gemfibrozil
Pitavastatin – Livalo, Flovas
Pravastatin – Pravachol, Prastatin, Pravator, Prastatin
Rosuvastatin – Crestor, Turbovas, Razel, Ldnil FC, Rostar, Novastat, Bestor, Rozucor, Rosuvas, Fortius, Zyrova
Simvastatin – Zocor, Simvofix, Simvin, Vastatin, Satin, Sin 10, Simvas, Simvastol, Biosim
atorvastatin – Lipitor
lovastatin – Mevacor, Altoprev