Let's just cut right to the chase and say that there is BIG bucks in the statin drug industry (a multi billion dollar industry) and it isn't always in the person's best interest to be on these drugs but we aren't here to tell folks how to live and we aren't advising anyone not to take any type of medication, but we just want to give people the facts and food for thought so that they can make a more informed decision.
It can be controversial but that is because there is much misinformation, agendas, and misconception about cholesterol and what gives a person heart disease so we hope to bust some of these myths here today.
A Made Up Health Condition?
According to the article* written by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr Mary G Enig PHD, "hypercholesterolemia" (high cholesterol) is a made up disease and this "disease" began to make an appearance when health experts discovered how to measure the cholesterol levels in blood.
*You can find the full article by clicking in the first link in the references section below.
Did you know that high cholesterol levels don't actually exhibit any outward signs? and that this made up disease "hypercholesterolemia" actually requires a doctor to detect it with a blood test?? (like we are not smart enough to know our own bodies and listen to its messages through physical symptoms??
Ok, so say for example, you are someone who regularly eats eggs, some meat, a little bacon here and there, some butter, yoghurt, organ meats, some shellfish, maybe some sardines, you go to your doctor to have a checkup, and the doctor convinces you to get a lipid profile test (a test that tests the amount of fat and cholesterol in your blood basically).
You feel fine but your reading comes back high and now all of a sudden you have a health condition known as "high cholesterol" or "hypercholesterolemia"??
So Now What?
So now your doctor tells you to stop eating all those high cholesterol foods (that are highly nourishing and nutritious) and perhaps they encourage you to eat more whole grains or use vegetable oil instead of butter/ghee/coconut oil and margarine as your spread or to put on your veggies?
I don't know what advice doctors are dishing out these days but I know what people tell me and it usually isn't good from a nutritional standpoint and after all, it is what we eat that matters the most!
Remember, that doctors are not trained in nutrition (there may be some who take extra training but in general they are not), they are trained in disease, the anatomy & physiology of the body and medications. They are not trained in health and they are not believers (in general) of taking a holistic approach to wellbeing - including prevention and alternative approaches.
Please don't get me wrong here, I am not anti-doctor, they certainly have their place but we must know what their place is and in my opinion we must take full responsibility and accountability for our own health and this includes what we eat, consume and how we live our lives. How we think, feel, process things, respond, behave and so on.
It is truly up to us!
If it is life-threatening, or I've had an accident, I am all about allopathic medicine and hospitals but I try to live my own life from a preventative approach and knowing what to eat is a big part of this approach, for I am a firm believer in consuming animal products for true nourishment and health.
That too can be a controversial approach as we have been conditioned to believe that we should eat less meat and less animal products. This paradigm is slowly shifting and we are going back to ancestral ways. Maybe you're not on this journey and that's ok! There is no judgement here, I am just sharing my journey within these blogs and right now as I write this blog, I am doing the GAPS protocol (a digestive/microbiome healing protocol) to heal gut dysbiosis and the more I learn about animal foods, the more I can see the truth and how important they are not just for our surviving, but for our thriving!
The truth is that we need saturated fats from animal products to be optimal and to prevent imbalance and disease. This may ruffle some feathers and you'll find plenty of resources online to support the opposite but that is the thing about online sometimes (and even offline), the truths are often kept from us so that we do NOT thrive and so that we stay sick and dependent upon big pharma for the rest of our lives.
Ok, so this article has kind of steered away from statins and more towards food and dietary choices but we believe that this topic is vitally important to go over and to raise awareness or at least get people thinking differently to how they may have previously been thinking and believing.
We are not trying to change your mind if you don't feel this way, you are your own free-thinking individual but we have to share what we have learned to be true or we would be doing a disservice to many.
As always, we encourage you to to further research on unbiased resources and some of these can be found in the references below.
Can Statins Cause Nutrient Deficiency?
It has been shown that taking statin drugs can cause a deficiency in cholesterol (obviously) but also CoQ10 Enzyme (important for your heart) and vitamin D (vital for many bodily functions).
Despite what we are told by "experts", chronically low cholesterol (or any of these nutrients) can cause health issues and sometimes major ones at that!
Unfortunately, we have been bombarded by incorrect messaging that cholesterol is the devil and we must do what we can to reduce it - even unnaturally with medications. For we are not every truly informed that cholesterol is a VITAL molecule for health and proper functioning.
We NEED Cholesterol
In our blog 'Why Cholesterol is Important for Your Health!', we talk in detail about the functions of cholesterol in the body and for our wellbeing and longevity but here is a summary of the bullet point benefits of cholesterol:
- Every cell produces cholesterol, it is that important!
- It helps in the wound-healing process
- It plays a crucial role in our hormonal system
- It's important for the function of our brain and nervous system
- It helps to protect us against depression in many instances
- It is the precursor of vitamin D
- It may protect against free radicals
- LDL cholesterol (supposed "bad" cholesterol) helps us to fight infection
Now look, I am not giving any health advice here, I am not giving you a free pass to go out and eat all the bacon you want because that may come with its own set of issues being a highly-salted* processed meat.
*Real salt is not the problem so much as what type of salt is being used. Check out Redmond Real Salt here.
As mentioned in our cholesterol blog here, we need this molecule and by avoiding foods that contain it, we may fall down the slippery slope to poor health and our lives may even begin to fall apart?
This blog will interest you if you are unsure of what fats to eat and what ones to avoid.
As mentioned, we highly recommend the Weston A Price Foundation as a resource as they share much scientific information rather than just 'theories', which is what a lot of modern medicine is actually based on. I'll leave their web link in the reference section below.
You may also like the following books for great information:
- Nourishing Fats by Sally Fallon Morell
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr Mary Enig
- The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden and Stephen T Sinatra
How Statins Work?
If you hadn't been told this before, the way that statin drugs work is by inhibiting the production of cholesterol (and they do a very good job at that, there's no question), however, it kind of goes against health in the process as we absolutely need cholesterol and by inhibiting its production we may be putting ourselves at risk for more issues in the future.
To fully understand the mechanism of cholesterol, please head over to our blog 'Why Cholesterol is Important for Your Health!'.
How Statins Can Harm Us
Since the introduction of statins, our health is not getting better and if anything it is getting worse! Did you know that over 40% of Aussies over the age of 65 take statin drugs?
In the USA, it is claimed by health officials that 36 MILLION Americans are "candidates" for statin drug therapy (meaning, their blood lipid profile says "high cholesterol" but does that mean that they are sick or need a drug??)
We'll let you be your own judge, again, we are just here to share the information.
There are many reports of side effects from statins once a person commences taking them and one report in particular from a 1999 study at the St Thomas Hospital in London (conveniently unpublished) had found that a large percentage (36% to be exact) of patients on the statin drug - Lipitor, reported side effects.
Potential Side Effects from Statin Drugs
Some government and "health" websites, really downplay and minimise the potential side effects of stain drugs and we don't have to be Einstein to figure out why but let's share the full range of negative effects statin drugs can have:
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Neuropathy and polyneuropathy
- Heart failure!
- Cognitive impairment
Taking statins drugs can be very expensive for the consumer and potentially financially draining! Unless you are able to get this on the PBS and I am not sure if this is the case or not?
Myths & Truths
There is so much misinformation and misconceptions about both cholesterol and statins so today we are borrowing the myths from the Weston A Price Foundation's blog (link below) and if you'd like to learn the truths, be sure to head over to their blog today!
Myth #1. "People with High Cholesterol are More Prone to Heart Attacks"
Myth #2. "Cholesterol & Saturated Fat Clog Your Arteries"
Myth #3. "Eating Saturated Fat and Cholesterol-rich foods will cause cholesterol levels to rise and make people more susceptible to heart disease"
Myth #4. "Cholesterol-lowering Drugs Have Saved Many Lives"
Myth #5. "Countries that Have High Consumption of Animal Fat and Cholesterol Have the Highest Rates of Heart Disease"
Low Cholesterol Linked to Depression. BBC Online Network, May 25,1999
Scott Hensley. The Statin Dilemma: How Sluggish Sales Hurt Merck, Pfizer. The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2003
Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD. The Cholesterol Myths. NewTrends Publishing, 2000, pp 208-210
Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as health advice. Statements made have not been evaluated by the TGA and are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent and one should always consult with their trusted health professional before adding a new supplement to their diet.