In a few years from now we will look back on the treatment of cholesterol much differently especially when it comes to prescribing the drug class ‘statins‘. These are among the highest grossing pharmaceutical medications of our time used to tremendously lower our cholesterol based on studies showing this can help reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease progression.
When I first started medical training other cholesterol medications were still popular including ones that helped prevent dietary cholesterol from being absorbed from our diet. This makes sense when a person consumes a diet heavy in such foods which aren’t good for them especially if their genetics reveal they don’t process saturated fat well. The story changes quite a bit from here over the past decade when a new class of medications called Statins (Lipitor, Crestor etc) came on the market. These medications don’t stop harmful lipids i.e. cholesterol from getting into our bodies, they stop our bodies from making it organically. This does so through the active ingredient called HMG CoA reductase which directly inhibits the enzyme needed to making our own cholesterol crucial to nearly every organ in the body. Lets put that aside for a minute to discuss how it came to be the drug that it is. Studies started pouring in that they can stabilize arteries with plaque in them so they don’t ‘rupture’ which leads to heart attacks and strokes. This is particularly helpful for those with already established cardiovascular disease or those who might not but do not wish to modify their diet, try to exercise, or even consider an integrative approach to lower inflammation and are well on their way. These medications in other words work great for people who’ve had heart attacks or soon may but the rest of the population may strongly benefit from other approaches which also may help them live longer as a result.
Back to how cholesterol functions in the body and why it’s important for numerous functions including the makeup of 85% of our brain composition, our eyes, and our sex hormone production. The last one usually resonates with people most. hat’s right Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone and other key hormones are directly derived from our endogenous cholesterol production. Studies in men in fact have shown a significant decrease in Testosterone production from these medications. Furthermore, in an analyses of lifespan, elderly with the lowest cholesterol levels actually tended to have shorter life expectancy. This makes sense knowing that our hormones play a crucial role in the aging process and health optimization. From bone density and muscle strength to maintaining cognition, memory and preventing heart disease In men and women alike our hormones already start to see a steady decline in age. This is why statins are known as mitochondrial toxins as they damage the energy and control center of our cells often requiring coq10 supplements to help restore it.
But aren’t statins great for preventing heart disease related problems?
As it turns out that’s only been shown as the case in patients with diabetes and significant risk factors for heart disease! It is well established that statins actually stop inflammation in these high risk population rather than simply lowering cholesterol as a matter of fact. So what about the rest of people? Nutrition and high grade supplements like Citrus Bergamot along with reducing blood sugar can easily reduce your own inflammation AND cholesterol. In fact without the adverse effects and consequences. Today we are able to measure your detailed level of inflammation with lab testing and with it assemble the right customized approach to see how this improves within weeks. From there you can see not only your labs improving but patients frequently see weight loss and overall sense of improved well-being.
For patients that have been treated with statin medication for a long period of time, we recommend to test this and see if you’re a candidate to wean off. We often consult with our Cardiologist who may confirm the safety of doing so by running additional tests and help get you on to this better plan.
Testosterone and statin:
Low lipids high mortality:
Inflammation responsible for statin effects: