Once you’re diagnosed with high cholesterol (which is at least 220), the chances of you being prescribed with statins or cholesterol-lowering drugs are very high. In fact, statins are some of the best-selling drugs in the United States. They bring billions of dollars to pharmaceutical companies every year.
However, experts say that cholesterol-lowering drugs should be your last resort. The only time you should consider lowering your cholesterol levels using drugs is when it reaches 330 or above. There are many cases where people have about 200, but are in no way at risk of heart problems.
The Side Effects of Statin Drugs
Right now, there are about 900 studies proving the adverse effects statins can cause your health. Among them are muscle pain and weakness. This happens because statins activate a gene called atrogin-1, which contributes to muscle atrophy. In advanced cases, a person can contract a life threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis, wherein muscle cells break down.
Oftentimes, this muscle problem goes away a few weeks later when statin drugs are stopped. For people who have been taking statins for a long time, muscle problems may persist and may become permanent. Apart from permanent muscle damage, this can also progress to kidney damage and cause deterioration of your other tissues.
There are other reported side effects, such as:
- Statins can deplete your body of CoQ10, a nutrient produced by your body. While statins work to block the pathway in your liver that produces cholesterol, these drugs do the same with CoQ10. Many experts state that when taking statins, it is important to consider taking a CoQ10 supplement.
- Apart from muscle problems, statin drugs can cause nerve damage. More specifically, your chances of getting polyneuropathy (or nerve damage in the hands and feet) are higher.
- Because statins focus on halting mechanisms in your liver, taking these drugs can cause liver or pancreas dysfunction. Cholesterol-lowering drugs can increase enzymes inside your liver.
- Statins can also increase your risk of memory loss. The reason is that cholesterol is actually important for many of your neurological processes, including your memory formation.
The Hidden Truth About Cholesterol
If this is the case, then what should be done? The first thing you need to do is to understand that cholesterol is not bad for your body. In fact, cholesterol is essential for many of your body’s essential processes. Seventy-five percent of your cholesterol is created in your liver, which is greatly influenced by your insulin levels.
As mentioned before, cholesterol is linked to optimal brain health. It can help with the formation of your memories and is crucial for your neurological function. By having low cholesterol, you are at risk for a number of problems, like depression, violent behavior and aggression, and suicidal tendencies.
At the same time, cholesterol is used by your body to produce steroid hormones, including vitamin D. When you are exposed to sunlight, the cholesterol underneath your skin helps convert the UVB rays you receive to vitamin D3, which is sent to your bloodstream.
If you feel worried about “high cholesterol levels,” you just need to regulate your insulin. Here are some tips that can lower cholesterol naturally:
- Pay attention to the foods that you consume. Foods rich in sugar or grains can lead to the increase of your insulin levels, which will also increase your body’s production of cholesterol. Reduce or eliminate these foods from your diet.
- Eat more raw and organic foods. Also make sure that you’re consuming high-quality, animal-based fat, like omega-3 fat.
- Exercise regularly. Make sure you have a well-rounded fitness program that includes high-intensity exercises, aerobics, strength training, core exercises, and stretching.
- Avoid excessive drinking and smoking.
- Always address your emotional baggage. Do not be afraid to use stress management techniques to deal with your emotional problems.