The above link is a very interesting paper from the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. This is a very prestigious journal that has courageously published a research article talking about why statins weirdly can cause worsening of the disease that they are supposed to correct.
When statin drugs were first invented that intuitively seemed like a good idea. Plaques in the arteries are made up of fat for the most part and statins reduce the amount of fats in circulation. Seems great, right?
Well, there are actually different types of cholesterol. HDL is typically considered the good cholesterol and LDL is considered the bad cholesterol. VLDL is yet another type of cholesterol that is considered even worse yet.
These different types are further confounded by the differences in functionality that can happen. For example, LDL only implants on the arterial lining and becomes a plaque when it gets oxidized by free radicals. This is why many health ‘experts’ have linked anti-oxidants to heart health. If the oxidation of LDL is prevented then it won’t become plaque. Functional HDL actually helps to cleans up the oxidized LDL. On the other hand, HDL can be non-functional. According to Dr. Mark Houston, internationally known cardiologist, a large percentage of women with HDL over 80 have non-functional HDL. One study showed that HDL-C did not have the same cardioprotective effects that HDL-P has.
http://clinchem.aaccjnls.org/content/60/11/e1. It is important to realize this because many doctors don’t know about this. They see a 93 on the HDL and say, “Wow, that’s amazing. Great job.” When it is not necessarily a good thing and the patient is actually dyslipidemic. This is especially frustrating when I see blood work from a person who normally has terrible cholesterol. They suddenly have a 90 in HDL and their doctor is happy but they didn’t change anything. Guess what? That isn’t actually good. If you didn’t do anything to make that HDL get that high then it isn’t really that high.
I have heard, “Well, the patient started reacting to the statin very well.” Really? The patient started benefiting from the statin in a way they hadn’t in years of taking it? Also, statins suddenly started raising total HDL?
Statin drugs don’t care about any of this. They see good cholesterol and bad cholesterol and destroy both of them. So functional HDL is reduced in statin use preventing them from doing their good work. This is one of the negative aspects of statins that I could always see.
Like the article says, CoQ10 is a fat based anti-oxidant that is prevented from being made by statin drugs. This is bad for two reasons.
1. Like we said, LDL is only bad when it gets oxidized. Obviously, high levels of LDL are bad because it only takes a little oxidative stress to turn all that into plaques. But if CoQ10 levels are too low, then you can’t prevent the oxidation if it is going to happen. More oxidation happens with less CoQ10.
2. CoQ10 supports the liver function which is where cholesterol is produced. CoQ10 supports HDL functionality through this mechanism. More CoQ10 equals the liver making better HDL.
So you can see, HDL and LDL both benefit from adequate levels of CoQ10.
The article goes on to describe how Vitamin K production is also disrupted. This is definitely bad for the production of plaque (Vitamin K prevents plaque buildup.) It also prevents glutathione peroxidase. Also bad, because glutathione is the master anti-oxidant in the body which once again will contribute to the amount of oxidized LDL.
So what to do?
Well if you love statins and absolutely want to stay on yours then I won’t argue. I’m not your dad and you should do what you want to do. Just know that you should be supplementing the CoQ10, selenium, and glutathione that are getting lost. I won’t suggest taking Vitamin K without being tested. It seems that K2-MK7 is the most cardioprotective of the vitamin K’s but I wouldn’t recommend taking it without the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.
If you are taken aback by this published research, then you probably want to know how to lower your cholesterol naturally.
Even if statins were perfect and didn’t do anything wrong, but you knew you could cure it for good without having to take a drug every day, wouldn’t you? Instead of having to take a medication every single day.
Well, the causes of heart disease can be reduced to inflammation, oxidative stress, and/or immune system dysregulation in regards to the arteries, veins, and heart. But the causes of these are wide and varied. They can be different for everyone. And there is no rule that there can’t be multiple causes.
Whatever you do, I recommend not doing the same thing every single day forever, whether it is pharmaceutical or natural. I have seen natural health care practitioners give someone a particular herb that lowers cholesterol and have it work. But if the person has to take it forever then it isn’t fixing anything.
Just for fun, if you think that this is an isolated article, I have included just a few more for your perusal. And there are dozens and dozens more if you want to dig into the literature.