Why Statins Cholesterol Lowering Drugs are Bad for You
When you go for a Doctor’s visit and your cholesterol is above 200 or higher you are likely to leave from your visit with a prescription for a cholesterol lowering statin and a recommendation to follow a low fat diet. That is today’s conventional medical wisdom, unfortunately, that wisdom is blatantly wrong.
Wait you say, everyone know that high cholesterol is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular incidents (strokes, heart attacks, atherosclerosis). Right…no, that is also incorrect.
Let’s review what some of the current research (some of which has been out for over ten years) has to say.
Regarding cholesterol, your brain is made of cholesterol and requires a huge amount daily. Additionally neurons in your body and brain all require cholesterol, however that cholesterol has to be transported to them. Do you know what transports the cholesterol to the neurons? It is that component of cholesterol which is termed “bad” cholesterol LDL. It is far from “bad” and in fact it is vital to your brain and body’s health. What would you expect to happen to your brain when you deprive it of cholesterol and the means to transport the cholesterol?
The famous Framingham Heart Study, which commenced in 1948 with the recruitment of men and women from the town of Framingham, MA and adding succeeding generations has measured cardiovascular disease dementia and stroke for over six generations.
According to the study’s report, published in 2005, “There was a significant positive linear association between total cholesterol and measures of verbal fluency, attention/ concentration, abstract reasoning, and a composite score measuring multiple cognitive domains.” Moreover, “participants with ‘desirable’ total cholesterol (less than 200 ) performed less well than participants with borderline high total cholesterol levels (200 to 239) and participants with high total cholesterol levels (greater than 240 ).” 1
The study concluded that “lower naturally occurring total cholesterol levels are associated with poor performance on cognitive measures, which placed high demand on abstract reasoning, attention/ concentration, word fluency, and executive functioning.” 2
I hope that you noticed the cholesterol range that is referred to in this study less than 200 and greater than 240. Currently, conventional medical wisdom has established a desirable cholesterol level at less than 180 anything above that and you will be offered a statin to reduce it.
Okay, you have me interested now, I can see that lowering my cholesterol may not be good for my brain and cognitive function, however I am concerned about stroking myself out, what about my heart?
To show you how long this information has been available let’s examine a report in the October 1997 of Lancet which examined an elderly population in regards to levels of cholesterol and longevity. In the study, there was absolutely no difference in the risk of dying from coronary artery disease between the high-versus low-cholesterol groups. Additionally the authors reported: “Mortality from cancer and infection was significantly lower among the participants in the highest total cholesterol category than in the other categories. 3
Dr. George Mann, a researcher with the Framingham Heart Study, went on record stating: The diet heart hypothesis that suggests that a high intake of fat or cholesterol causes heart disease has been repeatedly shown to be wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit, and prejudice, the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising enterprise, food companies, and even governmental agencies. The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century. 4
Let’s get back to the “bad” LDL and specifically if that is what drives plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis). As it turns out that is not exactly correct either. And now we arrive at the crux of the problem.
When your Doctors recommends your statin prescription, they will also suggest a low fat diet. What happens is people start consuming more carbohydrates and in reality they probably were already consuming a lot of carbohydrate before the doctor’s visit.
Carbohydrate consumption has a profound effect on LDL. As you know carbohydrate are long chain sugars. Sugar binds to the LDL and makes it dysfunctional and no longer able transport the life giving cholesterol to the neurons. The LDL is now oxidized and there is considerable research which links oxidized LDL with plaque buildup and atherosclerosis.
If you want to optimize your chances for avoiding atherosclerosis, strokes and heart attack then you would immediately stop eating carbohydrates and sugar. In the words of Burt to Ernie; “Ernie if you want to play the saxophone you got to put that rubber ducky down”.
And in case you don’t remember (because your brain cells are not getting enough cholesterol) here is a list of some of the offending foods:
• All sources of gluten including whole-grain and whole-wheat forms of bread, noodles, pastas, pastries, baked goods, and cereals.
• All forms of processed carbs, sugar, and starch: corn, yams, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chips, crackers, cookies, pastries, muffins, pizza dough, cakes, doughnuts, sugary snacks, candy, energy bars, ice cream/ frozen yogurt/ sherbet, jams/ jellies/ preserves, ketchup, processed cheese spreads, juices, dried fruit, sports drinks, soft drinks/ soda, fried foods, honey, agave, sugar (white and brown), corn syrup, and maple syrup.
Please note for all the health food advocates this list includes all whole grains as well. A gluten is a gluten whether whole grain or not.
If you really want to improve your cardiovascular health, avoid dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and get off your statins, you are eating a diet consisting of good quality fats and proteins. So what do you want to do?
To read more, about this please read Dr. David Perlmutter excellent book Grain Brain.
1 Perlmutter, David (2013-09-17). Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers (Kindle Location 454). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
2 Perlmutter, David (2013-09-17). Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers (Kindle Locations 454-456). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
3 Perlmutter, David (2013-09-17). Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers (Kindle Locations 1244-1247). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
4 Perlmutter, David (2013-09-17). Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers (Kindle Locations 1238-1240). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.