I am very concerned about the fact that so many of my patients and friends are taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. These are dangerous drugs, and they are being handed out like candy. They are even being prescribed for people with cholesterol values in the 190-200 range. This is absurd.
Our bodies need cholesterol. It plays an essential role in building cell membranes and building hormones; it is vital for brain function. If the brain is deprived of cholesterol, the brain can’t process data properly, and memory suffers. How many people who are taking statin drugs attribute their memory lapses and slow brain function to aging? If you go online and research the side effects of statin drugs – you will be shocked.
One of the possible side effects is transient global amnesia (TGA), a condition in which one suddenly loses the ability to retain new memory. Another possible side effect is memory retrogression, a condition in which one retains memories from a point in the past, e.g., age 12, and then loses one’s memory from that point forward. These episodes may last a few minutes or up to twelve hours before, in most cases, returning to normal.
Forgetfulness, confusion and disorientation have also been reported by those on statin drugs. In Canada and Australia, all statin drugs carry a warning that statin drugs have the potential to cause memory loss or impairment. These brain side effects are due to the ability of the statin drugs to pass the blood/brain barrier and interfere with the glial cells synthesis of cholesterol.Because cholesterol is so vital for brain function, brain glial cells have the ability to manufacture cholesterol. Cholesterol is necessary for the formation of the brain synapses (contact sites between neurons).
Another major side effect of statins, affecting about 20% of users, is muscle pain. Unfortunately, stopping the drug does not always allow the user to get back to normal. My friend and cardiologist extraordinaire, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, rarely uses statin drugs. If he does, he prescribes them at a much lower than usual dose. He says the chief benefit of statins is not the cholesterol-lowering, but rather, their anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties.
There are many natural approaches for reducing inflammation; these include reducing the toxic load and using an anti-inflammatory supplement like Wobenzyme (see past newsletters Oral Enzymes and Inflammation Part 1 and Part 2). It is not your cholesterol level that your doctor should look at, but rather your inflammatory markers, like homocystine and ferritin.
An excellent website is Space Doc.Net. This site was set up by Duane Graveline, MD. Dr. Graveline was a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and astronaut. In 1998, Dr. Graveline was prescribed Lipitor after his annual astronaut physical. That prescription marked the start of ten years of declining health. Even though he was on Lipitor for only a few months, he eventually developed ALS-like symptoms. In fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) has reported an increase of ALS in statin drug users.
Fortunately, Dr. Graveline did return to health when he started taking supplements which restored his cellular mitochondria to proper health.
Whether you are already taking statins or just thinking of taking them, please go to Dr. Graveline’s website and thoroughly investigate the subject. Drugs can have tragic side effects.