Do You Know How Safe Your Statin Drugs Are?
Statin Risks: What You Need To Know After New FDA Warnings
New federal warnings that cholesterol-lowering drugs may cause increased blood sugar and memory loss have left millions of Americans wondering what the new requirements mean for their health.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week that new warning labels would be required for statins such as Pfizer Inc.'s Lipitor, AstraZeneca's Crestor, and Merck & Co.'s Zocor that are prescribed annually to more than 20 million people.
Statins have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease by cutting the risk of developing atherosclerosis — also known as hardening of the arteries — regulators noted. FDA officials sought to reassure consumers that the new labels don’t mean people should stop taking them.
"The value of statins in preventing heart disease has been clearly established," said Amy Egan, deputy director for safety in FDA's Division of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products. "Their benefit is indisputable, but they need to be taken with care and knowledge of their side effects."
But the decision, which was prompted by a new FDA review of health studies and reports of adverse effects, has raised many questions for people who take the medications. Should they ask their doctors about other options? Are safer alternatives on the market? Do the side effects outweigh the benefits for some people?
How significant are the FDA changes?
In truth, while being a step in the right direction, it only scratches the surface concerning the complications caused by this drug, and the fact that its usefulness in preventing cardiovascular disease is far overblown and based on phony statistical analysis and deception. Those prescribing and regulating this drug grossly violate informed consent laws. The patient is denied access to critical information regarding serious and life-threatening complications that have been documented with the use of this medication.
Should people who are on statins stop taking such medicines on their own or consult their doctors about what to do?
Should a person decide to stop taking the medication, they should do so under the guidance of a physician trained in the use of natural supplements. My own opinion is that one could start taking anti-atherosclerotic supplements and immediately stop these dangerous drugs, but it would have to be done under supervision of a person trained in natural medicine. What patients aren't told is that the “benefits” of statins do not begin for at least a year after starting the medication, so stopping them during this period should not increase their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. At least that is my opinion.
Are there other things you’d recommend doing instead to lower cholesterol?
Certainly, there is compelling evidence that a carefully followed diet, regular exercise, avoidance of excessive stress and environmental factors known to precipitate atherosclerosis — such as exposure to mercury, lead, fluoride, aluminum, and oxidized vegetable oils — can significantly reduce risk of heart attacks and strokes. Several natural plant extracts have also been shown to dramatically reduce atherosclerosis, such as curcumin, white tea catechins, resveratrol (pterostilbenes), ellagic acid, quercetin, mixed tocopherols, mixed tocotrienols, and magnesium, and they are far more effective and safer than any statin drug.
What about taking CoQ10 supplements?
The enzyme targeted by statin drugs is also responsible for the production of CoQ10, which is an essential energy molecule for all cells, especially for the heart and brain. Studies have shown dramatic depletion of CoQ10 with statin use, and this leads to chronic, progressive heart failure and memory loss. It should also be appreciated that cholesterol is essential for brain function, and excessive lowering of cholesterol increases one’s risk of hemorrhagic strokes, memory loss, and serious neurological diseases, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
Diet and fitness programs can also make a difference in reducing your heart-disease risks, right?
Yes, exercise is absolutely essential, but it must be done with an adequate intake of antioxidant supplements. As for diet, I would avoid an excessively low-fat diet, as most fats, such as saturated fats, play a very minor role in atherosclerosis.
The most harmful fats include the very ones being promoted by the government agencies, dieticians, and the American Heart Association, and they include the vegetables oils, such as corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, canola, and soybean oils. They are rapidly oxidized within foods before they are eaten, and this generates inflammation within blood vessels, which leads to rapidly advancing atherosclerosis. Healthy oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil, omega-3 oils, and coconut oils have been all but ignored by the government and dieticians until recently.
The dieticians and government health agencies, in fact, promoted trans-fats, until overwhelming evidence forced them to admit that trans-fats were leading causes of damage to health. Sugar and high glycemic carbohydrates are major players in atherosclerosis and should be avoided. Food additive excitotoxins, such as MSG, soy protein isolates and concentrates, hydrolyzed proteins, caseinates and autolyzed yeast, also stimulate high levels of damaging free radicals in blood vessels that can last for years.