“Lower your cholesterol” has been the #1 health advice for 20 years or more. The battle against cholesterol has been so aggressive, by 2010, 32 million Americans were taking statins, the drugs designed to lower cholesterol.
That’s one out of every four Americans over the age of 44.
According to the latest numbers, we may be winning the battle. But we’re losing the war. Because the battle against cholesterol may be doing you more harm than good.
Today, I’ll show you why you need cholesterol, especially in your brain, and how to sidestep the devastating effects of modern medicine’s favorite heart drug.
I’ll also show you how to easily balance your cholesterol without drugs or other “solutions” that may make your heart even weaker.
Your Brain NEEDS Cholesterol
With all the anti-cholesterol hysteria, you’d think it was a dangerous toxin. But, in fact, it’s an essential building block within your body.
Cholesterol is an essential element of every cell membrane in your body. You need it to form hormones such as testosterone. And it’s an important element of the myelin sheath – the protective fatty coating on nerve cells.
Myelin insulates nerve cells – including your brain and spinal cord – from other tissues.
So cholesterol is critical for nerve system health. And a new study shows just how important it may be.
Researchers looked at mice with a rare and fatal disorder called Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD). PMD causes over-production of a protein that binds cholesterol.
The disease prevents normal growth of the myelin sheath. Sufferers lose coordination, motor control and intellectual functions.
The researchers fed diseased mice a cholesterol-enriched diet. The extra cholesterol stopped the disease’s progression. The extra cholesterol helped the mice make up for what was missing because of the PMD.1
The study offers new hope to people with a devastating illness. But it also highlights how important cholesterol is to your brain health.
But the over-prescription of statin drugs may be putting that health at risk.
The Big Statin Con Job
According to experts at Oxford University, only about 1 in 400 people has a hereditary condition that causes high cholesterol. Virtually everyone else should be able to control their cholesterol without drugs.
You see, your body needs bile acid to digest fat. The more fats and oils in your diet, the more bile acid your body produces. And guess what your body needs to make bile acid?
Right… cholesterol. So eating a lot of fat and oil in your diet triggers cholesterol production. Cut out the fat and oils, and your need for cholesterol goes down.
According to the Oxford scientists, that may be all that’s needed for most people to lower their cholesterol to acceptable levels.2
So why are 32 million Americans taking statin drugs?
In a word: money. In 2010, two of the ten top-selling drugs in the U.S. – including #1 – were stating drugs. These two statins alone accounted for $11 billion in sales.
No wonder the drug companies want everyone to take statins! Whether they need them or not.
And whether it’s healthy or not. Because statins may pose some serious health risks.
When the Cure is Worse than the Disease
Statins block production of cholesterol. And we’ve already seen that cholesterol is critical to your health. If that were the only problem with statins, it would be bad enough. But it gets worse.
Statin drugs also lower your levels of CoQ10.
Your body uses CoQ10 to produce energy at the cellular level. It’s especially important for muscle health. Including the health of your heart.
In a major study, researchers expected to see statins improve the condition of patients with chronic heart failure. But they didn’t.
A later analysis revealed the likely problem. The stain drugs had lowered the patients’ CoQ10 levels by an average of 20%.3 In essence, the statins left the patients’ hearts starving for an essential nutrient.
If you take statins, you probably won’t feel the drop in your CoQ10 levels. But you very well may feel muscle pain and weakness. Studies have shown that up to 98% of statin takers experience muscle problems, depending on dose.4
Sometimes, this muscle weakness and pain develops into full-blown rhabdomyolysis – a severe breakdown of muscle tissue that can lead to kidney damage. When this happens, your muscle cells burst open and release their contents into your blood stream, which clogs your kidneys and can actually kill you.
But that’s not all. Research also suggests statin use may also lead to…
- Dizziness, due to a drop in blood pressure
- Memory problems and mental confusion
- Neuropathy – Weakness, pain or tingling in the hands and feet
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
That’s right. An analysis of studies reveals statin drugs may be involved in the rising number of cases of CHF. The reason? The first side effect I mentioned: statins lower CoQ10.5
And finally, going back to memory problems… an MIT researcher has linked statin use to Alzheimer’s disease!
According to the researcher, the evidence shows a low fat diet and statin use combine to significantly raise your risk of Alzheimer’s.6
But you don’t have to accept this bad news for your brain. Because there is an answer. And it’s a lot safer than drugs.
Fight Fire with Fire:
Boosting the “Good” Cholesterol to Fight the “Bad”
The answer to cholesterol is more cholesterol.
As you may know, your body makes several types of cholesterol. But it makes mostly two types: LDL and HDL.
LDL is the building block. It’s built into cell membranes and nerves. If you don’t have enough, your body can’t function. But excess LDL can oxidize – and this is what can clog your arteries.
That’s why you have HDL cholesterol. If LDL is the building block, HDL is the cleanup crew. HDL cholesterol removes excess LDL from your bloodstream. It’s a natural balance. And it’s the secret to keep your high cholesterol under control.
High LDL cholesterol is less of a health issue than low HDL. Because when your HDL levels are high enough, LDL poses little problem.
And it’s easy to raise your HDL levels…
- Eat red meat. Eating lean red meat regularly raises HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL. Organic, grass-fed beef and lamb are best.
- Boost your CoQ10. Taking CoQ10 supplements will raise HDL. For the biggest effect, take the ubiquinol form, which is more bioavailable.
- Drink cocoa. Organic, unsweetened cocoa is actually healthy. One of it’s effects is boosting HDL cholesterol.
- Eat more eggs. You’ve probably heard that eggs raise cholesterol. And they do. But research shows they have a minimal effect on LDL cholesterol. What eggs boost are levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.
Finally, here are a few other ways to boost your levels of HDL cholesterol:
- Get more Omega-3 fats – especially those found in fish
- Eat nuts that contain healthy fats – such as almonds and walnuts
- Be more active and lose excess weight
- Don’t smoke and drink alcohol only in moderation
Following these simple guidelines should be more than enough for most people to control their cholesterol. And avoid the dangers of the drugs that could wreck your health, your heart and your brain.
1 Saber, G., et al, “Therapy of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease in mice by feeding a cholesterol-enriched diet,” Nature Medicine. 2012; 18: 1130-1135.
2 “Cholesterol,” University of Oxford, Department of Chemistry. Dec 1997.
3 Ashton, E., et al, “Why did high-dose rosuvastatin not improve cardiac remodeling in chronic heart failure? Mechanistic insights from the UNIVERSE study,” International Journal of Cardiology. Feb 3, 2011; 146(3): 404-407.
4 Fallon, S. and Enig, M., “Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines,” The Weston A. Price Foundation. Jun 14, 2004.
5 Langsjoen, P.H., “The clinical use of HMG CoA-reductase inhibitors (statins) and the associated depletion of the essential co-factor coenzyme Qlo; a review of pertinent human and animal data.”
6 Seneff, S. “APOE-4: The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins may Cause Alzheimer’s.”
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