Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Do you really need statins when you have high cholesterol? What are the natural alternatives to statins?

High cholesterol has been preached so much as a cause of heart attacks making statins one of the best selling drugs in the world.  In 2010 alone, Simvastatin was the third most prescribed drug in New Zealand with 1.3 million prescriptions, according to the 2010 Pharmac Annual Report.  The USA Food and Drug Administration has issued warning on the use of statins with increasing the risk of diabetes, raised blood pressure and memory loss.  The first two risks are specifically related to cardiovascular health, and it is a paradox to work on lowering cholesterol and the side effects of the drug is causing the increase in cardiovascular risk itself!

So what does the scientific research say about the use of statins?  In a nutshell, statins are protective against heart disease for patients who have had a heart attack.  However, in healthy patients who have not had any cardiac event, especially women, there is no evidence to support the use of statins!  It is interesting that many doctors are still trying to push statins onto their patients just because their cholesterol is elevated even though the patient is healthy otherwise.

You need to know that your liver produces the bulk of your cholesterol.  Eating well – with adequate good fats, not low fats!  The Heart Foundation Diet has not been found to be effective in the reduction of cholesterol. Looking for the Heart Foundation tick is not the answer.  The tick is given to companies willing to pay to get the tick.  We should really have the tick on every head of cabbage and broccoli, should we not?

Have 2-3 tablespoons of cold pressed olive oil in your diet daily.  Eating plenty of raw seeds and nuts will help with the plant based fibre and healthy fat intake.  And keeping your liver well is the key, removing excess sugar, processed carbohydrates and having lots of fresh vegetables will help you win the game.

If working through all these strategies still leaves your cholesterol in limbo, you need additional help.  These are people who would benefit from a Hemaview Live Blood Screening test to take a snapshot about your nutritional status, oxidative stress status and inflammation status to address any other underlying causes of your elevated cholesterol.

I have emphasized the importance to keep your blood pressure in the normal or low-normal range.  The increase in blood pressure puts you at high risk of a cardiac event, probably higher than having high cholesterol!  And if you have high homocysteine levels, correct that!  You need to know your homocysteine levels if you are truly interested in having a healthy cardiovascular system. 

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