In June the FDA issued a warning on the use of high dose Simvastatin (a cholesterol lowering drug). Based on a clinical trial, patients on 80mg of Simvastatin had an increased risk of rhabdomyolysis, a process in which muscle fibers breakdown and increase the risk for kidney damage.
According to Dr. Fryhofer’s Medscape article, 10% of people who take statins suffer from this side effect. The proposed mechanisms for muscle breakdown relate to a decrease in the stabilization of the muscle fibers and that various cofactors in cellular metabolism, including proteins and coQ10, are halted by the use of cholesterol lowering drugs.
“What if you put 250 people in a room and told them they would each pay $1,000 a year for a drug they would have to take every day, that many would get diarrhea and muscle pain, and that 249 would have no benefit? And that they could do just as well by exercising? How many would take that?” asks drug industry critic Dr. Jerome R. Hoffman, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.
As a Naturopathic and Functional Medical Doctor, I practice upstream medicine. This means, I am looking for the cause of the problem. Blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming a witness at the scene of the crime. We need to look at why the body is producing the cholesterol.
Cholesterol is needed in the body for a variety functions, it forms a protective layer around every cell in your body. It is a pre-cursor to important sex hormones, fat-soluble vitamins (including Vitamin D!), and is needed to make bile salts for the breakdown and use of dietary fats. Cholesterol is found in large amounts in the brain, adrenal gland, and nervous system. It is estimated that the liver actually makes about 40-50% and that only 50% of cholesterol from food is absorbed.
Cholesterol is so vital for health of the body, if it is reduced to too low of an amount; the liver is put to work and produces more. Due to its variety of functions, cutting it down so low, below 200, could be causing negative side effects outside of the heart.
Recently, I was fortunate to hear a seminar with Dr. White, an integrative DC & Nutritionist. He concluded:
The original study of cholesterol done in the 1960s on approximately 240,000 subjects found that cholesterol levels above 300 directly associated itself with an increased risk of heart disease. What was also reported in the same study also was that cholesterol less than 130 directly associated itself with an increased risk of cancer.
What about brain function and mood?
Cholesterol is essential for formation of the nervous system’s conductor for brain chemistry and pain perception, the myelin sheath. Remember all those references to fish oil, mood, and heart healthy studies? As I spoke about in the past, cholesterol is so vital to the function of the brain, that if it’s too low it can actually increase the risk of mood disorders and suicidal depression.
High cholesterol in itself is not necessary an issue. The problem lies in when the cholesterol gets oxidized or inflamed and sticks to artery walls. Correcting hormonal imbalances, high blood sugar, sources of infection and inflammation, and addressing stress all can prevent this unwanted effect.
Does that mean we ignore high cholesterol levels?
Cholesterol is important to look at in the midst of other factors. Some of these factors include:
- Genetic profiles, such as ApoAE gene variations to assess if statins would be helpful based on one’s ability to clear lipids
- Inflammatory and nutritional markers such as fibrinogen, homocysteine, and ferritin
- Factors that assess stickiness of the blood such as lipoprotein structure, plaque indicator markers, and insulin
- Checking for heavy metals
- Looking at testosterone and hormones, including cortisol
- Liver and kidney function
Furthermore, the root cause of why cholesterol is elevated should be addressed. A Naturopathic or Functional Doctor can help you navigate which tests might be helpful to run. They can also evaluate risk factors, such as hormonal and blood sugar imbalances, underlying inflammation causes, and food sensitivities.
Don’t forget to get fun facts on gluten, chocolate, and the Gut-Brain connection on the saratoga.com site!
1. Holistic Health Forum: October 6th at 6:15pm, Check out on Times Union Calendar of events.
2. Radio for Your Body-Mind-Soul: Hayhouse streaming Radio:
- Listen in as Dr. Northrup welcomes Dr. Aaron Katz of the Center for Holistic Urology at Columbia Medical Center in NYC. Learn all about the benefits of herbs and nutrition for keeping the prostate healthy-or regaining health after prostate cancer.
- Listen in with Marcelle Pick, NP as she talks with Larry & Belinda Wurn on
Treating Pain and Bowel Obstructions without Surgery. After bowel surgery, severe adhesions may develop. The only choice medical science offers to treat total bowel occlusion is surgical lysis of adhesions. This surgery involves cutting or burning the adhesions under general anesthesia. The Wurn Technique, developed by Belinda and Larry Wurn, is designed to reduce or eliminate adhesions, decrease pain, and improve soft tissue mobility, without the risks of surgery or drugs.
3. Dr. Oz’s Sharecare: view my answers here.
4. Latest Links:
My homepage now contains a video link with Dr. Oz and Dr. Hyman discussing Gluten Free: Pros and Cons and how to use high quality foods over hyped up gluten free junk foods.
There’s also a new link on the many benefits of honey, such as its probiotic containing goodness! J
New Link under Resources: US Sad Health Stats
New Link Under Vaccine Resources: IOM Vaccine Adverse Effects Stats
The Report sites casual evidence of Side effects with MMR, HPV, Chickenpox, and Influenza
Here’s a highlight on links with Varicella:
- Disseminated varicella infection (widespread chickenpox rash shortly after vaccination)
- Disseminated varicella infection with subsequent infection resulting in pneumonia, meningitis, or hepatitis in individuals with demonstrated immunodeficiencies
- Vaccine strain viral reactivation (appearance of chickenpox rash months to years after vaccination)
- Vaccine strain viral reactivation with subsequent infection resulting in meningitis or encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
- The MMR vaccine also is linked to febrile seizures, which are a type of seizure that occurs in infants and young children in association with fever.
5. ACTION ALERT:
FEEDBACK GOOD UNTIL SEPTEMBER 30th: Supplement Access in Threat!
The recent FDA NDI Draft Guidelines have the potential to impose unreasonable demands on our availability of quality and accessible supplements. A summary of the draft can be found here. It can be found in its entirety here. Please review the material, and if you feel called to, spread the word to your friends and loved ones. Together, we can make a difference, as we did in 1994.
Mercola, J. Could THIS Be the Hidden Factor Behind Obesity, Heart Disease, and Chronic Fatigue? www.mercola.com. September 17, 2011. From Dr. Mercola’s interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneffon http://mercola.fileburst.com/PDF/ExpertInterviewTranscripts/InterviewStephanieSeneffonSulfur.pdf
Sandra A. Fryhofer, MD. Switching From Simvastatin 80 mg: How to Shop for Statins: The Simvastatin Saga: Review of the FDA Drug Safety Warnings. Medscape Today. Accessed August 17, 2011. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/747821_2
Michael O’Riordan. FDA Restricts Use of Simvastatin 80 mg. Medscape Today. Posted: 06/08/2011
Drugs.com. Pharmaceutical Sales 2010. http://www.drugs.com/top200.html
Bandolier Journal. Statin outcome trials update. Accessed September 23, 2011. http://www.medicine.ox.ac.uk/bandolier/booth/cardiac/statout.html
White, S. Managing Dyslipedimia. Mentoring the Mentors Teleseminar. September 2011.