Managing Your Cholesterol

355 million prescriptions for statin drugs were written world wide last year for lowering serum cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart disease.  However, heart disease remains the number one killer after decades of statin use.

There is no doubt that statin drugs do lower cholesterol but what if cholesterol is not the risk factor of heart disease we have been taught to fear?

Here are some facts you should know about cholesterol:

Cholesterol is the key molecule that allows us to have mobility and a nervous system. Without it we would cease to move and we would die.

Cholesterol is absolutely essential to the cell membranes of all of our cells.   The brain desperately needs cholesterol to function.   Cholesterol helps you build vitamin D3 and vital hormones.

The liver produces 75% of our body’s cholesterol.  So even if we ate no cholesterol we would still have it, thankfully.  Diet contributes the other 25% of our total cholesterol.

How did cholesterol become demonized? In the early 1900’s a German researcher found plaques in the arteries of corpses and theorized that cholesterol was the cause.  Over the 20th century, the theory snowballed, gathering momentum from flawed studies and statistics until we had the big dietary cholesterol scare and resultant low fat diet in the 80’s. It is time we laid the myth to rest.

Here is what we now know about arterial plaque:

We have been taught that low density lipo proteins (LDLs). are “bad cholesterol.”  LDLS are particles whose job is to carry non-water-soluble vital nutrients such as fats, cholesterol, vitamin D and anti-oxidants through the blood stream.


(Click on Info-graph to make larger)

When these particles do not have enough cholesterol, they become vulnerable to oxidation (free radicals and aging of the cell).  And, when there is too much sugar (especially fructose) circulating in the blood (as with diabetics and/or the typical processed carbohydrate diet) these LDL transport molecules become slowed and burdened by attached sugars and therefore stick around longer in the blood stream This is how your serum LDL level goes up— so the real culprit is SUGAR in the blood stream.

This begs the questions why are we still taking statins to reduce our cholesterol and are we causing unnecessary damage in doing so?

Here are the known side effects of statin therapy:  muscle aches and pains from weakness and cramping to serious degeneration, anemia, nerve damage to the hands and feet, liver damage, sexual dysfunction, acidosis, Co Enzyme Q10 depletion (may cause heart failure), memory loss, suppressed immune function, diabetes 2, cataracts, and increased cancer risk. These are serious signs of growing old very uncomfortably.

What if instead of taking a statin you could optimize your cholesterol levels and use diet and exercise as a way of reducing your risk of heart disease?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Eliminate processed, packaged foods, grains and sugars, especially fructose from your diet.
  2. Include heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
  3. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol excessively.
  4. Be sure to get plenty of good, restorative sleep.
  5. Stand up. Sit less.  Move more.

If you are taking a statin now and especially if you are experiencing side effects, please talk to your pharmacist and/or doctor about alternatives.

Cathy Lidster, B.Sc,GCFP, ACNRT  is a health educator and practitioner and teacher of “What Else Is Possible?”

Visit  Email: Phone 250-819-9041.

 For more information about the history of cholesterol and statins read The Cholesterol Myths – Uffe Ravnskov and The Great Cholesterol Lie, Dr. Dwight Lundell

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