Some health experts mistakenly portray foods that contain cholesterol–like eggs and red meat–as “heart attacks on a plate.” But this quip is far from the truth.
A real danger to your health?
Cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins.
These are “disasters in a pill.” In fact, a NASA physician-astronaut experienced amnesia and personality changes after taking Lipitor for just six weeks. I’ll tell you more about his story in a moment.
But first let’s talk about one of the most well-known and widespread side effects of these drugs: muscle pain. You’ve probably heard someone who takes a statin drug complain about it. It’s by far the single, most common side effect. And sometimes, the muscle pain gets so bad, patients have to stop taking the drug altogether.
But, as I said last month in my Insiders’ Cures newsletter, these are actually the fortunate few.
Millions of others who can better “tolerate” the drugs wind up taking them for years and years. But these folks often suffer from far more serious health issues down the line. And they may never even realize it.
To understand how this happens, I need to explain a little bit about biochemistry. So bear with me.
As part of its normal metabolism, your body produces something called mevalonic acid. This acid is important to your cell membranes. And to protein function.
In the process of making mevalonic acid, your body produces three things: cholesterol, neuropeptides called dolichols, and CoQ10 (Ubiquinone). In technical terms, these are called the metabolic “byproducts” of mevalonic acid.
But the human body wastes very little. And it doesn’t make something if it’s not going to use it.
So, your body sends the cholesterol to your cells. In fact, every single cell in your body uses cholesterol. The dolichols go to work in your brain and nervous system. And CoQ10 goes to work in your cells.
But statin drugs disrupt this entire metabolic process.
Of course, statins are designed to disrupt normal cholesterol production. But they also cause a lot of collateral damage. As you might expect, they also disrupt the production of CoQ10 and dolichols.
Let’s first look at CoQ10…
Statin drugs are so strong, they block your tissues from absorbing CoQ10. In fact, that well-known side effect of statin drugs that I mentioned earlier–muscle pain–is actually a sign that the statin drug is poisoning your metabolism by depleting CoQ10.
And what about the dolichols? Remember, these neuropeptides go to work in your brain and central nervous system. What happens to the body when a statin drug disrupts their production?
The outcomes can turn scary very quickly, as NASA physician-astronaut Duane Graveline experienced firsthand.
Here’s his story…
About 15 years ago, Duane’s cholesterol hit 280. His NASA physicians immediately put him on a 10 mg daily dose of Lipitor.
Six weeks later, Duane experienced his first episode of amnesia. He also experienced severe personality changes while on Lipitor.
Duane saw countless doctors and neurologists. And they all told him statin drugs couldn’t cause neurological disruptions.
Now, we know better. They can. And they do.
Since then, Duane–who is also a Flight Surgeon–has made a study of statin drugs. He reports seeing hundreds of cases of aggression, paranoia, depression, suicidal thoughts, and homicidal thoughts. As well as a number of suicides and homicide attempts, all associated with statin drug use.
And if all of this isn’t bad enough, statin drugs also appear to result in higher levels of diabetes and some cancers. Plus, they cause immediate and/or long-term toxicities to the liver, kidney, and other organs.
You may remember hearing about these toxicities with Baycol, one of the first statin drugs to hit the market. It was so toxic and killed so many people, the FDA had to pull it from the market after just four years. Then, the lawsuits started rolling in. In fact, about 10 years ago, I remember watching one of the Philadelphia law firms take over floor after floor of a downtown office building. It needed the additional space to accommodate more and more files on more and more cases for a class action suit against Baycol.
While doctors might not yet widely recognize the neuropeptide disruptions, we have all known about the CoQ10 side effects of statin use for a long time. In fact, Merck, the maker of the first statin drug, actually took out a patent on a statin-CoQ10 combination.
However, Merck never made it available to the public.
Fortunately, you can take matters into your own hands. You can obtain some CoQ10 from dietary sources like oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), organ meats, and whole grains. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t absorb the dietary form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) very well.
A better option may be a CoQ10 (Ubiquinol) supplement. Your body absorbs this chemically reduced form much more easily. I recommend taking 200 mg of it daily with a meal.
However, buyer beware.
If the bottle says “Coenzyme Q10” or “CoQ10,” it’s probably Ubiquinone–the less well-absorbed chemical form. Look for a product that specifically says Ubiquinol on the label.
You can also try eating more apples. They are a good source of mevalonic acid, which is why nutritionists often recommend them for muscle cramps and muscle fatigue.
In the end, lowering cholesterol is a questionable pursuit in the first place. In fact, half the people who die of heart disease have “normal” cholesterols levels.
Thankfully, some doctors now acknowledge the problems surrounding these cholesterol-lowering drugs. Especially at higher doses.
If you have higher cholesterol, make sure to see a doctor who will discuss all of the complexities of the issue with you. And if you end up taking a statin drug, make sure you use a high-quality Ubiquinol/CoQ10 supplement as well.