It’s one thing when the government- industrial-medical complex pushes drugs that are ineffective. But it’s a whole new level of insult when it pushes one that poisons us.
And yet that’s what’s happening with statin drugs. And more than that, pharmaceutical companies are actually digging in their heels and doubling down on these deadly drugs. Could it be because they’re the best-selling drugs in the United States? Or the fact that one of them is the single best- selling drug in all of recorded history?
Readers of the Daily Dispatch already know of the dangers—and inefficacy—of statin drugs. But there IS some good news amid the whole statin mess. Before I get to that though, let me recap how things got to this point.
The myth behind statin drugs
The body makes cholesterol. That’s normal. Cholesterol is a building block of cells and steroid hormones. Statin drugs poison your metabolism to stop your body from making cholesterol.
Not only is this a scary thought, it also doesn’t prevent heart disease. In fact, half of the people who die from heart disease have normal cholesterol levels. And worldwide studies comparing different nations actually show lower cholesterol levels are associated with higher mortality rates. A recent study involving virtually the entire population of Sweden saw no decline in heart disease deaths before and after statins were introduced.
Ironically the biggest risk factor for heart disease is high blood pressure. Yet studies show that only half of the approximately 50 million people with high blood pressure in the United States are being treated effectively for the condition. So doesn’t that seem like a good place to start fixing, rather than fixating on cholesterol?
After all, safe and effective drugs for blood pressure have existed for decades—but even those might not always be necessary. Plenty of mind- body techniques are proven to help mild-moderate blood high pressure. The British Medical Journal recently questioned the appropriateness of treating mild high blood pressure (lower than 140/90) with drugs at all.1
How statins poison the body
The most common problems statin cause are in skeletal muscle. But remember, your heart—the organ statins are supposed to protect—is a muscle also. So while you’re taking statins with the hope of keeping your arteries healthy to help prevent heart disease, the drugs may be bypassing that whole process and damaging your heart muscle directly.
This problem is most likely to manifest as muscle pain, fatigue and weakness. In severe cases it can result in a condition known as rhabdomyolysis—actual destruction of muscle tissue. And if the byproducts of muscle destruction reach a dangerous level in the blood they can actually cause kidney failure and brain pathology.
The way statins create this toxic mess is by poisoning a key part of every cell—the mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for cellular respiration, which is how cells create energy to fuel every metabolic process and generate the water they need to stay hydrated. Muscles are especially susceptible to this damage. But other organs affected include the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and the heart itself.
But after the muscles, no part of the body is as affected by statins as the brain, which also has a high metabolic need for oxygen and energy. The brain is only about 3 percent of average body weight, but it uses 20 percent of the oxygen and 50 percent of the glucose in the blood circulation. So it too suffers from this metabolic poison.
Now here’s the worst part of it: When you stop taking the drug, the damage doesn’t just correct itself. And even people who do not report actual muscle symptoms can still show microscopic changes in mitochondrial cellular respiration. Statins have even caused previously “silent” genetic variants of muscular diseases to become expressed.
Turning the ship around
Are you ready for some good news? Some natural ingredients can actually reverse the damage caused by statins. And unlike some natural health “miracle cures,” these actually have a lot of research behind them. In fact, there have already been nearly 900 published research studies in the peer- reviewed scientific literature on statin damage and/or recovery.
These results are also available to the public through the National Institutes of Health Public Access. If your doctor tries to dismiss your concerns about taking statin drugs, ask what has he or she been reading (or more likely not reading) lately.
The standout in the natural arsenal is coenzymeQ10 (also called ubiquinone or ubiquinol). CoQ10 acts to reverse effects of statin-induced mitochondrial damage. That’s because it “bypasses” a number of problems in cellular respiration. The result is adequate energy production and improved antioxidant status.
The pharmaceutical industry even knows about this important benefit. In fact Merck, the maker of the first statin drug, actually took out a patent on a statin-CoQ10 combination. However, it never made it available to the public. When a colleague and I asked Merck why not about 10 years ago, we were told that the company never comments on products it doesn’t sell.
But experts have since told me that Merck probably never made this potentially life-saving combination available because the FDA would have forced them to repeat hundreds of millions dollars of research studies on the combination—even though all the evidence indicates it would have benefited the public! FDA is like any other government bureaucracy, insanely placing the requirements of their own internal bureaucratic processes over and above science, facts, truth, and the public interest.
But you can still reap the benefits of CoQ10. As part of a daily regimen of health promotion and disease prevention, a good dosage is 50 mg daily. For people on statins or recovering from statin poisoning, a recommended dose is in the range of 100 to 200 mg per day.
One concern regarding supplementation is that dietary CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) is not well absorbed. It is better absorbed in the chemically reduced form (called
Ubiquinol) especially if taken with food. When buying a CoQ10 supplement, look specifically for one labeled “ubiquinol.” If the label doesn’t specify the form, it is probably ubiquinone, the less absorbable chemical form.
B vitamins can prevent and reverse neuropathy and certain damage to neurons. Taking a high- quality B complex is a good part of the statin damage reversal plan.
Most B vitamins are readily available in foods, but B12 deficiency is common, especially among older people. B vitamins are found primarily in animal-based food products such as red meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy. The body can’t make B vitamins, and plants are poor sources—making animal products necessary. That’s why all vegetarians need B supplements.
As I’ve noted before, human metabolism and physiology are simply not adapted to getting nutrients from a strictly plant-based diet. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you are more likely to have a vitamin deficiency. If you think you are following such a diet for reasons of health—think again. If you follow such a diet for ethical or moral reasons, then strongly consider supplementation.
Vitamin D production requires cholesterol, so statins interfere with the body’s ability to make it normally. It’s important to avoid vitamin D depletion, since low levels have been strongly linked with numerous diseases. A daily dose of 1,000–2,000 IU is a safe dose for everyone to prevent deficiency.
From now until March, at latitudes north of Atlanta, the sun never gets high enough in the sky to provide the specific wavelengths of light necessary to activate vitamin D production.
Metabolism of mevalonic acid— which the body needs to synthesize cholesterol—is also damaged by statins. Eating apples and drinking apple cider (in moderation) can help. Apples are the single most abundant source of mevalonic acid among plants eaten as foods. I don’t see enough clinical research on this topic to be clear about “dose.” But if an apple a day can keep the doctor away, it should also help keep away the poisonous effects of statins.
Finally, after 12 years of doing my own research, I have become convinced that South African red bush (like Co-Q10) has a profound effect on supporting cellular respiration, which generates energy and water for proper hydration at the cell level. Red bush is available as a powder that can be used to make a tasty and healthful beverage.
Red bush should be part of any statin recovery plan. (Really, it should be part of everyone’s daily health and hydration regimen.) In addition to the hydration benefits, new research shows it has direct benefits to the muscle tissue itself—which further explain its amazing results when its comes to physical performance, as I explained in the September 19, 2013, Daily Dispatch (“Low-T’–men’s health or men’s hype?”—remember, you can read past Dispatches on my web site anytime!).
While it possesses a lot of beneficial constituents beyond what green tea offers, it does also offer the same profile of antioxidants as green tea, so you can also anticipate the same benefits—but without the caffeine, or acids, that can trouble green tea drinkers.
You can now get Red Joe, a new, superior brand of red bush that I personally helped develop.
Risk-free heart health
So as you can see, there are some ways to reverse the damage done by statins. But even better would be never taking them in the first place. After all, high blood pressure is a much more serious, clearly proven threat to heart health. Why not start there, with some easy, free, safe, and effective approaches that are proven to lower blood pressure…and therefore really reduce heart disease risk? You can review all your options for managing blood pressure in my special report, The Insider’s Secret to Conquering High Blood Pressure and Protecting Your Heart, which you received with your subscription.
1 Lenzer J. Cochrane review finds no proved benefit in drug treatment for patients with mild hypertension. BMJ. 2012;345:e5511.