Research shines a light on the dark side of statins and cellular function
(NaturalHealth365) Statins are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in America, with over 40 million adults taking some dosage of them every day. The common belief is that statins safely help lower heart disease risk by reducing cholesterol, but is it true?
Certain studies propose a weak connection between taking statins and the risk of heart disease, while others raise concerns about the safety claims attributed to the popular drug. Additionally, a considerable body of evidence challenges the notion that lower cholesterol levels invariably translate to reduced heart disease risk, questioning the solidity of this scientific premise.
Let’s review the safety and potential adverse effects of statins and why they might be woefully overprescribed.
Statins exposed: Shattering the illusion of cholesterol salvation
Statins do exactly what they are chemically designed to do – they lower cholesterol. They do this by naturally reducing the amount of cholesterol your liver makes.
That leads us to the first point – your body makes most of the cholesterol that it has. The evidence that high cholesterol leads to heart disease is not extremely convincing and is based largely on old scientific theories. So, while statins actually lower cholesterol, whether it’s valuable is generally not asked.
Several studies have acknowledged that while statins reduce LDL cholesterol, this reduction did not translate into a meaningful reduction in heart disease risk.
Challenging the narrative: Statin “side effects” are intended consequences
Drug side effects are typically unintended consequences of a medication not part of its mechanism of action to treat a given disease. For instance, low libido is a side effect of many depression and anxiety medications.
Statins cause thinning hair, problems in the eyes, weaker bones, and higher risks of hemorrhage, particularly in the brain, and these are just a handful of the “side effects.”
The reality is, however, that these are not side effects of statins – they are a result of the drug functioning as intended. Cholesterol in the blood is needed throughout the body to strengthen cells, and statins reduce the amount of cholesterol the body produces. It also makes the liver better at filtering out serum cholesterol from food.
With less cholesterol, all of the “side effects” of statins become apparent. The damage that statins do looks very similar to regular aging because they block cellular regeneration, so doctors often write off their effects as the patient experiences old age. And with many of the over 40 million statin patients in America being well into their 60s and 70s, you can see how writing off the damage from statins as old age is problematic.
Old science, new money
Just how many dietary guidelines we use now are based on ancient science? In the same way that sugar is healthy and fat is harmful, the idea that cholesterol is inherently linked to heart disease is outmoded and overdue for dissection.
The problem is primarily that because statins are so overprescribed, they have become a $20 billion industry. Statins are a class of drug that does exactly what they say, but we don’t question whether or not that’s valuable, and so they are prescribed very commonly and very lucratively.
Strategies that actually help your heart
The reality of many modern medical problems is that we live in a society that makes us sick. We are depressed, so we turn to alcohol, cigarettes, or food to take our minds off of how we feel, but these things can be extremely damaging.
One of the easiest things you can do to decrease your risk of heart disease is to stop smoking entirely and limit your alcohol consumption as much as possible. Cutting out processed foods as much as possible is also key to reducing your heart disease risk, and lowering your sugar intake to as little as possible is also key. High sugar consumption is directly correlated to obesity, some types of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Even through long daily walks, regular exercise helps the body use sugar and reduce systemic inflammation. Strength training increases your heart health, helps keep you trim, increases bone density, and can help prevent fractures as you age.
Finally, getting adequate sleep with blackout curtains and no external light can dramatically help our hearts. Poor sleep quality is directly linked to heart disease as well as a multitude of other negative health effects.
If you want to reduce your risk of heart disease, you need to look at your lifestyle habits first before you take an overprescribed drug like statins.
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