Although it gets a bad rap, cholesterol is a steroid necessary for body function. The body produces cholesterol naturally and utilizes it for cell wall function and hormone production (estrogen, testosterone). Its presence in the body is not malicious; however, because the body produces it, there is no dietary requirement that must be ingest per day.
Good, Bad, or Neither?
The first thing everyone should understand about cholesterol is that the “good” cholesterol (known as HDL) and the “bad” cholesterol (known as LDL) are very poor labels. In fact, HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein) are not even cholesterol at all; they are proteins that carry cholesterol. LDL carries cholesterol from your liver to other body parts and HDL carries cholesterol from your body, back to your liver.
Switching Standards without Support
Before 1993, the recommended total cholesterol level in the blood was 240 mg/dl. Then a panel of 10 doctors agreed to lower it from 240 to 200 mg/dl. This increased the number of Americans who were eligible to take a statin drug (i.e. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor) by over 37 million. Now nearly two decades later, there is absolutely no evidence that there has been a decrease in heart attacks, which was the original aim of increasing the medication.
High Cholesterol is Not the Real Issue
I speak to all my patients about getting to the cause of their health problems. No one on Earth has high cholesterol because of a deficiency in statin drugs. High cholesterol is not a diagnosis; it is merely a symptom of poor health. With all the risks and side effects associated with statin medications (headaches, muscle pain/weakness, constipation, kidney failure), I am not convinced the benefit (if there is any at all) outweighs the risk.
Just Tell Me What To Do!
The best thing to do? The only time it is safe to come off your medication is under the supervision of your prescribing physician. Talk to you doctor about coming off the medication for a few months while adding exercise and increasing raw vegetable intake. If your doctor insists you stay on the medication (consider getting a second opinion) you must find a good Co-Q10 supplement. Statin drugs deplete the body of this energy-producing molecule that is synthesized naturally in your body. Because of this, it's best to replenish CO-Q10 with a quality nutritional supplement in order to avoid some of the statin drug side effects.
Find a holistic practitioner that will take the time to get to the cause of your health problem. Your cholesterol is high for a reason and it is not because of a deficiency in statin drugs. If you want to be drug free, then you have to be willing to live a drug-free lifestyle. People who exercise regularly, eat plenty of vegetables and lean meats, and practice stress reduction techniques will not have high cholesterol levels and will ultimately live healthier and happier lives.