Statins – why are there side effects?

9th September 2016 | Written by Louise Blanchfield

Statins are in the news today. A major review suggests that the benefits of statins are underestimated and the harms exaggerated. However, since the review is sponsored by industry and not independent can we really trust the outcome? Let’s have a look at statins, how they work and what we can do ourselves with diet and lifestyle to combat high cholesterol.

Statins block an enzyme that produces cholesterol but that same enzyme also produces coQ10 so if you block cholesterol production you also block coQ10. CoQ10 is used in the body to produce our energy molecules ATP. If you have reduced levels of coQ10 you can feel fatigued, have muscle weakness and more. Plus reduced levels of ATP can cause migraines and joint / muscle aches and pains. So, at the very least we should be supplementing everyone on statins with coQ10 to reduce the side effects. And why don’t we? Well, the cynical side of me would say because it’s rather expensive.

Some people can’t take statins because of the side effects and some people would rather try to reduce cholesterol naturally, so what can you do? There are many natural ways to reduce cholesterol and it is only by addressing our whole diet and lifestyle that we can make permanent changes that will lower cholesterol without any side effects!

Natural ways to lower your cholesterol levels:

  • Increase fibre – fibre binds to cholesterol in the gut and removes it from the body – so increase vegetables, oats, legumes and fruit
  • Increase intake of essential fats – think oily fish – salmon, mackerel and sardines and / or ground flaxseed as alternate source of omega 3
  • Increase intake of vitamin C – think kiwi, berries, oranges, lemon
  • Increase intake of vitamin E – spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds, trout, avocado
  • Increase antioxidant intake – eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables
  • Decrease stress as it decreases HDL (good cholesterol) – try yoga, pilates, reading, going for a walk, take a bath, get a good 8 hours sleep
  • Decrease trans fat and saturated fats
  • Boost liver function – your liver takes cholesterol out of the bloodstream and turns it into bile acids that are released into the gut to digest fats. So, it makes sense that if we help our livers to work well that we should be able to enhance it’s ability to do this…
    • Eat brassica vegetables
    • Eat onions, garlic and eggs
    • Drink hot lemon water on waking
    • Cook with turmeric
    • Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day
    • Drink green tea
    • Cook with rosemary
    • Eat dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds to boost magnesium levels
    • Eat B vitamins rich food particularly B6, B12 and folic acid
    • Avoid alcohol
    • Avoid processed foods
    • Avoid household chemicals

Of course, no-one ever has only one problem. Even minor things like indigestion, constipation, dandruff, bloating or wind are our bodies saying something is wrong. If you were to have an individual nutritional therapy assessment we would address all of those issues and the high cholesterol to produce an eating programme specific to you and your needs. Some people say that dietary intervention doesn’t work but I would say that their whole body hasn’t been properly assessed because if you only try to eat to reduce cholesterol without addressing other problems in your body then it will, most likely, fail. So, I would recommend a full nutritional therapy assessment either in person in fife or via online video conferencing so that you can gain the knowledge to help your body help itself! Book now here. What have you got to lose?

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