Why I’d panic if my level dropped below 300
The truth about cholesterol
The key to good heart health isn’t found in a statin bottle. In fact, the best thing you can do for your heart health is to throw those meds in the trash. If you need a reason, try one of these:
* The lower your cholesterol, the higher your chance of death (according to a study published in the Lancet).
* If you’re over 69 and generally healthy, no studies show that statins will reduce your heart attack risk (also published in the Lancet).
* Even taking statins for several years won’t reduce your risk of dying.
And here’s the best reason of all:
Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease
The question isn’t whether or not statins work to lower cholesterol. They do. The question is whether you need to lower your cholesterol levels to begin with—and whether you get any benefits from doing so.
Most people look at me cross-eyed for even asking the questions. Obviously, drug companies have done a good job of convincing you that the answer is yes. But regardless of the propaganda that Big Pharma has used to hypnotize both you AND your doctor, the facts tell a different story.
According to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, lowering bad cholesterol doesn’t benefit you at all if you have low levels of good cholesterol or high levels of inflammation (C-reactive protein). And as it turns out (much to the drug companies’ chagrin), most heart attack patients have normal cholesterol levels.
Statins are supposed to be able to reduce your risk of heart attack by 34 percent. That might sound promising, but those numbers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. A review of seven clinical studies that included over 40,000 patients and was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that taking statins decreases your heart attack risk from 5.7 percent to 4 percent. The researchers said that you’d need to treat 60 people for over four years in order to prevent ONE heart attack. And you’d need to treat over 250 people to prevent ONE stroke.
With side effects like muscle damage, liver damage, nerve damage, and sexual dysfunction—you tell me if you think they’re worth it. The odds are not in your favor.
It all boils down to this:
Cholesterol is actually good for you
Cholesterol is vital for your energy levels, brain function, and bodily synthesis of crucial vitamin D—which is a boon to your heart. In fact, I’ve been saying for years that I’d consider anything less than a combined HDL/LDL blood cholesterol number of 300 (twice what the mainstream now considers ideal) to be too low.
Yet these facts don’t stop the medical establishment from constantly lowering their definition of healthy cholesterol levels. Back in 2004, the federally funded National Cholesterol Education Program recommended that those at risk of cardiovascular events decrease their LDL levels to between 70 and 100 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter). The following year, sales of statin drugs ballooned 46 percent to over $22 billion.
Talk about boosting the bottom line. It’s an amazing little trick. Every time some government health agency arbitrarily lowers the recommended cholesterol level, Big Pharma’s pockets get deeper and deeper. It’s no coincidence, either.
Eight of the nine experts on the panel had their hands tied up in drug company money. So even though 34 experts petitioned against these recommendations, their arguments fell on deaf ears.
Study after study pokes holes in the benefits of statins. Like a review of cholesterol drug studies that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which found that…
Artificially lowering cholesterol levels using statin drugs has NO HEALTH OR MORTALITY BENEFITS
Instead of focusing on cholesterol levels, you should be more concerned with making sure your homocystein levels are where they’re supposed to be, since high levels are directly related to hardening of the arteries.
The best way to get your homocysteine under control—and to prevent heart attacks and strokes—is by taking just three low-cost, zero-risk nutrients. Those three nutrients are folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology a few years ago, researchers noted that the increase in the blood flow rate after folate therapy was “similar to that seen with statin drugs and ACE inhibitors.” Imagine that: a simple, safe, and cheap nutrient can do what the expensive and not-so-safe drugs do—without side effects.
It’s no wonder the drug companies want to keep this under wraps.
Here’s what to do:
Once something has been drilled into your head for so long, it’s hard to get it out. But trust me: The best thing you can do for your heart is to forget the cholesterol myth. If you haven’t been conned into taking a statin yet, good for you. Stick to your guns. If you’re already taking one of these drugs, talk to your doctor about how to get off those meds. If he looks at you like you have two heads, get another doctor.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of folate in your diet every day. Although everything you read will tell you that you can get all the folic acid you need from fruits and vegetables, that just isn’t true. The USDA measurements clearly show that fruits and vegetables are poor sources of folic acid. And those are just the raw values. After they’re boiled, vegetables are essentially nutrition-free. Folic acid, B6, and B12 are all water-soluble vitamins, so they are carried out of the vegetables and dissolved in the boiling water—and then poured down your disposal.
By far, the best source of dietary folate is liver. Just a 3-oz. serving of beef liver contains 174 micrograms of folic acid. Chicken liver is the tastiest and, with the proper sauce, it’s an outstanding dish. Just make sure you don’t overcook it.
If the thought of eating liver makes you gag, you can also get folate from animal protein, animal fat, dairy products, fish, and shellfish.
But no matter what’s on your dinner plate, you should also be supplementing with folate. Take at least 800 micrograms a day. It might sound like a lot, but doses up to 5,000 micrograms are safe and will have even more benefits. I take between 5,000 and 15,000 micrograms a day.