Leisa Wheeler, naturopath, health and healing mentor, and fatigue specialist, is the founder and director of Embracing Health, a business dedicated to bringing you health information that can change your life. Leisa’s passions include many areas of health – from food as medicine and nutrition, to physical fitness and detoxification; from emotional release work to spiritual healing; these varied interests shaping her belief in the value of integrated healing on all levels; physical, emotional and spiritual.
There was an article written recently by Dr Aseem Malhotra, arguing that the “benefits of statins have been exaggerated and their side effects downplayed” in the rush by the medical profession to prescribe these nasty medications to millions of people who don’t actually need them. Actually, I would argue that no one actually needs a statin medication and that high cholesterol levels are nothing more than a marker of imbalance in the body. Once the underlying health issues and causes of the raised cholesterol levels are addressed, they will fall back to normal levels naturally.
Cholesterol is a much-maligned substance in the media and the myth of “high cholesterol causing heart attacks” is one of the most pervasive health myths in the world today. Yet there is impeccable research showing that 50% of heart attack patients have normal cholesterol levels. Which clearly shows that something else is at play and that high levels of LDL cholesterol are not the CAUSE of heart attacks, but can be a marker in cardiovascular disease, although not a particularly reliable one.
Cholesterol is essential for life. All of our hormones are made out of cholesterol, and it is incorporated into the lipid membrane around every cell in our body, stabilising the membrane and contributing to the fluidity and therefore the ease of passage of nutrients in and out of the cell. It acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and when it rises, this can be a strong sign of inflammation. In past history, high cholesterol levels were attributed to an underactive thyroid, as thyroid hormone regulates the production and excretion of cholesterol by the liver into bile. When a high cholesterol levels was seen on a blood test, thyroid hormone was given and cholesterol levels returned to normal. With the advent of statin medication, the link between thyroid health and high cholesterol levels has been forgotten, as high cholesterol has been designated to be a disease in and of itself and therefore requiring medical intervention to lower.
There are a huge amount of side effects with statin medication and not all of them reverse when the medication is halted. Some of the issues include fatigue, brain fog, cognitive disorders and memory loss, and muscle pain and weakness. The irony of these side effects is that these symptoms can also be present in an underactive thyroid situation – they may be mildly present when a person is put on statin medication, which then exacerbates these symptoms and makes them much worse. Instead of correcting the original imbalance which may have related to hypothyroidism, the person starts on a downhill slide that will take them on a path straight towards disease. Untreated hypothyroidism has an increased risk of heart disease, so covering up the symptom (high cholesterol) and not treating the condition means that the patient does not have a clear opportunity of healing.
Dr Malhotra calls for an independent review of the scientific basis for the use of statins, which has been corrupted by misleading industry sponsored studies and the suppression of studies that seek to question the legitimacy of prescribing these drugs for millions of people at low risk of heart disease. Read more here:
Of course, in my opinion there is no need for statin medication at all, and if notice was taken of the hundreds (if not thousands) of studies showing that heart disease can be prevented or reversed through lifestyle modification and the use of certain specific supplementation, then we may have a new treatment paradigm. The work of Dr Dean Ornish, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn and the brilliant work of Dr Matthias Rath (author of Why Animals Don’t Get Heart Attacks But People Do…) based on the research of Dr Linus Pauling, proves beyond doubt that heart disease is a modern lifestyle disease and does not need to be the number one killer it is today.
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