Of the four patients I saw yesterday four were on statin drugs.
All four new patients were taking a cholesterol-lowering drug. I’ve been saying for 15 years how terrible that is, and over that time it’s gotten worse every year.
One of my new patients told me, “First my doctor put me on Lipitor and I got these aches in my legs so bad I complained until he took me off. The only way I got him to take me off was telling him I wouldn’t take it anymore. So then he put me on Crestor.
“Since then, I’m worse. Now I have pains in my legs, my back hurts…even my neck is stiff. Every day I wake up and I can hardly more. So I told my doctor and he said, ‘You can’t stop. Not only that but we want your LDL cholesterol down to below 70 and yours is 130 so you’re going to have to take more of the statin.”
That’s when he decided enough was enough, and he came to me.
I told him, “The first thing I want you to do is stop taking Crestor.”
“Well, I can start tapering…”
“No, don’t taper it” I said. “Just stop it today. Stop it immediately.”
He got so excited he had to get up and leave the room.
He went out and got his wife and they hugged each other!
Then she came and hugged me and they had a little celebration right there in my office. They were so happy they were elated because a doctor had told them he could finally stop the drug.
The cardiologist had done such browbeating on him…because most cardiologists are still recommending “statin drugs for everyone.” It’s like they’ve been locked in a cave.
My patient had told his cardiologist, “I read this stuff from this doctor who says you raise HDL with exercise – he’s got a program where you can strengthen your heart – and you can do it with diet and supplements…”
The cardiologist told him, “All of tha put together would maybe be 5%. The other 95% is you taking this drug.”
Most doctors still consider cholesterol screening to be one of the best predictors of heart attack. If your cholesterol levels are even the slightest bit high, they pull out the prescription pad and write up a prescription for a statin – despite the fact that nearly 75 percent of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol.(1)
To the cardiologist, the reason this man had a heart attack was because of a deficiency of the medication, and there’s nothing else that can be done for him. He just has to take the drug.
Meanwhile, the list of side effects for these drugs is so long your eyes would glaze over if I printed them all here.
Just one of these side effects – that statins cause a huge number of people to suffer fatigue, muscle cramping, and muscle weakness, or even rhabdomyolysis, when your muscle cells burst and disintegrate – is enough to tell me that this is a class of drugs you don’t want to go anywhere near.
To have higher HDL, lower LDL and avoid being pushed to an early death by the side effects of statin drugs, here’s what to do:
Step 1) Have fun and give yourself a challenge – Intense, short periods of exertion like I describe in my P.A.C.E. program are the most effective way to increase your HDL. One study looked at Navy personnel going through intense training. After only 5 days, their HDL had increased 31%!(2)
Step 2) Eat pure, clean foods – Stay away from processed foods and junk foods…especially refined sugars. Instead eat lean proteins and unprocessed carbs, like fruits and vegetables.
Step 3) Drink in moderation – one to two drinks a day are proven to increase HDL. A brand new study followed 4,168 doctors for 14 years. It found the physicians were able to increase their HDL by almost a full 1 mg/dl simply by drinking one serving of alcohol every day.(3)
Step 4) Take a few good supplements – Taking 50 mg of niacin (vitamin B3) daily improves your HDL. Omega-3s increase HDL as well. You can find omega-3s in grass-fed beef, walnuts, olive oil, cold water fish, and in the world’s richest plant source of omega-3, Sacha Inchi oil. Sacha Inchi has almost 7 grams in each tablespoon full.
Step 5) If you already have some muscle weakness or pain, take 600 mg per day of alpha-lipoic acid. Studies show it prevents or improves nerve conduction, blood flow to nerves and nerve activity, and eases symptoms of muscle soreness.(4)
Editors Note: Dr. Al Sears, M.D. is a board-certified clinical nutrition specialist. His practice, Dr. Sears’ Health & Wellness Center in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., specializes in alternative medicine. He is the author of seven books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging, and nutritional supplementation, including The Doctor’s Heart Cure. To get his free special report on the proven anti-aging strategies for building a vibrant, disease-free life, go here now. You’ll learn how to stop Father Time without giving up the foods you love.
1. Castelli, et al. Cholesterol and lipids in the risk of coronary artery disease. The Framingham Heart Study Can J Cardiology, 1998; July; 4 Suppl A:5A-10A.
2. Smoak, B.L., Norton, J.P., Ferguson, E.W., et al, “Changes in lipoprotein profiles during intense military training,” J. Am. Coll. Nutr. Dec. 1990;9(6):567-72
3. Rahilly-Tierney, C,, Sesso, H.D,, Djoussé, L, et al, “Lifestyle changes and 14-year change in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in a cohort of male physicians,” Am. Heart J. Apr. 2011;161(4):712-8
4. Ametov, Alexander S., MD, et al, “The Sensory Symptoms of Diabetic Polyneuropathy Are Improved With α-Lipoic Acid,” Diabetes Care March 2003;26(3):770-776