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These Statins Go Hand-In-Hand with Dementia

Ask anybody you know what they think the biggest threat to their heart health is. I’ll bet the large majority of them will say high cholesterol.

This makes statin drugs sound appealing; and makes a lot of people extremely willing to take them.

And sure, statins really DO decrease LDL cholesterol.

But there are probably a lot of things you don’t know about these cholesterol-lowering drugs; and a lot of things you may not realize about cholesterol itself.

You see, over the years, researchers have identified numerous health threats associated with this class of drugs.

The Risky Side of Statins

Diabetes is near the top of the list. Study after study shows that statins increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 55%. So there is a lot of discussion about whether lower cholesterol levels are more important than the devastating health effects of statin-induced diabetes.

Cataracts are also near the top of the list. These opacities are a main cause of vision loss and blindness as we age – and statin users are more likely to develop cataracts than non-users.

Again, is the risk of developing cataracts balanced by the cholesterol-lowering effects of statins?

Rhabdomyolysis (the breakdown of damaged skeletal muscle) is a well-documented side effect of statin therapy. Symptoms include muscle pain and weakness, and may lead to significant muscle injury.

While that may not sound like the worst side effect of statins, keep in mind that YOUR HEART IS A MUSCLE!

Just last year a 65‐year-old man went to the emergency room for what was believed to be heart attack. He underwent angioplasty for moderate calcification. However, upon later review, it was confirmed that he suffered from rhabdomyolysis.

The study authors’ state: “The patient had a clinical and laboratory presentation suggestive for MI [heart attack], but further lab tests revealed increased cytolytic enzymes and a diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis…”

So yes, statin-induced rhabdomyolysis is a big concern.

But as far as I’m concerned, there is one statin-related health threat that may be at the very top of the list for most people.

Dementia is something that nearly everyone fears as they grow older. If my memory serves, it was somewhere around 2012 that the FDA acknowledged this neurological effect, requiring statin-makers to add a warning to their labels; “Statins may increase the risk of brain-related effects like memory loss and confusion.”

Well, it might be time for them to amend this warning for a certain type of statin.

You see, we have two types of statin drugs. Lipophilic statins are distributed throughout the body. They penetrate muscle tissue and are able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Hydrophilic statins, on the other hand, work in the liver and stay out of your muscle and brain tissue.

Not long ago, the Journal of Nuclear Medicine compared non-statin users with mild cognitive decline against those using lipophilic statins or “other” statins.

Over the next eight years, the onset rate of dementia was similar between the non-statin users and the “other” statin users.

But among the lipophilic statin users, the rate of dementia was more than double that of the other groups! In other words, this type of statin appears to go hand-in-hand with dementia.

Sadly, the most prescribed statins in the U.S. are of the lipophilic variety; atorvastatin, simvastatin, lovastatin, fluvastatin, cerivastatin and pitavastatin. (Rosuvastatin and pravastatin are hydrophilic statins.)

More Important than LDL Cholesterol

In the meantime, you’re not getting all of the information you need to protect your circulatory health. LDL cholesterol isn’t a problem. It’s an industry.

LDL cholesterol isn’t a “bad guy.” In fact, it’s not even cholesterol. It’s a naturally occurring low-density lipoprotein that delivers cholesterol to your cells.

And let me be clear on one thing. Your body needs cholesterol. It’s absolutely necessary to your existence. Your body uses it to produce sex hormones, support and preserve brain function, make bile acids, produce cell membranes and maintain neurological function.

In other words, LDL cholesterol – in and of itself – isn’t the big destroyer of health it has been made out to be. It’s also unlikely to give you heart disease.

The real problem is the QUALITY of your LDL.

When LDL particles become oxidized (oxLDL), it makes them extremely inflammatory. This works against you by blocking arteries and restricting blood flow to your heart, brain and other organs.

Small, dense LDL particles are another problem. They easily slip into the lining of your blood vessels where they cause heart disease and plaque build-up.

Statins don’t effectively address either of these issues. And routine cholesterol tests don’t check for these things.

So for the best chance of improving your cardiovascular health, advanced lipid testing is vital. And it’s not hard to come by. It is available from national labs like Labcorp and Quest. I recommend talking with your doctor about getting these advanced tests added to your check-ups.

To increase your chances of gaining control of your heart health, here are a few tips:

Eat a healthy, organic Mediterranean style diet and stay as physically active as possible.

Take omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid, which naturally reduces small, dense LDL particles. Look for a formula that contains 1200 mg of EPA and 800 mg of DHA. Additionally, it should contain oil from fresh, wild-caught, deep-sea fish that has been molecularly distilled and tested for purity. Take between 2,000 and 4,000 mg daily.

Supplement with niacin. Start on a low dose, about 50 mg daily. Then slowly add 50 mg each week until you’re up to 500 mg each day. Take it in divided doses over the course of the day and have your doctor retake your blood test around three months after starting the niacin.

This will have a specific effect on the smaller, more dangerous LDL particles. If the flush that’s so common with niacin bothers you, take an 81 mg coated Bayer aspirin just beforehand.

Look for a plant-based NO enhancer that has beetroot juice as its main ingredient and take it daily. Nitric oxide is a natural compound in your body that helps your arteries remain relaxed and flexible. When you have plenty of it, it helps boost blood flow and lower blood pressure.

And if you feel you absolutely must continue taking a statin drug, ask you physician for one that is hydrophilic. They are just as effective at lower LDL as the lipophilics, with less risk of dementia.

But please! If you are on any type of statin drug, make sure to supplement with CoQ10.

When shopping, opt for your CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinol. It is a reduced form of CoQ10 that is super bioavailable and can better protect your heart muscle from the ravages of taking a statin.


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