cholesterol lowering drugs

Do you really need cholesterol lowering drugs? Does anyone? This article looks at the controversy surrounding the subject.

To the mainstream medical community statins are a valuable tool in the prevention of heart disease and strokes. To a small, but growing number of medical professionals, statins are dangerous and unnecessary.

Since the 1950s, the popular theory has been that high intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods are the primary cause of heart disease and atherosclerosis. This theory has been disproven on several occasions, by scientists that have examined the traditional dietary habits of isolated populations.

For example, the diet of the Greenland Eskimo population was very high in fat. 50% or more of the daily caloric intake of the population was from fat. Yet, there was practically no heart disease in the population.
Another example was found in the South of France. Again, the diet was very high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but the incidence of heart disease was low.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is another example. Foods high in fat, such as olives, olive oil, fatty fish, nuts and avocados were popular. But, the incidence of heart disease and obesity was low.

Some doctors and pharmaceutical companies advocate the use of cholesterol lowering drugs, as a rule, not an exception. The typical course of action taken today is dietary counseling and encouraging physical activity in combination with prescribing statins.

The doctors don’t even wait to see if diet and exercise have the desired effect, before writing a prescription. With all of the contradictions and controversy, why does this practice continue?

That’s hard to say. The reason might be all of the television advertising that the pharmaceutical companies are allowed to do. Those ads make it seem like everyone should talk to their doctors about cholesterol lowering drugs.

Another reason might be the continued search for a miracle drug; some pills that will help everyone live a long and healthy life. In truth, there are no magic pills. But, there are answers.

Statins were originally found and extracted from the oyster mushroom, a Japanese delicacy. Other Japanese mushrooms, such as Shitake, have natural anti-inflammatory activity. These health benefits are not present in commercial button mushrooms or Portobello varieties.

The explanation for the contradictions seen in dietary habits of non-US populations has to do with the “type” of fats consumed, not the amount. Olives, fatty fish, nuts and avocados contain a relatively high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. The red wine consumed in the South of France might make a difference, too.

In other words, if we could teach people how to eat, they might not need cholesterol lowering drugs. Research has proven that the unnatural trans-fatty acids created when vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated cause and increase in LDL (bad) particles and a decrease in HDL (good) particles.

Researchers have also found that nutrients present in raw sugar cane, black tea, green tea, rice bran, pumpkin seeds and other foods help to increase the good particles and lower the number of bad ones. Prescriptions are now written for fish oils, because they are known, without a doubt to lower triglycerides or fats in the bloodstream and raise HDL levels.

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly is important. Taking some good dietary supplements is important, too. Very few people actually need cholesterol lowering drugs.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, talk with your physician before deciding to use natural cholesterol lowering supplements for reducing high cholesterol.