• The end of statins?

    Published on February 23, 2015.

    Statin treatment is solely focused on lowering cholesterol numbers, but only 50 percent of people who suffer from a cardiac event actually have high cholesterol. This means that half the people who have heart attacks have them for other reasons. It also underscores that other risk factors are as important as – or perhaps even more important than – cholesterol. And, since we cannot live without cholesterol, we need to really think about what we are using to control it.  Cholesterol is only dangerous when it becomes oxidized. Our body needs cholesterol to synthesize the naturally-occurring steroids in our body and to help us produce progesterone, testosterone, estrogen – really all of our sex hormones, which, when decreased, lead to muscle aches and pains, depression, anxiety and low libido.

    Safety and life-saving efficacy of statins have been exaggerated, says new research

    Hailed as miracle drugs when they hit the market two decades ago, statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs prescribed to prevent heart attacks, a professor at USF says they are not as effective nor as safe as we have been led to believe.

    Dr. David M. Diamond, a professor of psychology, molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, and Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, an independent health researcher and an expert in cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, claim in a recently-published critique that statins produce a dramatic reduction in cholesterol levels, but they have “failed to substantially improve cardiovascular outcomes.” The duo further state that the many studies touting the efficacy of statins have not only neglected to account for the numerous serious adverse side effects of the drugs, but supporters of statins have used what the authors refer to as “statistical deception” to make inflated claims about their effectiveness.

    Their critique of the exaggerated claims regarding statins’ ability to prevent strokes, heart attacks and heart disease-related deaths on a large scale has been published in the March edition of the medical journal “Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology.”

    Excerpt from NY TIMES

    FOR two generations, Americans ate fewer eggs and other animal products because policy makers told them that fat and cholesterol were bad for their health. Now both dogmas have been debunked in quick succession.

    First, last fall, experts on the committee that develops the country’s dietary guidelines acknowledged that they had ditched the low-fat diet. On Thursday (February 19 2015), that committee’s report was released, with an even bigger change: It lifted the longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol, saying there was “no appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Americans, it seems, had needlessly been avoiding egg yolks, liver and shellfish for decades. The new guidelines, the first to be issued in five years, will influence everything from school lunches to doctors’ dieting advice.

    How did experts get it so wrong? Here is the article

    The Cholesterol debate has become very one-sided in the last few years. In mid-2014 a  paper available from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, said many Americans are led to believe that high blood cholesterol as a result of heavy saturated fat intake causes cardiovascular disease.

    As such, Statin drugs are often prescribed to curb heart disease risk by lowering cholesterol. This conventional knowledge is boldly challenged. While many studies show a correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease, this alone does not prove a “cause-and-effect” relationship. “In fact,” the authors point out, “if analyzed carefully, there are more studies that disprove the ‘cause and effect’ hypothesis than even come close to proving it.” A trend of vilifying saturated fats based on flawed research is traced back through the second half of the 20th century, eventually meeting overdue criticism in a 2010 meta-analysis and a 2012 paper contrasting scientific literature with U.S. and European advisory committee guidelines.

    While saturated fats have been blamed for causing heart disease, more recent scientific literature points instead to processed sugars, trans-fats, and starchy/processed high-glycemic carbs as the more likely culprits. “Our nutritional courts,” the authors claim, “tried and convicted the wrong man.”

    Statin drugs designed to treat high levels of LDL cholesterol began to be widely prescribed in 2001. The commentary authors suggest that “We must treat the patient thoughtfully and choose statin drugs carefully with extreme diligence to avoid unnecessary side effects.”

    While these drugs have been linked to lower risk of CVD, numerous studies and clinical trials over the past decade have forced the medical community to re-examine the role of LDL cholesterol in statin use benefits. Some even began to demonstrate that reducing LDL alone was counterproductive in reducing some measures of CVD risk. As such, the authors advocate a more creative and thorough approach to addressing CVD risk, free of the “dogmatic polices” built around saturated fat and cholesterol centric thinking.

    Managing cholesterol naturally

    At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we encourage our patients to consume a diet rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.  We also recommend a diet low in sugar, saturated and trans-fats and dietary cholesterol.  We stress the importance of supplemental antioxidant therapy including vitamins C, E, CoQ-10, alpha-lipoic acid and other nutrients such as folate, magnesium, L-carnitine and L-arginine. Specific herbs and botanicals are also used to support your vascular health.  We encourage our patients to avoid cigarette smoking, processed foods, excessive alcohol, sugar and caffeine.  Engaging in a regular exercise and stress- reduction program is also paramount to success.

    Managing cholesterol naturally with DEAR

    At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we utilize natural alternatives to the widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

    • Diet – An eating plan rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, especially “super foods”, and one that takes into account a person’s unique special needs
    • Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most serious risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease – we work with our patients to develop an activity plan that takes into account their risk factors, interests, budget and time constraints, and includes aerobic exercise, as well as strength training and flexibility work.
    • Additional Supplementation – We ensure an adequate supply of all necessary nutrients with supplements, with dosages customized to take into account a person’s age, weight, general medical condition, health history, etc.
    • Relaxation – Identifying the stressors in a person’s life, then working to find ways to alleviate them – whether through practical alternatives, meditation, exercise-based meditation, acupuncture, massage or a better connection to others – is critical to overall cardiovascular health.

    Recent studies from St. Michael’s Hospital Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre in Canada say that not only will eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can significantly reduce “bad cholesterol” and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disease, BUT that same serving can increase fullness, which may lead to better weight management and weight loss

    However, most people in North America would have to more than double their consumption of these foods known as pulses to reach the cholesterol target. The study, led by Dr. John Sievenpiper says that by eating one serving a day of pulses, people could lower their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by five per cent. He said that would translate into a five to six per cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. One serving of pulses is 130 grams or ¾ cup, yet Canadians on average eat less than half a serving a day. Pulses have a low glycemic index (meaning that they are foods that break down slowly) and tend to reduce or displace animal protein as well as “bad” fats such as trans fat in a dish or meal.

    Other research supports findings that beans may reduce heart attack and stroke risk

    Legumes, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils, are among the lowest glycemic index (GI) foods and have been recommended in diabetic food guidelines. But can beans actually lower glycemic index? This is what researchers wanted to find out. (1 )So what they did was study 121 participants with type 2 diabetes. Divided into two groups, one group was put into a low-GI legume diet that encouraged participants to increase legume intake by at least 1 cup per day, the second group to increase insoluble fiber by consumption of whole wheat products, for 3 months. The primary outcome was change in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) values with calculated coronary heart disease (CHD) risk score as a secondary outcome.

    Here is what the researchers found:

    Beans, as compared to whole grains, had better results in dropping blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels – and – improved hemoglobin A1c scores.

    Does this mean giving up whole grains for beans? No.

    The research points out that beans (one cup a day) did a little better than the whole grains diet and showed a small but significant reduction in cardiovascular risks by adding beans to the diet. However, they were comparing two healthy diets – and whole grains have already been shown in many studies to be a beneficial dietary program for reducing cardiovascular risks. Beans did just a little better.

    Here are more recommendations from the Magaziner Center for Wellness from reducing inflammation, cholesterol, blood sugar and other cardiovascular risks.

    •Omega 3 Fatty Acids – found in fish oil supplements and flaxseed oil

    •Curcumin – found in turmeric and available in supplement form; helps lower oxidized LDL (bad cholesterol) levels

    •Flavonoids – antioxidants found in blueberries, oranges, onions tea and cocoa

    •Monounsaturated Fatty Acids – found in avocados, dark chocolate and nuts; can reduce total cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the ratio of HDL (“good” cholestero)l to LDL (“bad” cholesterol).

    •Resveratrol – found in the skin of red grapes and even red wine; often best to take in supplement form

    •Green Tea Extract – an herbal derivative of green tea rich in antioxidants

    •Red Yeast Rice – a naturally-occurring Chinese extract that statin drugs have been modeled after

    •Plant Sterols – found in vegetables, whole grains and legumes, these plant substances have been proven to lower cholesterol levels

    1. Jenkins DJA, et al. Effect of Legumes as Part of a Low Glycemic Index Diet on Glycemic Control and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Intern Med. 2012;():1-8. doi:10.1001/2013.jamainternmed.70.

    Through our treatments, we have been able to successfully get hundreds of patients off of prescription statin drugs and lower cholesterol levels with natural therapies.

    Magaziner Center for Wellness
    1907 Greentree Road
    Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003
    PH: 856-424-8222
    FAX: 856-424-2599

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