It is time to explore some of cholesterol’s interesting subtleties.
This Journal will contain some broad strokes due to my time lapse method of assembly since the introductory Journal about the currently pervasive cholesterol myths, which was posted back on July 4th.
Over the years, as I have helped people with cholesterol concerns, I have discovered some common contributing factors in peoples’ lives which, when assisted into balance and correction, invariably helped lower their cholesterol numbers and improved their LDL particle number and particle size risk factor issues.
In people with high total cholesterol, and in patients with normal total cholesterol but high risk LDL particle size (small size), I invariably observe some combination of: 1) low thyroid function, 2) over consumption of simple carbohydrates, 3) not enough exercise, or body movement, and 4) too much stress.
Please understand that an elevated level of serum cholesterol is not caused by a deficiency of statin drugs in a one’s biochemistry. Likewise, depression is not caused by a deficiency of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) pharmacy in one’s body.
All of these pharmaceuticals have significant negative side effects; in addition to the fact that they are not usually necessary to begin with.
Cholesterol is a molecule which is vital for a healthy life. Healthy cholesterol levels are necessary for: 1) healthy cell membrane formation, 2) healthy bile production by the liver, 3) production of Vitamin D, and 4) production of all sex steroid hormones, and last but by no means least, 5) production of brain synapses and healthy brain function.
Regarding point #5, you can read this article. You can also do your own web based searches to confirm and read about any of these 5 particular cholesterol functions.
When one considers just these 5 functions of cholesterol in our body, then one can understand how vital this molecule is for a healthy and vibrant life.
Stress and Cholesterol
I often visit with clients using statins whose cholesterol is being harmfully hammered down into ranges which are too low. I get a red flag concern when I see cholesterol levels of 160 or lower. I do not think that such cholesterol lowering by over medication is beneficial for health, and in fact I believe it is rather harmful for health.
The biggest driving factor for cholesterol elevation which I see in my practice is stress. Unattended life stress is disruptive to all normal chemistry, and to Heart and Brain Mind communication. Stress plays a role in the other etiologic factors mentioned above: low thyroid function, over consumption of carbohydrates, and it also may steer one away from body movement and exercise, which in and of itself is usually stress relieving.
Most of the cholesterol in our body is made in the liver during our nocturnal sleep hours. The liver, being the sensitive multitasking organ that it is, is rather sensitive to our physiologic and psycho-emotional stresses.
Here is some foundational reading on the biochemistry of the molecule called cholesterol. This type of information is usually not considered by the statin prescribers and the statin users. However, it should be common knowledge even if it is biochemical and somewhat technical in nature. It is rather simple to understand this writing, and thus utilize this knowledge in decisions about one’s cholesterol lab levels. I am obliged to add that standard laboratory lipid panel numbers are inadequate predictors of health and disease.
The conventional medical industry practitioners invariably prescribe statin drugs to people with high cholesterol. They think that if they don’t Rx with statins then they may get sued for malpractice, or that they may be perceived by their medical peers as being not in the mainstream box, and then patient referrals may drop off.
Not all people with cholesterol elevations are at high risk for atherosclerosis and arterial blockage. Ask your physician for a LipoProfile test from www.LipoScience.com if you have a cholesterol concern. This study will determine your risk stratification by a number of parameters which conventional laboratory lipid panels do not portray. You should know if your LDL is small particle (higher risk), or large particle (lower risk), and if your LDL count is high or low in these fractions.
You will probably have to ask your health care provider for this now decade old state of the art study because the chances are unfortunately high that your physician may not even know about this important and simple study.
The statin drugs interrupt cholesterol production in the liver by interfering with a particular enzyme known as HMG-CoEnzyme A reductase (HMG CoA reductase). This enzyme is also necessary for the production of Coenzyme Q10 in the body, and so statin users take a CoQ10 hit unless their health consultant is a somewhat expanded thinker, and knows some biochemistry, and is willing to beef up their patient’s intake of CoQ10.
CoQ10 is a life important (think vital and life critical) molecule which is necessary for the production of the energy molecule, known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP. ATP is made in the cellular mitochondria. It is not the fuel additive for automobile engine performance which was commonly used in years past.
Mitochondria are important organelles in every one of our trillions of cells because they take fats, carbohydrates, proteins and oxygen– and with a healthy presence of CoQ10, lipoic acid, omega fats, B vitamins, magnesium, and carnitine–the mitochondria then proceed to crank out ATP.
This is also why we breathe oxygen…we breathe oxygen to make ATP.
All of the other biochemical components in that previous sentence are necessary to make robust amounts of ATP; about 32 molecules of ATP per chain reaction of the electron transport chain and Kreb’s cyle; vs. some degree of drop-off in production of ATP to about 2 molecules. Such a low degree of ATP production is not any cellular energy worth writing home about, except to note that it is insufficient for good living, and it makes me think of chronic fatigue.
Statins and CoQ10
So, the Big Pharma people figured out how to take chemicals from Red Yeast Rice called monacolins, change their chemical structure around a bit so that they can patent them as all of the various statin drug varieties, and then brain wash (via propaganda) the medical industry and public into using this stuff.
The statins are routinely over-prescribed, and in most cases are not even necessary, especially for those who are willing to make some life style changes.
One can make some lifestyle alterations, as alluded to above, use some Red Yeast Rice, as well as some other effective supplements, and not have to worry so much about CoQ10 depletion. A simple life style program will effectively lower cholesterol and small particle LDL count.
Statins have been linked with more than 300 different adverse effects. The most common adverse effects include: depression, suicide, sleep disturbances, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, lung disease, muscle-related problems, cognitive loss, neuropathy, pancreatic dysfunction and liver dysfunction. More recent studies have also shown that statins cause type 2 diabetes and acute kidney injury.
One of the frequent complaints of statin users is muscle pain (myalgia). This is due to CoQ10 depletion. As a frame for reference, please bear in mind that the heart is also a muscle. Heart cells have up to 2500 mitochondria per cell! For comparison, fat cells have about 5-10 mitochondria per cell. All cells need ATP. Critical ATP high users are heart, brain, liver, immune system, kidneys, and others.
Cholesterol and CoQ10 depletion by statin users is associated with many negative effects. If you go back to the March, 2012 Archives of this Journal and read the article “Vitamin D and the Silver Bullet,” you can immediately discern the significance of having a Vitamin D depletion which is often secondary to the depletion of its chemical precursor, cholesterol.
In the near future statin drugs will be exposed for increased rates of dementia, immune system dysfunction, cancers, and not really being very helpful at all for preventing global cardiovascular disease, as the Cholesterol Myths of the previous Journal attempted to examine.
If you are a statin user, you should be taking both reduced (ubiquinol) and oxidized (ubiquinone) forms of CoQ10, as seen in the Designs for Health Store page on this website. Look at CoQnol100. Both reduced and oxidized forms of CoQ10 are needed by our biochemistry as they cycle back and forth from one to the other in various reactions.
If you are a statin user and want to switch to Red Yeast Rice, you will need professional guidance from someone who knows how to make this switch. Don’t just stop your statin by yourself and switch to RYR without an educated health care practitioner assisting you, advising you, and monitoring you.
Statins and RYR can be used safely together. Then the synthetic statin dose can be lowered. Patients who may need to stay on some amount their statins are those who have refractory small LDL particle concerns, have had previous cardiovascular events of significance (myocardial infarction, coronary arterial stents or bypasses, strokes, or other critical peripheral arterial obstructive disease), or those who cannot financially afford to stop the statins. RYR is more expensive to use than the cheaper statin drugs which are covered by health insurance plans.
As a somewhat rough estimate, 1200 milligrams of RYR is an equivalent of 5 mg. of statin synthetics. Most patients are on incremental statin dosing of 5 mg., 10 mg., 20 mg., 40 mg., and higher. As the dose goes higher so does the CoQ10 depletion. RYR is not associated with the significant CoQ10 depletion which the members of the statin drug family causes.
The RYR Synergy has some CoQ10 in it and the Lipotrienols RYR has some tocotrienols (correct forms of Vitamin E) in it.
Statin users should be supplementing with at least 100 to 300 mg. of ubiquinol per day, the variance depends on other existing co-morbid factors.
Crestone and Beyond
Here are some references which I gathered up for your reading perusal.
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(Note: Cholestin is Red Yeast Rice.)
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Your biochemistry processes are often rather easy to assist despite what misinformation you may have been told by those with powerful financial interests, who have truly troublesome conflicts of such interests.
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond.