Today I'm sharing an article that came to my email from a national colleague on the effects of a class of medications called "the Statins". These agents as many of you may know are prescribed to lower cholesterol. The other thing that you may not know is that cholesterol is the key substance from which hormones are created. You don't have to be a scientist, just simply look at the chart above. See what's at the top of the metabolic pathway?!?! Cholesterol!!!
So then shouldn't we be asking, "if I lower my cholesterol, won't I also lower my hormone production?" The answer is yes! I've had concern about this class of medications and their effect on hormones for years, but here's his "take" on the statin drugs. (Lipitor, Crestor, Zocor, etc.)
Passing along his thoughts.....
I get asked the same question quite a bit. "Can you give me some written information that I can pass on to a doctor about cholesterol lowering drugs, the statins?"
I hope my answer helps start the dialog between you and your doctor about alternatives to drugs.
I am going to try something unique in the halls of today's medical practitioners. I will use reason to arrive at a position about the statins.
First, I must be clear that there is absolutely no evidence that elevated cholesterol actually causes any disease. I will acknowledge that cholesterol levels can rise in response to a variety of circumstances. Rising cholesterol might be present when the condition exists, but there isn't evidence that cholesterol causes the condition in the first place.
If someone can demonstrate why rising cholesterol is harmful, I want them to also explain why the levels are rising. What underlying condition is present and how can I address it? Lowering cholesterol levels is akin to holding a wrap over a cut vein. The bleeding stops but the cut remains. Rising cholesterol is nothing more than a symptom. It is not a cause of anything.
Low cholesterol, on the other hand, is exceptionally hazardous to health. Cholesterol is the substance in our body from which all of our hormones are generated. Taking drugs to artificially lower cholesterol is like closing the faucet on our flow of hormones.
In the normal course of things, cholesterol is converted to pregnenolone, which becomes progesterone, which can be converted repeatedly into the hormones we need. Reason dictates that when we lower our cholesterol levels with drugs, we will experience symptoms from low and imbalanced hormones.
Cortisol, for example, is an anti-inflammatory hormone that is generated when needed from other hormones - which themselves start out as cholesterol. A predominant side effect from cholesterol-lowering drugs is muscle and joint pain - pains which are normally controlled by the amounts of naturally occurring cortisol we make in our body. All hormone issues follow the same reasoning. Other hormone levels suffer as well.
Most approaches to lowering cholesterol without drugs fail. Drugs, like statins, work. That means the only way to bring cholesterol levels down is to use a drug.
Again, using reason, is it logical that our bodies were made in such a way as to need a man-made drug to maintain them in a state of health? I say, "no".
To add insult to injury, the regular use of statin drugs does substantial harm by reducing the levels of an important nutrient, Coenzyme Q10, otherwise known as coQ10. This substance is absolutely necessary for good heart health. Fatal disease can follow the loss of CoQ10. People who use statins - not a wise act to begin with - should be serious about taking additional CoQ10.
Cholesterol metabolism is discussed at length in most basic physiology courses. Nothing has happened to alter the mechanisms of action, but our medical system has changed how we view these natural substances and their actions in our bodies. A vital substance, cholesterol, has been demonized. One logical reason for this change is that we now have drugs available that we can use to change cholesterol levels - and they are the only things that will drop cholesterol levels. The existence of the drugs, then, might be the driving force behind the ideas that make cholesterol levels a menace.
I continue to study the cholesterol phenomena with the hope that I will find the cause-effect relationship between cholesterol and disease. To date, it eludes me. Instead of substantiating the connection between rising cholesterol and health, I continue to run into information that takes the exact opposite view.