Sometimes blind faith leads to a disaster. Sometimes a miracle. Where will you end up? If you're one of the millions of people diagnosed with high cholesterol, you will more than likely be given a prescription "statin" pill. These work well to reduce cholesterol: Lovastatin for Mevacor, atorvastatin for Lipitor, pravastatin for Pravachol, fluvastatin for Lescol, simvastatin for Zocor, pitavastatin for Livalo, and rosuvastatin for Crestor.

Statins affect many pathways in the body. They are strong anti-inflammatories and are being tested for their use in cancer patients. As for cholesterol reduction, they work by crushing a natural enzyme in your body that would otherwise produce cholesterol. I want you to make a mental note, statins do not suck out gooey cholesterol from your arteries, nor does it negate cheese fries. No, these drugs merely suppress new production of cholesterol. Here's where blind faith (take this pill and you'll feel better) collides with scientific research.

This month a study was published (in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology), entitled, Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure: pharmacological mechanisms. Repeat: "Statins stimulate atherosclerosis and heart failure." Whoa! The researchers concluded, "The epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs." What an irony! The problem is that many other studies have found similar disastrous effects on the heart. It has to do with mitochondrial dysfunction, which means that the little generators in your heart cells get sick.

Your heart is a very high energy muscle. It requires thriving, mitochondria in order to churn out ATP, your energy molecule. Statins are toxic to mitochondria because they deplete coenzyme Q10 which is needed for healthy mitochondria. Statins also deplete a special protein called "Heme A" that totes oxygen and iron to your heart. The long-term depletion interrupts ATP production and leads to cellular fatigue among other major problems. You cannot survive long-term without adequate ATP production so it needs to be restored. Fatigue, cramps, muscle weakness, memory loss, depression, cancer… you must have ATP in your body or else! (Biting my lip)

Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of vitamin K2 which we manufacture if we have healthy intestinal gut flora. Do you? I don't know anyone who has a perfect gut. K2 also comes from fermented veggies. It protects our arteries from calcium plaques or atherosclerosis. Without enough K2, statin-induced or not, we are compromised. (Eyes rolling now).

Today, we know statins block very special, powerful selenium-containing proteins known as selenoproteins, the most famous of those is called glutathione peroxidase, which protects muscle tissue from free radical damage (oxidation).

What's the busiest muscle in your body? It has to work 24/7. It's your heart! (Smacks forehead).

Your heart muscle cells are 'burned' form all the oxidation (due to the impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis) and this is a factor in congestive heart failure. This reminds me of Keshan's disease which is heart failure due to low selenium.

If you have to take statins, please use the lowest dose possible. Be diligent about putting back the nutrients that statins interfere with such as the coenzyme Q10, selenium, and vitamin K2, along with other heart healthy nutrients. There are exceptions to taking these nutrients so ask your doctor (yes, the same one that gave you the statin) This is a classic case of drug mugging, and I hope you will consider replenishing some of the affected nutrients, especially if you have uncomfortable or new symptoms. Talk to your physician about dosages of these vitamins, because this is a highly individual.

Suzy Cohen

Suzy Cohen, is known as America’s Pharmacist. She has been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years and is a Functional Medicine practitioner. She’s the author of 6 books, including her most recent Amazon #1 best-seller, “Thyroid Healthy: Lose Weight, Look Beautiful and Live the Life You Imagine.”

She was the host of The Thyroid Summit which broadcast worldwide in June 2014. Suzy has been a syndicated columnist for 19 years reaching 20 million in circulation each week. She is a Huffington Post writer, and also hosts her own syndicated medical minute on TV. Suzy has been featured on The Dr OZ Show 6 times, and has appeared on The View, Good Morning America Health, The Doctors and hundreds of other networks. She is a member of The Institute of Functional Medicine, also the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, The American Pharmacists Association and ILADS, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. You can read free articles and receive your free newsletter by visiting her website, SuzyCohen.com

Books authored by Suzy Cohen include:

  • Thyroid Healthy
  • Headache Free
  • Drug Muggers
  • Diabetes Without Drugs
  • The 24-Hour Pharmacist
  • Eczema: Itchin’ for a Cure (kindle only)
  • Understanding Pancreatitis & Pancreatic Cancer (kindle only)