Natural Cholesterol Control | Heart Health | Andrew Weil, M.D.

Natural Cholesterol Control | Heart Health | Andrew Weil, M.D.

November 2, 2019 13 By Ewald Bahringer


There is evidence that statins have other
benefits – they may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease, they may reduce the risk of some
cancers. They are much more effective than any drugs we had previously to lower cholesterol
and improve blood lipids. They are not totally benign; there are some side effects and problems
in some people, derangement of liver function and muscle metabolism, but overall those side
effects are fairly rare. There are some lesser-known ones like global amnesia, that is alarming,
but the downsides are rare. At the same time I disagree with a number of cardiologists
that I hear say that we should put statins in the water supply for a lot of reasons.
One is that I don’t think cholesterol is the sole problem in heart disease – I talked about
inflammation and heart disease more than cancer we have better evidence of role of emotions
and causation. We know there is a heart attack prone personality in men and men who have
the tendency to rage when frustrated for example that has a good correlation with tendency
to heart attacks. If you just put people on statins you are not doing anything about those
factors or all the other influences on heart disease and for doctors giving a statin excuses
them from responsibility of dealing with everything else. There is a natural alternative to statins
called red rice yeast. It is very effective and is a natural source of statins but it
is a mixture of statins, not a single molecule, and there is a lower incidence of side effects
with it. Solarray makes a good brand of it and I would try that first before using a
prescribed statin. Statins, in addition to inhibiting cholesterol synthesis, they block
synthesis of CoQ10, a natural product needed in the body for muscle metabolism including
heart function. Anyone on a statin has to take supplemental CoQ10 and it is possible
that it is depression of CoQ10 that results in the muscle syndrome that we see in some
statin patients. Overall they are fairly effective drugs and fairly safe but they are dealing
with only one aspect of the problem which is lowering LDL cholesterol – we are still
without the ability to raise HDL cholesterol. There is enormous pharmaceuticals looking
for the agent that will do that but they haven’t found one yet. Changing lipid profiles is
more than just lowering LDL and that’s what statins do very well.