Is high cholesterol bad for your health? How did we live for thousands of years and never have a cholesterol problem until the pharmaceutical industry came up with a drug to solve this problem?
We get cholesterol in two ways. One is dietary cholesterol. It comes from the foods we eat. If we don’t eat enough foods with cholesterol, then our bodies make it. Every cell in our body needs cholesterol.
This has been an issue with me for decades. My total cholesterol always ran between 104 and 114 – that’s both low and high cholesterol added together. I asked many flight surgeons when low cholesterol might become a problem. It took me decades, literally decades, to get an answer. I don’t know if the answer was correct, but it satisfied me. By the way, the answer was 90 mg/dL.
Later in life, my cholesterol has risen, but nowhere near 200 mg/dL. Yet, the 200 mg/dL mark seems to be a line in the sand for health reasons. What is most interesting about the 200 mg/dL level is that half the people with ‘good’ cholesterol readings die from heart disease. That means that half die with high cholesterol and half die from low or normal cholesterol. At best, cholesterol medicine is only fifty percent effective.
If a drug is only fifty percent effective, why take it. Every prescription drug has side effects. If you don’t have a problem before taking a prescription drug, you might develop some new ones because you are taking it. Common side effects of statin drugs are muscle pain, weakness, confusion, memory problems, fever, etc.
Statin drugs combat high cholesterol readings by shutting down your body’s production of the enzyme, co-Q-10. Co-Q-10 is required in every cell of your body for good health. Low levels of co-Q-10 contribute to heart health problems. You take a statin drug to lower cholesterol and it increases your risk of heart disease. There was one pharmaceutical patent for a statin drug that included supplemental co-Q-10, but it was never manufactured.
This week, I heard about a new drug, Repatha, that lowers cholesterol without having similar increased risks of heart disease compared to other statin drugs. However, it costs $14,000 a year.
If you are on a statin drug ask your doctor about supplemental co-Q-10. Also, ask you doctor about natural options you can try rather than taking a statin drug. Diet and exercise do impact cholesterol levels. Choosing the right foods and exercise can lower cholesterol. Choosing the wrong foods and no exercise can increase cholesterol. But, is high cholesterol really a health issue? And, how high does it have to be?