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New Cholesterol Drug is Likely to Prematurely Kill You

cholesterol [1]

By Dr. Mercola [1]

In 2004, the US government’s National Cholesterol Education Program panel advised those at risk for heart disease to attempt to reduce their LDL cholesterol [2]to less than 100, or even less than 70, if you’re very high risk. Prior to this, a 130-milligram LDL cholesterol level was considered healthy.

In order to obtain the incredibly low LDL levels now recommended, you typicallyhave to take a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, and sometimes two or three of them in combination.

Now, a new class of cholesterol drugs known as PCSK9 inhibitors promises to reduce LDL cholesterol levels to previously unheard of lows. Indeed, this type of drug can drop your level below50!

My prediction? These drugs will absolutely kill people—not just some, but MANY. I cannot warn you against this terrible idea enough. While many worry that their cholesterol is too high, few give any thought at all to the damage that can result if your cholesterol is too low.

This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as I drove (without drugs) my own total cholesterol levels down to a risky 75 when I was a naive young doctor. Alas, when it comes to cholesterol, lower is not always better. In fact, when your cholesterol levels go too low, a host of negative things happen in your body.

Unfortunately, lowering cholesterol levels has become so common in the US that nearly every American reading this either knows someone struggling to do so, or has struggled to do so themselves.

This despite the fact that there is no evidence to support the notion that having an extremely low cholesterol [3] level is beneficial, and increasing numbers of studies point to significant risks associated with cholesterol-lowering drugs.

For example, a 2008 paper published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk [4].

How Do PCSK9 Inhibitors Work?

Whereas statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) reduce your cholesterol by blocking an enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol, these newer drugs, PCSK9 inhibitors, target and suppress a particular gene involved in the regulation of how much cholesterol your liver can actually filter out.

Researchers discovered that people with underactive PCSK9 genes had low levels of LDL. They also had low levels of cardiovascular disease. Since high cholesterol has long been mistaken as a primary cause of cardiovascular disease, these findings were akin to striking scientific gold… As reported in the featured article:

“It’s this discovery that has Sanofi and two other major drug companies, Amgen and Pfizer, racing to develop a drug that mimics the gene’s effects. The best approach, experts say, will be through monoclonal antibodies: antibodies that are created in a lab and help your immune system fight a disease or, in this case, fight cholesterol…

‘This is not to replace statin therapy,’ said Joe Miletich, senior vice president of research and development at Amgen. ‘This is actually to get patients to (their) goal who can’t get there.’… ‘With a statin medication, you can often get somebody’s cholesterol between 70 and 100 mg/dL,’ said Dr. Elliott Antman, president-elect of the American Heart Association and a dean at Harvard Medical School. ‘If you use these monoclonal antibodies, you could see a number way less than 50.'”

I’ve told you before that the odds are very high— greater than 100 to 1—that if you’re taking a statin, you don’t really need it. From my review, the only subgroup that might benefit are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol.

In my view, this warning is just as applicable when it comes to PCSK9 inhibitors. Your body needs cholesterol and it doesn’t matter how you lower it: statins, PCSK inhibitors, or diet and exercise like I did. If your cholesterol drops too low, you will suffer health problems that I review in the next section.

The Health Hazards of Having Too Little Cholesterol

Your body needs cholesterol for the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids that help you to digest fat. It’s not hard to see then why too little cholesterol can have such detrimental effects on your body—especially your brain, where it helps your brain form memories and is vital to your neurological function.

For example, research published in 2008 showed that low HDL is associated with poor memory and decline in memory in middle-aged adults. If you value your brain and want to keep it functioning into your senior years, you’d be well advised to pay attention to what it needs, and that includes cholesterol, along with healthful fats like omega-3. But impaired memory and dementia are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to low cholesterol’s impact on your brain. If your levels get too low, you also increase your risk of:

Even more importantly, heart disease may in fact be a sign of cholesterol deficiency, according to MIT researcher, Dr. Stephanie Seneff [7]. Considering the fact that conventional medicine has been telling us that heart disease is due to elevated cholesterol and recommends lowering cholesterol levels as much as possible, Dr. Seneff’s claims may come as a complete shock to some.

“Heart disease, I think, is a cholesterol deficiency problem, and in particular a cholesterol sulfate deficiency problem…”

She points out that all of this information is available in the research literature, but it requires putting all the pieces together to see the full picture. Through her research, she believes that the mechanism we call “cardiovascular disease,” of which arterial plaque is a hallmark, is actually your body’s way to compensate for not having enough cholesterol sulfate. In a nutshell, high LDL appears to be a sign of cholesterol sulfate deficiency—it’s your body’s way of trying to maintain the correct balance by taking damaged LDL and turning it into plaque, within which the blood platelets produce the cholesterol sulfate your heart and brain needs for optimal function…

What this also means is that when you artificially lower your cholesterol with a statin drug, which effectively reduces that plaque but doesn’t address the root problem, your body is not able to compensate any longer, and as a result of lack of cholesterol sulfate you may end up with heart failure.

Have High Cholesterol? Address the Cause!

Contrary to popular belief, high cholesterol is not a disease [8] in and of itself. It is actually a response to something gone awry in your body. Cholesterol is produced whenever your cells become damaged, as it’s a necessary component in making new, healthy cells, so if you have a lot of damaged cells, you’re also going to have a lot of cholesterol in your bloodstream. This is a sign that your cells need, and are, being repaired. While most conventional doctors do not recognize this sign for what it is and put you on toxic cholesterol-lowering drugs, a more knowledgeable doctor will address the root problem, which is typically related to chronic inflammation brought on by:

The remedy involves, of course, addressing these factors by making simple lifestyle changes that are outlined in my optimized nutrition and lifestyle plan [9]. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the mistaken belief that the lower your cholesterol goes, the better. If you lower your cholesterol through artificial means without addressing the underlying causes for your elevated cholesterol levels, your body will continue to degenerate. Leave the decision of how much cholesterol your body needs up to your body, and make the right lifestyle choices to keep your cells in their top condition. This way you get the best of both worlds: the right amount of cholesterol and a body in tip-top shape.

The Many Well-Known Health Hazards of Statin Drugs

First, if you are a woman, it’s critical for you to know that statins are classified as a “pregnancy Category X medication” meaning,it causes serious birth defects, and should NEVER be used if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also announced it’s considering additional warning labels for statin drugs. Among them are warnings that statins may increase your risk of:

In all, statin drugs have been directly linked to over 300 side effects, including:

Statins Cause Hallmark Symptoms of Heart Disease and Diabetes

Sadly, while millions of people are told to use statin drugs as a form of “preventive medicine” to protect their heart health, research shows that these drugs actually can have significantly detrimental effects on your heart! How is that preventive medicine? For example, a study published just last year in the journal Atherosclerosis showed that statin use is associated with a 52 percent increased prevalence and extent of calcified coronary plaque compared to non-users. And coronary artery calcification is the hallmark of potentially lethal heart disease!

Statins can also:

Beware: Statins Can Also Completely Negate Your Fitness Efforts

One of the major benefits of exercise is the beneficial impact it has on your heart health, and exercise is a primary strategy to naturally maintain healthy cholesterol [2] levels. Alas, researchers recently discovered that if you take a statin drug, you’re likely to forfeit most if not all health benefits of your exercise. In fact, the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, discovered that statin use led to dramatically reduced fitness benefits from exercise, in some cases actually making the volunteer LESS fit than before!

The key to understanding why statins prevent your body from reaping the normal benefits from exercise lies in understanding what these drugs do to your mitochondria—the energy chamber of your cells, responsible for the utilization of energy for all metabolic functions. As mentioned above, the primary fuel for your mitochondria is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and one of the primary mechanisms of harm from statins in general appears to be related to CoQ10 [10] depletion.

A 2011 review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism pointed out that exercise actually induces changes in mitochondrial enzyme content and activity, which can increase your cellular energy production and in so doing decrease your risk of chronic disease. The fact that statin drugs deplete your body of the primary fuel for your mitochondria helps explain why certain statin users in the trial ended up with worse aerobic fitness after a steady fitness regimen. There simply wasn’t enough mitochondrial fuel in their system.

To Evaluate Your Heart Disease Risk, Get the Right Tests Done

If your physician is urging you to check your total cholesterol, then you need to be aware that this test will tell you virtually nothingabout your risk of heart disease, unless it is 330 or higher.

One of the most important tests you can get to determine your real heart disease risk is the NMR LipoProfile, which measures your LDL particle number. This test also has other markers that can help determine if you have insulin resistance, which is a primary cause of elevated LDL particle number and increased heart disease risk. The NMR LipoProfile test easy to get and all major labs offer it. Most insurance policies cover the test as well. Best of all, even if your doctor were to refuse to order it, you can order it yourself via third-party intermediaries like Direct Labs, or you can order the test online, and get blood drawn locally. Two other ratios you should pay attention to are your:

I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who were actually at low risk for heart disease due to their elevated HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen many people with cholesterol levels under 200 who had a very high risk of heart disease, based on their low HDL. For four additional risk factors for heart disease that do not involve your cholesterol levels, please see my recent article: Side Effects of Statins [11].

How to Optimize Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally

The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is via diet and exercise. Seventy-five percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels. Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol and reduce your risk of both diabetes and heart disease.

There is NO drug that can cure heart disease, as the underlying cause is insulin and leptin resistance and arterial wall damage—both of which are caused by eating excessive amounts of sugars, grains, and especially fructose. So, in addition to regular exercise, my primary recommendations for safely regulating your cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease include:

When you ground to the earth, your zeta potential quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, which forces them apart from each other. This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. By repelling each other, your red blood cells are also less inclined to stick together and form a clot.

Take Control of Your Health

The odds are very high that if you’re taking cholesterol-lowering medication, you’re wasting your money and taking unnecessary risks with your health. From my review, the ONLY subgroup that might benefit from statins are those born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia [19], as this makes them resistant to traditional measures of normalizing cholesterol, which I reviewed above.

Remember, your body needs cholesterol for the production of cell membranes, hormones, and vitamin D, just to mention a few. Cholesterol is also vital to your neurological function. And there’s strong evidence that having too little cholesterol increases your risk for cancer, memory loss, Parkinson’s disease, hormonal imbalances, stroke, depression, suicide, and violent behavior.

Taking a drug that can reduce your cholesterol levels down to 50 or below is absolutely a recipe for disaster, when you consider all your biological functions that need cholesterol!

Also keep in mind that contrary to what you’ve been told by pharmaceutical PR firms, statins have nothing to do with reducing your heart disease risk. In fact, this class of drugs can increase your heart disease risk—especially if you do not take Ubiquinol [10](CoQ10) along with it to mitigate the depletion of CoQ10 caused by the drug. So please, carefully weigh the risks and benefits!

Poor lifestyle choices are primarily to blame for elevated cholesterol levels, such as too much sugar, too little exercise, lack of sun exposure and never grounding to the earth. These are all things that are within your control, and don’t cost much (if any) money to address. If you have a genetic defect, medication may be needed. If you don’t, you may be surprised at how quickly and easily your cholesterol levels will normalize when you start implementing the required lifestyle changes.

If you’re currently taking a statin drug and are worried about the excessive side effects they cause, please consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who can help you to optimize your heart health naturally, without the use of these dangerous drugs. To learn more about statins, please see my special report: “Do YOU Take Any of These 11 Dangerous Cholesterol Drugs [20]“?

Read the full article here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/29/pcsk9-cholesterol-drug.aspx [1]

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