Avoid Dangerous Cholesterol Drugs
Another day, another potentially dangerous drug is foisted on the American public.
This time, it’s a new type of cholesterol medicine called alirocumab. And, despite limited study, an FDA advisory committee overwhelmingly recommended the drug for use in the general public. This, despite the fact that the effects of alirocumab are little known, and may pose a greater risk than most people realize.
The question is this: Do you want to be a guinea pig? Because if you take this new drug, that’s exactly what you are.
The Public Is The Test Case
Let’s be clear—alirocumab isn’t going to be released to all 73.5 million people with high cholesterol. Rather, it’s going to be used by those who aren’t effectively treated by statins.
That is, potentially, a good thing. Statins have shown all sorts of ill side effects. These include muscle pain, liver damage, an increased risk of diabetes, and—perhaps most worryingly—an increase in memory loss.
The exact mechanisms aren’t yet well understood. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that cholesterol is actually an essential ingredient in a well-functioning brain.
If alirocumab can work without the worst side effects of statins, that’s a good thing. But we simply don’t yet know what sort of effects alirocumab will have in the medium- and long-term.
What’s more, if statins are causing memory loss simply by suppressing cholesterol, we should expect to see the same thing with alirocumab. Perhaps an even more acute version, as alirocumab seems even more effective at blocking cholesterol in our blood.
This is dangerous, uncharted territory. But if, overall, it was making us healthier, that would be one thing.
It’s not. In fact, in many ways, cholesterol drugs hurt our heart health.
Treating The Symptoms, Instead Of The Disease
Here’s the thing that everyone forgets to mention: Cholesterol isn’t the problem.
Yes, an excess of cholesterol can lead to blockages, and sometimes can cause heart attacks, strokes, or thrombosis.
But cholesterol isn’t the root problem. Cholesterol, instead, is a symptom of poor heart health.
Specifically, our body produces cholesterol when it needs to patch up our veins and arteries. The simplest way to think of it is this: Poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle leads to a hardening of our blood vessels.
When our arteries and veins become harder, they also become more brittle. Cholesterol is the spackle our bodies use to repair cracks throughout the cardiovascular system.
If this continues for too long a time, cholesterol will eventually cause issues. But even if we suppress cholesterol, we still have the underlying problems in our arteries and veins.
Worse, the natural cholesterol isn’t around to repair damage. The overall system can break down even faster.
The solution to this isn’t suppressing the spackle, but stopping our systems from cracking up in the first place. Take away the underlying problem, and the related symptoms disappear.
I once had a patient come to me with cholesterol through the roof. His “bad” cholesterol number was over 500, and his triglycerides were above 1500.
If you aren’t familiar with cholesterol numbers, trust me—these are atrocious. Some of the worst I’ve ever seen.
Unsurprisingly, previous doctors tried to flood him with statins. But even the most powerful cholesterol-suppressing drugs weren’t working.
I gave him a better solution. We went on a strict diet for one month. No carbs, vastly reduced sugar, lots of fruits and, especially, vegetables.
Within a month, without drugs, his cholesterol levels fell into the normal range. One month.
What’s more, his overall energy and health were vastly improved as well. We weren’t treating the symptom, but instead addressing the underlying cause.
If you have cholesterol issues, you have two choices. You can be a guinea pig for drugs that may be harmful—or take drugs we already know to be harmful.
Or you can reset your diet, increase your exercise, and not only solve your cholesterol issue, but the underlying problem as well.
I know which choice I’d make. And I’d encourage you, and those you love, to do the same.
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: July 20, 2015