Beware of Cholesterol Lowering Drugs
Interview with Lorna Vanderhaeghe
Interviewed by Raena Morgan
November 12, 2009
Raena Morgan: Lorna, let’s have a look at cholesterol. You say in your book that there are some risks in taking cholesterol lowering drugs. Could you talk about that?
Lorna Vanderhaeghe: Well absolutely. I mean if we watch the ads for cholesterol lowering drugs, we know there are lots of risks associated with taking those medications. And you know, recently cholesterol lowering drugs have been given approval to be prescribed to our children, children under the age of twelve.
LV: And this can be a serious problem. Well if you think about it, we have so many overweight and obese children.
RM: That’s what I was thinking, and that’s what they’re prescribed, that’s right.
LV: And simply weight gain is associated with high cholesterol, and of course your diet choices. When we look at cholesterol lowering drugs, one of the biggest problems with them is that they lower coenzyme Q10 levels, and coenzyme Q10 is a heart protective nutrient; it’s also a breast cancer protective nutrient.
LV: And of course one of the concerns is a lot of the heart drugs are not researched as well in women as they should be.
LV: So finally we have some very good research showing that women who take cholesterol lowering medications have an increased risk of breast cancer, and we know why.
RM: That’s because?
LV: Those cholesterol lowering drugs increase estradiol levels in women.
RM: Oh, okay.
LV: And estradiol is not a safe estrogen, and so as a result when it gets too high it increases your risk of breast cancer. Secondarily is the fact that coenzyme Q10 levels are depleted, which is also breast cancer protective. So for women, they should be paying attention to this, along with the muscle damage that we see that can occur in people who are on statin medications, but hopefully the doctor and the pharmacist have talked to them about that.
RM: Can these statins deplete your cholesterol too much?
LV: When we look at cholesterol lowering drugs and cholesterol lowering natural products, rarely will we ever see our total cholesterol go below what we classify as normal, and there’s a reason for that, and that is our wonderful liver that has this feedback mechanism to make sure that your cholesterol levels are always at an adequate level, to make sure that you have enough cholesterol for all the repair that’s needed in the body. And this is where, when I talk about cholesterol, I say it’s not all bad, you know,-
LV: -we need cholesterol to make our hormones, we need cholesterol to make vitamin D, it literally is the patch and repair substance for the body.
RM: Do we need it for our brains as well?
LV: We need it for our brain, and for many people who go on statin medications, especially the elderly who may not be getting the right amount of nutrients or nutritional supplements or also food, is that we start to see dementia or, you know, little bits of memory going.
LV: Often times it’s talked about as if it’s due to aging, and yet we really should be looking at some of the drugs that our loved ones are on.
RM: Yes, we should. Well thank you for that information.
LV: Thank you.