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I, too would like to get information on alternatives to statin drugs.

By January 17, 2012 - 11:17am

I have a liver disease and feel very uncomfortable taking a statin, despite the doctor saying it was safe as long as they did live function tests every six months. I had terrible muscle cramps in my legs when I first started, but after a few weeks it has subsided. Are there any specific foods that help reduce cholesterol naturally? or lifestyle changes that could be made, other than exercise. I also have myasthenia gravis and cannot exercise but very little. If there is anyone with any suggestions I'd appreciate them.

By March 16, 2012 - 8:59am

Many Thanks
Yes, my doctor knows everything I take. Thanks for the further information on RRY. Because my numbers are in the high 300's I am taking a 5mg statin right now to give it a kick start. After 30 days my doctor and I will come up with a plan. When I research on the internet, it can be biased, I know. Depends who is writing it. I usually go to sites that do give me stats. Universities, etc. Not the drug companies or the other side of the realm. I like balance lol. Thank you so much once again for your reply. It is very helpful.
Donna Merrill

March 16, 2012 - 8:59am
By March 15, 2012 - 12:36pm

bbNurse, there is no relationship between fish oil and CoQ10 where one would make the other unnecessary. Also, CoQ10 is completely benign - it has no contraindications. This makes me think your doctor was simply exhibiting unreasoned, unscientific bias against natural supplements. It is a common attitude among conventional medical doctors. In fact, my letter from 03/09 has a very specific "warning" of this: I thought it might happen!
The articles about red yeast rice having similar side effects to statins are based on theory, not fact: read my note above. You'll find this is very common with articles on the internet written by people with incomplete information - their attitude is to give a warning, based on their misunderstanding of the topic, because this makes them seem careful and scientific. But RYR, taken in reasonable amounts, is very unlikely to cause the same side effects as statins. If those articles that warn about it don't cite specific studies of the supplements, or published case studies, I suspect they are making the information up and covering their you know whats.
I would suggest RYR can probably be used at two capsules per day with little risk of side effects. As I mentioned before, it's best if your doctor knows you're taking it, but it's hard to find a doctor who is well-informed.

Best of luck to you,

Daniel Heller
PMS Comfort

March 15, 2012 - 12:36pm
By March 15, 2012 - 12:08pm

Yes it certainly helps. I was a bit confused about the amounts of the Red Rice Yeast. To me 4 pills were a bit to much too, but thanks for confirming that. I don't like to take isolated supplements unless I can find out all I can about them. Also thanks for the Heads up on the other stuff I am taking. I appreciate your help and have a clearer idea of how to go about it.

March 15, 2012 - 12:08pm
By March 15, 2012 - 11:51am

I have received conflicting information about red yeast extract. One said it was excellent and two have warned about side effects similar to statins, especially the liver. When I asked my doctor about taking CoQ10 she said no, don't take it, but I can't imagine why and she offered no explanation except I didn't need it with the fish oil. I was of the understanding that both are beneficial in different ways. Anyone have a suggestion? I do have fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome. Can anyone help?

March 15, 2012 - 11:51am
By March 15, 2012 - 10:46am

Donna, good questions. Presumably you read my comments above regarding red yeast rice (so, obviously, I have heard of it! I brought it up! :-) ) Four pills per day sounds like a lot. On the other hand, the side effects with the RYR are theoretical. RYR is a combination of small amounts of several different statin molecules, whereas the statins drugs are one single type of molecule, and so the effects are different. There probably wouldn't be the same kind of impact on liver and muscle from RYR.
CoQ10 doesn't lower cholesterol, but it is an antioxidant that helps the heart muscle function better. As antioxidants go, though, it is the worst "bang for buck" for reducing heart disease risk. It's worth using along with statins or RYR though.
Fish Oil is great, though it won't lower your cholesterol. It will, however, lower your triglycerides, and that is beneficial.
Garlic pills are OK. They don't make as much difference as other things like diet and exercise.
My March 9 note has a bit more information. I hope that helps.

Best of Health,
Dr. Daniel Heller
PMS Comfort

March 15, 2012 - 10:46am
By March 15, 2012 - 10:20am

Great advice! I'm battling with my high numbers. I'm taking CoQ10, fish oil, garlic pills and vitamin C. I eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning, and have started exercising.
I do have a question. Have you heard about Red Rice Yeast? My doctor told me it is a good alternative to statins. I'm purchased it, it says to take four a day, but I'm on one a day because when reading about it I found out that it has the same effect on the liver as statins.

March 15, 2012 - 10:20am
By March 12, 2012 - 7:00am

Well I just want to begin by saying that Crestor really turned my family's lives upside down. Six years ago ( my first semester of college) my father was prescribed Crestor. Only three weeks later he began having severe muscle pain and weakness in his hips and legs. He actually ended up having muscle damage from the Crestor and was put on disability! He owned his own business and could no longer work. I decided to start doing my own research and realized that with healthier eating habits and an exercise routine he would have been able to avoid this. I then decided to go to nutrition school and I am now a certified holistic health coach.
I do want to warn you that red rice yeast has also been known to have side effects similar to statin drugs.
The reason statin drugs and cholesterol lowering products cause so many side effects is because it can stop the production of CoQ10.
I do recommend a blend of sterols and stanols, which are found naturally in plants, fruits, vegetables, and grains. I'm not sure if you've heard of Shaklee but I recommend their products to my clients because they have a 100% money-back guarantee and they are constantly testing for safety and efficacy. They actually just came out with more information on Co Q10 and statin drugs which I can probably send to you. Here are two products I highly recommend for your health right now:
Co Q Heart
Cholesterol Reduction Complex:
I have done a lot of research on statins and I have actually transformed my own health because I want to prevent heart and health issues in my future as much as possible. If you have any questions, please contact me!
Shayna Giannetti
Certified Holistic Health Coach
[email protected]

March 12, 2012 - 7:00am
By March 9, 2012 - 8:54pm

Patricia, the main thing is, you are a courageous soul! To be living with so many health challenges is difficult, and you clearly have a good attitude about it.
NASH is basically the result of a pre-diabetic type condition. Interestingly, it's probably almost impossible to to get this condition if you have enough magnesium - so taking the amount of magnesium you're taking is a great idea. Keep in mind that it may take years for your cells to absorb enough magnesium, so the benefit will increase over time.
You can get the red yeast rice at the health food store, and they should be able to find some information on how to use it. Alternately, you could search for a supplement retailer online, but then you'd have to look for the specific dosage guidance yourself.
I don't recommend that you take this at the same time as a statin drug, but I do recommend you talk about taking it with your doctor. If the doctor doesn't like supplements at all because they're "not regulated by the FDA" or "unscientific", this is an uninformed, knee jerk opinion. Ideally your doctor will want to work with you to find a solution that works for you.
I assume your hypothyroidism is properly treated, but low thyroid function can make your cholesterol go up.
As long as you're going to try to be healthier, maybe your doctor can recommend a dietitian to work with you on implementing a mediterranean style diet. The link I gave you above has excellent information on how to begin a plant-based, med-style diet.
Good luck!
Dr. Daniel Heller
PMS Comfort

March 9, 2012 - 8:54pm
By March 9, 2012 - 3:28pm

Thank you so much for the great information. My liver disease is NASH, or fatty liver. I take a magnesium supplement after a trip to the ER when my magnesium was critically low. I will certainly focus more on a plant based diet and try the red yeast extract. Where would I find that and how is it used. I do not eat very much meat, maybe once a week. However, I do eat ice cream, which I know is bad. My cholesterol came down but the doctor increased my Pravastatin. How does the MG affect my cholesterol? I take 200 mg of Magnesium three times a day. I also have a clotting disorder due to frequent chronic infections. Should I take less magnesium? I get nose bleeds with Aspirin so do not take that. I have had no problems with the magnesium. My only exercise is walking and housework, due to chronic pain and the SOB with my COPD along with some chest pain, non-cardiac. I also have central sleep apnea and use oxygen and BIPAP machine at night. So you see, there are a lot of complications with several chronic conditions to deal with. For the past year I have had normal liver enzymes. I am also hypothyroid. I guess that is about all. Thank you for any information you can share or help you can be, I truly appreciate it. Patricia

March 9, 2012 - 3:28pm
By March 9, 2012 - 12:22pm

Hi BBNurse: sorry I'm only seeing your query now. There are lots and lots of ways that may help you lower your cholesterol, and lots of additional questions that you can ask, too. In your case, the situation is complicated by the liver disease (you don't specify what this is) and the MG.

Here are some ideas, for starters:

Red Yeast Rice Extract is a natural source of statin molecules that almost never causes side effects. It's not as concentrated as the drugs, but it is in a more natural balance than the drugs, and this may help protect your body.

Magnesium deficiency is extremely common, and makes your muscles much more likely to have cramps and other problems. Magnesium is a natural blood thinner, like aspirin, but healthier for you; it's essential to help your liver function more normally; it protects your blood vessels from the damage resulting from high cholesterol and bad cholesterol; and it helps your heart muscle pump blood more efficiently (it's kind of like a miracle nutrient!)

The best sources of plant sterols are nuts; beans; seeds; whole grains; and vegetables. This is probably one reason why Mediterranean Diet is so helpful and healthy for heart disease prevention and treatment, not to mention many other conditions. We have a simple guide to a Med-based diet, the PMS Comfort Balance Diet here (don't worry, it's not just for PMS) http://www.pmscomfort.com/pms-diet/
It's not a matter of specific foods, it's more a matter of a plant-centric diet.

That is a great question, about lifestyle besides exercise, because most people assume they are the same thing. In fact, meditation reduces the risk of heart disease, as does any kind of stress reduction. But Dean Ornish (look him up if you haven't heard of him) has proven that a combination of meditation, exercise, vegetarian diet, and support groups not only reduces your risk of heart disease, it actually cleans out your arteries! The ONLY other treatment ever proven to do that is statin drugs.

You're welcome to contact me if you want more information or guidance on this subject.

Dr. Daniel Heller
PMS Comfort

March 9, 2012 - 12:22pm

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