Statin Drugs and Natural Solutions for Healthy Cholesterol
Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs for maintaining good cholesterol levels are statins like Zocor (simvastatin), Lipitor (avorastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), and Lescol (fluvastatin).
These drugs can be dangerous if taken with high levels of long-acting niacin (vitamin B3). Side effects also include dizziness, headache, extreme fatigue, swelling of the ankles, muscle weakness, and liver toxicity.
In both men and women, statins may weaken the heart muscle because they lower CoQ10 levels. In women especially, statin drugs may deplete levels of CoQ10, contributing to a weakened immune system.
Still, if you have moderate to severe heart disease involving multiple vessels, I recommend statin drugs to help you obtain and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In addition, I recommend the following natural solutions:
- Make sure you take a minimum of 150 mg of standard CoQ10 per day, or 50–60 mg of the hydrosoluble form, to offset the drug’s depleting effect.
- Niacin is one of my favorite cholesterol-lowering agents if you are not on a statin drug, because of its ability to increase HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and lower LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol). Low doses in the range of 100–300 mg three times daily are often effective without resulting in side effects of flushing, heartburn or gout attacks. A prescription form called Niaspan (750–1,500 mg) appears to be well-tolerated by most people with minimal side effects.
- Tocotrienols are antioxidants in the vitamin E family. Research suggests that they act much like statin drugs, minus the adverse side effects, by interfering with the liver’s ability to produce cholesterol. As little as 50 mg per day can have a positive effect.
- My Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean-type diet (PAMM) is great for this and for overall cardiovascular nutrition. It’s rich in fiber, healthy fats (omega-3s from fish and fish oil), garlic and onions (two potent cholesterol-busters), and fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps soak up cholesterol and cleanse the colon, preventing rapid absorption of cholesterol.
- Flaxseed is high in alpha linolenic acid and fiber, vital for healthy heart function.
- Soy helps prevent the oxidization of LDL and subsequent buildup of artery-clogging plaque. Soy also can help with reducing cholesterol levels, help ease menopausal symptoms, and may help protect against cancers of the breast and prostate.
- L-arginine—2–4 grams three times a day. TwinLab and Great Earth make good supplements that are widely available in health food stores.
For more information on natural solutions for healthy cholesterol, visit www.drsinatra.com.
Enjoy What You've Just Read?
Get it delivered to your inbox! Signup for E-News and you'll get great content like you've just read along with other great tips and guides for Dr. Sinatra!
Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra's Favorites
Doctor-recommended support for healthy cholesterol ratios, blood pressure & overall heart health
Refuel your cellular engines for efficient heart function
Strength, energy, endurance--get the targeted nutrient support a man needs most
Stay youthful, healthy, vibrant and balanced with nutrient support designed to meet a woman's needs