By Verdeen Bueckert

Verdeen Bueckert, RN and CREST Board member, has done extensive exploration of research on drug therapies commonly prescribed for people in the second half of life. The results are rather alarming. These 10 Questions are based on published research in medical journals. Don’t skip this reading.  And feel free to forward.

Cholesterol is an aspect of your health doctors pay increasing attention to as you get older. Many people are on cholesterol lowing medication. Before you take it – or continue to take it – here are 10 questions you should ask your MD. 

Note: this blog does not constitute medical advice. It is intended to urge you to read up on the issue, and discuss it with your doctor.

If you would like a copy of this blog, complete with footnotes, email us at

  1. side-effectsJust how high is my cholesterol? People who successfully reach the target range of 5.2 mmol/l may lower their risk of a heart attack slightly, but are at higher risk of dying from other causes such as cancer and strokes. Cholesterol holds cell walls together, protects against infection, assists digestion and healing, makes up the structure of the brain… many studies have found that low cholesterol is more dangerous than high cholesterol.
  2. Is the benefit worth the risk of dementia? There’s a black box warning of memory loss for statins. Brain structure and function require cholesterol. The good news – you may regain some memory after you stop taking it.
  3. Is the benefit worth feeling lousy? Low cholesterol is related to depression, anger, and higher rates of accidents, suicide and violence.
  4. Will it help me pursue a healthy lifestyle? 33% of those who use statins report muscle pain. Even if you don’t have pain and weakness, you will have skeletal muscle damage. Contents of the muscle cells literally explode.
  5. Will I be on this long enough to cause nerve damage? After 2 years on a statin, the damage is clinically measurable. Eventually you may require drugs for the pain.
  6. What other health problems can statins create? Heart failure, irregular heart rhythm, high blood pressure and diabetes to name a few.
  7. Are my risks serious enough to triple the chances of getting cancer? Vitamin D and cholesterol are required to fight cancer. Statins interfere with both.
  8. Just how life-saving are statins? On average, If 67 people are treated for 5 years, ONE will avoid a heart attack. That tiny advantage does not apply to women or anyone over the age of 69. Women and seniors should not be on statins.
  9. If statins are this bad, why are they promoted? Medical professionals are good-hearted people with busy lives, who can’t keep up with the 75 trials and 11 systematic reviews published per day. Doctors simply trust “the system” and patients trust their doctors. Unfortunately, the system is Big Pharma. 90% of the research done and promoted is sponsored by the drug industry, which tends to ignore evidence that interferes with profits. They’re quite happy to sell a drug that creates disease, for as long as they can get away with it. Want to see a highly effective business model? Look to the pharmaceutical industry. But don’t expect them to cure anything. That would be bad for business.
  10. Doctor, have you personally read the 2013 American Cardiology College / American Heart Association Guideline? The new treatment guidelines for statins are based on this report. There are 144 research articles referenced – impressive – until you notice they completely avoid the issue of health problems caused by statins. And 13 of the 15 panel of experts who created the guideline are past or present employees of drug companies and industry-funded associations.

So why is your cholesterol high? Cholesterol levels go up in response to stress and inflammation – in fact, if you hate needles, your cholesterol might be high because you were getting a blood test! It can also be a sign of an unhealthy diet, or an under-active thyroid. Here are 6 ways to reduce stress and inflammation:

  1. Slow down. Take time to relax and recharge. Get help to process and release anger. Forgive sooner. Walk more. Take breaks in the day. Pray and play often!
  2. Forget low fat, high carb diets. Instead, reduce bread, sugar and pasta intake and eat more vegetables and fruits, along with healthy fats such as coconut oil, sources of  Omega 3 (salmon, capsules),  nuts and seeds. Just 4 servings per week of nuts (e.g. almonds) lowers your risk of heart disease by 37%. Fruits and vegetables also lower blood LDL lipid levels. Avoid fried foods and chemically expelled oil and margarine. Eat small, frequent, nutrient dense meals and snacks. Avoid the Sumo Wrestler diet: no breakfast and one huge meal in the evening.
  3. Eat a little dark chocolate daily. Chocolate lowers blood pressure, reduces cardiac mortality, decreases plaque in coronary arteries, reduces inflammation in arteries and improves your lipid profile. It tastes great, is high in magnesium, reduces stress hormones, reverses blood vessel damage caused by diabetes, improves insulin resistance and may even help you lose belly fat.
  4. Find a comprehensive mineral-vitamin complex. You require 60 minerals to flourish, along with 16 vitamins, 12 amino acids and 3 essential fatty acids. A daily regimen of dried cereal, bagels, muffins, sandwiches and pasta isn’t going to give you those. Hate pills? An excellent mineral-vitamin option is Youngevity’s peach-flavoured drink powder,Tangy Tangerine. And make sure you’re getting your Vitamin D!
  5. Gradually work bread right out of your diet. Gluten causes tissue damage and inflammation – and not just in those with an official celiac diagnosis. A diet high in carbohydrates can contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance (diabetes).
  6. Consider Kelp tablets as a source of iodine: Many North Americans are deficient in iodine due to few dietary sources, reduced use of iodized salt, and the prevalence of look-alike molecules (fluoride, bromide, chlorine) in water, food and the environment. Iodine levels are not routinely measured, and can be low even if thyroid hormone levels are normal, resulting in metabolic syndrome: insulin resistance, high blood pressure, abdominal weight gain and abnormal cholesterol levels.

nuts-and-seedsYour body is designed to heal itself – if you give it what it needs. This involves eating a variety of delicious and nutritious foods. Doesn’t that sound better than pills, hospitals and chronic disease?

Looking for a second opinion? Try Heart, Cholesterol at www.