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Herbal Supplements Spotlight, Issue #001 -- New Drug Dangers
November 02, 2004

More Bad News for Statin Drugs

Crestor May Harm Kidneys

It seems like the pharmaceuticals are really taking it hard these days, what with all the negative press they are receiving. First the antidepressants (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) were forced to revise their labels warning patients about the potential for increased suicidal thoughts. Then Vioxx, the extremely popular anti-inflammatory drug used by millions, was recalled in September due to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. And today, a consumer group known as Public Citizen has once again called for a ban on Crestor, a cholesterol lowering drug, citing 29 patients who have developed kidney disease as a result of taking the medication.

But problems with cholesterol medications, known as statins, are nothing new. In fact, a statin medication known as Baycol was recalled in 2001 after it was linked to 31 deaths from a severe muscle disorder known as rhabdomyolysis. Similarly, there were numerous safety concerns raised during the approval stages for Crestor, yet despite these protests the drug was approved in 2003 and thrust on the market a month later.

You see, drugs are huge business, and unfortunately, the bottom line is often more important for the pharmaceutical companies than the health of the people taking their drugs. Cholesterol drugs are some of the most prescribed medications on the market. Pfizer's Lipitor is far and away the world's leading drug, with over 71 million prescriptions written for it last year.

So with the drug companies making billions of dollars each year on their statins alone, do you think they're going to willingly take these drugs off the market? Not a chance. Crestor's days may be numbered, but Lipitor, Zocor and Pravachol will be around for a long time to come.

The problem is all of these statin drugs, Baycol, Crestor, Lipitor, and others work by the same exact mechanisms. Statins inhibit the enzyme that your liver uses to produce cholesterol. Interestingly, only 20% of your body's total cholesterol level comes from your diet...the rest is manufactured by your liver. So although these drugs can effectively lower your LDL cholesterol, they can also cause serious damage along the way, including liver problems, kidney damage and severe muscle breakdown.

Since its approval, Crestor has been linked to cases of all three of these problems, as well as at least one death. Statins have also been linked to less life-threatening conditions such as sexual dysfunction, memory loss and personality changes.

So what's the answer?

For extreme cases of high cholesterol when nothing else seems to work, unfortunately statin medications such as Crestor are the only solution. However, before you decide to subject yourself to the many potential adverse reactions to cholesterol drugs, you might want to try a safe, natural solution.

There are many natural cholesterol lowering herbs and nutrients, some of which have been shown to be more effective than statin medications. Why aren't these natural cures as popular as statins? I think you can answer that question (Hint: you can't patent them!)

Let's take a look at some of these proven cholesterol lowering nutrients:

Policosanol - a natural extract from bees wax and sugar cane which has been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels as well as raise HDL (good) cholesterol. More importantly policosanol has been proven to be free of side effects, unlike the statins.

Guggulipid Extract - an ancient herb from India recently shown to lower cholesterol levels as well as reduce triglyceride levels, another important risk factor for heart disease.

Green Tea Extract - green tea is widely used for many medicinal purposes, and has been shown to reduce triglycerides as well as LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Green tea also has antioxidants that can prevent heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.

Beta Sitosterol - Found naturally in soybeans, wheat germ and corn oil, this plant compound has a similar structure to cholesterol and as such can help stop the absorption of cholesterol in the body. Studies also point to its anti-cancer and immune boosting effects.

Fish Oil - With its high Omega 3 Fatty Acid content, fish oil can significantly lower cholesterol and fat levels as well as promote heart health and cardiovascular fitness.

These are just a few of the herbal extracts and nutrients that can lower cholesterol levels naturally. Most of these nutrients offer additional benefits as well, such as raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels, decreasing trigylcerides (fats) as well as promoting overall heart and body health. Also, they have been shown to be safe without the potential side effects of Crestor and other medications.

These nutrients are all available as single-ingredient supplements as well as in comprehensive multi-nutrient formulas. Our research shows that many herbs and nutrients working together can enhance the health benefits, so a multi-nutrient formula may make sense for those looking to lower their cholesterol.

Have high cholesterol? What are you going to take for it?

To learn more about naturally lowering cholesterol, click here.

Until next time, here's to your health!

Herbal Supplements Spotlight

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