Like many Americans, you may be doing all you can to keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range. Taking action is fundamental to preventing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Just how deadly is heart disease? Well, most people are shocked to learn that it kills more per year than Alzheimer’s, strokes, diabetes, influenza, respiratory diseases and accidental deaths – combined.
One of the most conventional prevention techniques prescribed by doctors is a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins. Last year alone, an estimated 30 million Americans spent over $34 billion on statin drugs such as Vytorin, Lipitor and Crestor. But are statins as safe and effective as we have been led to believe?
Statins Are a Miracle Drug… For Big Pharma
Statins are called “the golden child” for pharmaceutical companies because they are prescribed to you at a young age, and since you may need to stay on them for the rest of your life. Big Pharma has created massive consumer demand for statins by plastering our TVs, magazines and newspapers with fancy “feel good” ads. They make statin drugs seem like wonder drugs with few, if any, side effects. In addition, they have employed legions of sales reps to reach out to doctors with the same message.
These efforts have paid off. By some estimates, 1 in 3 people over the age of 50 are on a statin drug, and prescriptions are being written at a rate of 20,000 per hour. However, some experts believe that 99 out of 100 people do not even need statin drugs.
Statin Drugs Are Not as Effective as Once Thought
Emerging research is showing that statins are not the wonder drugs they were once thought to be. Their effect wears off quickly if you stop taking them, they do little to raise good cholesterol, and while they make your “numbers” look good, they actually do little to decrease cardiovascular-related deaths.
In fact, a 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal found that for every 10,000 people on statins, there were only 271 fewer cases of heart disease, proving that statin drugs are less effective than once thought. At the same time, the study showed that there were many more statin side effects than expected, which has led to a growing number of people who are skeptical of these drugs.
The Unspoken Dangers of Statin Drugs
Aside from being less effective than once thought, within days of taking a statin, it is very common to experience fatigue, aches, pains and general muscle soreness. Many people also report memory loss, headaches, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
However, what is extremely scary, though rarely discussed, is that statins can actually kill. As USA Today reported, the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen claims that statins have killed and injured more people than the government has acknowledged.
Statins Deplete a Vital Nutrient Your Body Needs
Experts agree that statins severely deplete levels of CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is very dangerous for your heart as it needs CoQ10 for optimal performance. A Columbia University study found that within 30 days of statin therapy, your levels of CoQ10 can be decreased by half.
Not only does CoQ10 help your heart, it boosts energy throughout your system and helps fight fatigue. In addition, CoQ10 helps to reduce muscle-related pain and weakness, which are major statin side effects.
Statins, Blood Sugar and Type 2 Diabetes
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning regarding the increased rick of high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes in statin users. This FDA action requires drug makers to update product information to say that statins may raise blood sugar and has a potential link to type 2 diabetes. But what do doctors commonly prescribe for patience with type 2 diabetes? That’s right, statin drugs!
Red Yeast Rice: Safer and More Effective Than Statins
Despite the popularity of statin drugs, the pharmaceutical companies do not deserve all the credit for ingenuity when it comes to their creation. Statins are nothing more than an isolated compound derived from a naturally occurring nutrient called red yeast rice.
Big Pharma does not want you to know this, but hundreds of clinical studies published in prestigious medical journals, such as the Annals of Internal Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, have proven that red yeast rice can help regulate cholesterol as well as — or even better than — statins, with far fewer side effects.
In clinical trials of red yeast rice, the results were astonishing. According to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, red yeast rice:
- Reduced LDL cholesterol by 21 percent
- Reduced total cholesterol by 15 percent
- Was tolerated by an amazing 92 percent of the study’s participants
- Reduced the risk of a repeat heart attack by 45 percent in patients
- Lowered triglycerides by an average of 15 percent to 25 percent
Not All Red Yeast Rice Is Equal
While red yeast rice is an amazingly effective natural remedy, purchasing low-quality red yeast rice may actually cause more harm than good, so it is essential to know what to look for. Here are four important tips:
1. Choose organic red yeast rice since it is found to be the purest and most effective.
2. It is important to choose a product that has been carefully processed to remove a potential toxin called citrinin, a by-product of the red yeast rice fermentation process.
3. Always look for a supplement made in the United States in an FDA-inspected facility and one that meets the stringent standards of US Pharmacopeia (USP).
4. To get an effective daily dose, read the label on the bottle to ensure it contains 1,200 mg of pure red yeast rice. Anything less and you will not be taking a clinically effective dose.
Red Yeast Rice Alone Is Not Enough
One incredibly beneficial aspect of red yeast rice is that, unlike statins, it can be combined with complementary ingredients to boost its effectiveness. According to The Stop Aging Now Institute, an authority on natural heart health, research has shown that lowering your cholesterol is not the only risk factor to measure heart health, and that a more comprehensive approach is the best long-term solution.
Red yeast rice is most effective when combined with three synergistic ingredients that also have strong clinical research backing their support of heart health. The most essential of these ingredients is CoQ10, which is needed to strengthen the heart and to avoid CoQ10 depletion within the body. Also extremely important is resveratrol, a powerful heart-protecting antioxidant. Finally, French maritime pine bark extract is essential to the heart as it enhances the cholesterol-balancing effects of red yeast rice.
 Hippisley-Cox J, Coupland C. Individualising the risks of statins in men and women in England and Wales: population-based cohort study. Heart. 2010;96:939-47 doi:10.1136/hrt.2010.199034.
 Rundek T et al. Atorvastatin Decreases the Coenzyme Q10 Level in the Blood of Patients at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke. Arch Neurol. 2004;61:889-92.
 Becker D et al. Red Yeast Rice for Dyslipidemia in Statin-Intolerant Patients. Ann Intern Med. 2009;150;12;830-39.
 Heber D et al. Cholesterol-lowering effects of a proprietary Chinese red-yeast-rice dietary supplement. AJCN. 1999 Feb; 69;2:231-36.
 Venero C et al. Lipid-Lowering Efficacy of Red Yeast Rice in a Population Intolerant to Statins. American Journal of Cardiology. 2010 March 1;105(5),664-666.