Your kidneys are among the most important organs in your body — but millions of people treat theirs like punching bags.
It’s not bad habits, it’s bad medicine. The statin drugs given for supposedly high cholesterol may actually increase the risk of acute kidney injury by up to 34 percent, according to new research.
This risk supposedly kicks in at “high” doses, but there’s nothing high about the levels used in the study at all. It starts at just 10 mg of Crestor (rosuvastatin), 20 mg of Lipitor (atorvastatin) or 40 mg of Zocor (simvastatin).
Those are the everyday doses millions of people are taking right now. In some cases, they’re even starting doses — and many people take double those levels or more.
The highest kidney risk is in the first four months, according to the study in BMJ. But if you’ve been taking statins for a longer period, you’re not out of the woods yet — because the risk remains elevated even after two full years.
The researchers say it’s not clear why statins may damage the kidneys, but two reasons jump out at me, starting with one of the most notorious and common side effects of all: muscle pain.
It’s not just a little pain. It can be severe and even debilitating — and in the worst cases, that pain is a sign of rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which your muscle fiber essentially dissolves right into your bloodstream.
Once it’s in the blood, the dissolved fiber heads to your kidneys for processing — and your kidneys can’t handle it.
That alone can be enough to cause kidney damage and even kidney failure, but statins also block coenzyme Q10, a substance critical to both kidney function and healthy muscle.
That’s why I say that anyone who takes a statin must (not should, must) take a coenzyme Q10 supplement along with it.
Better yet, talk with your doctor about not taking statins at all.
Along with potential side effects like that muscle pain I mentioned as well as liver damage, sexual problems, memory loss, and more, statins can cause something else — something your doctor won’t talk about.
They may work too well, bringing your cholesterol down to dangerously low levels.
I know many people think there’s no such thing as too low when it comes to LDL — but there is, and it’s becoming such a serious and widespread problem that I recently took to my PBS television show to warn my viewers about it.
Is your cholesterol high enough?
LDL has been turned into such a villain that it’s even called the “bad” cholesterol — and that’s led to some of the worst advice in modern medicine: lower it at all costs.
So let me set the record straight on this.
As I recently pointed out on my PBS television show, Natural Healing with Mark Stengler, LDL cholesterol is absolutely critical to your health.
You’d die without it.
And while LDL levels certainly can be too high, the real problem I’m seeing these days is cholesterol levels that are too low — especially in patients taking a statin drug given to them by a mainstream doctor.
Instead of thinking of LDL cholesterol as “bad,” think of it as a cargo train running through your arteries, transporting fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, K, and E as well as the CoQ10 that’s so critical to your heart.
It doesn’t matter how much of those vitamins you’re getting from diet and supplements. If you don’t have enough LDL, your body can’t use them.
Does that sound “bad” to you?
Of course not.
LDL cholesterol is also critical to your immune system, which is why one major study found that the risk of fever, severe infections, and even blood cancer rises as LDL levels fall.
And in a recent study out of Japan, low LDL levels — levels that fall within “healthy” mainstream guidelines — actually increased the risk of death from cancer, pneumonia, heart disease, and more.
Low cholesterol can also lead to depression, anxiety, hormonal deficiencies, and more.
I know that flies in the face of everything you’ve heard from mainstream health authorities. But it’s true — and that’s just the beginning.
There’s so much more to tell you on this that I can’t possibly fit it all in here, so I’ve made the cholesterol episode of my show available online here (click on the video titled “Natural Healing — Cholesterol”) , where you can watch it for free and learn:
- How much cholesterol you really need
- The right way to read a cholesterol test
- The healthiest fats for increasing LDL levels
- Natural ways to lower cholesterol if it is too high
- …and more!
While you’re there, you can also watch other episodes of my show for free and check my schedule to find out when we’re on the air in your community and what channels we’re on.
Dr. Mark Stengler