How To Get Off Statin Drugs
Statin medications are highly controversial. They are the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States and their potential side effects have become a hot issue. As our understanding of the heart disease story continues to evolve, some have questioned the role statins play in reducing heart disease and want to know how to get off stain drugs.
I advise my patients to see statins, whenever possible, as an interventional medication rather than an excuse to keep living an unhealthy lifestyle. It’s my goal to educate patients and to help them transition to a healthy lifestyle that makes statins unnecessary. (Because of genetic factors, this is not always possible). Living statin free presents challenges, of course, but it can be done. So let’s get started.
There are two points that every person taking statin medication(s) must know and realize:
- The reasons why you are currently taking a statin medication and what you need to do before you can stop taking a statin medication.
- If you have no known underlying heart disease you must have a total cholesterol count under 200 and those with previously diagnosed heart diesase must have a count under 150 before going off statin drugs.
What are statins and what do they do?
Despite what the fear-mongers say, your doctor is not in cahoots with the pharmaceutical companies to drain your wallet. The bottom line is that statins work. In the past 10 years there has been a 27% reduction in fatal heart attacks- and much of this improvement is due to statins. But, remember statins can often times be used as a short term fix and is not always meant as a permanent regimen.
Okay, now that you have a better overview of statins, I will now describe to you how to get off statin drugs.
1. Start with your doctor
2. Get serious about food
3. Loose weight for good. Starting now!
Another way to think about ideal body weight is to remember what you weighed as a senior in high school. How far away are you? At that time your total cholesterol count- unless you had a weight problem then, was probably in the 120s. That’s the range that’s typical in populations without heart disease. So think “high school skinny.” For many of us, that’s a long way to go. You’ll need to approach this target weight, though, to sufficiently change your biochemistry.
4. Get moving on a daily basis
5. Shut-eye can save your life
You must get plenty of sleep – much more than our our workaholic culture commonly believes. Not just eight hours a night, but eight to 10 hours on a regular basis. Sleep is the body’s main way of dealing with stress. Specifically, and this might surprise you, lack of sleep results in the liver pumping out excess cholesterol!
6. Change your perspective on life
7. Slash your cholesterol counts
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and vitamin B3 (niacin), remain the champions of natural supplements. (Editor note: discuss the use of niacin with your doctor, as recent research has showed that over use of niacin could in fact be damaging to your heart). Both fish oil and niacin boost HDL, plump up LDL particles, and often times reduce inflammation. Fish oil even has a mild analgesic effect, for which your aching joints will thank you.
New evidence is emerging that flaxseed contains three ingredients that aid in maintaining heart health. Flaxseed is rich with the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, which contain both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, plus soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed seems to help not only with a person’s cholesterol profile but even in maintaining heart rhythm.
Organic grape juice, apples, and other foods that contain pectin help eliminate cholesterol through the gut. Garlic has a mild effect as well.
A glass of red wine a day, because it contains resveratrol, an antioxidant, also helps maintain heart health. Be careful, though: two or more glasses of red wine a day has been shown to increase cancer risk. In this light, I’d recommend having a glass of red wine no more than 2 or 3 times per week. Wine and other alcoholic beverages also cause triglyceride counts to climb. Oatmeal, oat bran, and other whole grain products can help with a small reduction, about 5 percent, in total cholesterol.
For those with risk factors or established heart disease, the challenges of living statin free in our culture can be daunting. If you take the seven steps I’ve outlined, though, starting with establishing that all-important relationship with your physician, you’ll have the best chance of success. You’ll feel 1,000 times better, too -that I can promise. I certainly hope you conquer your need for statin drugs.
Thank you for reading this heart health tip of the day. To your heart health,
Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Please continue to read the many articles I provide in my blog. Each article contains valuable life saving information that can help anyone struggling to overcome heart disease. I wish you much success in your pursuit of heart health.
Author of Dr. Crandall’s Heart Health Report
Interventional, Vascular, and Transplant Cardiology
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org