Cholesterol-lowering drugs have been proven to reduce the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease. Like most drugs, they have also been shown to produce side effects. I find that there are a lot of people who are scared of the cholesterol medications.

These medicines seem to have received quite a bit of bad press. It is not unusual for people coming in to my pharmacy to ask me if there is some safe and natural alternative to their prescription medicine. Of all the medicines that we dispense currently, the one that does seem to cause the most concern for people is one group of cholesterol-lowering medications called the “statins.” Their common names are simvastatin and atorvastatin. These medications block an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, which is the enzyme that is responsible for making cholesterol in your body.

If your doctor has told you that you need to be taking statins – then you should follow that advice. Prescription medication is not a bad thing; as I said above, it saves lives. And if people are experiencing side effects, that’s not always an indication that they should come off or change the medication (though sometimes it is) – it just tells us that something is now out of balance, and needs to be addressed.

The best thing we can do is be mindful of the effects these medications have on the body – for example, statins can cause people to become deficient in essential vitamins and minerals like CoQ10 and magnesium – and make sure that we’re balancing those out as best we can through diet and supplements. You may eventually reach a point where you can reduce your medication, but even if you need to remain on the same dose – with good strategy and nutrition, you can still feel as energised as you did before you started taking it (or even better!).

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