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Avatar universal

Omega 3 verses a statin drug

Hi, I am currently on a statin for cholesterol and understand that this can harm my liver.  I've been on it for several years and was wondering if Omega 3 would be a good alternative to the statin.  If so, in what amount?
Thanks for any help!
11 Responses
Avatar universal
You should be taking omega 3 in any case.  Statins, by lowering cholesterol, also interfere with the absorption of fat soluble nutrients, which of course includes omega 3.  The most important for the heart is EFA, which is found in largest amounts in fish oil, but flax and hemp oil are also very high in omega 3 oils.  But omega 3 oils don't do the same thing as statins.  Statins lower LDL cholesterol, the bad kind, whereas omega 3 oils provide the good kind of cholesterol, HDL.  If you raise HDL, that will be more preventive of future heart disease than lowering LDL unless you're LDL was sky high.  Triglycerides are also far worse than LDL because they oxidize instantly; they're found mostly in products with hydrogenated vegetable oils.  There is a product with natural statins called Red Yeast Rice, but it's not as strong as pharmaceutical statins.  Statins were actually developed from research in Japan on mushrooms that contained natural statins and had been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat heart disease.  Of course, pharmaceuticals come with patents, and make a whole lot more money, so the Japanese researcher invented the first statin drug and cashed in.  But there are other ways to lower cholesterol than taking statins -- through diet, herbs such as guggul and others, and exercise.  It depends on how dangerous your personal situation is as to whether this slower approach is appropriate.  Another thing statins leach out of the body is CoQ10, which is responsible for providing energy to the heart muscle.  It's also a fat soluble nutrient.  As is Vitamins E and D and other nutrients.  Pharmaceuticals always come with their drawbacks, but sometimes they're necessary and sometimes they're not, and it's not for me to say what's the right avenue in your case.
1042487 tn?1275283499
Hello there mammo glad to see you here!

You already received excellent advices from Pax i would only like to add that Niacin ( vitamin B3 ) should also be included in your dailies as it can also lower your lipoprotein A. You can get Niacin by prescription or try to find the best one at you local health store.

Other things you can include in your diet are Artichoke Leaf, Policosanol, Pantotine, Coenzyme Q10, Garlic, Sardines ( good natural source of Omega-3, low mercury amount since it's a small fish ).

Like Pax already mentioned above, physical activity is extremely important in lowering cholesterol and should be done daily. By doing so you reduce your chance of heart disease as well.

Please consider that I'm not a doctor nor a nutritionist and strategies talked here should be discussed with your doctor.
Avatar universal
I do take Omega 3, and I haven't and don't have any serious issues with cholesterol and no problems at all with my heart.  I walk 6 miles a day, and eat very healthy.  I'm just looking for some ideas, and then I'll do my own research, but thanks anyway!
Avatar universal
Thanks, glad to be here!  Sounds like I'm doing everything right so far, just need some fine tuning and I do appreciate all the helpful information.  It's interesting to learn about all this, and how it all impacts our well being.  I've researched some of it, mostly due to your input on the depression forum, and have become very interested in learning more.

I'll be following this forum closely in an effort to learn more, and I'm sure I'll have lots of questions.
Avatar universal
I'm confused.  Why are you on a statin if you don't have a cholesterol problem?  And if you are on a statin, remember, many of the things mentioned here are substitutes for statins.  If you're on a statin, adding them can lower your cholesterol too much, and cholesterol is essential to proper body functioning, for example in manufacturing hormones.
Avatar universal
Sorry about the confusion.  My cholesterol was never seriously high, but enough to put me on medication.  I have maintained good numbers for sometime now and was asking my question in hopes of being able to maintain thru a more natural way instead of statins.  
Avatar universal
My own opinion is that statins are dangerous drugs and should only be taken if needed.  If you didn't have troublesome cholesterol there was no reason to be put on statins in the first place, for the reasons I described above and other reasons as well.  I believe if you go into the archives of the Complementary Medicine forum you'll find a very good article on statins and their potentially deleterious effects.  Now, I'm not a doctor, so this is just my opinion, but I think you never had a reason to go on the statins in the first place and could have dealt with it with the items mentioned above and dietary and exercise changes.  Good luck with it whatever you decide to do.
458072 tn?1291418786
I have  a cholesterol over 300. Due to hypothyroidism. My HDL is off the charts. Anyways, due to the nature of statins, I refuse to take them. It makes my dr aggrevated, but until the thyroid is fixed, the cholesterol will not change until the thyroid is properly treated. Either way, I refuse to take statins.

The statins cause other problems, and then you have to take a pill for that, and then problems come from that, and you need a pill for that. It is just a snowball effect, that benefits the pharmaceutical companies and kills humans off.
1042487 tn?1275283499
I must admit that i agree with you that the problem with pharmaceutical drugs is that you need other pills to counter the side-effects of the pill that you must take and that ends up being a lot of pills you wouldn't need if the root cause was addressed rather than the symptoms.

Good input,
458072 tn?1291418786
Thank you....

BTW, I learned that by experience.

My philosophy-- fix the problem, don't treat symptoms.
Avatar universal
Slash Heart Disease Risk by 81 Percent

For millions or people, statin drugs are the number one doctor-prescribed defense against heart disease. In fact, so many people take them that we spent $12.5 billion on Lipitor in 2006 alone. But brand new research reveals that they may seriously damage your health. That’s because statins significantly increase your risk of diabetes.

That means millions of people taking the drugs now have to decide which is worse… heart disease or diabetes.

An epic study shows that specific dietary changes can reduce your risk of heart disease by 81 percent – without resorting to statin drugs. And leading doctors agree that combatting heart disease through diet isn’t just safer… it’s far more effective too.
                                               Dangers of Statin Drugs
Plenty of reports say statin drugs cause severe pain and can actually make muscles atrophy. Worse, they may actually increase your risk of stroke.
Now, a brand new study, published in The Lancet, confirms that statins do cause diabetes. Researchers reviewed the case files of over 91,000 people from 1994 through 2009. They found a direct link between people taking statins and developing diabetes.

Why use a [drug] with significant risks when other treatments [are] more effective for reducing heart disease? asks Dr. Mark Hyman, a Massachusetts physician who serves on the Board of Advisors at Georgetown University. He says he’s helped hundreds of patients combat heart disease without using statin drugs.

Another study – put out several years earlier by the American Medical Association – also found that statins increase diabetes risk. The paper showed that while statins lowered cholesterol, they raised insulin levels. And that’s a precursor for diabetes.
What’s worse, raised insulin leads to extra body fat… higher blood pressure… and increased inflammation. All of which contribute to heart disease.
“In other words, lowering cholesterol with statins actually increases the risk of heart disease,” says Dr. Hyman.
But statin drugs are huge business. They generate over $12.5 billion in sales each year for Lipitor alone. And many doctors are pushed to prescribe them.
These drugs are the conventional response to high cholesterol. So drug companies have worked to make sure more people take them.
“When I was at medical school, the ‘normal’ cholesterol was 250,” says Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD. “The new ‘normal’ promoted by drug companies is 180. Hammering cholesterol down with statin drugs is the wrong approach.”
                                                  Causes of Heart Disease
The Archives of Internal Medicine has just published the results if its “EPIC” study. Researchers took 23,000 people and studied their risk factors for heart disease. They found that changes in diet reduced heart attack risk by 81 percent.
How could such simple changes deliver such amazing results? By lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation.
This comes as no surprise to NHD panel member Dr. Dwight Lundell. He was a heart surgeon for 25 years and performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries. During his career he’s pioneered several innovative advances in coronary medicine.
He says four things cause inflammation and lead to heart disease.
1) Simple carbs and grains are the single biggest threat to heart health. They raise blood sugar which releases insulin into your system. Insulin stores and builds fat – especially around the waist.
“Every time we raise our blood sugar we injure the delicate lining of our blood vessels,” says Dr. Lundell.
And that leads to inflammation and heart disease.
2) Vegetable oils are deadly for our coronary system. They contain an unhealthy amount of omega 6 fatty acids.
Our bodies change these fatty acids into chemicals that cause chronic inflammation.
“We do need omega 6,” says Dr. Lundell. “But we’re getting 20-25 times more in our diets.”
3) Deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids hurts heart health.
“Omega 3 is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory,” he says.
There’s plenty of research which shows omega 3 boosts heart health. Those studies say it’s your best option for cooling inflammation.
4) Oxidative stress damages your heart. Free radical damage causes inflammation and increases stroke risk.
“Oxidative stress is detrimental to health and is definitely [linked] with heart disease,” says Dr. Lundell.
The good news is that all of these heart risks are easy to fix without statin drugs. Small, simple changes in diet can improve heart health.

                                            Boost Heart Health through Diet
You can take a few key steps to improve your diet and heart health. In a nutshell, you need to eat more omega 3s and cut back on omega 6s. Slash your carbs and go for healthy fats and protein. And look to boost your intake of antioxidants.
                                    Here’s a step-by-step guide to what you need to do:
Make omega 3 fatty acids part of your daily diet. So much scientific evidence shows that omega 3s are vital to heart health. And there are plenty of good sources to choose from. There’s no good reason not to enjoy omega 3s.
                                         Your best sources for these fatty acids include:

Sardines, Tuna, Wild salmon, Grass-fed beef,  Milk, Cage-free eggs,
Be sure when choosing fish that you avoid the farm-raised variety. It’s better to go for cold-water wild fish. That’s because they have a proper ratio of omega 3 to omega 6.
Dr. Lundell says you need to eat at least two to three servings of fresh fish each week.
Another easy option for getting omega 3 into your diet is a simple fish oil supplement.
“Supplement your diet with at least 3 grams of high quality pure fish oil,” says Dr. Lundell.
Cut out omega 6 from your diet. Too much of this fatty acid will do serious harm. So try to keep your omega 3s high and your omega 6s low. It’s pretty easy to do with a little effort and well worth it. Just make sure you avoid the worst foods. These include:

Grain-fed beef, Grain-fed chicken,  Processed foods, Fried foods, Vegetable oils
Try to get more saturated fats into your diet. These can really help to reduce inflammation.
Great sources include:
Olive oil,  Walnuts, pecans, and almonds,  Avocados
Slash sugary and starchy carbs from your diet. These are the worst offenders for raising blood sugar and insulin. That process wreaks havoc on long-term heart health. Worst offenders include:
Bread, Pasta, Rice
Look to enrich your diet with antioxidants.There are so many to choose from. Even foods like dark chocolate and red wine are loaded with them. Some of the best antioxidants include:
Berries,  Broccoli, Grapes,  Spinach
You can easily combine all of these suggestions into simple meal plans. For breakfast, switch out bagels and cheerios for yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and a handful or almonds.
When you’re on the run, try combining your healthy snack foods to enjoy vital omega 3s and antioxidants in one go. A grab-bag of walnuts, blueberries, and grapes packs a powerful punch. A don’t forget to wash it down with some antioxidant-rich green tea.

You can’t beat broccoli and grass-fed beef for dinner… or spinach and wild salmon… for a powerful combination of health benefits. And you can help yourself to a glass of red wine (loaded with youth-preserving resveratrol) and a square or two of dark chocolate.

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