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View Full Version : What's The Best NON-Statin?


Imacarbuff
08-28-2013, 01:44 PM
Recently I had "taken a recovery break" from statins to see if issues I were having would go away. They did eventually and I felt great. Then, time for some bloodwork-and of course my cholesterol is up too high. Anyway, knowing all the problems I have had with Lipitor, Zocor and Lescol (I'm not brave enough to even try Crestor) I was put on pravastatin 20mg. Issues with muscle pain the first two weeks. Cut to 10mg....muscle issues and now fatigue with a little bit of ringing in the ears.
I do believe I have become allergic to statins. I'm going to have to contact my Dr. and I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas on a NON-statin drug. My LDL was 239 and I'd like to be at 150 or so. No cardiac issues, no smoking, great blood pressure and I'm working on my diet to eliminate as much sugar as possible.
Thanks!

Dottydog
08-28-2013, 02:26 PM
Sorry this seems to have duplicated

Dottydog
08-28-2013, 02:28 PM
I feel the same. I had been on statins for about ten years in total and for a while just knew they were gradually ruining my quality of life. At first I think they were fine, maybe for three years or so, but by the end I had been through all the ones you mention and on some level they all caused a reaction, with me it was fatigue. I have been off them for the best part of four or five months now and have more energy than I can remember in years. I have been exercising, losing weight and feel better able to focus for lengths of time, that has to count for something even if my cholesterol has gone up again.
I am taking Ezetimibe from my doctor, Niacin, Omega 3 fish oil and CoEnzyme q10 from the health food shop. I am also trying to eat porridge, made with soya milk, every day and having a single alcoholic drink every day....I am no teetotaller but don't usually drink every day! My diet is only OK, it could be better.
Next week I am due a blood test so will post the results here but if anyone else has any more good advice about things that can help keep cholesterol down without statins I would also like to know but I have come to the conclusion that it is not the be all and end all, a 'not great' cholesterol result with my current quality of life is better than low cholesterol and near permanent fatigue.
It'll be interesting to see what other ideas you all have.

rosequartz
08-28-2013, 02:47 PM
what about niacin?

Dottydog
08-28-2013, 03:06 PM
Yes, I've added that in too. I was worried about the flushes that people have reported but I haven't had any issues with it.

Imacarbuff
08-28-2013, 04:38 PM
I have to agree-the quality of life is worth a ton. I too was feeling so much better when I was off the statins. Statistically speaking, most of my life is behind me....and some of the toughest years could be ahead. I want to go in to them strong and as pain-free as possible. That's not going to happen if I stay on statins.

Any problems with the Ezetimibe or the niacin? What mg of niacin do you take?

Imacarbuff
08-28-2013, 04:42 PM
Niacin is on my short list of supplements to consider when I dump my statins for good! What is better- regular or time-release version?

Voxx976
08-29-2013, 10:02 AM
There are no effective alternatives to statins...sorry.

Perhaps that drastic diet, I forget his name, with no animal foods and <10% fat by calories....aah, ORNISH.
But who can eat like that?

Niacin, if over 2,000 mg/day, can help with HDL but that dose would have me in a coffin fast. Even at 500 mg., the flush, with swollen lips and eyes, feels like death is imminent.

Dottydog
08-29-2013, 10:21 AM
Hahaha! I know what you're saying, and my cholesterol is certainly hereditary so diet will only have a minimal impact. I'm on 100mg of Niacin, which I now feel is a bit wimpish :-) when I get my bloods done next week I'll have some idea of how the land lies. My HDL is the main issue, and that throws out the ratio reading, the LDL is usually not such a big deal.

Imacarbuff
08-29-2013, 05:56 PM
There are no effective alternatives to statins...sorry.

Perhaps that drastic diet, I forget his name, with no animal foods and <10% fat by calories....aah, ORNISH.
But who can eat like that?

Niacin, if over 2,000 mg/day, can help with HDL but that dose would have me in a coffin fast. Even at 500 mg., the flush, with swollen lips and eyes, feels like death is imminent.

You know I agree-you can't beat statins for lowering cholesterol. If someone with truly high-cholesterol is trying to get their numbers to a range that will please MOST Dr.'s-they are going to have to resort to statins. I say "resort to" because I think statins should be considered only after you have exhausted other avenues to get the numbers in a "comfortable range". I also think anyone considering them should learn how statins do what they do-and learn what else is being modified in their body.

Myself, I'm not shooting for low cholesterol. My research has told me that people with high cholesterol simply live longer. No, I certainly was not told that at my own Dr's-nor would I expect to be. I think most of them get a lot or most of their information from the big-pharma sales reps. That's somewhat of a concern to me.

In speaking to more than a few different Dr's in several different groups, I have been told that it's about 50/50 for ending up on the table with cardiac issues including heart attack. You have 50% with high cholesterol and 50% with normal or low cholesterol.

My concern with statins causing problems with muscles and fatigue-is the heart. The one muscle that never gets to rest-never gets to just take a break.

I agree also on the diet. It's tough sometimes to really keep it on track. But I think the really big thing to watch is sugar and processed foods. I'm still considering niacin-but not a lot of it-those symptoms I'd like to avoid.

Imacarbuff
08-29-2013, 06:04 PM
Dottydog-on your bloodwork-are you going to get the newer particle test? That one -like the NMR will show you so much more. If you are too high on the small particles (which I understand are the worst ones) you can work on diet modifications that you can live with. From what I've been told-statins may not be much help in the conversion process.....small to large particles.

tess201
08-30-2013, 03:15 AM
Flush Niacin will work for increasing HDL. If you want to lower LDL you might consider Red Yeast Rice and CoQ10 supplements. However, the brand of RYR is important. You want one free of citrinin and standarized with a minimum of 1.5% monaclins. With this in mind, Nature's Plus is the best, IMO. I have definitely lowered my LDL cholesterol with this regime. I am now in the low risk category.

Tess

maricuyita
09-02-2013, 11:26 AM
Read the book: THE GREAT CHOLESTEROL MYTH by Dr. Jonny Bowden. He was featured in the Dr. Oz show and it was great info. I bought the book 4 months ago and started on his advice. I stopped taking statins completely (after 10 years) and switched to a new doctor that is willing to try his advice. My main supplement is niacin (the one recommended by the book) as Nicotinic Acid. I had very bad flushes until I switched to Doctor's best Real Niacin. I take 2 tablets a day (500mg each) I know people that take more than that; the doctor said it will take a while (at least 4 months). I am at the end of the 4 months next week, so I will be tested and see the doctor again. I hope and pray that this works!!

yackedar
09-02-2013, 01:09 PM
Hi again Imacarbuff.

The answer lies in my most recent post and my posts of years gone by.
Just search for Natures Plus on this board.

Yack

Imacarbuff
09-08-2013, 04:20 PM
Hi again Imacarbuff.

The answer lies in my most recent post and my posts of years gone by.
Just search for Natures Plus on this board.

Yack

How are you doing Yack? I've been on vacation....and managed to stay pretty close to a decent, healthy diet. I've completely cut out sodas (never did drink diet colas-I consider them unhealthy due to the fake sugars) and I've cut all my sweets by at least 80%.

I'm continuing to try to stay on 10mg of pravastatin-but I can certainly feel the effects. I've re-read a lot of your older posts-you have a lot of great advice. I've also been devouring the many books out there now (written by Drs of various degrees) and after reading 8 or 9 books now.....I'm wondering if cholesterol is the "poison" we are being led to believe. In any case, no way are we getting the full story on statin research. I always have a problem with any company who does a "study", provides the funding, controls the results, and also sells the product.

What statins do and how they do what they do-that concerns me more each passing day. Considering that 50% that have cardiac episodes have low or normal cholesterol.....the challenge that myself and probably many other face-is deciding just how risky is statin treatment WHEN you can feel the muscle pain and weakness creeping in. A tough call for sure.

Voxx976
09-10-2013, 08:54 AM
I started with angina pain in 1992.
Stayed in denial till 1998 when I had a stress test and an echo (from a real jerk) who determined "no heart issues except hypertension" in spite of my telling him I was suffering a crushing chest pain throughout the latter half of the stress test. He said can you continue and I did...I'm very competitive.
His report actually said "no evidence of ischemia during the test."
I do hope he is no longer practicing medicine, with the operative word being "practicing."

Having a mother who died of progressive congestive heart failure I demanded my GP put me on Lipitor in 1998 after seeing an HDL of 28 and sky high Lp(a.)
By 2004 I could stand what I KNEW to be angina pain no more, and I went to see a crack interventional cardiologist. He said I had TEXTBOOK angina and ordered an immediate angiogram. My RCA was blocked 98+%.
I got my first stent and all went well for years.

I have taken Lipitor/now cheap atorvastatin for 15 years in doses from 10 mg. to 80 mg. (for a month after stenting to stabilize plaques.) Usual dose is 20 mg. Never any muscle pain.
When my insurance company said I must switch to simvastatin when it went generic, I tried it for several months and my LDL (in the 60's with Lipitor) shot up dramatically.
My GP gave me a huge pile of Crestor samples and after just a few weeks I developed thigh and hip pains...new to me. I could not take the stuff and resorted to online atorvastatin. But soon afterwards, it went generic in the United States and I could buy it for $10/month.

The drug is a true miracle drug for me and it, along with 2 EMINENT cardiologists, has given me what I know to be YEARS of health.

For anyone who has trouble with statins I recommend trying 10 or even 5 mg. of atorvastatin. It seems remarkably effective in even these tiny doses.

I DO sympathize with those who suffer pain from statins because I know what Crestor felt like for me. Choosing between endless leg pain and progressive heart disease would have been a Hobson's choice indeed. I suppose I'd have had to choose the leg pain...but not happily.


BTW, Red Yeast Rice IS a statin, lovastatin to be precise. That's why it works for some people.

Oh and the best way to raise HDL is daily BOOZE. (Or 2000 mg. niacin, a fatal dose for me.)

yackedar
09-10-2013, 01:13 PM
"BTW, Red Yeast Rice IS a statin, lovastatin to be precise. That's why it works for some people.

Oh and the best way to raise HDL is daily BOOZE. (Or 2000 mg. niacin, a fatal dose for me.)"

Hi Voxx976,

My history of Angina was in some ways the same as your own. I suffered one daily attack all but one day for 4.5 months before the 95% blockage after a heart attack was discovered and 'zapped' with a balloon and then a stent insertion. I would not wish a 20 minute angina attack on my worst enemy.

A couple of points.
Statins can in only a very few cases stabilize plaques but never for a short period after stenting. In the studies that I have read, reading between the lines it becomes obvious that there is little evidence to support statements that statins stabilize and reduce existing plaque growth. In some of the research papers some of the scientists evaluating results of their own studies were at odds. If they are/were at odds, then who is it we should believe?

I totally have to disagree with you about your statement on RYR.

RYR info for you. Please read some of my other posts on this board for further info.
Here is a post of mine from years gone by.

As far as I am aware the ancient Chinese used Hong Qu (Red Yeast Rice) as a preservative, spice, and food colouring substance. (British spelling for color)
It's still used to give Peking duck its red colour and can be an ingredient of fish sauce, fish paste, and rice wine.

Red yeast rice is still used in traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for poor circulation (invigorates blood circulation and eliminates blood stasis), indigestion, and diarrhoea.

When RYR is produced using the 'Went' strain of Monascus purpureus, it contains significant quantites of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor lovastatin (mevinolin) or monacolin K, a naturally-occurring statin.
Monacolins possess hydroxymethyglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase-inhibitory activity. There are fourteen identified Monacolins to date, but only one has been scientifically trialled and was then artificially COPIED.

As stated before on this site 'Monacolin K' has now recently been banned as an ingredient of all red yeast rice products sold in the USA, but only in the USA. It still OK to be sold as an over the counter purchase in Europe and Asia.
Red Yeast Rice even has a page mentioned on the National Health Service website of the UK as an alternative remedy for high cholesterol reduction for patients not wanting to take, or are unable to tolerate statin medication.

Although 'Monacolin K' has been banned by your FDA, there are several good RYR preparations produced within the US without the manufactured by-product, Citrinin, containing a combination of some of the other remaining thirteen so far identified Monacolins which actually work well, if not better than RYR preparations containing Lovastatin (Monacolin K). Two that I personally know that definitely work, are Nature's Plus and Source Naturals. There are obviously others, but I would need to know the type of 'Monacolin' content of any other brands before I could possibly comment.
Today, it would be impossible to obtain ALL information regarding the full content of a RYR capsule from virtually any RYR manufacturer.

As for other Cardiovascular benefits, I personally know of none. Until science delves deeper and deeper into understanding the properties of the remaining known 'Monacolins', trial them, and then STEAL one or more of those natural monacolin substances, artificially produce and classify it/them a drug, like they did for 'Monancolin K' and named it's artifical version, Lovastatin, we will not know.

Although alcohol does raise HDL, one would have to turn into an alcoholic to maintain a high level of HDL.
Far better results can be achieved from Krill Oil and EPA/DHA Omega 3 oils whilst benefiting the body health-wise at the same time. Balancing your intake of Omega 3 and Omega 6 on a 1:1 ratio will, with the intake of Cocoa, Vitamin D3 and Pomegranate Juice greatly reduce the source of atherosclerotic plaque growth, and that is inflammation.

Upon the diagnosis of Angina I was placed on 40mg Zocor. "This will stabilize and reduce the plaque growth causing your Angina" I was told, even though my three ratios were perfect and my TC sitting at 162. As I said, four months later I was undergoing a heart procedure to escape death.

Eliminating inflammation, eating a Mediterranean diet, exercising and staying off a Statin drug has helped my body feel 10-20 years younger than my 63 years of age.

Yack.

Voxx976
09-11-2013, 11:46 AM
Although alcohol does raise HDL, one would have to turn into an alcoholic to maintain a high level of HDL.

I alternate drinking and non-drinking months...just my way of control.
In teetotal months I get HDL's in the 30's. in drinking months in the high 40's or low 50's.

A couple of points.
Statins can in only a very few cases stabilize plaques but never for a short period after stenting. In the studies that I have read, reading between the lines it becomes obvious that there is little evidence to support statements that statins stabilize and reduce existing plaque growth. In some of the research papers some of the scientists evaluating results of their own studies were at odds. If they are/were at odds, then who is it we should believe?
The hospital I used (New York University) uses a 30 day dosing of 80 mg. atorvastatin in the belief that percutaneous procedures, with an intrusive wire etc, might disturb fragile plaques. It is thought that "sucking" as much lipid out might prevent these disturbed plaques from rupture in the short period after stenting, or even DURING stenting. Perhaps there is an anti-inflammatory element as well.

Some studies back that up, even to the extent of a SINGLE DOSE of 80 mg. atorvastatin as a loading dose can be extremely beneficial.

An 80 mg loading dose of atorvastatin (Lipitor) within 24 hours of elective percutaneous coronary intervention reduced the risk of perioperative myocardial infarction compared with patients who received stents without a statin onboard, Italian researchers reported.

The incidence of perioperative MI was 9.5% among patients randomized to the single high dose of atorvastatin, versus 15.8% in the control group (P=0.014), according to Carlo Briguori, MD, PhD, of the Laboratory of Interventional Cardiology and the Department of Cardiology at the Clinica Mediterranean in Naples, and co-investigators for the NAPLES II trial.

Speaking from personal experience, I had a ramus artery stented because of several months of pretty bad angina. A smaller branch of the ramus system had a plaque near the juncture that had to be brushed by in the process
Two days later that plaque burst and caused an MI in the smaller ramus...back to the hospital at 2 AM.
The timing of the rupture, two days after stenting could not have been coincidence.

After that branch was opened and stented with 2 more stents. I was sent home with the 30 day Rx for the 80 mg. ator. recommended by both my cardiologists and the reasons given as stated above...to stabilize any fragile plaques.

Seems likely that they did not recommend the 80mg after the first procedure because I had been taking 40 mg. for several months during the preceding endless angina attacks...worst was 4 in one day, the last one waking me up.

My cardio is one of the handful of most highly regarded interventionalists in New York City and he is on top of all the most recent information...an amazing man. I am not one to believe doctors, usually quite the opposite, but I would trust anything this guy says.

Imacarbuff
09-15-2013, 07:43 PM
My "angina" story has a much better ending I think. Before I took my statin vacation a while back I had been having what I thought were some angina attacks. Finally, one evening it became kind of scary-the squeezing or pressure feeling....but no intense pain. My wife rushed me over to the ER. I was amazed how quick I was rushed into a room and the hooking up of wires, and troponin test and there must as been 8 members of the medical team crowding in with their medical equipment. I was given some nitro right away-which really didn't change much.
But, after the EKG and the other test were being completed-it was like everyone just took a breath and drifted out of the room. One nurse that remained behind said "we don't know for sure what's going on-but it's not a heart attack. They kept me overnight, then I went for a stress test and a nuclear contrast something where you're lying on a table and the cameras are taking what seemed like 45 minutes worth of xrays. All of that went well, no blockages.
After being OFF of the statins for 3 or 4 months-that creepy feeling of tightness went away. No one will admit it could have been the statins causing the problem. Nor will anyone admit that when I had digestive issues while on statins, and I was dx'd with GERD and put on Nexium. When I went on the statin break, after a few months the GERD went away.
Unfortunately, I'm back on a low dose of pravastatin and I feel some of the old pains returning. After feeling simply outstanding and stronger than I have in years-I know if I stay on statins-I may be on my way to more health concerns. I'm now taking a migraine pain capsule at times to deal with the statin pain in the legs and back and sometimes the top of both shoulders, headaches. I'm sure my Dr will not believe that it is the statins. I'm getting close to just believing that I have become allergic to statins-I'm sure that has to be possible. I'm cutting the dose to 5mg to see if that is torerable-or maybe 10mg every other day.

Imacarbuff
09-15-2013, 08:00 PM
My "angina" story has a much better ending I think. Before I took my statin vacation a while back I had been having what I thought were some angina attacks. Finally, one evening it became kind of scary-the squeezing or pressure feeling....but no intense pain. My wife rushed me over to the ER. I was amazed how quick I was rushed into a room and the hooking up of wires, and troponin test and there must as been 8 members of the medical team crowding in with their medical equipment. I was given some nitro right away-which really didn't change much.
But, after the EKG and the other test were being completed-it was like everyone just took a breath and drifted out of the room. One nurse that remained behind said "we don't know for sure what's going on-but it's not a heart attack. They kept me overnight, then I went for a stress test and a nuclear contrast something where you're lying on a table and the cameras are taking what seemed like 45 minutes worth of xrays. All of that went well, no blockages.
After being OFF of the statins for 3 or 4 months-that creepy feeling of tightness went away. No one will admit it could have been the statins causing the problem. Nor will anyone admit that when I had digestive issues while on statins, and I was dx'd with GERD and put on Nexium. When I went on the statin break, after a few months the GERD went away.
Unfortunately, I'm back on a low dose of pravastatin and I feel some of the old pains returning. After feeling simply outstanding and stronger than I have in years-I know if I stay on statins-I may be on my way to more health concerns. I'm now taking a migraine pain capsule at times to deal with the statin pain in the legs and back and sometimes the top of both shoulders, headaches. I'm sure my Dr will not believe that it is the statins. I'm getting close to just believing that I have become allergic to statins-I'm sure that has to be possible. I'm cutting the dose to 5mg to see if that is torerable-or maybe 10mg every other day.

Imacarbuff
09-15-2013, 08:33 PM
Read the book: THE GREAT CHOLESTEROL MYTH by Dr. Jonny Bowden. He was featured in the Dr. Oz show and it was great info. I bought the book 4 months ago and started on his advice. I stopped taking statins completely (after 10 years) and switched to a new doctor that is willing to try his advice. My main supplement is niacin (the one recommended by the book) as Nicotinic Acid. I had very bad flushes until I switched to Doctor's best Real Niacin. I take 2 tablets a day (500mg each) I know people that take more than that; the doctor said it will take a while (at least 4 months). I am at the end of the 4 months next week, so I will be tested and see the doctor again. I hope and pray that this works!!

I did read the book-and learned quite a bit. I'm in the middle of another book-Poisoned and have one waiting after that "How Statin Drugs Really Lower cholesterol"
I think that statins can play a role in helping with someone who has cardiac issues....if that someone can tolerate the treatment. I'm also wondering however, if statins could play a role in doing harm in someone who has painful side effects from statins.
I hope your new bloodwork comes back well for you.

Voxx976
09-25-2013, 08:26 AM
There is no doubt that some people have some pain from statins.
But if there is a 10, 20 or 30% decrease in heart disease, stroke, and or death, one must weigh the pain in perspective.

I am lucky, I have never had pain from over a decade on Lipitor, but with a short trial with Crestor I can definitely relate to those who complain of leg and hip pain probably caused by statins.

But I started suffering angina in 1992 and without Lipitor (now atorvastatin thank God), I am reasonably sure that I would be pushing up daisies this afternoon instead of pumping iron at my gym.

SoundsFamiliar
09-25-2013, 12:21 PM
... No cardiac issues, no smoking, great blood pressure and I'm working on my diet to eliminate as much sugar as possible.
Thanks!
I think the answer lies in tracking down the underlying cause of your high chloresteral.

And all I can think of here is pondering the quantity and quality of the foods being consumed. You might find a 'mediterranean cuisine' to be helpful, along with completely avoiding trans fats.

sf

Dottydog
10-02-2013, 11:01 AM
so my bloods are back and they are by no means perfect but a couple of things are now within acceptable limits - especially when you consider that without statins I feel 10 years younger and I have lost 10kilos - about 20lbs - as of this morning :-)
trigls are still too high - 3.0 or 266 USA
HDL is OK at 1.00 or 39 USA, just on the borderline of too low
LDL is OK at 3.2 or 124 USA
and ratio is a bit on the high side at 5.6 or 216 USA
I am delighted but now even more motivated to keep the routine and weight loss, as well as a single unit of alcohol - I don't usually drink so this has made all my friends jealous. I will up my niacin but with these results the doctor doesn't even want to see me.