The People's Chemist

Cholesterol-Lowering Pills Still Proving Harmful

You can package anything into a capsule, slap a health claim on it, and label it as healthy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a nutritionally-void berry, a synthetic copy-cat of Mother Nature, or even a poison. It’s just too damn easy to sell pills and make a “killing.” Red yeast rice and other cholesterol lowering drugs prove that I’m not exaggerating.

Beginning in the 1970‘s, red yeast rice was the focus of study for drug giant Merck. With funding from your tax dollars, they researched its unique ability to survive in nature by producing a lethal, chemical defense against its predators.

Scientists found that the poisonous components were a family of compounds that deplete cholesterol and an energizing molecule known as Co-Q10. Once removed, death via heart failure ensues in the wild.

Shortsighted, Merck thought that lowering cholesterol with the active ingredients from the yeast would make a blockbuster drug, so they isolated the active ingredients and made one; it’s name is lovastatin. Supplement hucksters smelled the money too, and encapsulated the active yeast extracts to sell as a natural alternative.

While they differ in name, red yeast rice actives and the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs like lovastating (known technically as statins) are molecular twins, and therefore share the same potential risks. And they’re surfacing more often than a celebrity sex tape, and being ignored by their makers just the same.

Statins attack muscle fibers. In their infancy, it became clear that cholesterol lowering drugs caused a painful disorder called rhabdomyolys, which is a fancy term for muscle breakdown. Scientists at Emory University school of Medicine recently published that, “statin-induced myopathy is a significant clinical problem that contributes considerably to statin therapy discontinuation.”

As muscle fibers get twisted and tangled by statins, the insulin receptor on muscle cells gets jarred too. This prevents the “sugar taxi” hormone from doing its job, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to rise dangerously. This same destruction is showing to cause Type II diabetes. The New York Times reported a “20 percent overall increased risk of diabetes for high-dose statin users, compared to those who don’t take the drugs.”

Muscle fibers aren’t the only thing that get twisted and tangled, so do proteins within your brain known as Tau proteins. Once tangled, they can no longer pass electrical messages through the body, resulting in a loss of voluntary muscle control. As time passes, muscle wasting (a science nerd would call it atrophy) results and victims suffer from Lou Gehrig’s Disease, ALS.

The national average of those who suffer from ALS is a mere .0005 percent. But – sit down for this one – among those who reported suffering from “drug induced ALS,” nearly a third were using cholesterol lowering drugs.

Heart disease is not caused by cholesterol, and high cholesterol will never be a risk as outlined in my book, Over-The-Counter Natural Cures. That means red yeast rice and statins are 100% more risk than they are benefit. Stop messing around, and learn how to choose the right supplements by getting a free chapter of my book here.

About the Author

My name is Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison. I hold a master’s degree in organic chemistry and am the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures Expanded Edition (SourceBooks). I’ve been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman’s World, US News and World Report, as well as Women’s Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start protecting yourself and loved ones with my FREE report, 3 Worst Meds.


The People’s Chemist provides these articles for information only. They are not meant to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and do not replace professional medical advice from a medical doctor. I am not a doctor and would only “play doctor” if I was with my wife. In fact, I have not even read Grey’s Anatomy.

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