Statins – What You Need To Know
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and carried around the body in your bloodstream. Many of us consider cholesterol to be bad, or unhealthy for our heart and body, but there is a good side to it.
Your body needs cholesterol for many essential processes, including building healthy cell membranes, bile salt & vitamin D metabolism, and is the basic ring for steroid hormones.
Cholesterol may become a health issue when there’s too much of the incorrect sub components.
Myth-The two types of cholesterol
Cholesterol is an essential part of our body, and in the correct levels, it is necessary for helping to digest food, produce hormones and generate vitamin D.[i] Your body generates cholesterol itself, although we do ingest it from some foods.[ii] There is a common misconception that there are only two types of cholesterol: low-density-lipoproteins (LDL), and high-density lipoproteins (HDL), also known as ‘bad’ and good’ cholesterol.
This is a little simplistic & inaccurate. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) & high density lipoproteins (HDL) are further subdivided into small & large components. It is the small components that are the main causes of fatty plaque build up in the arteries over time. Small LDL is pro-atherogenic i.e. puts fat in the arterial wall, whilst small HDL is pro-inflammatory.
Large High-density lipoproteins (HDL) transport excess cholesterol from your cells back to your liver, to be used again, or removed from your system. As this cholesterol is removed from your system, it doesn’t contribute to any build up in your arteries. Large LDL builds healthy cell membranes, bile salt & vitamin D metabolism, and is the basic ring for steroid hormones.
Treating high cholesterol
If your cholesterol levels are high, your GP may have prescribed you a statin medication. Around 2.2 million Australians take statins to control cholesterol levels.[iii] Statins are used to lower LDL cholesterol by blocking cholesterol production in your liver.
Statins also reduce the size of existing fatty plaques in the arterial wall. When there’s less cholesterol in your blood stream, due to the statins, your body will begin to reabsorb excess cholesterol, resulting in a reduction of levels in your arteries.
Although it poses several benefits, one of the side effects of statins is its reduction in your body’s level of the naturally-occurring Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which can lead to tiredness, muscles fatigue and soreness.
If your doctor hasn’t already recommended it, consider including the supplement Ubiquinol (an active form of the naturally-occurring antioxidant CoQ10) as part of your daily health plan. Ubiquinol has several benefits, and has been shown to help maintain a healthy heart and reduce small LDL cholesterol levels.
Talk to your GP or health professionals for advice on Ubiquinol.