Coming Off Statins - Update 2017-02-21

I weaned off of a 30 mg dosage of Crestor between February and October of 2016. My last dose of Crestor was 5 mg in mid-October, 2016.

I just had my blood test yesterday. I do a blood test every 6 weeks to monitor my lipid values and see the impact of adjusting vitamin supplementation and dietary changes.

16 days ago I introduced a 500 mg daily dosage of Niacin.

Over the last 6 weeks I have also been drinking 2 cups of decaf Green tea and 1 cup of ginger tea daily, along with eating a bowl of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

I continue with my mostly vegetarian diet which allows for fish twice per week and low-fat dairy in the form of Greek yogurt, and full-fat goat milk for tea and cereal. I ensure my diet includes a high level of fiber which directly contributes to the lowering of cholesterol. I get this fiber from legumes - lentils, chick peas, and beans, as well as fruit such as apples and oranges.

I also am continuing with my rigorous exercise regimen which includes at least 30 minutes of daily exercise and 15,000 steps. 4 days per week my exercise involves resistance training with weights and a high-intensity cardio workout.

My lipid values improved significantly from 6 weeks ago but are still not as low as when I was last on Crestor in October.

Total Cholesterol: 5.09 mmol/l

Triglycerides: 0.51 mmol/l

Non-HDL cholesterol: 2.96 mmol/l

HDL: 2.13 mmol/l

LDL: 2.73 mmol/l (Friedewald formula); 1.99 mmol/l (Iranian Formula); 2.6 mmol/l Hattori formula;

Cholesterol/HDL ratio: 2.4

TG/HDL ratio: 0.24

VLDL: 0.10 mmol/l

Apo B: 0.97 g/l

ApoA-1: 1.77 g/l

ApoB/ApoA-1 ratio: 0.55

CRP: <0.3 mg/l

Homocysteine: 8.8 umol/l

Fibrinogen: 2.63 g/l

All of these values would be perfect for a 'normal' person without any risk factors of heart disease. As a triple bypass patient, these values are still not optimal although they are very close to optimal. The ratios though, ARE in the optimal range even for a high risk patient. This is especially true for the ApoB/ApoA-1 ratio which my research, based on the reading of medical studies focused on optimal lipid treatment markers, is the most important measure of ischemic risk and further deterioration in cardio-vascular disease.

Other than the fact that I had triple bypass surgery, my lifestyle changes have eliminated all other risk-factors for heart disease, except for age. Poor exercise and dietary habits contribute to the lifetime accumulation of arterial plaque - it then becomes a function of 'time' before the accumulation triggers health risks. Those who have had a healthy lifestyle from childhood will have much slower plaque progression and may never reach the point where it triggers angina or an ischemic attack. Most people experience heart-disease in their 7th or 8th decade of life. Those with poor dietary and exercise habits or those with a genetic pre-disposition, can experience heart disease in their 5th, or 6th decade of life, or even earlier.

Heart disease and its' causes is a very complicated subject and there are no magic bullets or simple solutions relating to the initiation or cessation of drugs such as statin drugs.

In having spoken with medical researchers on the subject and having read dozens of medical studies, I have concluded that there is still much to learn and medical science still does not have all of the answers. Furthermore, the lifestyle choices of each person will significantly contribute to, or detract from, their success in dealing with cardio-vascular disease.

Nobody in this forum is a medical doctor and so I caution all readers to not accept information and people's recommendations at face value.

Everybody should take the time to do their own research and to speak to a trusted medical professional while modifying their lifestyle.

Good luck to everybody.

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  • This study may be of interest to you,

    worldhealth.net/news/coq10-...

  • Thanks, I watched it yesterday. However the information has to be evaluated cautiously. It is not open season on animal fats. Fats, whether from plants or animals are still 'calorie dense' which means ounce for ounce, if your plate has more meat than vegetables you are creating a caloric surplus that eventually results in weight gain. The 'blue zone' longevity populations around the world are typified by the modest consumption of animal proteins.

    By modest we mean once every one or two weeks and even then in a small portion.

  • My cholestral was 8 seven weeks ago my gp put me on alverstatin 10mg and this week my blood test was 4.5 I have also been having flora pro active instead of butter and proactive yoghurts handful of walnuts each day and satsumas I can't exercise as I'm wriggled with arthrutis

  • Having had a stent due to a blockage and 15 years on statins and then having a CABGx2 I do not have a lot of trust in statins. In those 15 years i only 3 times achieved the figures in your post. I have opted for a LCHF diet, I am losing weight and my CRP is low I take garlic supplements and vitamin C most days and by blood pressure and CRP are now normal. The statins caused a number of side effects the one I could swear under oath was memory loss. I am of the opinion that lowering cholesterol does not have any benefit, if they did then with the increase in statin prescriptions the graphs of deaths due to CVD would change gradient. There has been a decrease in the number of deaths at a steady rate as people have stopped smoking, but no acceleration due to the introduction of cholesterol lowering drugs. IMHO we should be demonising CARBS, this opinion is supported by a number of studies and is much discussed on the internet. This is a presentation by a WHO cardiologist which you might find interesting thefatemperor.com/blog/2017...

  • Thank you for this link.

  • the blog itself is with subscribing to

  • I have now stopped taking the alverstatin as my head was all fuzzy and fluid built up on my ankles I felt really weak I have them up in 2009 as they didn't suit me that one was simvastatin although the alvorstatin did bring my cholestral right down from 8 to 4.5 in eight weeks

  • Fantastic link! Thankyou!

  • How are you getting on with Niacin. Has it given you a flush. I have heard good and bad things about this.

  • Read my posts on this subject:

    healthunlocked.com/choleste...

  • No PLAC test? Also nothing about particle size or number for the VLDL?

  • When was the last update to this site?

  • I did the PLAC test but results are still pending. I'm not sure if there's a direct measure of VLDL in the PLAC test, but VLDL is usually calculated as 1/5th of Triglycerides. This calculation yields a result of 0.10 mmol/l, which is very low and therefore very good.

  • Yes but I specifically asked about size and number of particles...that's the important measurement.

  • Well, we'll see when I get the results back.

  • Did you have a VAP test then?

  • Test update:

    Homocysteine: 8.8 umol/l: within acceptable range

    Fibrinogen: 2.63 g/l: within acceptable range

  • Unfortunately, not available here.

  • Your link is to a lab in the state of Kentucky in the USA, the town is called Canada.

    I live in the Toronto area in the province of Ontario in the country of Canada.

  • Whoops! Sorry....

  • ...no problem...You'd be amazed how many towns in the U.S. are named after other countries and international cities.

  • You might find this interesting:

    "The most frequently used and guideline-recommended test that can count the number of LDL particles is either apolipoprotein B or LDL-P NMR, which is part of the NMR LipoProfile. NMR can also measure the size of LDL and other lipoprotein particles, which is valuable for predicting insulin resistance in drug naïve patients, before changes are noted in glucose or insulin levels."

    Dr. Peter Attia

    I have my Apo B measure so I have a proxy for LDL-P.

    You should read the whole content of the link below for your edification:

    Source: eatingacademy.com/nutrition...

  • The U.S. lab that created the VAP test, Atherotech is out of business, so the test is no longer available. Here's a link to Dr. Sinatra's website that provides alternatives:

    heartmdinstitute.com/heart-...

    None of these labs have operations in Canada where I'm located.

  • It’s fascinating to follow your progress as we are following very similar paths in our current approach to looking after our arteries. I came off statins (Rosuvastatin 10mg), but abruptly end April 2016. I had been on statins for over 12 years with gradually increasing dose/strengths (Simvastatin, Atorvastatin then finally Rosuvastatin), but following my need for a bypass in February 2014, I concluded that statins clearly hadn’t done me much good in preventing further arterial plaque.

    Since reading Esselstyne’s book 2 months before my bypass, I adpoted a strict diet and lifestyle. My diet changes, to total non-dairy and no animal fats reduced my cholesterol significantly, and I want now to manage my health naturally without drugs (apart from daily 75mg asprin).

    My numbers also increased when I came off statins but have now started to decrease. My prior measurement was 3 months before stopping statins (TC 3.96, LDL, 1.1 and HDL 2.56) and I have had 2 blood test since stopping , at 3 months (TC 5.23, LDL 2.54 and HDL 2.38) and 6 months (TC 4.86, LDL 1.9 and HDL 2.6). So my numbers are improving.

    Since my bypass (Feb 2014) I have re-introduced fish regularly to my diet (1/2 can sardines with daily salad lunch and grilled salmon once per week) but have stayed off all other animal products apart from occasional grilled lean chicken for some added protein say once or twice per month.

    My weight, which I monitor daily, has stabilized to around my target of 67.5 kg (for 5ft 7in gives BMI of about 23 and lean fat about 20%). I exercise daily by brisk walking for 2 miles, attend cardio exercise classes for an hour 2 to 3 times per week, play squash 2 to 3 times per week and have this year taken up table tennis and play in a 2 hour social session once per week. Overall I aim for 12000 steps per day and about 40 miles per week distance. In fact the wi-fi scales and my fitbit are great to keep me on track, and for 6 months I monitored my food too using My Fitness Pal – all great tools to help keep me motivated.

    Since my last blood test 4 months ago I have also taken to a daily Vitamin D supplement, a daily dose of cod liver oil, daily 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar on my salad lunch and eating more nuts (almonds especially) as snacks in addition to continuing to eat lots of veg and fruit.

    I am due another blood test this week so it will be interesting to see how the numbers are.

    Overall I feel good for having stopped the statins – lots of the research points to problems with taking statins. Because I took them for 12 years it is difficult to pinpoint specific problems affecting me, but I did suffer from muscle aches and general fatigue and that now seems to have gone away. I was also concerned about memory loss and other changes to my body chemistry while on statins (my white and red blood cell counts were slightly low) as statins cut off pathways to other processes.

    Do keep us updated and I will post my latest blood results as soon as I get them. Very well done to you and hope we can both keep up with our adopted regimes.

  • Thanks very much for your reply. You should read Dr. Pete Attia's blog on cholesterol - it has 8 parts and is fascinating. Take away - LDL-P, not the widely used LDL-C, is the best risk marker for CVD. ApoB is a good proxy for LDL-P if you cannot find testing for it.

    Also, consumption of animal protein in moderation is not a problem, the body eliminates dietary cholesterol.

    Keep up the good work and keep us updated.

  • I am not disagreeing that the body eliminates dietary cholesterol BUT in which case when people go vegan , why , within weeks does their cholesterol drop ?

  • Probably due to weight loss as vegetables are less calorie dense than animal proteins. Also an increase in activity or exercise usually accompanies a dietary change. Finally, a reduction in sugar and simple carbohydrate foods such as white rice and bread also usually accompanies a change in diet.

  • I became vegetarian one year ago but I'm approaching a point now due to my success in weight loss and cholesterol lowering that I'll be re introducing lean chicken once per week to see the impact on my cholesterol. I've eaten fish all along in order to get the benefit of the Omega 3 fatty acids.

  • You also indicated in your reply that you've added cider vinegar, cod liver oil, nuts and eat more vegetables and fruit. All of these dietary changes contribute to cholesterol reduction. Vegetables are high in fiber as are certain fruits and they both act to reduce cholesterol due to their nutrient content. Especially green vegetables, beans and other legumes and berries.

  • You may wish to try this - an easy way to increase blueberry consumption without the same volume of food:

    amazon.ca/Vimergy-Wild-Blue...

  • My latest results from blood test last week. This is my third test sinec stopping satins 10 months ago, now they are TC 4.8, LDL 2.43 and HDL 2.07 which are very similar to my previous tests at 3 months (TC 5.23, LDL 2.54 and HDL 2.38) and 6 months (TC 4.86, LDL 1.9 and HDL 2.6).

  • Those numbers are excellent, good for you!

    I just reviewed my recent blood tests with my GP yesterday and he was impressed with my HDL of 2.13 mmol/l.

    Even though the cardiologist was aiming for an LDL-C value of 2.0 mmol/l or less, and ideally 1.8 mmol/l or less, my GP said my cholesterol values were fine in light of my high HDL and the obvious lifestyle changes I have made. I have lost 40 lbs. and exercise daily taking on average 15,000 steps, which incorporates a 1-hour walk plus high intensity interval cardio-vascular training 4 days per week.

    He says it takes the treatment of 40 people with statins to save 1 life. That means 39 others receive little benefit, if any, from the statin. He said he had no problem with me stopping statin treatment as long as I maintain my lifestyle changes.

    He also said that having lean protein in the form of lean chicken or grass-fed beef in small quantities is acceptable. He is not convinced saturated fats are the dietary enemy - he thinks simple carbohydrates are more damaging.

    Dr. Allan Sniderman of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, a heart-disease researcher believes the same thing with one CAVEAT - one third of the population is genetically more sensitive to dietary saturated fat, so people need to experiment with their diet while monitoring their blood tests to determine if that is the case. So individuals still need to be careful until they find out their genetic pre-disposition to certain foods.

    Keep up the good lifestyle choices!

  • Maybe I am in the one third more sensitive to dietary saturated fat. Like you I intend to keep up with my lifestyle changes, as seeing the evidence from my CT scans and angiograms over the last 13 years and how my atherocerolis has progressed (before my lifestye changes) it has certainly has focussed me efforts.

    As you are in Canada, are you aware of the iheart device which supposidly measures the health of your arteries. I cam across it as I have some Withings body cardio bathroom scales and they have a new set of scales which measures pulse wave velocity in your arteries and this can predict your heart risk!

    Have a look at these links - would be very interested in your views.

    goiheart.com/

    withings.com/uk/en/products...

  • I found a medical study on Pulse Wave Velocity and it indicated that this measure was a useful marker of CV disease although not necessarily a causative factor.

    I think this tool can be useful by measuring once every quarter to see the impact of lifestyle changes on the elasticity of your large arteries. Although I note the measure used in the study was with an ultrasound device not this device advertised.

    You can read the whole study here:

    medscape.com/viewarticle/44...

  • Looked at the article, still not sure how useful this measure might be - but I might buy the new Withings Body cardio scales as I wiegh myself every moring and it would make it easier to record the data.

    Have you had a chance to see the Canada dragons den pitch for the iheart device?

    We loved being on the show and hope you enjoyed it too! You can watch the full pitch at this link if you are in Canada.

    goiheart.com/blog/our-drago...

  • It was a great presentation and very interesting.

    Are you Dr. Goodman?

  • I did cut and paste the last bit thinking that the hyperlink would show up but it didn't.

  • I have a similar scale but without the Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity measure.

    Otherwise it measures all the same things advertised in the Withings scale. One flaw is the body fat measure. The electrical wave measures body fat only in the lower part of the body which for men is usually the leaner part. The assumption was likely that they could extrapolate body fat using this measure. According to my scale, my body fat is 11.8%. However when I went to a place to have it professionally measured using an air displacement pod - BOD POD ybefit.byu.edu/portals/88/d...

    ...my actual body fat was 19.9%. That is a marked difference! Therefore, I wonder if the APWV measure on the scale may have a similar limitation. I also wonder if the finger device would provide the same measure as the scale given that it measuring from the upper body and is closer to the heart.

    Whether this finger device is as accurate as medical devices used in a hospital setting is unknown. If I find anything else on this finger device I'll let you know.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  • I got my new Withings Body Cardio scales on Thursday. They seem more accurate than my previous Withings wi-fi scales (I used to take best of 3 readings for my weight as its on carpet which they say is not as accuate, but the say these new scales are ok on carpet and they do seem to give a consistent weight reading).

    My weight this morning is 67.3kg, BMI 23 and fat mass is about 20%. My pulse wave velocity has come out at 8.2 m/s which they say is optimal for my age/build.

    It will be intersting to see if/how the numbers change.

    This is what the Withings help site says

    "What are normal values for Pulse Wave Velocity?

    The slower your Pulse Wave Velocity is, the better your heart health is.

    However, normal Pulse Wave Velocity values vary according to age, so the same value could have a different meaning for two persons of different ages.

    To give you the most accurate insights, the Withings Health Mate® app automatically takes age into account when interpreting measurements."

    They provide a table and for my age group 60-69 the Median is 9.7 with 10-90 percentile ranges of 7.9 to 13.1, so if I can keep my PWV around 8.0 that seems to be a good target.

    Because my father died of sudden heart attack at age 69 I beleive I have some inherited genetic conditions so it will be interesting to see how my children fair - ages 22 and 24 if I get them to check on the scales when thet are next home.

    I will keep you updated.

  • Thank you, I learned something new today.

  • Thanks for the info Bob. Is your lifestyle and diet better than your dad's was? If so, then I don't think you need to worry about a sudden heart attack as long as you continue with the healthy lifestyle you have.

    For comparative purposes, I'm 70 kg. with a BMI of 22. I haven't checked my body fat lately but last summer it was just under 20%. I suspect it is a little lower now since I've lost 5-10 lbs since then.

    It sounds like the pulse wave information is giving you a thumbs up, so keep it going.

  • Bob,

    What vitamins and supplements do you take?

  • I have flaxseen meal (for omega 3) with my morning porrige, I used to take a B12 pill when I cahged to mainly vegan diet but stoped that when I re-introduced fish and occasional lean chicke. I take a Vitimin D3 pill 10ug every morning as my Vitamin D was borderline low.

    When first daignosed I also took a beta blocker but stopped that about a year ago. I just take 76mg aspirin which I have done for the 13 years since my first CT scan and stress test.

    I am taking cidar vinigar about 2 tablespoons at lunch and a teaspoon of cod-liver oil every day - this I started about 4 months ago.

  • Your TC and LDL-C have both come down nicely in the last 3 months, but your HDL-C is also a little lower - can you attribute this general improvements in lipid values to any particular dietary or exercise modification?

  • Stopped statins May 1at 2016, 10 months ago

    My numbers since stopped are

    Now TC 4.8, LDL 2.43 and HDL 2.07

    3 months ago TC 5.23, LDL 2.54 and HDL 2.38

    6 months ago TC4.86, LDL 1.9 and HDL 2.6

    MY LDL has actully gone up from 6 months ago

    My exercise is same. The only changes is the cidar vinigar, vit D and cod liver oil since the 2nd blood test coming off statins.

    The 1st and 3rd blood tests were via GP and the second was private test.

  • I came off statins October 2016. My first measure was also elevated. I attributed this to a phenomenon known as 'the rebound effect'. When coming off certain medications, the condition that the medication was suppressing over-shoots initially, like taking the lid off of a pressure cooker. It then settles down. My last two measures in January and last month both showed improvement in my lipid values.

    The initial changes I incorporated were Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, a daily ginger tea, 2 cups daily of green tea, and Omega 3 fish oil capsules - 2 daily.

    After the January test, I then introduced 500 mg of Niacin (Vitamin B3) once daily. I found the Niacin had a big influence on my HDL number improving.

    I have also been more diligent in eating a bowl of blueberries daily. I recently found this too:

    amazon.com/Vimergy-Wild-Blu...

    I stir one heaping tablespoon into a cup of water and stir vigorously. It doesn't dissolve very well, but I manage to drink it. It is the equivalent of a half cup of blueberries.

    As you know blueberries are also the best anti-oxidants so we help our bodies to potentially ward off cancer as well.

  • You need cholesterol for your body to function properly!

  • Yes, you do, however nobody is advocating for the elimination of cholesterol, but a reduction to healthy levels.

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