To take or not take Statins? - Cholesterol Support

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To take or not take Statins?


LDL-C 161, CT Calcium score 979, passed a stress test, no symptoms. My Cardiologist wants me to take 40mg Lipitor. From my research it seems the benefits of a statin are over stated and the potential problems understated. How can one find out if high choleterol is causing ones athrosclorosis. Many people have high cholesterol and no heart disease.

39 Replies

I am in a similar situation to you - had very high cholesterol for decades , am fit and healthy , not overweight, don't smoke - have a 600 calcium count but also symptomless and passed a stress test with no apparent artery blockages. I believe that nobody really knows the answer to your question - I have decided to follow the advice of my cardiologist and have finally reduced by chol numbers down to what he wanted. But who knows what this will mean for my future - I have just recently lost sight in one eye with CRVO - they don't really know the cause of this either but they associate it with artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and say that the process is that the retinal artery expands with calcification, this crushes the adjacent retinal vein and causes an occlusion ( blockage) which in turn swells the macula and causes retinal hemorrhages. You can do all the research you like ( undoubtedly on the internet) but all you will find are conflicting "theories" !!!!

pcspetpro in reply to Bazza1234

Did you ever take, or ever consider taking statins? Seems that the vast majority of Cardiologists will prescribe statins, without considering anything else. I have adopted a low inflammatory diet and increased exercise. Your right, there are so many conflicting hypothesis, athrosclorosis is so much more complicated than I could have possibly imagined.

johnally in reply to Bazza1234

i was as exactly same 20 years on statin everything low fat very disciplined with diet and exercise End result 900 calcium score resulted in further test angio revealed blockages 90 per cent 80 and 70 I know longer take a statin .

LDL C is a poor indicator of heart disease risk, if you want to take numbers from your lipid panel better to look at the total / HDL ratio or trigly' / HDL ratio. What are your

1. Total Cholesterol number

2. HDL number

3. Tryglycerides number

pcspetpro in reply to Markl60

Total Cholesterol 228

HDL 58

TRI 46

LDL/HDL Ratio 2.77 TRI/HDL Ratio 0.79 CHOL/HDL Ratio 3.93

That was on a low carb (under 50g) diet, and I was taking red yeast rice for 6 weeks, that brought my LDL-C down 27 points.

Markl60 in reply to pcspetpro

Your Tri/HDL ratio looks OK

Stay with the low carb diet

Similar situation but had been on statins already for 20 yrs so they don't stop calcium score growth.My LDL/trig etc were never mentioned as high.After a 760 Cac at 52 i went looking myself and found I have extremely high LP(a)(hereditary). Something not usually tested for but known as a major risk for CVD.(not tested for because Dr's have no answer to lower it) .Have managed to lower it 35% with Niacin and other supplements.I now concentrate on lowering inflammation with LCHF/no grain diet and monitor Homocystene,CRP,Small LDL,Trigs and HB1AC.Cureality is one site where quite a few people have managed to stabilize calcium score growth over many years,with no efforts made it can increase at up to 30% annually.

pcspetpro in reply to Dash65

I'm starting to realize that I have started a long journey, most cardiologist will just prescribe statins. In my case high dose statins. There is certainly evidence that high LDL-C can be a factor in athrosclorosis, but it seems there can be so many other factors. Independently I had a NMR Blood Test and a LP(a) Test, I'm waiting for the results.

I haven't tried Niacin, what suppliments do you take? I am on a LCHF diet (under 50g).

HA1c 5.5%. I am 5' 10" 150lbs, I have increased my exercise quality of sleep and feel great.

Yes.………. the possible 30% increase per year is scary! I am motivated.


Dash65 in reply to pcspetpro

I take Niacin (as Nicotonic Acid) 2250mg ,EPA/DHA(in fish oil) 6000mg and DHEA for Lp(a). The main supplements I take are as per the cureality program run by a US cardiologist.Vitamin D to a level of 150-160 nmol/L(10000iu for me).Magnesium to upper end of range.Ideal range for thyroid (upper end for FT3 and FT4).HB1AC below 5%.As someone else said lowest levels of blood sugar possible.LCHF diet with no grains.Check out the Widowmaker movie,the man behind it is following the cureality program.Some have achieved 2-5% annual growth over many years for starting very high cac scores.Anyway I'm not a Dr so do your research and good luck.

I am also confused and in a similar-ish situation. Diagnosed with "high cholesterol" (total went from 7.0 to 7.5 to 6.3 over 8 months this year). Age 55, I have Calcification 1658, Arterial age 93, and have been told that my coronary arteries are blocked (3 arteries, 4 blockages). I have almost no symptoms except for feeling exhausted and needing to sleep every afternoon. My HDL is 3.0. LDL 3.1. Very healthy diet, light-moderate exercise 5-6 times a week, BMI 20.4 (healthy). I don't have familial hypercholesterolaemia, though others in my family do.

I think I reduced the total cholesterol and LDL over the summer by taking probiotics and red rice yeast, and eating a lot of coconut and avocado. (HDL stayed the same.) Then the (chemical pathology dept) doctor prescribed statins (which I'm taking though not sure it's the best thing to do), and aspirin. I also take Co-Q 10 to mitigate destructive effects of statins. Now also taking serrapeptase and tincture of hawthorn.

Had a Doppler test on carotid arteries which are clear. I'm awaiting a myocardial perfusion test to look at the blood flow through my heart (but it has a 7 month waiting list), and a cardiology appointment. Haven't had a stress test.

Total/HDL = 6.3/3 = 2.1

Trigly'/HDL = 0.4/3.0 = 0.1333

But I don't know how to interpret this.



Hi Rachel,

Yes …….it is very confusing! I am determined to figure it out, but we are all different and the answers may vary for each individual. LDL 3.0 mmol/L translates to 116mg/dL , I think the target used is under 100 mg/dL (2.58mmol/L). There are questions about red yeast rice, it is a type of stain and due to it being unregulated, one can't know the quantity or quality. Some are now also questions the effectiveness and possible dangers of taking aspirin. A stress test with imaging is more accurate, they say a stress test can detect arteries that are over 75% blocked.

marin5 in reply to pcspetpro

Long ago when dr's said I needed statins, Is when I started red yeast rice. No one had heard of it that I knew, My total Chol. was over 300. I took it formonths and my numbers were unbelievable!One thing I had going for me was my HDL was always high and made my ratio always below the range.

HDL today is still 94. I was told by a nutritionist that something is really protecting my heart. I brought my total

down to 200 in that time and all of my other numbers were below range. Not long after that the FDA pulled the red yeast rice off the market because it was the main ingredient in their statins, and they said that we shouldn't be taking it??

When they finally allowed it to be taken again it was weaker than when it worked so well for me! It is still the main ingred. in statins but with other things.

I was in my 50's when I tested the RYR

Now am 85! Don't worry about the RYR it is natural and no known side effectsRYR was always unregulated! it is a natural supplement. The FDA took the RYR for their statins, Never was any controversy about RYR! Never heard of anyone that had supplemented it for their Chol. ever had any negitive effects only positive!

The consensus seems to be that LDL-P is more strongly associated with CVD events than LDL-C. Got my LDL-P results yesterday and they were extremely high. There are FH polygenic variants, that don't show up on a genetic test. I feel I have no choice but to take a statin.

marin5 in reply to pcspetpro

If you're smart you'll take the Red Yeast Rice from Swansons Vitamins!

Google has many examples and explanation. Please ask your doctor or GP to get your own numbers and understanding.

My calcium score was 900 Very fit on statin 20 Years watched diet but still ended upbwith3xbypass.In my opinion your cardio should be advising you to have angio gram .Your calcium score is in that zone that requires further investigation anything other than that is just shooting in the dark. Passing a stress test and excuse the pun here but you could be a heartbeat away from failing it.Now as for statins I believe you can lower your cholestrhol by proper plant based diet .good luck .

pcspetpro in reply to johnally

Yes.………. I'm motivated to try and figure this out. I actually failed a stress test and they wanted to do a cath angiogram. I went for a second opinion, took a stress test with imaging, which I passed. I would like to get a CT angiogram, and I'm working on that.

I have substantial plaque build up, but an important factor regarding heart attacks is plaque stability. I'm investigating the factors that can make plaque more stable.


johnally in reply to pcspetpro

This plaque and a stabilization is tricky . I have read numerous times that yes the statin does stabilize plaque and put in simple terms the action increases the plaque by continuous building on itself .until we get to the root cause of the inflammation we are between a rock and a hard place. I would dearly like statins to be the magic bullet but after many years of taking it my results were devastating. Now many will say yes but if you hadn't been taking it you may have expired along time ago. I disagree with this but like the pro statins advocates I cant prove it one way or the other.

pcspetpro in reply to johnally

It seems that a CT angiogram would reveal the degree and location of any blockages. At this point if I can trust the stress test, all I know is that I don't have a blockage that exceeds 75%. Yet a small young plaque that hasn't formed any calcium may be much more likely to cause a MI. A cardiologist told me that a statin may actually increase the calcium score, which means the plaque is being stabilized. Lowering inflamation and oxidation seems to be a good strategy. I just read that using cast iron pans can increase ones iron level to excess, which can increase oxidation and the risk of heart disease.

marin5 in reply to pcspetpro

For one thing, No doctors to my knowledge ever tell their patients that they must take CoenzymeQ10 if on statins, as the statins deplete your body of this important Heart supplement! Also Doctor Oz on TV who is a

Cardiologist advises his patients against taking statins and says He would not let anyone in his family nor himself ever to take statins!


marin5 in reply to pcspetpro

My sister's Dr.put her on statins a few years ago. she had congenital heart failure! I kept advising her to find another way, but she felt her Dr knew best! She died from Congenital heart failure last year!

Thanks for sharing this. I had a similar calcium score and my dr placed me on statins immediately. Was the WORST thing I ever did. I got to a point where I almost couldn't get myself out of an airline seat coming home from a trip. Tried a different brand with same results. After being on statins for three months I discontinued them altogether. Now, 9 months later I'm still dealing with the residual pain. Of course this is a personal choice that only you can determine but personally I would rather be dead than to have to deal with this constant non-relenting pain.

Good luck to you.

Do_La in reply to Do_La

I should add that my cholesterol (LDL) was around 100.

marin5 in reply to Do_La

what were they trying to correct? There's nothing wrong with 100 for LDL! what was your HDL?



Statins affect people differently depending on their physiology and genetic biases.

It is good that you've begun an anti-inflammatory diet and have begun to exercise.

Symptoms for coronary artery disease (CAD) only materialize when you achieve a 70% blockage or more. I would not interpret a lack of symptoms as there being no problem.

Plaque begins to accumulate in everyone's arteries in the first decade of life, the rate of accumulation is dependent on diet and lifestyle. Those with a very bad diet and lifestyle will get symptoms earlier in life rather than later.

I had triple bypass surgery and multiple stenting in 2015 (age 52), and was given a cocktail of pills including statins after the surgery. Since then, I radically modified my diet and lifestyle, lost weight and stopped all of my medications including the statins. In my case the statins caused severe and unbearable muscle pain.

I'm now on a whole-foods, plant-based, diet and consume fish for 2-3 meals per week and lean chicken for 2 meals per week. The rest of the time I eat vegetables, salads and legumes (beans, lentils, chick peas, peas) as well as nuts, fruits, some whole grain products and egg whites. I also exercise daily, at a minimum 15,000 steps which is one hour of walking. In addition, I go to the gym for weight training 2-3 times per week. I'm 56 years of age, male, 5'10", 155 lbs (I was 195 prior to the surgery). My dietary and lifestyle changes resulted in 35 lbs of weight loss (I also lost 5 pounds during hospitalization) and now have optimal blood bio-markers.

The only fat in my diet is from healthy sources - nuts, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and fish. I have done extensive reading of medical studies on CAD and continue to learn about this subject and am not convinced that consuming animal sources of fat is beneficial.

I strongly suggest you get a blood test done called the NMR Lipoprofile which measures your LDL-P (particle number), as well as particle size, VLDL, and insulin sensitivity. This will provide you with additional pieces to your health puzzle so you can get a more comprehensive perspective.

If you follow a healthy diet (no sugar, no simple carbs, no processed foods) and lifestyle with daily exercise, the need to take statins may become a moot point.

Elimination of sugar and other simple carbs will bring your triglyceride levels down significantly. Lower trigs = lower LDL-C. Sugar and simple carbs are what you need to avoid.

You should also investigate the concept of intermittent fasting. There are various forms of it but one that most people can sustain is the daily 12-hour fast. If you have dinner at 7 pm, you will then have breakfast at 7 am. Or if you have dinner at 8 pm your breakfast will be at 8 am.

The objective is to keep glucose levels in your blood stream as low as possible, for as long as possible.

Good luck.

pcspetpro in reply to sos007

Congratulations...………. your doing great! Thanks for the information, I'm taking steps in the directions you have mentioned. I'm waiting for the results of a NMR Blood test and a test for LP(a). Do you monitor your LDL -C ? High LDL- C seems to be why most cardiologists prescribe Statins.

I'm 62, 5' 10", 150 lbs

Total Cholesterol 228

LDL 161

HDL 58

TRI 46

sos007Ambassador in reply to pcspetpro

Thank you.

Yes, I do monitor LDL-C, but I place greater weight on LDL-P. Studies show that when LDL-C and LDL-P are discordant (one is low and one is high), LDL-P is a better bio-marker of CAD.

My LDL-P is 733 nmol/l; HDL-P is 38.8 umol/l

Small LDL-P <90

LDL size 21.3 nm - large particles - pattern A

LDL-C is 94 mg/dl

HDL-C is 98 mg/dl

Triglycerides are 53 mg/dl

LP-IR score - <25, therefore I'm 'insulin sensitive'

All of the above values are optimal. The cardiologist would like to see my LDL-C below 70 but as I said my LDL-P is more important so I don't worry about the absolute value of the LDL-C.

I exercise daily so to get your LDL-C lower this is important. It will also influence your HDL-C.

I take Vitamin C - 3,000 in pill form daily and 2,000 in lypospheric form - check this link:

Niacin - 1,000 mg daily (half in the am and half before bedtime)

Omega 3 fish oil 900 mg x 3 daily

curcumin - Theracumin type 240 mg daily

Let me know if you need anything else by messaging me privately.


Please provide your gender, height and weight, fasting glucose and hb-A1C values. The more info you provide the more comprehensive the replies you will receive.

To avoid a heart attack or stroke, you must closely monitor your fibrinogen, homocysteine, hs-CRP, and MPO (myeloperoxidase) levels. A PLAC test will also be helpful in this regard.

Monitor your blood work quarterly in order to provide an accountability process for yourself otherwise you will stray from your disciplined diet and lifestyle. If you don't already have one, get yourself a fitbit or equivalent device to monitor your daily activity and heart rate.

pcspetpro in reply to sos007

Male 62 , 5' 10", 150 lbs

Total Cholesterol 228

LDL 161

HDL 58

TRI 46

HA1c 5.5%

CRP 0.2

CAC Score 979

Normal blood pressure

LCHF Diet (under 50g carbs), Intermittent Fasting.

Walking (1 - 2 hours) 5 x per week.

Weights (30 minutes) 5 x per week.


Hi! Yes, I was given Lipitor 10 mg for slightly elevated

cholesterol. I am a vegetarian and very attentive to what I eat.

I was on it for 8 months and experienced horrid back pain at the base of my rear rib cage. It was so awful that I was in agony sitting on a couch. Additionally, I was plagued with upset stomach.

The medication did slightly lower my cholesterol but not to normal.

After begging my endocrinologist to remove it, my PCP found muscular skeletal swelling...she put it together and found an allergy; possibly to statins as I had discomfort while taking Crestor prior as well. It took several months for the pain to disappear thanks to the heating pad.

I looked both medications up on Lipitor does cause muscular skeletal issues, Crestor initiated protein spilling which is part of my kidney disorder.

Once off the medication, the cholesterol went up..and then down, down.

I have tried a Plant Sterol from Piper..700mg gummies x a day and also switched to Benechol lite margarine, also plant based.

My lipid profile last week revealed that in less than 5 weeks my cholesterol is 12 points from normal and my LDL is 1 point from normal.

My PCP and renal dietician both approved the products first.

I have Hashimotos Hypo Thyroid which can initiate elevated cholesterol as well as genetics.

I would ask your doctor if your cholesterol and athrosclorosis are connected. My dad's family had cardiac issues, carotid artery and

athrosclorosis issues, so I try to stay on top of things.

Please let me know what you discover.

Hope this helps!


Sorry you had to go through that!

The cardiologist wants me on 80mg Lipitor, I have read a lot of negative effects and I want to avoid statins if possible. From my understanding 85% of our cholesterol is made by the liver. I have tried different diets and it hasn't changed LDL-C very much. For 15 years it's been between 180 - 250. I took Red Yeast Rice for 6 weeks to get it down to 161.

I seem to feel good on a LCHF diet. I'm will continue to dig deeper.


Looks like I have no choice but to see if I can tolerate a statin.

Just got the results of NMR Lipoprofile.

LDL-P 2409

LDL-C 183

HDL-C 55

TRI 53

HDL-P 27.8

Small LDL-P 837

LP(a) 28

CAC 979

Family History of Heart Disease, possible FH variant.

Unfortunately in my case a LCHF diet may not be my best choice.

Ive had to discontinue Attorvastatin severe i enphasise severe cramping torso

What dosage were you taking?

what were your LDL and most important, HDL and Trigl.& also your ratio? if you have all your numbers, please list them!

Take red yeast rice, try to get your HDL higher. They always tried to get me to take statins since I was in my forties. I only took Red yeast rice. I always refused statins, and I'm 85 yrs old and still around. Dr. Oz who is on TV and a leading Cardiologist says he would never take or allow anyone in his family to take statins!

pcspetpro in reply to marin5

Scrowl up...……. everything is listed.

Until national health services under public pressure re-frame the statin vs cholestrol vs chd issue, we the public will carry on lurching fron end to another!!

I was given 20 mg per day. Calibrated myself and have been taking 5mg only. Now, in consultation with doctor, will stop that too for 2 months and watch.

I have a friend who had a massive heart attack with normal cholestrol.

My approach was to take the minimum I need to control this dubious biomarker.

All indications point to zero connection.

It seems that the individual must take responsibility for his own health. The full story of CVD is still unknown and is complicated even more by politics and special interests. Everyone responds differently to both food and medication. I feel fortunate that I have the time and the passion to figure this out for myself through scientific evidence, and personal testing. What I discover may work for me but not for another. One lipid profile may be healthy for one person and kill another. Coagulation factors and vascular spasms, can kill someone with what doctors would call a perfect blood profile. In my case I know that something is causing accelerated plaque formation, I know my Dad had a heart attack at 42, I know that my LDL has always been high regardless of what I eat, I know I have fairly low HDL no matter how much I exercise. I am in the process of checking other bio- markers, to see if there is a cause other than high LDL, low HDL. Until I can discover another cause, I feel I have no choice other than to take a statin. The prime directive is to slow plaque progression, and stabilize plaque. I'm trying to avoiding having a stent, bypass or heart attack.

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