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“My doctor says my hormones are so low that I should be on synthetic hormones,” a woman shared with Doc at a seminar. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard that. In fact, Wellness Way docs hear it often. So, Doc asked her, “Are you taking a statin or cholesterol-altering medication?” She answered, “Yes.” Here’s what Doc told her, several other women who came up to him that day, and thousands of other women over our years of existence:  

If you are taking a statin drug, you can never achieve hormonal balance. 

It’s “normal” these days to hear people share their concerns about cholesterol levels and mention which statins they are taking. It’s now common to be on statin drugs to get cholesterol levels under control. However, just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s normal. Lowering cholesterol levels is preached through ads, doctors’ offices, pamphlets, and more.  

In today’s world, “high cholesterol” is universally seen as dangerous, even though it’s not. Your body needs cholesterol to make certain hormones that are critical for keeping your body functioning well. 

What’s The Big Problem? 

“Statin” is the shorthand name for medications that lower cholesterol in the blood. Taking these is supposed to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. [1] These medications are “statins” because the full names of these drugs often end in “–statin.” As of 2021, 35 million people (about twice the population of New York) take statins in the United States, and Mayo Clinic argues that’s only half as many as should be taking them. [2] 

Even though more people than ever take statins, heart disease and strokes are still some of the leading causes of death in males, according to the CDC’s last report. [3] Either something isn’t working, or there’s a missing piece in our understanding. 

We hear from women all the time who are being recommended to do yet another thing detrimental to their health. The worst thing you can do for your own health is to depend on someone else for information or take someone’s advice just because they’re considered experts. We don’t do that here at The Wellness Way Clinics. You can cross-reference everything and find the answers for yourself.  

First off, let’s talk about steroid hormones and their building blocks. So, to understand how statins mess up hormonal balance you need to understand what steroid hormones are and how they are made. 

STEROID HORMONES 

Hormones are messengers. They tell the body’s organs and systems what needs to happen, when, and how much. Every organ needs these messengers because they need the messages.  

Steroid hormones are a group of chemical messaging compounds produced by male and female sex organs (gonads), the adrenal glands, and the kidneys (mineralocorticoid). They affect many of your body’s functions, such as blood pressure, metabolism regulation, glucose production, stress management, growth of sex characteristics, production and maintenance of the uterine lining, and skeletal development. [4] It’s not just about one thing or another – they all impact each other like a Swiss watch. 

All hormones impact – and are impacted by – the organs that produce and use them. Steroid hormones are often made in one organ but go to another to convert for function, so they affect even more than other hormones. 

If the message these hormones deliver is messed up, hormonal imbalances will occur. Take a hormone like estradiol – if the message delivered is too strong, it can develop into cancer. If the message is too weak, it can lead to depression or early menopause. The tissue will listen to the messages it gets. That doesn’t mean it’s the right message for the individual. 

All our organs are controlled by messengers, and the messengers can affect multiple organs. Medicine, in its classification, separates everything. We have heart specialists, neurologists, kidney specialists, and GI specialists. But each messenger can affect several organs – your body isn’t a desk organizer; split up into tidy boxes that don’t interact. It’s more like a Swiss watch, where everything affects everything else.   

So, you can see how important hormones are to the body’s overall balance or homeostasis. You don’t want to mess with them. 

WHAT DOES YOUR BODY NEED TO MAKE HORMONES? 

A building block for steroid hormones and many other essential cells is cholesterol. Your body needs cholesterol along with certain amino acids to make steroid hormones. 

All steroid hormones come from cholesterol — not all hormones, but all steroid hormones. Sex hormones, adrenal hormones, and kidney hormones all need cholesterol. All these hormones start as cholesterol and then become the hormones needed for various functions. Cholesterol is a derivative. It’s not bad for you. It’s a building block for every steroid hormone in the body. High cholesterol isn’t the goal, but you should have the right amount for your body’s needs.  

WHERE DOES CHOLESTEROL COME FROM? 

Your body will increase cholesterol when you’re under stress. It needs cholesterol to repair itself or to make more hormones. If you cut your finger and start bleeding, the body will produce more cholesterol to repair the wound. 

If you’re a woman and stress starts to tank your adrenals, or if your hormones get low, your cholesterol will go up. It’s just your body responding to stress and depletion by creating what it needs to heal itself. 

Cholesterol is not an intruder in your body, so you don’t need to change your diet to avoid it. You cannot eat enough cholesterol to make it go too high. If your cholesterol goes up, there is a physical reason. Only 10-20% of the cholesterol in your body comes from diet and exercise. The liver makes the 80%+. [5 

Multiple studies have shown that dietary cholesterol doesn’t increase coronary artery disease. [6] [7] [8] That’s why researchers are calling for new guidelines. Cholesterol is high because the body is stressed or has a significant hormonal deficiency. And that’s not bad – it’s your body being competent and knowing how to repair itself. 

What stress or hormonal deficiency is causing your body to create more cholesterol? That’s not such a simple question. Everyone’s body, while functioning with the same general rules, is going through something different and can handle foods and stressors differently. That’s the beauty and the challenge of the terrain theory – there’s no one-size-fits-all, so forcing the body to do something doesn’t restore health. Working with the individual body does. 

We won’t drop it down with red yeast rice or statin drugs. That’s a medical way of thinking. Instead, we’ll investigate why cholesterol is high. There can be different reasons based on the individual, especially based on gender. 

BUT MY DOCTOR SAYS… 

The current medical view doesn’t see the body as a Swiss watch, and they don’t see the body as intelligent and able to heal itself. This difference in understanding is why most people on one medication are on several. Forcing the body to do something might take away this or that symptom, but it’ll also cause other problems and symptoms. And then you get to take medications for those symptoms. These stack on each other, and none of them are helping your body. 

When it comes to statins, the product insert warns about liver dysfunction, hormone problems, renal failure, and liver dysfunction as a result of taking statins. [9] Studies show that statins lower testosterone. Lowering cholesterol lowers testosterone, which increases impotence. So, statins can cause drug-induced impotence. [10] Don’t worry, though. The drug company that makes one of the top-selling statins, Lipitor, also makes Viagra.   

If they create one problem, they have another drug to fix it. That’s big money-making in the billions. Even though it seems like common sense, we can see in studies and anecdotal evidence that lowering cholesterol negatively affects steroid hormones. 

“My hormones are low because of my age.” 

This excuse doesn’t hold water – age doesn’t necessarily have to mess up your hormones. Your lifestyle does that. The Wellness Way Clinics nationwide see women who come in because of low hormones. Often, it’s because they are on statin drugs. They can maintain hormonal balance when they do the right things and get off statin drugs and synthetic hormones. That’s when Docs says to them, “Good thing you got younger; your hormones are balanced!” They look at him like he’s nuts and tell him they’re older. That’s right because age has little to do with it.   

The good news is that you can keep a normal hormone balance from the day you are born to the day you die. The problem is nobody is teaching people how to keep hormones balanced and normal, so we have come to believe it’s normal for a body not to work so well as you age. The truth is that your body works as well as you treat it, and we can always set it up for better success than it has now.  

Statin drugs are not just cholesterol-lowering drugs  

Statin drugs manipulate your liver’s ability to make cholesterol. We need cholesterol to make many cells, including steroid hormones which help your organs regulate vital functions like blood pressure, metabolism, blood sugar, and the immune response. Hormones also control if you have a beard or not. It’s funny until you are the lady with the beard. 

Statins are a big farce and a big money maker for drug companies. Their use increased from 17.9% in 2002-2003 to 27.8% in 2012-2013. [11] The percentage of Americans with high cholesterol decreased from 1999 to 2018. [12] So why do we see rising heart disease and not lower? Cardiovascular disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women in the CDC’s last reports. [3] [13] 

But without cholesterol, you can never achieve hormone balance, and high cholesterol simply means your body needs help. Contact a Wellness Way clinic near you to start discovering why and where your body needs that help. 

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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