John stopped in today to pick up a new prescription. He said he’d been feeling run down. The doctor tested his blood and found that his testosterone was very low. Hence, the prescription for a testosterone supplement cream. We talked a little and I discovered that John has similar views as mine regarding drugs. He has avoided most of them and refused to use a statin when a doctor suggested that his cholesterol was a “little high”. He mentioned, though, that both he and his wife are trying to keep their cholesterol levels low by eating well, exercising, andusing red yeast rice.
With just a little probing, I found that both of them are experiencing difficulties that are commonly associated with hormone imbalance. John, in particular, actually has low testosterone - low enough that his doctor prescribed a supplement. He’s not just complaining of “feeling run down”, though. There’s the memory fog, irritability, and mild feelings of anxiety or depression. These are things John hasn’t experienced until just recently.
John said his wife is beginning to feel the effects of menopause; hot spells, trouble sleeping, night sweats, foggy thinking, and so on. They are both concerned because she is still in her lower forties
Both of them have been taking red yeast rice - a “natural” substance. How does it work? EXACTLY LIKE A STATIN DRUG. Why? The drug makers discovered that red yeast rice actually contained the chemical, simvastatin, that blocks the formation of cholesterol in the body. Notice that the chemical name contains, “statin”. Yes, simvastatin is a statin drug that’s found naturally in red yeast rice. Some red yeast rice products are not very potent, but the better quality ones actually deliver an effective dose of simvastatin - enough to cause cholesterol levels to fall.
Contrary to modern “wisdom”, cholesterol is important for good health. It is the substance from which we make hormones - and even vitamin D. Using drugs to interfere with cholesterol production can actually make us ill, cause memory problems, impair thinking, and even reduce sperm counts. All of this because the drug lowers our levels of a very important substance - cholesterol.
John’s doctor wasn’t concerned that he was using red yeast rice. Possibly because he didn’t think a non-prescription product would work as well as something from an official FDA drug company. Also, John’s cholesterol was going down - something the doctor wanted anyhow, regardless of how it was happening.
First, the doctor erred in assuming that a non-prescription substance was basically safe. Two, he erred in accepting the belief that cholesterol should be lowered. Yes, belief. Low cholesterol has been shown to cause health problems - something that high cholesterol hasn’t demonstrated. Cholesterol may be a marker for other, underlying conditions, but not a cause of illness.
I suggested that both John and his wife stop using red yeast rice. He asked what he could do instead. My response was, “nothing”. The best he and his wife could do is to not test cholesterol levels and, more importantly, stop worrying about it.
The answer to health is eating well, exercising, and avoiding drugs.