Are statins the answer?

Q. My husband, 62, is a fit, slim non-smoker. He was advised to take statins after a medical revealed his total cholesterol is 6.2 [recommended level is 5mmol/L], but has no heart disease in his family. Is there an alternative? A. Recent studies question whether these widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, which have significant side effects, can help people like your husband. However, research shows that a natural bergamot supplement called BergaMet Mega has important benefits for heart disease, including reducing ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and improving ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. It can also help patients on statins to reduce their dosage, and has minimal side effects. At least 20 per cent of patients on statins experience side effects.

Fatigue is common with statins and manufacturers’ warnings also include muscle problems, sleep disturbances, memory loss, sexual dysfunction and depression. Long-term users have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and abnormal liver function is common, according to cardiologist Dr Ross Walker. Cholesterol, a blood fat, is actually vital for our body, particularly as we age. There is debate over lowering LDL to targets that have nearly halved since 1988 but have never been directly tested in clinical trials. While research supports the effectiveness of statins in patients with existing cardiovascular disease (CVD ), most people who have heart attacks do not have high LDL .

Many experts now believe statins work by fighting inflammation, a known factor in heart disease. BergaMet Mega seems the most effective natural supplement in reducing LDL and triglycerides, other potentially harmful blood fats, increasing HDL and reducing blood glucose levels (a marker for diabetes and CVD ). Over 90 per cent of Dr Walker’s 2,000 patients taking BergaMet Mega improved in the factors above, as well as experiencing weight loss and lowered blood pressure. Animal studies suggest a substantial reduction in the clogged arteries that lead to CVD . Patients with proven CVD should be prescribed lipid-lowering therapy, including statins and bergamot extract, says Dr Walker. BergaMet Mega/£42 for 60 tablets - buy here.

Bergamot extract is also effective in metabolic syndrome (the combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity which is a grave risk for CVD ), and is useful for patients such as your husband with a raised lipid profile but otherwise low risk. Patients with statin-related muscle weakness, or who have had a heart attack, could try supplementing with Co-Enzyme Q10 plus magnesium orotate, which supports it.  Lamberts Co-Enzyme Q10/£35.70 for 60 capsules - buy here (avoid if on blood-thinning medication);  Health Aid Magnesium Orotate/£9.95 for 30 tablets - buy here.

Other patients report that Ateronon, which contains the antioxidant lycopene, helps statin side effects.  Ateronon, £29.99,  Lamberts Co-Enzyme Q10/£35.70 for 60 capsules - buy here (avoid if on blood-thinning medication);  Ateronon/£29.99 at www.ateronon.combuy here.



SelexirA small tube of balm is having a big effect on troubled skin. A colleague tells, me that the soothing natural remedy Selexir Peace Balm, containing aloe vera, honey and shea butter, was a ‘miracle-worker’ that had shifted a rough, dry patch by her mouth which nothing else had been able to improve. And a reader had an ‘itchy, red, warm patch of eczema’ by her elbow which the balm eased in four hours. ‘If it hadn’t happened to me, I wouldn’t have believed it,’ she said. Selexir Peace Balm/£39 for 30 ml at -buy here



I’m convinced that a key to happy coexistence is having a place to growl, preferably before saying or doing something you regret. As Charles Dickens’s character John Jarndyce explains to his ward Esther in Bleak House: ‘This is the growlery [his study]. When I am out of humour, I come and growl here.’ I grump on the balcony with my flowerpots, while friends have sewing rooms. If space is limited, a tent or even a four-poster bed with curtains would be good.