I received a really good question the other day about cholesterol, erectile dysfunction and impotence, heart attacks and strokes, statin cholesterol-lowering drugs and how all of these things are interrelated and contradictory at the same time.
The viewer emailed and asked:
I’m totally confused when it comes to cholesterol. I went to my doctor and my blood test showed I have high cholesterol – it was 253. My doctor told me to eat better, eliminate all cholesterol foods from my diet, and then prescribed me a statin cholesterol lowering drug.
I then also told him how I’ve been having erectile problems the past year. You know, things aren’t working like they used to.
He then said how high cholesterol can cause impotence and that the statin drugs can help fix this.
YET, I go online and there’s a ton of research and guys complaining how when they took statin drugs, they had erectile problems. AND, in a previous ARTICLE you said how cholesterol is needed to make testosterone, which is the main hormone that controls your sex drive.
What the heck should I do Dr. Sam? This is all very confusing.
Yes, you’re totally right. When it comes to health, things can be very confusing because there are studies or experts who say completely contradictory things.
So, let me simplify all of this for you because both my parents had cholesterol problems back in 1998 and I needed to learn a lot about this topic back then when there was little information.
And now, over 20 years later, there’s a lot more data and facts – both clinical and empirical, real-life stats about all of this.
Cholesterol and Testosterone Levels
Yes, cholesterol is needed to make hormones, including testosterone. In fact, cholesterol is needed to make Vitamin D, which is technically a hormone and not a vitamin.
People who have very low cholesterol levels, typically also have lower testosterone and libido.
I’ve seen so many people who go on a very low-fat diet and no cholesterol diet and their testosterone levels drop like crazy, which is the opposite of what you want.
Statin Drugs Are Toxic
In regards to statin cholesterol-lowering drugs – such as the more popular Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin) and Zocor (simvastatin) – they lower your cholesterol by blocking the enzyme that creates cholesterol in your body.
They have lots of negative effects – such as memory loss, liver disease, diabetes, hormonal imbalances and yes, erectile dysfunction.
Unfortunately, doctors are quick to prescribe these drugs. I believe that the people who should take these drugs are those who have genetic issues with it (familial hypercholesterolemia), a family history.
So for example, if your total cholesterol is over 350 mg/dL at a younger age, and you eat fairly healthy and not super overweight – then chances are you have a genetic problem. Then I would suggest extreme changes in your diet, like eating a plant-based diet and using a low dose of statin.
The rest of us, don’t need these drugs. Lifestyle changes and supplements can easily fix cholesterol issues.
In fact, there are natural statins found in nature that help lower cholesterol and don’t have the negatives of these drugs – which I’ll tell you about in a minute.
Cholesterol Levels & Food
Something very important to keep in mind is that about 80% of your cholesterol is made internally, through your liver and thus, NOT from the foods you eat.
The real cause of high cholesterol, genetics aside, is the negative changes in your hormones, especially as we get older.
And your lifestyle and “epigenetics” contributes to these hormonal changes.
I discuss this in another article, which I’ll give you the link to in a minute.
Cholesterol And Heart Attacks & Strokes
But here’s the bottom line, the main reason anyone wants to have healthy cholesterol levels or your doctor prescribes cholesterol-lowering drugs, is in the hope of avoiding heart disease, atherosclerosis, and thus – dying from a heart attack or stroke.
And yes, you need to have cholesterol for optimal hormone production and thus, sex drive, and erections.
But cholesterol is just one factor.
You need to also improve your HDL/LDL ratios, the particle size of lipoproteins, fatty triglycerides, homocysteine, inflammation, and blood sugar levels ALL work together to cause negative health problems.
And this is what I discovered with my parents during the past 20 years.
So, here’s your goal:
- You want healthy lipid levels, not just lower cholesterol.
- Diet and exercise help. However, a major cause will always be hormonal related and aging.
- Take cholesterol-lowering drugs if you have a family history of high cholesterol and diet, exercise, and supplements haven’t made any improvements. Thus, drugs are your last option.
- And if you’re concerned about erections, for sure don’t take the statin drugs.
At the bottom of this article, I’ve got a link about how I lowered my parents’ cholesterol and improved their lipid levels. It’s a formula they’ve been using for over 20 years. They got off the drugs and have done it naturally with minimal changes in their diet or exercise plan.
You can use the same formula to improve your lipid and cholesterol levels while helping your erections and avoiding a heart attack or stroke.