Since 2015 there have been a few pharmaceutical companies working on a new cholesterol-lowering drug type as a replacement for the older class of statin drugs, such as Lipitor. Lipitor was the best-selling drug of all time, but its patent expired a few years ago. The new mantra is getting LDL cholesterol levels lower than statin drugs. The drug class of these new cholesterol-lowering drugs is a PCSK9 inhibitor. Of course, this is madness for two reasons: (1) Cholesterol and fats, in general, are not the cause of heart disease; (2) cholesterol is vital for hormone production and nervous system and brain function. The fact is that cholesterol is vitally essential for good health, and lowering cholesterol artificially can and does lead to more immediate health problems, and a lower life expectancy. So why the focus for a new cholesterol-lowering drug? Once again, we follow the money.
War on Saturated Fats Has Harmed People in Poor Countries Who Shunned Traditional Fats Like Coconut Oil
One of the most pervasive dangerous food myths has been the lipid hypothesis or theory of heart disease. It proclaims that eating foods containing saturated fats are the root cause of obesity and heart disease. It has prevailed for over a half-century and is only now beginning to deteriorate. The most obvious harm done by the false propaganda against saturated fats in traditional foods are with regions that relied heavily on saturated fats for centuries, especially edible tropical oils such as coconut oil prior to the lipid hypothesis or theory's dogma that permeated and replaced their traditional diets. A recent paper, “Coconut oil and palm oil's role in nutrition, health and national development: A review,” was published in the September 2016 Ghana Medical Journal (GMJ).
Is saturated fat really the health hazard it’s been made out to be? Dr. Aseem Malhotra is an interventional cardiologist consultant in London, U.K., who gained quite a bit of publicity after the publication of his peer-reviewed editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2013. In it, he seriously challenges the conventional view on saturated fats, and reviews how recent studies have failed to find any significant association between saturated fat and cardiovascular risk. In fact, Malhotra reports that two-thirds of people admitted to hospitals with acute myocardial infarction have completely normal cholesterol levels.
Let’s look at statin guidelines. The new guidelines recommend nearly half of Americans over the age of 40—more than 50 million people—may qualify for taking a statin drug in order to lower their heart attack risk. I have written in my blog posts, newsletter, and in my book, The Statin Disaster, that statin drugs fail nearly 99% who take them—they neither prevent heart attacks nor have they been shown to help people live longer. Where is the evidence that statins help lower coronary calcium levels? There isn’t any. In fact, the opposite is true: research has shown that statin use actually increases the deposition of calcium in coronary arteries. Yes, you read that right. In fact, researchers reported, “…coronary artery calcium progression was fastest among participants using statins…” This wasn’t the only study to report that fact. Other researchers have concluded, “Independent of their plaque-regressive effects, statins promote coronary atheroma calcification.” Folks, evidence-based medicine should be used and embraced. It is too bad that conventional medicine fails to use it when it comes to statins (as well as many other drug therapies). The evidence behind the statin studies should expose statins as one of the greatest failures in modern medicine.
One in three Americans aged 40 and over take a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, and nearly half of people over age 75 are on them, despite their risks, and the fact that “high” cholesterol is not always the enemy it’s made out to be. Statins have a long list of side effects, and may even lead to the very problem you’re trying to avoid — heart disease — as the drug inhibits both Coenzyme Q10 and vitamin K2. Statins also reduce squalene, which can raise your risk of immune system dysfunction. Now, the drug industry is rolling out yet another cholesterol-lowering medication that may turn out to be even worse than statins.
A recent study in Critical Care Medicine is titled, “Lipid Paradox in Acute Myocardial Infarction- The Association with 30-Day In-Hospital Mortality.” This study followed 724 hospitalized patients who suffered an acute heart attack (i.e., myocardial infarction). The scientists attempted to clarify the relationship between the lipid profiles and the 30-day mortality in patients who suffered a heart attack. The authors found that those with lower LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels had a significantly elevated mortality risk when compared to patients with higher LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Why would lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels be associated with a higher mortality rate? Fats from triglycerides are a major energy source and LDL-cholesterol is critical for cell membrane synthesis and is needed to fight infections. Adequate LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be critical for cell function and survival in the case of a heart attack—as well as in other conditions. Folks, we have been hoodwinked to believe that we must all take cholesterol-lowering medications in order to prevent and/or treat heart disease. People do not get heart disease because their cholesterol level is elevated. Remember, 50% of patients who suffer a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels.
Heart disease, as many of us know, is one of the leading causes of death in the US, killing about 610,000 people each year. Big Pharma—in the belief that cholesterol is the primary factor in heart disease—developed statin drugs that would lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The drugs, which have been accompanied by massive marketing campaigns, are huge moneymakers for the drug industry, to the tune of about $29 billion worth of sales in 2013. That’s the kind of outrageous money you make when you convince one in four Americans over the age of 45 to take statins.
Four Japanese researchers published an analysis on cholesterol guidelines and statin drugs in the April 2015 edition of the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, the Scottish doctor who wrote "The Great Cholesterol Con" recently stated on his blog that he has read the entire 116 page review: "For many years I have told anyone who will listen that, if you have a high cholesterol level, you will live longer. Equally, if you have a low cholesterol level, you will die younger. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a fact. The older you become the more beneficial it is to have a high cholesterol level. This fact has become more difficult to demonstrate recently as so many people have been put on statins that the association between cholesterol levels and mortality has been twisted, bent and pumelled into the weirdest shapes imaginable. However, Japan, provides some very interesting data."
Another study has confirmed that statin drug use increases one's chance of developing diabetes. Statin drugs are the all-time leading prescription drugs sold in the U.S. and around the world, prescribed by doctors to lower people's cholesterol levels. It is estimated that one out of every 4 people in the United States over the age of 50 is currently taking statin drugs for cholesterol. This current study just published looked at 26,000 beneficiaries of Tricare, the military health system. They found that those taking statin drugs to control their cholesterol were 87 percent more likely to develop diabetes. The study was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. This just the latest study to link statin drugs to diabetes, especially in women. Studies published in 2014 caused over 2000 lawsuits to be filed against Pfizer, the maker of the best-selling drug of all-time, Lipitor.
As reported in the New York Times (2.20.15), a nutrition advisory panel that shapes U.S dietary advice eased some of the previous restrictions on fat and cholesterol, while at the same time recommending Americans lower their consumption of sugar. For many years, I have been writing and lecturing about the idiotic cholesterol and fat guidelines that the Powers-That-Be have been espousing. Over 30 years ago, we were told to eat less fat and cholesterol in order to lower our risk from dying from cardiovascular disease. During that same time we were encouraged to increase our consumption of carbohydrates in the form of grains and bakery products. We followed the Powers-That-Be’s advice and guess what? Our health has worsened. During the time we lowered our fat and cholesterol intake, we suffered with more obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.