The pharmaceutical empire strikes back. After the recent few years of increasing “statin deniers” getting an occasional mainstream media appearance, vested interest parties are coming up with studies to “prove” statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs) are safe. The problem is most folks on the fence, as most are, will be distracted by these studies no matter how biased and without merit they may be. Doctors who know the truth about statins are forced to pick any such statin safety study apart in response in order to straighten out doctors who prescribe statins based on pharmaceutical reps’ presentations and industry biased studies. One such doctor who is outspokenly critical of statin drugs, Scottish General Practitioner (GP) Malcom Kendrick, M.D., recently focused on a Lancet paper that intended to prove side effects from statin drugs were not only greatly exaggerated, but all in the patients' heads. According to the paper, patients were suffering from the “nocebo effect,” due to all the rising information regarding statin side effect symptoms publicly reported. In addition to his analysis of the study and comparisons to other studies, Dr. Kendrick offers his personal and professional experiences of taking patients off statins and watching them recover from torn or ravaged muscles and early onset dementia, among other side effects. Dr. Kendrick’s father, whose side effects had him wheel chair bound until his doctor-son convinced him to quit taking statins is an example he offered. No nocebo effects had them in such terrible shape that was relieved when they got off statins.
The saturated fat lie is officially exposed now that the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a division of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) emphatically declared: “Saturated fat does not clog the arteries: coronary heart disease is a chronic inflammatory condition, the risk of which can be effectively reduced from healthy lifestyle interventions.” The beginning of this very recent BMJ letter, 31 March 2017, reviewing several mega-studies, states early in their editorial: “Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is just plain wrong.” Wrong, unequivocally and indisputably, not maybe or could be or further studies needed, but completely wrong. It’s over. And the root cause of arterial inflammation is cited with dietary recommendations that lean toward the Mediterranean Diet.
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.
The statin or cholesterol reduction drug push has been tagged as the biggest medical scam of all time by medical practitioners who know better and are not afraid of being sued or harassed by drug makers. Despite several peer reviewed published studies that show both the ineffectiveness and dangers of statin drugs, they continue to dominate the pharmaceutical drug market. Cholesterol reducing statin drugs are prescribed unnecessarily and often with serious side effects, even as the whole theory of cholesterol causing heart attacks is proving false. For the thousands of victims filing lawsuits against Lipitor, the top selling cholesterol lowering statin drug of all time, a serious setback was suffered recently when U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel dismissed almost all of the 2800 cases being heard in his court.
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.
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.
Coronary artery calcification has been found to be associated with cardiovascular events. In other words, there are more cardiovascular events when there is a higher coronary artery calcification score. The coronary calcium score can be measured with a coronary CT scan or a coronary intravascular ultrasound scan. Coronary scans are frequently ordered by cardiologists and primary care physicians. If the coronary calcium score on the CT is elevated, the doctor is most likely to prescribe a statin medication. You might think that a statin medication, if it was effective at treating and preventing heart disease, would be shown to decrease coronary calcium burden. Well, you would think wrong. Statin drugs are the most profitable drugs in the history of Big Pharma. Presently, over 28% of all U.S. adults take a statin drug. Statins are prescribed by doctors to treat high cholesterol levels and heart disease. Furthermore, the Powers-That-Be proclaim that statins will prevent a healthy person from getting heart disease. Remember, just because the Powers-That-Be continue to make the above statements does not make them true.
“In 2015, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis looking at randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that were available to US and UK regulatory committees that adopted low-fat dietary guidelines in the 1970s and 1980s to supposedly reduce coronary heart disease (CHD). The authors of the study state that to date, no analysis of the evidence base for recommending a low-fat diet to reduce heart disease has ever been studied. So the authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the RCTs that were published prior to 1983, which examined the relationship between dietary fat, serum cholesterol and the development of coronary heart disease. After analyzing multiple studies that included 2467 males, the authors found "no differences in all-cause mortality and non-significant differences in CHD mortality, resulting from the dietary interventions." They therefore concluded that: "Dietary recommendations were introduced for 220 million US and 56 million UK citizens by 1983, in the absence of supporting evidence from RCTs." How many lives have been ruined by the low-fat theory of heart disease?