The Facts about Statins and Lowering Your Cholesterol
Did you know you may need Statins? Who you may ask….well of course everyone! So called Ground-breaking research has done it again and every major news media outlet is just happy to promote this good news and save the world. You need drugs. That’s right….statins are essential to life now it seems. Oxygen a close second. I think Huey Lewis just got a new deal to sing “I want a new drug”. Oh so happy news. Maybe next Halloween can all go dressed up as sick zombie like creatures addicted to statin drugs! Ok…….enough of the tiny bit of sarcasm.
Once again mainstream media and the medical establishment make me want to sell the TV, throw the radio in the lake and move to an island. But I digress. In case you don’t know what I am talking about then consider yourself lucky not paying attention to the media, because I think this was everywhere (side rant….do they even question what they release to the public anymore? Oh wait….I know who pays the advertising bills and media companies want to make sure their sponsors are happy afterall…ok back to topic at hand) The original story is claiming we all need statins, and is driving people like myself and Mark at Marks Daily Apple mad (he beat me to ranting about this). Below is the press release from the media earlier this week about Statins and you can read the whole thing here (but I’ll highlight up the “best” parts below)
Cardiovascular Disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, costing our healthcare system hundreds of millions of dollars and causing untold suffering. Now there is new hope for preventing this fatal disease – even among those who weren’t thought to be at risk.
Ok we start off by scaring everyone into paying attention…….now what’s next…..
A new study has found that millions of people could cut their risk of a heart attack, stroke and death by taking statins. The study, released at the American Heart Association‘s annual meeting this week, found the benefits even for people with low cholesterol and no major risk for heart disease.
Did I just read that right? Even if your cholesterol is low…and have no risks…you need drugs? Huh?
About half all heart attacks and strokes occur in people who do not have elevated cholesterol.
Wait, high cholesterol isn’t even the big bad factor that medicine said it was a few years ago? Wow….shows what they really know about it.
Patients in the study had normal cholesterol. But they had higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that indicates a risk of heart disease.
Finally….a piece of the puzzle that makes sense. INFLAMMATION is more detrimental than high cholesterol. So why do we need the statins again? That part sort of confuses me a bit…somehow statins got lumped into helping people who are really suffering from more inflammation issues.
Well seems Cholestrol isn’t such the evil guy as doctors make it out to be, yet they continue to hand out statins like candy because if you ask any doctor I bet they will say “high cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease” when there is NO research to prove anyone without a previous heart condition or any woman will even help. Don’t believe me? Well here’s some info below to help clear the air on Cholesterol….
from the Business Week article Jan 08 titled “Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?”
Yes, Wright saw, the drugs can be life-saving in patients who already have suffered heart attacks, somewhat reducing the chances of a recurrence that could lead to an early death. But Wright had a surprise when he looked at the data for the majority of patients, like Winn, who don’t have heart disease. He found no benefit in people over the age of 65, no matter how much their cholesterol declines, and no benefit in women of any age.
For one thing, many researchers harbor doubts about the need to drive down cholesterol levels in the first place.
The second crucial point is hiding in plain sight in Pfizer’s own Lipitor newspaper ad. The dramatic 36% figure has an asterisk. Read the smaller type. It says: “That means in a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor.” The numbers in that sentence mean that for every 100 people in the trial, which lasted 3 1/3 years, three people on placebos and two people on Lipitor had heart attacks. The difference credited to the drug? One fewer heart attack per 100 people. So to spare one person a heart attack, 100 people had to take Lipitor for more than three years. The other 99 got no measurable benefit.
If we knew for sure that a medicine was completely safe and inexpensive, then its widespread use would be a no-brainer, even with a high NNT of 100. But an estimated 10% to 15% of statin users suffer side effects, including muscle pain, cognitive impairments, and sexual dysfunction. And the widespread use of statins comes at the cost of billions of dollars a year, not just for the drugs but also for doctors’ visits, cholesterol screening, and other tests. Since health-care dollars are finite, “resources are not going to interventions that might be of benefit,” says Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine.
What would work better? Perhaps urging people to switch to a Mediterranean diet or simply to eat more fish. In several studies, both lifestyle changes brought greater declines in heart attacks than statins
Difficult risk-benefit questions surround most drugs, not just statins. One dirty little secret of modern medicine is that many drugs work only in a minority of people. “There’s a tendency to assume drugs work really well, but people would be surprised by the actual magnitude of the benefits,” says Dr. Steven Woloshin, associate professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.
The drug business is, after all, a business. Companies are supposed to boost sales and returns to shareholders. The problem they face, though, is that many drugs are most effective in relatively small subgroups of sufferers. With statins, these are the patients who already have heart disease. But that’s not a blockbuster market. So companies have every incentive to market their drugs as being essential for wider groups of people, for whom the benefits are, by definition, smaller.
Drugmakers, however, do make sure that the researchers and doctors who extol the benefits of medications are well compensated. “It’s almost impossible to find someone who believes strongly in statins who does not get a lot of money from industry,” says Dr. Rodney A. Hayward, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Here’s an interesting story from NY times site titled “Do Statins Make You Stupid”?
After I wrote about the issue several years ago, a colleague who had once memorized poetry as a hobby told me he was unable to remember poems once he started taking statins. Dr. Beatrice A. Golomb, assistant professor at the University of California at San Diego, has collected thousands of stories from patients about statin side effects. She has said common complaints from patients taking statins include being unable to remember the name of a grandchild, walking into a room and forgetting why you are there, or starting a sentence and being unable to finish. Some complain of personality changes or irritability.
More older people get put on statins….more older people suffer from Alzheimer’s….anyone picking up on this connection in the main stream???
Dr Michael Eades (Protein Power author) also has plenty to say about Cholesterol on his blog including this article about high fat-low fat diets (and corresponding carbs) and what it does to particle size (yes, that is important)
If we look at the HCLF group, however, we see a different picture. In the subjects following the low-fat diet LDL-cholesterol levels fell while apoB numbers stayed the same. This means that there are the same number of particles as before but they became smaller after 24 weeks of low-fat dieting. In other words, the low-fat diet converted the LDL-particles into the more dangerous smaller, denser type. And these guys have the temerity to tell the world that low-carb dieting makes lipid numbers worse!
As Dr Mike says, big and fluffy particle size is good….smaller and more dense is bad. Also you have to read the horror story of one of his readers when his doctor put him on statins.
Over this course: I have lost from 212 lbs. down to 170 lbs., lost muscle mass everywhere even down to my hands, lost close to 50% of my body strength, lost the ability to walk, concentrate and apprehend. I have lived with absolute fatigue, no libido, no appetite, depressive thoughts, anxiety, insomnia and horrible pain. I have been diagnosed with and/or treated for GAD (general anxiety disorder), depression, insomnia, arthritis, ED, poked, prodded and told that “I was just getting old”. I have been sent to a shrink. I came close to losing my ability to make a living. All of this because of a number on a scale that prompted a doctor to put me on a statin, which I have found, through my exhaustive research, has no advantages in overall mortality rate.
Here’s also a great educational video on cholesterol by Dr Ron Rosedale (this is a video posted on You Tube) titled Exposing the Cholesterol Myth.
Lastly Weston Price has a great read on Cholesterol:Friend or Foe:
The question is, why do some people have more cholesterol in their blood than others, and why can the same person have different levels of cholesterol at different times of the day? Why is our level of cholesterol different in different seasons of the year? In winter it goes up and in the summer it goes down. Why is it that blood cholesterol goes through the roof in people after any surgery? Why does blood cholesterol go up when we have an infection? Why does it go up after dental treatment? Why does it go up when we are under stress? And why does it become normal when we are relaxed and feel well? The answer to all these questions is this: cholesterol is a healing agent in the body. When the body has some healing jobs to do, it produces cholesterol and sends it to the site of the damage. Depending on the time of day, the weather, the season and our exposure to various environmental agents, the damage to various tissues in the body varies. As a result, the production of cholesterol in the body also varies.
So what have we learned….I mean besides Drug companies will blanket the media with slick marketing trying to get everyone to buy and use their drugs every single day….well until they are actually held accountable for all they are doing to us in the meantime.
- Cholesterol is not the bad guy as made out. Inflammation is a greater risk factor
- Cholesterol is 80% made by the liver….doesn’t matter what you eat. If you eat less cholesterol then the body makes more. If you eat more cholesterol then the body makes less.
- If your doctor says you need statins, ask him/her where the actual proof is that they do any good….there is none. If they still force you to take it….I might think about finding a new doctor who will work with your lifestyle changes instead. (of course I am no medical professional who can judge your real risk factors so you can’t listen to me…but from the looks of it above, are those doctor even aware of why they are giving out statins?)
- Eating better foods and exercise seem to do more than statins to reduce risks for heart disease
- If we stopped spending billions of dollars on cholesterol related medical visits and procedure, and put it to educating people about what is really going on….we could probably help millions (but there is no financial gain for any company for that).
- Low Fat/High Carb diets make more smaller dense dangerous cholesterol particles (so we can thank the whole eat “low fat” advice over the last few decades as a role in increasing heart diseases)
- Statins make us sick and dumber….all to prevent something it hasn’t been proven to help for most all people. How is this legally on the market?
- Cholesterol goes up when the body is under stress (including inflammation, immmune system, toxins and chemicals in us, oxidative damamge, free radicals, etc). I know chronic joggers with high cholesterol who won’t listen to me when I say “stop jogging so much and eat less sugar”. But they would rather think their doctor knows it all. Sigh…..
- Get your SLEEP….and stop stressing out all day. Lack of sleep and chronic stress leads to increased insulin resistance…high insulin…and all the fun things to come. Lifestyle is a huge factor…and if we choose to ignore this then we choose to make ourselves sicker.
- Get rid of ALL vegetable oils….want a great way to cause cell membrane destruction? Increase your consumption of unstable and easily oxidized fats (PUFAs). Eat more “stable” Sat and MUFA (monounsat fats).
- High Insulin drives MORE cholesterol production!!!! Focus on what matters, insulin control!!!! How do we do that? Well high insulin levels are usually a result of insulin resistance brought on by high blood sugar (from eating/drinking too much processed/easily broken down carbs and sugar and also a lack of protein with meals to slow down gastric emptying). Best ways to reverse the damage, eat less sugar and processed carbs to keep blood sugar stable, eat more proteins/healthy fats/whole food carbs like fruits and vegetables, and exercise to improve insulin sensitivity. Hands down the best way to get better! HyperInsulinia (chronic high insulin levels) could be the #1 risk factor for most ALL diseases.
There you have it….spread the word, spread the truth….as we have to take responsibility for our own health nowadays and realize the HUGE impact our eating and lifestyle have on our state of health. (before they put it in our drinking water for our “own health”)
photo used by zebrapaperclip
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