Cholesterol is found in nearly every cell in your body. This waxy substance is vital for optimal functioning of cell membranes, regulating protein pathways and supporting brain health, hormone levels and reducing your heart disease risk. Your body also uses cholesterol to manufacture vitamin D after being exposed to the sun. As Zoe Harcombe, Ph.D., has noted, "It is virtually impossible to explain how vital cholesterol is to the human body. If you had no cholesterol in your body you would be dead." The majority of the cholesterol in your body, approximately 80%, is manufactured in your liver, suggesting your body cannot survive without it. In the past decades cholesterol has been vilified as a primary culprit in heart disease. Merck brought the first statin drug, Lovastatin, aka Mevacor, to market in 1987. Since then, statins have gone on to become the biggest selling class of pharmaceutical compounds of all time, with annual sales in excess of $19 billion in 2017 and projected to reach $24.4 by 2022.6,7 A new study from Duke University Medical Center finds 26.5% of U.S. adults who fit the current criteria to use cholesterol-lowering drugs are not taking them. The study is suggesting this occurs since doctors do not offer the drugs to their patients or the patients express concern over the side effects. Senior study author Dr. Ann Marie Navar from the Duke Clinical Research Institute believes public perception of side effects is unrealistic. However, despite Navar's attempt to downplay the side effects of statin medications, the risks are well-documented and supported by scientific evidence, so the fears are well-founded.
There’s a media war going on in the UK involving the issue of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. The British Daily Mail's health editor, Barney Calman, labeled two medical doctors and a PhD nutritionist as "statin deniers" for their efforts in educating the public and debunking the cholesterol-heart disease causation dogma while exposing statin drug dangers. The two doctors are Dr. Malcolm Kendrick and Dr. Aseem Malhotra. The nutritionist is Zoe Harcombe, PhD. The Daily Mail article is blaming their "propaganda" as convincing people to stop taking cholesterol-lowering drugs which they claim are leading more people to suffer heart attacks as a result. Since this is another example of corporate-sponsored "mainstream" media presenting only the pharmaceutical position on their own products and seeking to censor anyone who opposes them, we are publishing the responses from those accused of murder for exposing the dangers of statin drugs, as well as questioning the "science" used for the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the world.
Pharma Wants Every Senior on Statin Drugs as Corporate Media Seeks to Silence Doctors Exposing the Cholesterol Myth
Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are a $100 billion-a-year industry. Lipitor was, by far, the most profitable drug in the history of mankind among all pharmaceutical products, let alone being the most profitable cholesterol drug before its patent expired at the end of 2011. Sales to date from this one particular cholesterol-lowering statin drug have exceeded $140 billion. After Lipitor’s patent expired at the end of 2011, the FDA issued its first warnings against statin drugs, which include: liver injury, memory loss, diabetes, and muscle damage, among others. Thousands of lawsuits against the maker of Lipitor followed. As we have reported many times over the years here at Health Impact News, the cholesterol theory of heart disease is not well-supported by science at all. In fact, much of the science states that cholesterol is an important part of our health, and contrary to popular belief, those with the highest levels of cholesterol actually live longer than those with lower levels of cholesterol in their blood. However, with such a large segment of the American population moving into their senior years, the pharmaceutical industry's attempt to keep seniors on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs continues unabated, and the largely pharma-funded corporate media is doing their part to silence doctors and other researchers who criticize the failed cholesterol theory of heart disease. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, a Scottish doctor and the author of the book The Great Cholesterol Con, has had his entire Wikipedia entry deleted recently in an obvious attempt to silence him as a new study was just published to try and justify putting more seniors on statin drugs. Here are his comments on this "new" study.
As American Heart Association Prepares to Revise Guidelines for Cholesterol, Harvard Doctor Speaks Out on Conflict of Interests
The American Heart Association (AHA) will soon be meeting in Chicago to set new guidelines for treating high cholesterol, the first big update since 2013. Medical doctors are not at all unified in their position on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, although pharmaceutical companies and their front groups, such as the AHA, would like the public to believe all doctors are in favor of lowering cholesterol via medication. Independent journalist Sharyl Attkisson recently covered the issue of the "Statin Wars" on her TV show, Full Measure. In the introduction to her show, Attkisson states: "Past (cholesterol) guidelines have said more and more of us should take cholesterol-lowering drugs called “statins” to prevent heart attacks and save lives. But the recommendations aren’t without controversy. And they raise a larger debate in medicine— over who’s paying the doctors and groups deciding what’s good for us." She interviewed three people with different perspectives on statin drugs.
A recent study connecting increased statin drug use with rising ALS was discussed by Dr. Malcom Kendrick. He had followed earlier similar studies with similar concerns, but this one confirmed Dr. Kendrick’s suspicions. ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), is also known as motor neuron disease (MND), or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The study of concern is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Associated with Statin Use: A Disproportionality Analysis of the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System. It was published by the journal Drug Safety in April of 2018. The researchers at the University of California (San Diego) and Advera Health Analytics, Inc., Santa Rosa, California teamed up to analyze data from the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) to determine what is known as reporting odds ratios (RORs) involving statin drugs users who have reported ALS symptoms. This study, which allegedly had no outside funding, concluded: "These findings extend previous evidence showing that significantly elevated ALS reporting extends to individual statin agents, and add to concerns about potential elevated occurrence of ALS-like conditions in association with statin usage."
It seems to coincide that when fraudulent medical or nutritional dogma promoted by mainstream medicine or government nutritional institutions starts getting exposed in the alternative media, they both double down with the aid of mainstream media, especially if the result of that exposure is lowered sales of statin drugs and processed non-fat foods. This is what is happening with both statin drugs and saturated fat disinformation. But now the empire is striking back. Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen writes: "We are losing the battle for the hearts and minds of our patients to websites developed by people with little or no scientiﬁc expertise, who often peddle ‘natural’ or ‘drug-free’ remedies for elevated cholesterol levels. This 'Internet-driven cult' denies statins’ benefits and whips up fears of side effects, then profits from the resulting confusion by peddling snake oil. The diversion of patients away from evidence-based therapy by advocates of unproven dietary supplements must be vigorously opposed by physician-scientists. Similarly, the claims that cult diets can reverse heart disease have no scientific basis and represent a danger to public health." Dr. Nissen’s viewpoint was also covered in a MedPage Today article titled “CardioBrief: Statin Denialism Is 'A Deadly Internet-Driven Cult,'" where Dr. James Stein (University of Wisconsin) supported Dr. Nissen’s editorial with more vitriol than even Dr. Nissen expressed, stating: "There is a special place in hell for people who use fear tactics and misinformation to promote books and natural health aids, including crazy diets, at the expense of proven medical therapies, rather than as complimentary options under medical direction. I am not sure why Americans are so susceptible to these charlatans."
Aggressive lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) has been the cornerstone of preventative cardiology for decades. Statins are widely used as the go-to solution for the prevention of heart disease owing to their ability to slash LDL-C levels, a ‘surrogate marker’ of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Indeed, statins are one of the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the world. But this phenomenon begs two questions: is the enthusiasm for aggressive lowering of LDL-C justified; and is pharmacotherapy superior to lifestyle intervention? In summary, for many patients at high risk of CVD, one of the safest and most effective ways to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke is to consume a high fat and low glycaemic load Mediterranean diet and engage in regular exercise. At the very least, exercise interventions are often similar to drug interventions in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, and do not come with side effects.
A Penn State Medical School epidemiological study, reported by Science Daily, is urging physicians to not prescribe statin drugs for Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Evidently, due to earlier studies, cholesterol reducing drugs were considered preventative of Parkinson’s disease. Amazingly, this practice had been going on for some time, thanks to several questionable, and conflicting studies of statin use and Parkinson’s disease. The most recent study was conducted at the Penn State College of Medicine earlier this year (2017.) Their conclusion asserts that statin drugs should not be used as a Parkinson’s disease (PD) preventative. A previous study claimed patients who stopped taking statin drugs were more prone to Parkinson’s disease, thus statin drugs were helpful for preventing Parkinson’s. The Penn State study provided evidence that the opposite is true. Statin drug use can lead to Parkinson’s disease.
Shocking news! Two studies were recently published that endorse 2013 guidelines for a wider use of statin drugs. As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), out of over 2400 people, 39% were statin eligible, compared with 14% by the old 2004 guidelines. In one fell swoop, the amount of people recommended for statin use was tripled! This is not surprising given the amount of revenue from statin drug sales. Who makes the guidelines? Doctors on Big Pharma payroll, that’s who.
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. What the American Heart Association does not seem to understand is that cholesterol is vital to human health. We’ve noted in the past that cholesterol isn’t the ticking time bomb most people have been led to think—in fact, the real danger is that our cholesterol levels can get too low as we age! Even “bad” cholesterol is essential.