A group of independent medical academics challenged a BMJ (British Medical Journal) 20 year follow-up study that claimed favorable results among those using statins as a preventative measure. It was known as the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study (WOSCOPS), and it was the first trial to demonstrate a significant reduction in cardiovascular events with statin therapy for primary prevention. The critical report challenging the BMJ’s statin-promotion based on the WOSCOPS study was published recently, October of 2017. The challenging trio of medical scientists, led by independent researcher Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD, author of The Cholesterol Myth and Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You, parsed and picked at the study to show it is flawed. They concluded: "The study has serious bias. Many patients stop taking statins. In a study of over 140 000 elderly people, two thirds of those with cardiovascular disease (and even more of those without) had stopped treatment after two years. The question is, therefore, whether the mortality benefit among those with the highest LDL cholesterol is due to statin treatment or to their high LDL cholesterol. The question is relevant because a recent systematic review of 19 cohort studies including 68 094 elderly people (≥60 years) followed for several years found an inverse association between all cause mortality and LDL cholesterol in 92% of participants. In the largest study those with the highest LDL cholesterol lived longer than those taking statins."
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."
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.
Statin drugs that reduce cholesterol in the body are much more harmful than beneficial, even though they do lower cholesterol readings. There is much clinical evidence that lowering cholesterol is not only unnecessary, but it is seriously damaging to overall health. This is worth repeating even as much as Health Impact News has covered cholesterol and statin issues in the past. Many others, even alternative health sites and practitioners, still continue to perpetuate the cholesterol myth that promotes the scam of dangerous and highly profitable statin drugs. Epidemiological studies tracking elderly people over time have concluded that people with high cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol. So there is no need to take a pharmaceutical with dangerous side effects to lower cholesterol.
The best metric for measuring the effectiveness of a drug is the NNT or the number of patients needed to be treated with the drug to prevent 1 clinically significant endpoint. In the case of statins and presumably in the case of the new class of drug to lower cholesterol the NNT for primary prevention is between 100-500!! I would not want to take an expensive dangerous drug that is likely to increase my incidence of diabetes (which in and of itself increased heart attacks), heart failure, dementia, muscle aches, fatigue, and oxidative stress as a result of lower vitamin D and coenzyme Q10. For what? To lower my chances of an MI or stroke by less than 1%? I would rather take up jogging and eat better. I would rather bet on black. The statin drugs have been a disaster as they don’t work in the majority of people who take them. Now, we want to spend over $14,000 per year in a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs? We must be out of our minds.
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.
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.
My father was a cardiologist who started his practice in the 1970’s. In those days, the beauty and art of medicine were in the diagnosis of heart disease. They didn’t have many “tools” to treat patients. There were only a few pharmaceuticals and surgery was new on the scene. Fast forward to 2015. If you walk into a cardiology office you will walk out with a stack of prescriptions and orders for testing such as treadmills and ultrasounds. But what are the benefits?
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.
The cholesterol-lowering statin drug empire continues to crumble. On Sunday February 15, 2015, the Sunday Express in the UK published a headline story stating that Oxford professor Dr. Rory Collins, whose research had been used to support putting millions of patients on statin drugs, was reassessing the data behind those studies for possible drug side effects. According to the Express: "Although the original research looked at the effect of statins on the heart and considered cancer risks it did not examine other side effects." This announcement by Dr. Collins is stunning, to say the least, and points to a massive cover-up and scandal related to statin drugs.