25 YEARS OF EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE PART II: WHAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT EBM FROM THE CHOLESTEROL / STATIN DEBATE / DEBACLERead Now
25 YEARS OF EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE PART II
GROSS FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST
MERCOLA INTERVIEWS DR GOLOMB
NEW STUDY ON THE DANGERS OF STATINS
THE MOST COMMON DRUGS TAKEN FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL
CAUSE THE VERY PROBLEMS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO PREVENT
Although mainstream medicine has been increasingly squawking about HIGH CHOLESTEROL LEVELS for decades, there is opposition --- a steadily growing group of renegades within the profession that thinks the hype over High Cholesterol is mostly a bunch of poppycock CREATED TO MAKE MONEY. This was brought to the forefront with Dr. Golomb's ground-breaking 2008 study (Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism). According to the University of California in San Diego, "The UCSD Statin Study group, headed by Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, has actively been researching statin medications and their risk-benefit balance, including possible side effects". After REVIEWING NEARLY 900 STUDIES on the topic, her group concluded that....
"Converging evidence supports a mitochondrial foundation for muscle adverse events associated with statins, and both theoretical and empirical considerations suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may also underlie many non-muscle statin adverse events. Evidence from randomized controlled trials and studies of other designs indicates existence of additional statin-associated adverse events, such as cognitive loss, neuropathy, pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. Physician awareness of statin adverse events is reportedly low even for the events most widely reported by patient. Statins are a linchpin of current approaches to cardiovascular protection: however, adverse events of statins are neither vanishingly rare nor of trivial impact."
Golomb's researchers are not a lone voice in the wilderness. If you have the academic credentials, you could join a group called THINCS (The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics). Led by UFFE RAVNSKOV MD / Ph.D, the members of this organization believe that animal fats and cholesterol are not the primary culprits in heart disease and high cholesterol ---- something I myself have written about any number of times (HERE is one of them). Their website has a huge list of studies and articles to this effect. But there's more.
NEW STUDY SAYS STATINS CAUSE ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND HEART DISEASE
It might be easy to write me off, but it's much tougher to write off a study published by a group of seven cardiology researchers in the February, 2015 issue of Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology (Statins Stimulate Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure: Pharmacological Mechanisms). Read the title of the study again, and pay attention to their conclusions.
"In contrast to the current belief that cholesterol reduction with statins decreases atherosclerosis, we present a perspective that statins may be causative in coronary artery calcification and can function as mitochondrial toxins that impair muscle function in the heart and blood vessels through the depletion of coenzyme Q10 and ‘heme A’, and thereby ATP generation. Statins inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2, the cofactor for matrix Gla-protein activation, which in turn protects arteries from calcification.
Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium containing proteins, one of which is glutathione peroxidase serving to suppress peroxidative stress. An impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis may be a factor in congestive heart failure, reminiscent of the dilated cardiomyopathies seen with selenium deficiency. Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs. We propose that current statin treatment guidelines be critically reevaluated."
Gulp! Although I have been beating this same drum for over two decades (HERE is the main reason why), I did not expect to see the day when doctors actually admitted that the drugs they are prescribing for high cholesterol and heart disease are causing the very problems they are prescribing them for in the first place --- an almost identical scenario to what we've seen with OSTEOPOROSIS DRUGS. And while a rapidly increasing number of researchers are coming to THE CONCLUSION that dietary cholesterol or saturated fat is not a health risk, our nation's treating physicians are slow to catch on. For instance, despite the recent revelation by our government that the cholesterol in your food has almost no bearing on the amount of cholesterol in your blood, we get a steady stream of this sort of thing from mainstream medicine --- and unfortunately, our government.
The government's new 'Dietary Guidelines' --- guidelines that still; despite the dietary debacle of the past three decades, continue to beat the drum for, "grains (at least half being whole grains), fat-free and low-fat dairy, soy...." On average we... are right on target for grains; and those under 13 years old consume only about 1/2 the amount of dairy recommended.... are very very low on fish-derived protein; and also high on solid fat consumption." The only fish that has any health benefit is wild, cold-water fish (HERE). And as to the solid fats (Saturated Fats), click on the previous link.
In the January 11th issue of the British Medical Journal's Evidence-Based Medicine Blog, Dr. Geoffrey Modest discussed these recommendations by saying, "Several very large observational studies have not found that eating foods high in cholesterol is much of a cardiovascular risk factor. Also, as a perspective, only a small minority of circulating cholesterol (about 20%) is from diet, most is from genes…." But are these two sentences really true?
The first sentence is completely true. However, the idea that we can blame our Cholesterol woes ON OUR GENES and not our diets is totally and ridiculously false. Wait a minute. How can this idea be false, when I agree with Dr. Modest's assertion that dietary cholesterol does not cause high blood levels of cholesterol? The problem is not the cholesterol we are consuming; it's our NATIONAL ADDICTION TO SUGAR AND JUNK CARBS! Although the government is telling us that our grain consumption is just about perfect, many of us know better (HERE is the ridiculous diet they continue to recommend). Grain is what you fatten farm animals with. And this doesn't even begin to touch on the issue of grains as they relate to FOOD SENSITIVITIES. It's no wonder that America is in the throes of an epidemic of Cardiometabolic Syndrome.
Although you may have never heard the term, Cardiometabolic Syndrome (sometimes referred to simply as Metabolic Syndrome or its old name, Syndrome X), it is yet another of the 'epidemics' currently raging in America. In order to be "officially" diagnosed with Cardiometabolic Syndrome, you must have three of the following.
- HYPERTENSION: Hypertension is another name for HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. A study from the 2005 issue of Lancet (Global Burden of Hypertension....) said that over 26% of the world's adult population had Hypertension as of Y2K. The CDC puts the percentage of American adults currently dealing with Hypertension at almost 30% (70 million).
- HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES: This means you have too much fat in your blood. According to CDC statistics, somewhere between one in four and one in three Americans has High Triglycerides. What causes fat in the blood? I've shown you already that it is junk carbs and not dietary fat.
- CENTRAL OBESITY: In case you were not aware, BELLY FAT is a risk factor for every health problem you could name in the next five minutes. And on top of that, an estimated 7 to 10% of our population is MEDICALLY OBESE, NORMAL WEIGHT (MONW aka "Skinny Fat"). Likewise, if your BMI is over 30, or your waist is over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, you are OBESE. According to CDC statistics, nearly 7 out of 10 Americans are overweight or obese.
- HIGH FASTING BLOOD SUGAR OR ABNORMAL A1C TEST: This is largely due to LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. Both are heavily associated with both early puberty and PCOS. However, it is critical to remember that DIABETES is not so much a blood sugar problem as it is a problem of unbridled Inflammation. The CDC says that nearly 10% of the American population (over 29 million) have Diabetes. The number with INSULIN RESISTANCE (pre-Diabetes) is thought to be nearly double this. My guess is that this last statistic is grossly underestimated. Interestingly enough, one of the main risk factors for developing Dysglycemia seems to taking medication --- virtually ANY OF THEM.
- CHOLESTEROL RATIO ISSUES: Although today's doctors are certainly concerned with Total Cholesterol levels over 200, you will earn a diagnosis of Cardiometabloic Syndrome if your HDL ("good" cholesterol) is too low, and your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) is too high. According to the CDC's 2015 article, High Cholesterol Facts, 73.5 million adults (31.7%) have this problem.
- PROTEIN (ALBUMIN) IN THE URINE: Your kidneys should be filtering protein out of the urine. Kidney damage is a hallmark of Diabetes. If you are not filtering protein, it's a good indication you have some sort of blood sugar dysregulation going on. In fact, WebMD's article on the subject states, "Albuminuria is most often caused by kidney damage from diabetes".
- INCREASED CRP (C-REACTIVE PROTEIN LEVELS: Although this test is fairly generalized, it is indicative of SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION. Because Inflammation is the root of virtually every health problem under the sun, it would behoove you to click the link and spend three minutes to understand it.
When your doctor EXAMINES YOU and realizes that you have at least three of the above bullet points, you will be "officially" diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome. Rest assured that you will be put on Statin Drugs. I won't lie to you; these drugs lower cholesterol like crazy. But interestingly enough, they only lower your chances of heart attacks, strokes, and death, slightly --- MANY STUDIES say not at all.
Back to the dead-animals-causing-maggots example from the beginning of this post. We all know the maggots came from flies, not from the decaying meat itself. We need to think of cholesterol in similar fashion. Unless you truly have a genetic cholesterol issue (relatively rare, although this is what EVERYONE IS TOLD), cholesterol is not your problem. Cholesterol just happens to be the material that your body uses to patch the damage to your blood vessels caused by INFLAMMATION. It's also why TOM BRADY is largely correct as to the diet eaten by he and his family.
A NEW WEAPON IN THE WAR ON CHOLESTEROL
PCSK9 is the common terminology used to describe the enzyme encoded by the Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin / Kexin type 9 gene. PCSK9 helps create the enzyme that binds to the receptor for the so-called "bad" Cholesterol ---- LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein). According to the government's National Institutes of Health (Genetics Home Reference' PCSK9)......
"The PCSK9 gene provides instructions for making a protein that helps regulate the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The PCSK9 protein appears to control the number of low-density lipoprotein receptors, which are proteins on the surface of cells. These receptors play a critical role in regulating blood cholesterol levels. The receptors bind to particles called low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), which are the primary carriers of cholesterol in the blood."
If you can somehow "block" the PCSK9 gene, there will be more receptors --- mostly in the liver --- that bind to LDL, and remove it from the bloodstream, thus lowering blood levels of 'bad' Cholesterol. If you believe that Cholesterol is the root of all evil, this sounds fabulous. For those few who have "genetic" high cholesterol (Familial Hypercholesterolaemia), it might be fabulous. The problem is, advertisements for Statin Drugs have brainwashed the American people in two unique ways. Allow me to explain.
The highlighted paragraph above was cherry-picked, meaning I removed a couple of sentences for the sake of space and clarity. One of those sentences read thusly, "Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is produced in the body and obtained from foods that come from animals." This statement is patently untrue, as even the most current governmental guidelines on Cholesterol ("GUIDELINES" tend to run far behind current research) have abandoned this idea (HERE). Believing dietary Cholesterol has much of anything to do with blood levels of Cholesterol is a huge part of what leads doctors to ignore THIS, while promoting something more akin to THIS.
Secondly, very few people with high blood levels of Cholesterol or Triglycerides are that way because of "genetics" --- even though this is what large numbers of patients are being told. An acquaintance had a heart attack at age 30, discovering at that time he had a Triglyceride reading of 18,000 (under 150 is considered "normal," with anything over 500 being considered "high risk"). I once had a patient whose total cholesterol was something like 1,500 without meds, and 450 controlled. These are people who actually have a 'genetic' issue. The rest of you have an EPIGENETIC ISSUE.
Unfortunately, none of this has stopped drug companies from preying on those who have bought into these two misnomers. The company / drug that most readily comes to mind is Merck's VYTORIN, with their clever TV commercials a few years back. Vytorin is a Statin Drug (it contains another Cholesterol-lowering medication as well), about which their website states....
"Let's start with a fact that may surprise you. Did you know your cholesterol comes from two sources? That's right, not only does cholesterol come from food, but it also has a lot to do with your family history. This may explain why your LDL (bad) cholesterol could still be high, even though you're trying hard to lower it with diet and exercise. When diet and exercise aren't enough, adding VYTORIN can help. Ask your doctor if VYTORIN is right for you."
This new wave of drugs is about to make Statins passé. As the medical community moves forward in its never-ending war on Cholesterol (they are actually being 'pushed' forward by Big Pharma), it is PCSK9 Inhibitors that are proving themselves to be the gold mine du jour. As I showed you earlier, PCSK9 Inhibitors reduce Cholesterol levels via blocking the PCSK9 gene. For the most part, this is being done via introducing genetically modified "Monoclonal Antibodies" (most of these drugs end in the suffix "mab"), which are cultured in MICE, YEAST, or viruses. However, in similar fashion to WHAT'S BEING DONE WITH BLOOD PRESSURE, it's vaccines that are proving to be the delivery method of choice as far as the new anti-cholesterol drugs are concerned. How do these vaccines work?
Instead of introducing a "germ" so that one's Immune System can make antibodies against it, an AUTOIMMUNE REACTION is induced. Viruses that have had their DNA removed are used as the carrier to get the vaccine against the PCSK9 gene where it is wanted. According to that venerable wellspring of knowledge and truth, Wikipedia, the "vaccination was associated with significant reductions in total cholesterol, free cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides." Not surprisingly, I.A. (Induced Autoimmunity) is the direction that any number of the NEARLY THREE HUNDRED VACCINES CURRENTLY IN DEVELOPMENT are headed. As a side note, the "mab" drugs (Monoclonal Antibodies) also happen to be used to treat various Autoimmune Diseases such as RA.
What are the side effects of these sorts of drugs? Who knows and who really cares --- just as long as they lower Cholesterol. According to the medical site Healthline.com (PCSK9: What You Need to Know; Side Effects and Risks), "Adverse events were reported in 69 percent of people taking evolocumab in the clinical trials. Injection-site swelling or rash, limb pain, and fatigue were some of the reported side effects. In the alirocumab trials, adverse events were reported in 81 percent of participants taking the drug. These included injection-site reactions, muscle pain, and eye-related events. Long-term side effects and risks are not yet known". According to Wikipedia, these effects were severe enough during the studies that, "Before the infusions, participants received oral corticosteroids, histamine receptor blockers, and acetaminophen to reduce the risk of infusion-related reactions, which by themselves will cause several side effects." The effects they are talking about can be seen HERE.
Thus far, the worst side effect of PCSK9 Inhibitors seems to be one of same side effects associated with Statin Drugs --- Neurocognitive Dysfunction (HERE). However, you should not be surprised to see a massive spike in side effects as these drugs begin to hit the market. Firstly, because we know that numerous meta-analysis show that only about 5% of any drug's side effects are actually reported to the proper authorities (HERE). Secondly, these drugs are lowering cholesterol levels to previously unheard of levels. What? I was under the assumption that you could never be too rich, too thin, or have Cholesterol levels that were too low.
Writing for the July 11, 2013 issue of CNN's website (New Drugs Could Drop Cholesterol to Extreme Lows) author Matt Sloane wrote, "With a statin medication, you can often get somebody's cholesterol between 70 and 100 mg/dL," said Dr. Elliott Antman, president-elect of the American Heart Association and a dean at Harvard Medical School. "If you use these monoclonal antibodies, you could see a number way less than 50." Once you understand why Cholesterol is necessary for good health (HERE is one reason) you'll begin to see the madness in this idea of pushing Cholesterol levels to, "way less than 50.". And what about the financial cost?
Suffice it to say that the cost of PCSK9 Inhibitors is through the roof. In a recent article for Formulary Journal called Move Over Sovaldi: Could PCSK9 Inhibitors be a Bigger Cost Challenge?, Tracey Walker wrote, "The cost of these drugs will add nearly $50 per month to the premium costs for every insured person in the United States,” said Don Hall, a former health plan CEO of Delta Sigma LLC, in Littleton, Colo. “If this was the last of the high-cost, high-use pharmaceuticals, the system could adjust and move forward. Unfortunately it's only the beginning as new drugs for a range of neuromuscular diseases and cancer are poised to hit the market in the next few years. We are quickly getting to the point where healthcare costs crush our economy."
It seems as though Hall may be underestimating these costs by a wide margin. I recently read a report saying that the 33% average cost increase for your Health Insurance for the upcoming year (2016) can be largely attributed to this new class of Cholesterol drug (along with the new Hep C drugs). But unlike the over-priced Hepatitis drugs, which have a cure rate of 90% (at a three month cost of almost $100,000) these drugs cure nothing. They only lower Cholesterol levels, and will need to be taken (according to most doctors) for the rest of your life. Although I have seen a wide array of cost estimates online, the most common seems to be in the $1,000 per month range --- or about $12,000 per year. This is on top of the cost for your Statins ($50 - $500 per month).
Here's the scoop folks, unless you have true "Familial Hypercholeterolemia" (genetic High Cholesterol), you don't need PCSK9 Inhibitors. Which begs the question of how common this particular disease really is. According to the July, 2014 issue of the European Heart Journal (Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia....), "Historically, the frequency of clinical HoFH has been estimated 1 in 500, although higher frequencies [can be seen] in specific populations." This mimics what Clinical Biochemist Reviews (Familial Hypercholesterolaemia) stated back in 2004. In other words, there are approximately 650,000 Americans who might benefit from these sorts of drugs. Bottom line; most of you do not need to be begging your doctor for a prescription.
STATINS AND THE GERIATRIC POPULATION
THE WAR ON CHOLESTEROL CONTINUES
The study, which was done at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (a division of the Abbott Northwestern Hospital), said that while 100% of the men in the study of over 6,000 adults qualifies for a statin drug, only (emphasis in the word "only") 97% of the women did. I only tell you this so that you will know that when you go to your doctor, they will push statins on you. After all, it was only two short years ago that the medical community, in a study published in the Journal of Czech Physicians, was actually debating putting statins in the water supply (Addition of Statins Into the Public Water Supply? Risks of Side Effects and Low Cholesterol Levels) --- something that has long been debated for ANTI-DEPRESSANT DRUGS. What can I say? Studies like this are EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE at it's finest.
RESEARCHERS RETRACT STATEMENTS ON STATIN SAFETY UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
[Our goal with this editorial is to] "alert readers, the media, and the public to the withdrawal of these statements so that patients who could benefit from statins are not wrongly deterred from starting or continuing treatment because of exaggerated concerns over side effects." Dr. Fiona Goodlee of the British Medical Journal explaining why the public needs to be "warned" that Statin Drugs are much safer than some physicians and researchers have been telling the public. The statement comes from her editorial called "Adverse Effects of Statins: The BMJ and Authors Withdraw Statements that Adverse Events Occur in 18-20% of Patients".
Dr Fiona Goodlee, the editor-in-chief of the BMJ, recently withdrew two scientific papers from their
archives, denounced the results of the studies, and is in the process of forcing retractions from the study's authors. Trust me when I tell you that these studies were not done by Bevis and Butt Head. The first study, by Dr. John Abramson (MD) of Harvard Medical School was called Should People at Low Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Take a Statin? The study concluded that, "The evidence does not show that the benefits of statins in low risk patients outweigh the harms and that the advice for treatment of this group should not be changed." Later that same week, Aseem Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London, England published an editorial in BMJ called Saturated Fat is not the Major Issue. The jist of the paper was that TRANS FATS and SUGAR / CARBS seem to be the driving force in Cardiovascular Disease and METABOLIC SYNDROME / DIABETES, not SATURATED FATS --- a fact I have belabored on this site.
Although Goodlee herself has been the hatchet-person for these studies, the actual act of retraction has been left up to others. She decided that, "the right thing to do is to pass this decision to an independent panel." In the immortal words of Dana Carvey, "Isn't that special". I'll not get into what "INDEPENDENT PANELS" tend to look like, but suffice it to say that they are rarely as "independent" as they claim to be. Folks; this is EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE at its finest. Sort of makes you wonder how much money / favor changed hands in this filthy little tryst.
THE TRUTH ABOUT
STATIN DRUGS AND ERECTIONS
"In the cases reported to the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre, most men who had problems with sex drive began experiencing them the first week they started taking the statin drug." Robert Rister talking about a statin study in his article on Steady Health called, Statins, Cholesterol-Lowering Class of Drugs, Lower Male Sex Drive Too.
We know that Statins have plenty of side effects (take a look at the links above). Could one of their 'good' effects really be that they can help men who have PERFORMANCE ISSUES in the bedroom? If so, this would be news to me. I have been following the scientific literature pretaining to both SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION and Statins for many years, and have yet to see anything quite so optimistic as the spate of recent headlines promoting this latest study. In fact, over the course of the past decade, I have seen numerous doctors and studies touting the exact opposite.
A few years later came 2008's bombshell. Dr Beatrice Golomb (MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and director of the Statin Study Group at UC San Diego School of Medicine) published a freaky study citing nearly 900 peer-reviewed papers showing just how harmful Statin Drugs could really be. The meta-analysis (Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism) was published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, and listed absurd numbers of side effect directly attributable to Statins. Of course, plenty of air-time was given to the all-to-common MUSCULAR PAIN associated with these anti-cholesterol medications. But numerous other studies were touting other less well-known side effects, including ALZHEIMER'S, NEUROPATHY, INSULIN RESISTANCE, DIABETES, TENDINOPATHIES / FASCIAL WEAKNESS. Oh; and let's not forget "Sexual Dysfunction" made the list as well. Unfortunately, Dr. Golomb's teams concluded that when it comes to Statins, "Physician awareness of such side effects is reportedly low".
The hits kept coming in 2010 when the Journal of Sexual Medicine (The Effect of Statin Therapy on Testosterone Levels in Subjects Consulting for Erectile Dysfunction) looked at 3,500 men and then came to some ugly conclusions. Listen to these words taken straight from the study's abstract. "Both total and calculated free testosterone levels were significantly lower in subjects taking statins. Our data demonstrated that statin therapy might induce an overt primary hypogonadism [shriveled testicles] and should be considered as a possible confounding factor for the evaluation of testosterone levels in patients with ED." Gulp! Web MD dot com actually carries this headline on their website, "Statins May Lower Testosterone & Libido. Men With Erectile Dysfunction on Statin Therapy Are Twice as Likely to Have Low Testosterone." But in all honesty, none of this should come as a surprise.
Cholesterol is the precursor for all the sex hormones, including Testosterone. The thing is, never forget that Testosterone is the hormone that not only creates and maintains the male sex drive, but the female sex drive as well. When you start tinkering with Cholesterol levels in an unnatural method (i.e. drugs), you are going to get some crazy side effects, including the potential inability to get an erection sufficient for sex.
The March 10, 2012 issue of The Morning Call (newspaper) had an article on Statin Drugs written by a knee surgeon. The article started out saying, "What does a knee surgeon know about statins' side effects? Plenty, after seeing scores of patients improve their memory, strength, vigor and sex drive after stopping these popular drugs." The author, Dr. Thomas Meade of Allentown, Pennsylvania went on to say that, "A recent Cochrane Review of many studies confirmed 1,000 people without heart disease had to be treated with statins to prevent one death. Therefore 999 people, paying $5 per pill, are not going to live one day longer, but they will enrich the pharmaceutical industry's coffers and are at risk for the many real side effects of stopping production of cholesterol — a wonderful molecule responsible for healthy cell membranes, sex hormones, nerve conduction and brain function, all of which contribute to life as we know it today. Statins are simply the most prescribed drug in the history of medicine and the most profitable, with annual revenues of $26 billion. Profits are so lucrative to "big pharma" that drug manufacturers have influenced most medical organizations and respected high-profile physicians to continue to look for every opportunity to exaggerate any new study that validates prescribing the highest dose of statins to an increasing patient population under the false assumption that it will improve their quality of life." Hopefully you caught those parts about Cholesterol and sex hormones / sex drive.
But now --- all of a sudden --- we are supposed to believe numerous headlines from around the country touting this study and the benefits of Statin Drugs in the bedroom? If you did not know better, you would almost think Statins were an aphrodisiac after reading some of these articles. Commenting on the study, Dr. Jeffery Kuvin of Boston's Tufts Medical Center chimed in, "Over the years it's become apparent that erectile dysfunction is an indication of decreased vascular health in men, and it's considered by many to be a significant cardiovascular risk factor." It's true. There is an intimate relationship between cardiovascular health and the ability to get and maintain an erection. My only question is whether or not taking a drug is the best way to solve the underlying reasons men have this problem. For some potential solutions to this issue, you can look at the two previous links or go HERE or HERE.
MORE ON THE RECENT CHANGES TO
A few months ago, I shared a post on this subject (HERE), and revealed to you the phenomenal numbers of Financial Conflicts of Interest (COA's) among those creating these guidelines. In fact, it was so bad that after the guideline authors revealed their financial conflicts, they simply wrote, "The other members of the writing groups reported numerous relationships with industry," and left it at that. And although we knew that these new "EVIDENCE-BASED" guidelines would increase the number of Americans taking statins, we did not know how dramatic this increase would be until earlier this week. A study by Dr. Michael Pencina of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and published in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (Application of New Cholesterol Guidelines to a Population-Based Sample) revealed the answer. And while shocking, the results were not surprising in the least. The study's conclusions are as follows.
"The new guidelines would increase the number of U.S. adults receiving or eligible for statin therapy from 43.2 million (37.5%) to 56.0 million (48.6%). Among adults between the ages of 60 and 75 years without cardiovascular disease who are not receiving statin therapy, the percentage who would be eligible for such therapy would increase from 30.4% to 87.4% among men and from 21.2% to 53.6% among women."
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
For the record, the COA's revealed by Dr. Pencina and his chief co-author included
- McGill University Health Center: McGill does a lot of research in the area of heart disease, cholesterol, and drugs to lower cholesterol (both statins and non-statins).
- AbbVie: AbbVie, a division of Abbott Laboratories, manufactures the non-statin cholesterol drug "Niaspan", which is commonly prescribed along with statins. Clinical trials have shown it provides no benefit in lowering cholesterol. They are also heavily involved with stents, vessel closure devices, endovascular and coronary technologies.
- Janssen: Janssen is the collective name of the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. They recently came up with a new class of Type II Diabetes drug, and are involved with several dyslipidemia drugs.
- Eli Lilly: Eli Lilly makes the stain drug Livalo. They have also been working on a class of drug to increase HDL --- something which has proved elusive to the pharmaceutical industry. They have also been involved with the non-statin drug PCSK9 as well. As a side note, Eli Lilly has claimed that their drug Livalo has fewer side effects than other statins. Listen to what Dr. John Briffa has to say about the way that Eli Lilly is exploiting this fact on the July 13, 2012 issue of his blog. "It’s well known that about 75 per cent of people who start statins stop again within a year. Recently, the drug company Eli Lilly issued a press release regarding a survey called ‘Understanding Statin use in America and Gaps in Education’ (‘USAGE’). The USAGE survey was an attempt, on the face of it, to better understand the reasons for why so many individuals stop taking their statins. More than 10,000 people were polled, and the results are in. It turns out that off all of the reasons individuals might stop their statin medication, ‘side effects’ was the most commonly cited reason. According to the survey, a full 62 per cent of respondents cited side effects as the reason for stopping their medication." According to Eli Lilly, Livalo is the perfect solution for these folks.
- Boehringer Ingelheim: Boehringer Ingleheim makes about 30 different drugs, including many for the cardiovascular system.
To read more about the COA's in this area of industry guidelines within the field of cholesterol, you can go to the blog of Dr. Barbara Roberts --- a professor at Brown University (HERE) and read a short article she wrote on the subject. She says the conflicts in this area are over half a billion dollars.
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Statins Get High Marks in New Cardiac Prevention Guidelines. The headline from Tuesday's MedPage Today article by Todd Neale
These guidelines will provide updated guidance to primary care providers, nurses, pharmacists, and specialty medicine providers in how best to manage care of individuals at risk for cardiovascular diseases based upon evidence. ACC president doctor John Harold of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles
The new Cardiovascular Health Guidelines suggest that people should be given STATIN DRUGS, not simply based on HIGH CHOLESTEROL levels, but on the basis of their age, sex, lifestyle (sedentary, smoker, TYPE II DIABETES, blood pressure, etc) and weight. In fact, the group's recommendations were so sweeping that if they had their way, (I am not making this up) 1 in 3 American adults would be on these drugs. Re-read this last sentence and let it sink in a moment. Also understand that with large scale Socialized Medicine, sooner or later these "recommendations" are going to become "regulations" --- something you will be forced to do --- quite possibly against your will.
The group chose a couple of doctors to actually physically write / type the guidelines (Donald Lloyd-Jones, MD, and Neil Stone M.D. both of Northwestern University in Chicago). It should be noted what MedPage Today said about these two doctors; "Stone and Lloyd-Jones reported that they had no conflicts of interest." This makes you feel all warm and fuzzy until you read a bit further (you know; the fine print at the bottom) and realize that, "Eckel [you will meet him momentarily] reported relationships with Amylin, Eli Lilly, Esperion, Foodsminds, Johnson & Johnson, Novo Nordisk, Vivus, GLAXOSMITHKLINE, and Sanofi-Aventis/Regeneron, and Ryan reported relationships with Alere Wellbegin, Amylin, Arena Pharmaceuticals, Eisai, Novo Nordisk, Nutrisystem, Orexigen, Takeda, Vivus, and Scientific Intake." Of the dozens of other doctors and scientists who were part of the Guideline Committee, this is what the rest of the fine print at the bottom said. "The other members of the writing groups reported numerous relationships with industry." Do you have any idea what that really means? It means that there were so many financial conflicts of interest, it would have taken pages (that would be plural) to list them all? HERE is more on this topic.
Can we trust these doctors. Suuuuuuure we can. And I have this wonderful piece of ocean front property in Arizona that I would just looooooove to sell you ---- cheap. I bought it from George Strait himself! Seriously people; we have seen over and over and over again that power and money tend to have a corrupting effect on people. In the quote at the top of the page, Dr. Harold said that these guidelines were made in response to "evidence". Evidence? Don't kid yourself. EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE is part of the wall of double-speak that the industry leaders hide behind in order to make you think that what they are doing is "scientific". It's always embarrassing when the "evidence" shows that guidelines and treatment(s) are based solely on money. I promise that DR. KUMMEROW was never invited to be on this committee!
Were the lifestyle recommendations any good? Although the recommendations for people to get of their sedentary butts, quit smoking, and eat healthier foods, were exactly what we would expect, the dietary guidelines left something to be desired. Dr Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado at Denver, wrote the diet recommendations. It is exactly what I would expect. He issued a, "strong recommendation to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, legumes, fish, poultry, and nuts and low in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats." Some of this I would agree with wholeheartedly. However, the idea that eating a diet high in grains is simply fueling the fire that is AMERICA'S NUMBER ONE HEALTH PROBLEM. Not to mention, the issue of GLUTEN and GLUTEN CROSS-REACTORS. If you happened to read THIS POST that I wrote a few months ago, you already know that the majority of practicing physicians pooh pooh the idea of non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity as a "fad".
Furthermore, the recommendations say to severely limit red meat. I have shown you TIME and TIME AGAIN that this is folly. It is amazing to me how these doctors cannot get the recent past out of their heads when it comes to red meat. In fact, if you will look at the PALEO DIET, you will see that about half of these "expert's" recommendations are going to actually cause INFLAMMATORY REACTIONS that lead to a host of disease processes. I should also note that the way that the guidelines are written implies that while "sugar sweetened beverages" are bad, DIET BEVERAGES are fine.
Then there are the non-dietary recommendations for dealing with OBESITY by Dr. Donna Ryan of Baton Rouge (Pennington Biomedical Research Center on the LSU campus). She wants at least 6 months of weight loss counseling and intense in-home interventions done by trained healthcare providers. Firstly, it sounds rather expensive to me. Secondly; has it been shown to work in the past? In a word; no.
WHERE ARE WE HEADED WITH ALL OF THIS?
What does all of this prove? Only what most of my readers already knew. You cannot trust the government, or the organizations which are funded by the government, to do what is right for your health. If you are concerned for your family's health, you'll have to take the bull by the horns and do it yourself. Do your own research, figure out what it takes to GET HEALTHY, and then take the steps to get it done. Never, ever, ever blindly listen to anything that any doctor tells you (self included) without studying the matter out for yourself. No; it's not easy. But then nothing good in life ever is.
CROSSFIT, STATINS, AND RHABDOMYOLYSIS
No pain; no gain. Jane Fonda from her 1982 workout videos
Let me start by saying that I have never officially been part of a CrossFit program or gym. However, because I have a gym in the basement of my clinic, I am able to incorporate many of their training methods into my workouts. A few of the things my son and I do that could be considered "CrossFit-like" are KETTLEBELL SWINGS, all sorts of Burpees, several novel kinds of pushups and pullups, and pounding a tire with a sledge hammer as well as two five pound hammers (one for each hand). I am also getting ready to put up some rings.
I am sold on CrossFit's typically short duration, high intensity style of training, as well as the wide variety of atypical exercises. But, with any sort of physical training (running, powerlifting, swimming, gymnastics, MMA, etc, etc, etc), people can push things beyond what their body can withstand and repair ---- sometimes far beyond. It has taken me a lot of years to figure out that when it comes to getting in shape, sometimes less is more. I can remember Joe Wieder writing about over-training back in early 1980's issues of Muscle & Fitness. Although I did not "get it" then, I now understand just how easy is is to "over-train" and end up wearing your body down instead of building it up. Speaking of over-training; a few days ago someone sent me a link to a recent article called, CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret. The article, written by a Physical Therapist, was about the, "troubling trend among CrossFitters". And just what is this troubling trend? Have any of you heard of something called Rhabdomyolysis?
I'll get to exactly what Rhabdomyolysis is momentarily, but the thing to remember is that none of this is new information. For years, newspapers and magazines have been carrying headlines touting the dangers of CrossFit such as, "Getting Fit, Even if it Kills you" (2005, New York Times), Inside the Cult of CrossFit (2011 Men's Health), and "Lawsuit Alleges CrossFit Workout Damaging" (2008, Navy Times). There have even been a couple articles on the topic of Rhabdo by CrossFit's founder himself, Greg Glassman. I am not going to get into depth here (read the articles if you want), but if you are a novice who is trying to do advanced workouts; or if you are pushing your body to the realm of stupidity, you are headed for a breakdown --- probably sooner than later. It is only common sense to workout within your body's limits. I'm not in terrible shape now, and I used to be in really good shape. However, I would not even think of doing some of the workouts that I have seen others do. Again, know your limitations, and exercise your brain before exercising your body.
We live in a culture of excess. Americans take something like two thirds of the world's medications even though we are less than 5% of the world's population. We act like every meal is going to be our last (just look at OBESITY RATES here in America --- nearly 40% of the adult population). And when we do exercise, some of us really exercise. The hottest video workouts today are things like P-90X, Insanity, and other super high intensity routines, with every new video being touted as more intense than the one before it. Unfortunately, most of these could in no ways be considered to be "low duration". Low Duration Exercise. It is one of the things that drew me to the concept of CrossFit in the first place (many of their workouts last no more than 15 minutes).
The last several years have seen my workouts get progressively shorter. Why? Virtually all the peer-reviewed literature says that this is the best way to train (here are several articles on CARDIO TRAINING -vs- STRENGTH TRAINING). One of the first books I read on the subject (Bill Phillip's Body for Life), was talking about high intensity / low duration exercise a decade and a half ago. I even remember reading Arthur Jones talking about the famous "Colorado Experiment" with the recently deceased CASEY VIATOR back when I was in college, but blew it off assuming that his gains were all steroid-related. I guess the problem is that just like the disagreement we have over what "no pain, no gain," really means, we cannot seem to agree what either 'high intensity' or 'low duration' really mean either. But let's get back to the real reason you are reading this post ---- Rhabdo.
WHAT IS RHABDOMYOLYSIS
AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
Rhabdomyolysis can occur when overworked, abused, traumatized, or poisoned skeletal muscle rapidly undergoes lysis. The muscles cells rupture their contents as the tissue is broken down into its components. This releases muscle cells and their constituent parts into the bloodstream. Certain byproducts of this process such as the oxygen-carrying protein myoglobin, can damage the kidneys to the extent that dialysis is required for survival. But short of complete kidney failure, Rhabdo can cause permanent muscle damage as well a host of other nasty problems. So; how would you have any idea you might be dealing with Rhabdomyolysis? Just watch for the signs.
SIGNS YOU MIGHT HAVE RHABDO
- Dark Urine
- Decreased Urine Production
- Overall Weakness as well as Weakness in Specific Muscles
- Fatigue / Exhaustion
- Muscle Stiffness, Aching, Tenderness, or Pain
- Joint Pain / Joint Stiffness
- Generalized Weight Gain or Localized Bloating / Swelling
- GET TO AN EMERGENCY ROOM IF YOU SUSPECT YOU ARE DEALING WITH RHABDOMYOLYSIS: In case you have not figured it out, this stuff is serious. The diagnosis is made via a simple blood test (CPK). Don't gamble with this problem as it can be both permanent and deadly!
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER: One of the risk factors for Rhabdo is dehydration. Notice that I said to drink more "water". Sorry, SODA, juice, and Gatorade don't count.
- START SLOW AND KNOW YOUR LIMITS: Although many who develop workout-induced Rhabdo are untrained or under-trained, many are extremely fit individuals who simply pushed the envelope too far. As you get in better shape, push the envelope slowly --- a little bit at a time. A "Murph" (Named after Navy Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan; the Murph consists of a one mile run, followed by 100 pull ups, 200 pushups, and 300 air squats, and then another mile run ---- all for time), is probably not the best place to start.
- REALIZE THERE IS NO DISHONOR IN BACKING OFF: If you think a certain workout might be over your head, modify it.
- LEARN MORE ABOUT STATIN DRUGS: I realize that this bullet point seems out of place, but you have to understand that the most common side-effect of Statin Drugs is "muscle pain / soreness". I recently asked two medical doctors what drugs they would never take. Top of the list for both? The ANTI-CHOLESTEROL drugs. To begin to understand why they would say this, pay attention to the words of world-renowned cholesterol expert, professor Flemming Dela from the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (the study was reported in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology). "A well-known side effect of statin therapy is muscle pain. Up to 75 per cent of the physically active patients undergoing treatment for high cholesterol experience pain. This may keep people away from either taking their medicine or from taking exercise....... The effect of statins is marginal for these patients. In a previously published Cochrane analysis only 0.5% reduction in all-cause mortality was detected, indicating that for every 200 patients taking statins daily for five years, one death would be prevented." This research was done because 40% of the Dutch over the age of 65 are on Statin Drugs, with a whopping 75% of these complaining of muscle pain.
Should you stop taking Statin Drugs? Only you and your doctor can answer that question. However, once you learn that CONTROLLING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR is the best way to deal with all sorts of blood lipid issues, dropping the dangerous drug might just be an option for you (HERE is more information on the blood sugar / cholesterol link with Dr. Oz, and HERE are some diet tips). Should you do nothing but wimpy workouts? No way Jose! Even the intense CrossFit workouts can fantastic when done correctly. Never let your trainer or instructor push you into something you are not comfortable with. Use some good old fashioned common sense when you are pushing things to the max.
ARE STATINS SAFE OR NOT SAFE?
LET'S ASK HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS AND THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE SCIENTIFIC MEDICAL LITERATURE
Interestingly enough, it seems that in a recent poll of mostly healthcare providers (Physicians and Nurses, as well as "lay persons") done by MedPage Today, a whopping 70% of those polled agreed with me. In fact, reading the comments of many of those polled revealed that they felt they had been lied to by their doctors and the pharmaceutical industry about the risks of Statin Drugs. THIS LINK will be up for a short amount of time (until they run another poll). Make sure to take the few minutes it will take to read this article and see what people in the know really think about Statins.
STATINS AND ANTIBIOTICS
A POTENTIALLY DEADLY MIXTURE
Although the number one side effect of statin drugs in this study was RHABDOMYOLYSIS (something I discussed concerning statin drugs just the other day -- HERE), the study showed that when combined with CERTAIN ANTIBIOTICS, the risk was increased for statin toxicity in the form of kidney damage, hospitalization, and yes, even death.
Seriously people; if you want to nip both infections and high cholesterol in the bud, understanding THIS CONCEPT (strict control of sugar and carbs) is the best way to do it (HERE is a great example). Oh; for the record, things were actually worse than the study actually concluded because the authors admitted that, "The absolute risk increase for rhabdomyolysis may be underestimated because the codes used to identify it were insensitive." Just remember that statins are cruddy drugs not just because of their myriad of nasty side effects, but because they don't get to the root of the reason you have high cholesterol in the first place --- RUNAWAY INFLAMMATION.
For those of you struggling with your health, it's your lucky day. Make sure and read THIS POST about what it will take to turn your life and health around. Then find someone to partner with and hold you accountable and get started today!
STATINS ATTACK FASCIA.....
& LIGAMENTS & MUSCLES & TENDONS & BONES &................
"To our knowledge, this is the first study... to show that statin use is associated with an increased likelihood of diagnoses of musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies [arthritis], and injuries" Dr. Ishak Mansi from this month's issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.
Rhabdo means "with stripes", Myo means "muscle", and Lysis means "rupture". So, in a nutshell, Rhabdomyolysis infers that striped muscle (skeletal muscles --- i.e. biceps, triceps, quadriceps, gluteus, etc, etc) are actually breaking apart at the cellular level and releasing their contents into the extracellular fluid, which eventually make their way to the blood stream. The chief breakdown product of Rhabdomyolysis is something called 'myoglobin'. Myoglobin is an oxygen-carrying protein in the muscle that is analogous to hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein found in the blood.
SYMPTOMS OF RHABDOMYOLYSIS
Rhabdomyolysis can look just like artrhritis, a Rotator Cuff Problem, FIBROMYALGIA, a knee problem, or any number of other painful conditions. This is why I always find out whether or not someone is on Statin Drugs (or for that matter, other drugs) before I do anything else. By the way, certain other things like HYPOTHYROIDISM, DIABETES, AUTOIMMUNE CONDITIONS, CERTAIN ANTIBIOTICS, ANTI-DEPRESSION DRUGS, HARDCORE WORKOUTS, and drug or alcohol abuse can all contribute to the development of this problem as well.
WE ALREADY KNEW ALL OF THIS
WHAT IS THE NEW EVIDENCE FOR STATINS
DESTROYING OTHER TISSUES AS WELL?
The study concluded that, "Musculoskeletal conditions, arthropathies [Arthritis], injuries, and pain are more common among statin users than among similar nonusers." They went even further and clarified the term "muscluloskeletal conditions". They included, "all musculoskeletal diseases, arthropathies [Arthritis] and related diseases, injury-related diseases (dislocation, sprain, strain) and drug-associated musculoskeletal pain". Stop and think about this for a moment. Not only are injuries to the MUSCLES, FASCIA, TENDONS, and LIGAMENTS significantly greater in those taking Statins, but so are the diseases affecting these tissues (not to mention bones), as well as adverse side effects of a wide variety of drugs.
Interestingly enough, the main reason that this study was done in the first place was to "prove" that Statin Drugs had anti-inflammatory powers that could actually help people with arthritis and musculoskeletal pain. Probably why one of the authors disclosed associations with AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Elan, Forest, Ortho-McNeil Janssen, and PFIZER. It would be safe to say that these companies are now in full "Damage Control Mode". Fortunately for us, it is getting harder for Big Pharma to BURY STUDIES LIKE THIS. To learn more about CHOLESTEROL, just click on the link.
SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT STATINS?
Statin drugs should probably be in the water, like fluoride. These cholesterol-fighting wonders have been proven to prevent heart attacks and strokes, with only rare side effects. Recent studies hint that statins might fend off Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and even cancer. The introduction of an article (The State of Statins) from the June 2004 issue of Smart Money.
Although the writing is on the wall for these drugs, Big Pharma will not go down without a fight, and are pushing back harder than ever. It was not that long ago that a young man (early 20's) came to see me for back pain. In the consult and examination, I found out he was taking a statin drug. He was on the thin side, so I figured he must have one of those genetic 'Hypercholesterolemia' things going on. Nope. In fact, before his doctor (someone I know) put him on statins, his total cholesterol was a too-low 125 (anything under 150 puts you at risk for all sorts of health problems including certain kinds of CANCER, hemorrhagic strokes, and DEPRESSION). His doctor was trying to get his total cholesterol under 100. When I asked him why, he told me the two reasons given for this. His dad had had a (non-fatal) heart attack a few years earlier ---- and he had good insurance. No joke! I was dumbfounded. Although he was young, what about statin drugs and the geriatric population?
STATIN DRUGS AND THE ELDERLY
- Cholesterol levels are not associated with cardiovascular disease events [chiefly heart attacks and strokes] in octogenarians without overt coronary artery disease;
- No randomized, controlled trials have assessed the role of statins in reducing events in octogenarians without coronary artery disease; and
- Statins may increase risks of myositis [muscle inflammation / pain], rhabdomyolysis [muscle deterioration / degeneration], and cancer [cancer] in the elderly. "
Who in the world would say something this outlandish? Some half-cocked idiot? Another one of those crazed hillbilly chiropractors from southern Missouri? Some psychopathically deranged hippie? Mad Magazine? Nope, nope, nope, and nope. The above quote was taken directly from the November / December 2003 issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Cardiology --- not exactly an Alfred E. Neuman publication! The study itself was done by a team of researchers at Yale University School of Medicine's Department of Internal Medicine.
Doctor Golomb's review individually cited almost 900 peer-reviewed medical studies dealing with the wide array of health problems associated with taking cholesterol-lowering drugs. What is the number one side effect of these drugs? Something called RHABDOMYOLYSIS. Let's look at this word for a moment. Rhabdo (striped) Myo (muscle) lysis (to break down or tear apart). Thus, Rhabdomyolysis is the break down of striped (skeletal) muscle. What did Dr. Golomb have to say about statins and cholesterol? "Muscle problems are the best known of statin drug's adverse side effects, but cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy, or pain or numbness in the extremities like fingers and toes, are also widely reported."
Mitochondria are the part of the cell that create energy in the form of ATP (HERE). However, this process of making energy also creates something else. Free Radicals. Oxygen Free Radicals are harmful compounds that are a known cause of cancer. This is why we consume "antioxidants" in the form of foods (colorful vegetables, fruits, and berries). These antioxidants protect us against this process we call "Oxidation". When mitochondrial function is diminished for any reason, the body produces less energy and more "Free Radicals". This is a double whammy that not only causes various disease processes, it leaves you with a diminished ability to fight against them because your body is not making enough energy to do so.
Coenzyme Q10 ("Co-Q10") is a compound central to the energy-making process that occurs within mitochondria. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant whose other job is to "quench" the internal fire known as free radical oxidative damage. The problem with statin drugs, however, is that they lower Q10 levels. They do this because they are designed to block the metabolic pathway involved in cholesterol production ---- the very same pathway which produces the body's supply of Co-Q10. How big is the loss of anti-oxidative power in the body? Just listen to the words of Dr. Golomb.
"The loss of Q10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage mitochondrial DNA." Because statins cause progressively more mitochondrial damage over time ---- and as these energy powerhouses tend to weaken with age ---- new and more severe adverse effects tend to develop the longer a patient takes statin drugs. Golomb goes on to say, "The risk of adverse effects goes up as age goes up, and this helps explain why. This also helps explain why statins' benefits have not been found to exceed their risks in those over 70 or 75 years old, even those with heart disease." Furthermore, both high blood pressure and diabetes are linked to higher rates of mitochondrial dysfunction. This is why say the study's co-authors, these conditions are consistent with a higher risk of statin side effects.
Golomb goes on to explain in a recent interview, "From the reports that come into us, people are experiencing severe muscle weakness, which is also linked to cognitive problems. We're really interested in the balance of risks and benefits of these drugs. There are lots and lots of people looking at the benefit side. There are so few people evaluating the [risk] side. You can bet that the $20 billion a year in statin drug company revenue is going to make sure that any promising lead looking at potential benefits will be followed." You know what? She is right. I will get to this topic soon enough, but suffice it to say that there a whole host of doctors screaming the same things at the top of their lungs. Unfortunately, they are being drowned out by Big Pharma's never ending 'noise' about the need for every American to be on Statins. Think I'm kidding?
Not very long ago, "Sir" Rory Collins, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Clinical Trial Service Unit of Oxford University stated, "Give statins to all over-50s: Even the healthy should take the heart drug". Sir Rory happens to be the lead researcher on one of one of the biggest cholesterol studies in history. His study's conclusions are that lowering LDL cholesterol with statins is safe, effective, and saves large numbers of lives. And where did the money for his research come from? Three places:
- The British Heart Foundation
- The National Health Service (NHS)
- UK Biobank
I know you'll all be shocked to hear this, but Sir Rory just happens to be the Principal Investor and Chief Executive of Biobank. How much money are we talking about here? Try £62 million on for size! That's 100 million dollars for those of you keeping score at home. This does not even begin to take into account the fact that Sir Rory has received money from numerous Pharmaceutical Corporations. Is this a conflict of interest? Let's ask the companies involved. Some of the bigger companies you have no doubt heard of before.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Schering (not to be confused with Schierling)
- Solvay (a huge chemical manufacturing corporation)
DO STATINS LOWER CANCER RATES?
In recent years the news has headlined numerous stories saying things like, "Cholesterol Drugs May Lower Cancer Risk" But is this really true? I have always been under the impression that statin drugs increase the risk of cancer, not lower it. So, where is this information coming from, and who can we trust to give us the straight dope on this issue? It seems that a study done several years ago in Israel looked at the medical records of over 200,000 people and came to the conclusion that statin drugs decrease cancer rates.
The study, published in the medical journal Preventing Chronic Disease, said that patients who regularly took statin drugs for the longest time had the lowest rates of cancer over the 7 years of the study. Their conclusions? The authors stated that their study, "demonstrated that persistent use of statins is associated with a lower overall cancer risk..... the association between statins and cancer incidence may be relevant for cancer prevention." Bear in mind that this and other statin studies have been dissected to show that their lower cancer rates claim is at best, grossly exaggerated; and at worst, completely false.
In a recent study of the effects of statins on the elderly, nearly six thousand people aged 70-82 were given either a statin or placebo over a three year period. Cancer rates were one quarter greater in the statin group. Another study (a meta-analysis) looked at the results of several different studies, finding that the combination of statin drugs and the cholesterol-lowering drug Ezetimibe (Vytorin), was associated with a forty five percent increased risk of dying of cancer. Read that last sentence a couple more times and let it sink in!
FDA CALLS FOR STILL LOWER CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently ruled that labels for statin drugs must include warnings about some of the side effects associated with statins (memory loss, confusion, Type II Diabetes, and myopathy / rhabdomyolysis / muscle & tendon problems), they keep lowering the levels of what is considered to be a "normal" cholesterol level. For the past three decades, Big Pharma will parade their "homegrown" research by the FDA, showing them that cholesterol is the Great Satan --- the leading cause of our country's number one killer; heart disease. The goal is always the same. They want the FDA to step in yet again and change (lower) what constitutes a healthy cholesterol number. This has been done over and over again, and means that more and more people will be told they have high cholesterol, and subsequently need to be on statin drugs. I realize that statins dramatically lower cholesterol. However, there are a whole host of Physicians, Researchers, and Scientists telling us that we are being bamboozled by the drug companies. What's going on here?
Dr. John Briffa, contributing editor on THE CHOLESTEROL TRUTH, has been exposing countless flawed statin trials on their blog, revealing one of the biggest medical cons of our time in the process. On their site, he also explains why cholesterol is not the villain it is made out to be and how the mainstream has got hold of the wrong end of the stick when it comes to heart disease prevention. What are the most common Statin Drugs in America? Here's a short list
- Advicor (lovastatin with niacin) – Abbott
- Altoprev (lovastatin) – Shionogi Pharma
- Caduet [atorvastatin with amlodipine (Norvasc)] – Pfizer
- Crestor (rosuvastatin) - AstraZeneca
- Lescol (fluvastatin) – Novartis
- Lipitor (atorvastatin) - Pfizer
- Mevacor (lovastatin) – Merck
- Pravachol (pravastatin) -- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Simcor (niacin/imvastatin) – Abbott
- Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin) – Merck/Schering-Plough
- Zocor (simvastatin) – Merck
BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE RESEARCH THAT SHOWS
HOW MANY LIVES STATIN DRUGS ARE SAVING EACH YEAR?
A few years ago, a study known as the JUPITER Trial suggested cholesterol-lowering statin drugs might even prevent heart-related deaths in many more people than just those with high cholesterol. However, researchers now say that the JUPITER results were flawed -- seriously flawed! Not only is there no "striking decrease in coronary heart disease complications", but a new report has also called into question drug company's involvement in this and similar drug studies. What did an ABC News expose have to say about this study?
"... major discrepancies exists between the significant reductions in nonfatal stroke and heart attacks reported in the JUPITER trial and what has been found in other research ... 'The JUPITER data set appears biased."
But how can "research" be biased? After all, isn't it all independent --- isn't it? No it's not. Let me give you one example out of thousands. A few years ago, the sugar industry published a study saying that high amounts of sugar did not cause behavior problems in children. If you are a parent, common sense will tell you otherwise. So where was the sleight of hand? The studies compared the behavior two groups of children. Group I (the control) was given the sugar equivalent of about 18 cupcakes a day. Group II (the experimental group) was given not quite double this amount of sugar. When BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS were compared between the two groups of children, there was no statistical difference. Duh! I wonder why? If you want to see a picture of what financial conflict-of-interest looks like in Big Pharma, HERE is one.
Pretty soon I am going to hit you a few of the actual studies on statin drugs. I promise that you will not only be shocked, you will be ticked off about the way you have been duped. In the mean time, here are some of the areas to watch with particular diligence.
- NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS: These include amnesia, forgetfulness, confusion, the tendency to be disoriented, increased symptoms of senility, short-term memory loss. I will never forget reading the story of Mike Hope in an issue of Smart Money a decade ago. The neurological side effects of statin drugs are devastating, and frequently permanent.
- MUSCLE PAIN: Although muscle pain is the most common side effect of statin drugs, calling it "Muscle Pain" is extremely (and purposefully) misleading. Like I said earlier, this side effect is technically called Rhambomyosis or Rhabdomyolysis. It is not simply pain or muscle soreness. It is pain, muscle soreness, and weakness caused by the degeneration of your muscles. Although many people on statins have mild to moderate increases in muscle and joint pain and / or fatigue, I have seen numerous cases that are totally debilitating. The first thing I want to know when people come to me for SCAR TISSUE REMODELING is whether they are on a statin.
- LIVER DAMAGE: People who start statin drugs should have their liver enzymes checked via a blood test about six weeks after starting the drug. One of the side effects of statin use is increased production of liver enzymes, which has the potential to cause permanent liver damage.
- COMPLICATIONS WITH DIGESTION: These usually take the form of nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain. As I said earlier, this is due to in part to the fact that statin drugs alter your body's ability to metabolize fats and sugars properly.
- MIGRAINE HEADACHES & REGULAR HEADACHES: I deal with lots of people with chronic headaches (HERE). If you are prone to either you may find that statin use will trigger your headaches and migraines more often as well as allowing them to become more severe / intense. Dizziness and flu-like symptoms are also side-effects along these lines.
There are a growing number of scientists and doctors who believe that in most cases, high cholesterol and fatty build up on the arterial walls is a function of INFLAMMATION. For more information on this subject, I would suggest you go HERE.
- MUSCLE PROBLEMS
- NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEMS
- DEMENTIA & DEPRESSION
STATINS & MUSCLE PROBLEMS:
However, the pharmaceutical industry shrugs this off by calling it "Myalgia" or muscle pain (Myo = muscle, and algia = pain). But describing what is taking place in the muscles of statin users as mere myalgia is extremely (and purposefully) misleading. Allow me to explain.
One of the supposedly "rare" side effects of statin drugs is Rhabdomyolysis (the "lysis" or rupture of muscle cells ---- sometimes called "apotosis"). However, we see that (depending on whose research you believe) somewhere between 10-30% of the individuals on statin drugs have muscle problems (myopathy, myalgia, aches, pains, fatigue, weakness, etc) that all get lumped into one category ---- myalgia. This is not just because statin drugs make muscles hurt, but because they actually destroy muscle tissue. And beware; the more active and muscular a person is, the worse the research says the problem will be. This is why men suffer the muscle symptoms of statins far more frequently than females (about 3 to 1). How common are statin-induced muscle problems? The common line is that they are experienced by 2 -10% of those who take them. This is both untrue and misleading. And be warned; The New England Journal of Medicine said in a 2010 study, that just because you stop taking Statins, does not mean your pain will go away!
The prestigious Cleveland Clinic's Journal of Medicine recently wrote an article entitled, Statin Myopathy: A Common Dilemma not Reflected in Clinical Trials. Their point? Even though studies are saying that muscle problems are relatively rare while taking statin drugs, this is simply not the case. And interestingly enough, the supposed "gold standard" for determining if a person should be taken off statins due to muscle breakdown ---- CPK levels (Creatine Phosphokinase) that are at least 10 times normal ---- has been debunked. "Our findings call into question whether normal or mildly elevated levels of serum (CPK) can be used to exclude underlying and possibly ongoing muscle injury,” statin researchers wrote in the July 2009 issue of the Canadian Medical Association journal. What you have to remember about these statistics is that if you have muscle pain, but your CPK levels are only 9.5 times normal (instead of 10 or greater), you will not be counted in the statistics.
MORE ON STATIN DRUGS
Doctor Arnold Jenkins asks this question in an open letter published in the October 2003 issue of the British Medical Journal titled, Might Money Spent on Statins be Better Spent? Here are some selected excerpts from his letter
"The benefits of publishing negative findings should be obvious. As a general practitioner I wonder how many million pounds sterling the NHS could save if the Medical Research Council, the British Heart Foundation, and the Lancet shared this view.... I was surprised to learn [THE SCANDINAVIAN STUDY] that more women died in the treated group than in the control group. On discussion with cardiology colleagues I was assured that as the numbers were small it was a statistical anomaly, resolvable by larger studies. Imagine my delight when I heard of the large HEART PROTECTION STUDY showing clear benefits in the use of statins for women. On reading this study I was therefore disappointed to find the total mortality [death] data for women MISSING.... I do not understand why the censors of this paper do not realize two things. Firstly, any meta analyses based on this study are likely to be skewed. Secondly, in such long term studies total mortality, not improvement in the condition [High Cholesterol], should be the gold standard for evaluation (euthanasia, for example, provides 100% cure of headache but should be ruled out on the mortality data). I have yet to find a paper showing a significant reduction in mortality in women for groups treated with statins.... Yet we are almost compelled by protocols such as the national service framework for coronary heart disease and local prescribing incentives to prescribe for this subgroup [this last sentence is for the proponents of Obama-Care here in America].... I wonder whether the money could be better spent or if we should abandon the little evidence based medicine we currently have?"
Pfizer spent 181 million dollars advertising their blockbuster STATIN DRUG Lipitor in 2010. Did it pay off? Does a one legged duck swim in circles? Lipitor was the number one drug in America that year with 7.2 billion dollars worth sold! Another statin (Crestor) was close behind at 3.8 billion dollars spent. However, Zocor (another statin) was the number two most-prescribed drug, coming in at a whopping 94.1 million prescriptions per year. Interestingly enough, the biggest mover (spending increase) was also in a statin drug (Crestor).
Why is the money issue such a big deal? It is part of the conspiracy to mis-educate and scare people concerning cholesterol. If I can create Cholesterol-induced panic, I can get everyone, including the government, to open their wallets. And like I already told you --- it really is all about the money (HERE).
CHOLESTEROL SCREENINGS FOR KIDS?
ONLY IN AMERICA
WHY ARE THE "EXPERTS" SUGGESTING THIS?
It's a no-brainer. This is just one more step in Big Pharma's ultimate goal of pushing more drugs on more people --- including your kids. Nowhere have they done this more effectively than with STATINS (cholesterol-lowering drugs). Teach people to be scared of cholesterol, fail to give them any real or valuable advice, and then give them absurd recommendations ---- all while petitioning regulatory agencies to have what is considered to be "normal" cholesterol levels lowered again and again (HERE). Medication should be considered for those.... who haven't responded after six months of lifestyle management. What are some of their brilliant lifestyle solutions? Try this one on for size. Short-term use of plant sterol or stanol esters -- such as those in some margarines -- have been shown safe at doses up to 20 g per day.
Are you joking me? Is this for real? Certain plant sterols can lower cholesterol, but even most of the uninformed people on the planet now realize that margarine is bad for you because it is made with partially-hydrogenated TRANS FATS! When huge studies have been done on the relationship between heart disease, high cholesterol, and dietary fat; the one constant that we see repeatedly is that the problem is not with animal fats, but with deadly trans fats (HERE, HERE, HERE)! However, the biggest part of the medical research community continues to ignore this information. All I can assume is that they are preparing their next generation of lifetime patients early. By the way, this would be like adding SYNTHETIC VITAMINS to crappy kid's breakfast cereals and telling you that they are good for you because they are "fortified". Oh wait; they did that decades ago.
If you want your kids to grow up healthy, let's start with a few of the simplest pointers that don't involve putting them on Statin Drugs or feeding them Trans Fats.
- HEALTHY FOODS: This is not rocket science folks. Do not feed your kids a GRAIN BASED DIET, but instead focus on raw or lightly steamed vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.
- CUT DOWN ON THE SUGAR: Again, this is common sense. Kids are eating a whacky amount of sugar these days. In fact, data suggests that the per capita consumption of sweeteners has climbed to over 200 lbs. Get your FAMILY'S BLOOD SUGAR under control or all the medication and surgery in the world will not help you!
- GET SOME EXERCISE: It is absurd how sedentary today's kids really are. It's not a coincidence that they are fat and struggling with "Adult" Diseases such as high cholesterol and Type II Diabetes. In case you may have forgotten, remind yourself that you are the parent. Limit (ration) the amount of TV, video games, computer time, for your children. Sure they will hate it right now. I promise that one day they will thank you! Get your kids outside. And there's no reason that you should not join them! HERE is what I recommend.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration