The above title actually isn't mine. It's that of Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, from his most recent newsletter. Uffe is a Swedish internist and nephrologist (kidney specialist) who has made it his mission to expose the truth about statin drugs and cholesterol. The news about statin drugs has always been bad because there has never been any clearcut evidence of benefit. The only thing clearcut about them is that they do harm, increasing the risk of cancer and diabetes. But now, the latest research shows that they are virtually of no value in preventing heart disease. You might as well take a placebo. But, it's even worse than that. Some of the research is showing that statins actually increase the risk of heart attack and heart disease. What follows is from Dr. Ravsnkov's latest newsletter:
"Do you know that on average statin treatment is unable to prolong your life by more than a few days? This was what Danish researchers found out after having analysed all statin trials, where the authors had recorded the total number of deaths. You can read more about it in Canada Free Press. The very article is freely available in BMJ Open."
"A curious fact is that the authors of several statin trials did not report on the total number of deaths in their trials. Why not? Most likely, it was because there was no difference between the treatment group and the untreated control group. Or perhaps because more had died in the treatment group? Instead they have reported the number of ”heart events”, a diagnosis open to many interpretations and statistical manipulations. You can read more about that issue in The People´s Pharmacy
"About a year ago Professor Harumi Okuyama, published a paper in Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology
together with six coauthors. (Three of the authors, including Professor Okuyama, are members of THINCS
). In that paper they presented strong evidence that statin treatment may cause both atherosclerosis and heart failure. As you probably know there has been an epidemic rise of heart failure during the last 10-15 years, most of all in the US, and their information strengthens the view that the cause is the widespread use of statin drugs."
"In 2004 new penal regulations on clinical trials came into effect in the EU. It was decided that no drug trial could be published unless the trial directors had reported about it before its start. In figure 1 of the paper by Okayama and coworkers the authors have shown that although the trials reported that statins were effective in lowering LDL-C, no significant benefits were observed in the trials published after 2004. The only conclusion from that finding must be that the drug companies have only published trials with a positive outcomes."
"These findings should have stopped statin treatment immediately, but nothing has happened, although their paper was published almost a year ago, and although it has been observed and commented on by many. A search on Google with the title of the paper results in more than 1300 hits! Read for instance the article published in Express
a few weeks ago."
"In my November Newsletter
I told you about the paper by Edward Archer, where he described the many errors that are associated with studies of people´s diet. Luckily the press has been more and more critical to the dietary recommendations. For instance, you can now read about Archer´s paper in Washington Post
and in Medical Express
Dr. Cinque: The only proven effect of statin drugs that can be construed as positive is that they do lower cholesterol. But, I say "construed" because cholesterol is a vital and essential substance which you could not possibly live without. It is the precursor to many hormones. It is cholesterol that enables animal cells to maintain their integrity at the cell membrane. Cholesterol is extremely vital to the brain, and there is more cholesterol in the brain than anywhere else. We now know that cholesterol is vital to the immune system, and it may have an anti-cancer effect. And we now know that cholesterol is a major antioxidant. So, it's no wonder that the human liver produces vast amounts of cholesterol. But, when a person takes a statin drug, the main effect is that it cripples the liver and prevents it from doing what it wants to do, which is, to make cholesterol. That's considered a good effect, but is it? How likely is it that crippling your liver is going to result in anything good?
I am very much in favor of people eating "plant-based" diets. And naturally, since plants do not make cholesterol (every plant food is a cholesterol-free food) it is going to have a cholesterol-lowering effect. I don't say that people have to be strict vegetarians. But, what I am saying is that if people have sense, they will realize that they have no need to be eating vast quantities of meat and other animal foods. If you have sense, you are going to know that filling up on fruits and vegetables, including salad greens and cooked vegetables like broccoli, kale, etc. is a very good idea. Including other plants foods, such as raw nuts and cooked beans, is also a very good idea because of the proven protective effect of these foods- and I don't mean just nutritional effects but real therapeutic effects in preventing age-related disease from eating these powerhouse foods. So, if you are loading up on those foods, which are all bulky, high-fiber foods, unless you are an extremely big eater, how much room are you going to have left in your diet for animal foods? What I'm saying is that if you just hone in on the foods that offer the most promise for vigorous health and vitality, then you will automatically wind up eating mostly vegetarian, and your cholesterol will stay right where it belongs automatically.
It is quite true that when people start eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and other natural plant foods, their cholesterol tends to go down and land in the range that is considered healthy, and for two reasons: the first is just that every mouthful of plant food is a mouthful of food without cholesterol. And the second is that the fiber in plants tends to bind cholesterol in the digestive tract and prevent it from being re-absorbed. So, you have all this bile coming out into your gut from your liver, and it contains a lot of cholesterol which can be easily re-absorbed. But, the fiber in natural plant foods traps that cholesterol and helps convey it into the toilet. So, any extra cholesterol that you don't need gets pooped out. You don't need drugs for that.
Any time a person takes a drug, there is always the question of whether the benefits are going to outweigh the harms. It's called the "risk/reward profile". In the case of statin drugs, are the potential benefits from taking them greater or less than the potential risks and proven harms? Well, I would have to say that, with statins, the harms are much greater and the benefits are vanishingly small. It's just not worth it.
I've never even considered taking statins, and I've never had to consider taking them because my cholesterol has always been good; it has never been high. But, even if it was high, I would not consider taking statins. At most, all statin drugs can do is pretty-up your blood test; produce more attractive numbers as per the conventional wisdom. Well, what if the conventional wisdom is wrong? And what-if the cholesterol-lowering from taking statins is not equivalent to the natural cholesterol-lowering that results from healthy eating and healthy living? Just because you can push your blood test numbers around by taking a drug doesn't necessarily mean that you are making yourself healthier in the process. It just might be all smoke and mirrors.
I repeat: Taking statins just amounts to poisoning your liver so that it can't do what it wants to do: which is, to make cholesterol. And I don't expect anything good to come out of poisoning my liver. That is not how I am going to go about safeguarding my health. There has got to be a better way. In the words of the vernacular, thanks but no thanks.