29 billion reasons to lie about cholesterol
- Created on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 05:46
The above is the name of a new documentary film produced by the colleagues of Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, who is probably the leading cholesterol skeptic in the world today. I have had the privilege of corresponding with Dr. Ravnskov some by email, and I receive his monthly newsletter to doctors.
In case you haven’t figured it out, the 29 billion reasons above refers to the total number of dollars that are spent on cholesterol-lowering drugs each year around the world. If you would like to watch the short trailer to this movie, go here: http://www.29billion.com/
In his latest newsletter, Dr. Ravnskov shared a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine that he submitted but which was rejected. Previously, the NEJM had published a favorable report about the SATURN trial which made weak claims of benefit for statin drugs. But, what Dr. Ravnskov pointed out in his letter was that they used as evidence of improvement the relationship between the internal and external diameter of arteries, but the problem is that arterial dilation- from any cause- tends to increase that variable- but without reducing the amount of plaque. For instance, just squeezing your fist tightly can temporarily increase the size of the arterial lumen by as much as 35%.
So, Dr. Ravnskov said they were drawing invalid conclusions from invalid assumptions. But, the New England Journal of Medicine refused to publish his letter.
I have the greatest respect for Dr. Ravnskov. He is 78 years old, and he is a an internist and a nephrologist (kidney specialist). He is also a PhD. And I can tell you that for being close to 80, he sounds as mentally sharp as a tack.
I heard Dr. Ravnskov recently on a local radio program in my own area, the Patrick Timpone show, which is broadcast from the little town of Dripping Springs, Texas, which is close to where I live. And on the program, Dr. Ravnskov started by saying that there is solid evidence that old people with higher cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol.
Keep in mind that I am still very much in favor of a plant-based diet. I think that we should load up on, and emphasize unrefined plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, greens, and raw nuts (as top tier foods) and whole grains and legumes (as second tier foods). And, as I’ve said before, in my diet, the only animal food that I have been eating, and semi-regularly, is free-range, organic eggs.
So, why am I such a fan of Dr. Ravnskov? First, he opposes statinization, and so do I. I have never had to consider taking a statin drug myself because my cholesterol level is fine. But even if it were high, I would NOT take a statin drug, and my bias against these drugs has been very much influenced by Dr. Ravnskov.
In contrast, Dr. Esselstyn will put people on a ultra-low fat vegan diet AND put them on a statin drug, which is a very extreme and dangerous thing to do, in my opinion.
Secondly, besides opposing the demonization of cholesterol, Dr. Ravnskov opposes the demonization of natural fats. Keep in mind that, doctors such as McDougall and Esselstyn, condemn not only animal foods but also high-fat plant foods, such as nuts and seeds and avocadoes. And to my mind, that is just an arbitrary dietary fetish. Fats are just as natural and normal and just as abundant in Nature as carbohydrates, and the natural attraction of humans to eat fats is just as great as to eating carbohydrates. So really, it is a very unnatural and abnormal behavior to systematically avoid fats. And I know that Dr. Ravnskov agrees strongly with that.
Thirdly, Dr. Ravnskov draws attention to alternative theories of heart disease causation, including infection, homocysteine, nutritional deficiencies, and high cortisol levels, and these factors need to be highlighted.
And fourth, Dr. Ravnskov’s most recent research concerns the possible role of low cholesterol in the development of cancer, and there is no question that cholesterol has a protective effect against cancer. And this suggests that the harm from the mass statinization that is going on all over the world may be astronomical, and I fear that it is.
If you would like to learn more about Dr. Ravnskov’s work, just google his name: Ravnskov.