I’ve been warning you about the dangers of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs since the launch of my Daily Dispatch and Insiders’ Cures monthly newsletter almost 10 years ago.
And now, a group of leading physicians and cardiologists in the U.K. has finally started to wake up to the problem.
These physicians, including the editor of the British Medical Journal and the former president of the Royal College of Physicians, both of whom I met back in 2001, recently penned a letter urging the British Parliament to conduct a full, independent investigation into statin drugs.
But do we really need yet another investigation into these toxic drugs? We already have all the science we need to indict statins once and for all…
Statin drugs borne out of flawed thinking
Decades ago, mainstream medicine developed a deeply flawed theory about the cause of heart disease…
Basically, they placed much of the blame on high cholesterol (and fats) in the diet. And they urged people to cut out healthy, wholesome foods with cholesterol (and fat)—such as full-fat dairy, meat, and seafood—to prevent it.
At about the same time, in the late 1980s, big pharma began promising that their new statin drugs could not only lower so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol…but also prevent heart attacks and heart disease as a result.
So, doctors began doling out these over-hyped drugs to everyone and anyone even remotely “at risk” of developing heart disease. And, today, the drugs rake in roughly $1 trillion in sales each year.
Yet for all that intervention…
Heart disease still remains the No. 1 cause of disease and death in the world. And in the U.K., death rates due to heart disease are now on the rise again for the first time in a half-century!
So—what gives? Why didn’t their grand plan to stop heart disease by lowering cholesterol work?
Cholesterol numbers are meaningless for vast majority of people
As I’ve often reported, there has never been any real evidence that cholesterol (or fat) is the problem behind heart disease.
On the contrary, the Framingham Heart Study, which has been following people since 1948, found that only people with genetically very high levels of total cholesterol (levels greater than 380 mg/dL) are more likely to die of heart disease.
And according to William Castelli, M.D., the lead researcher of the Framingham study, unless so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL) reaches higher than 300 mg/dL, it has “no value” in even predicting which people have a higher risk of developing heart disease.
And he said that more than two decades ago…in 1996!
Granted, people in the Framingham study with naturally low LDL cholesterol (less than 150 mg/dL) did have a lower risk of heart disease. But they did not have a lower total death rate—which is what matters the most!
So, for the vast majority of people, obsessing about trying to push blood cholesterol levels even lower is just useless. And—unless your bad cholesterol is extremely high (again, higher than 300 mg/dL) because of your genetics, it really doesn’t predict much of anything.
But there is the small matter of competing risks. Now, stick with me here, because this can get complicated…
People with low cholesterol may die younger…of cancer, for example
Arthur Schatzkin (1948 – 2011), a late colleague with whom I worked closely at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the mid-1980s, was always very conscious of competing risk factors for heart disease.
A competing risk means that if someone with a common risk factor dies of something else first, they cannot go on to die of heart disease, for example. And Arthur found in his analysis of the huge U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that lower cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of cancer. (There were also worldwide studies suggesting the same thing.)
So, think about it this way…
When someone with abnormally low cholesterol dies of cancer first, they are not going to go on to die from heart disease—which may give the false impression that abnormally low cholesterol protects against heart disease…when it does not. That’s a competing risk.
The NCI quickly buried Arthur’s findings, and he went onto study other things. But those findings always stuck out for me. And hopefully, they’ll stick out for you, too.
Now, let’s move onto another beef I have with statins…
Statin drugs lower cholesterol, but also cause great harm
As all these studies have shown, taking a statin drug does lower blood cholesterol. But lowering blood cholesterol does not lower your mortality risk, which should be the ultimate measure of any drug or treatment.
Furthermore, we now know that lowering cholesterol artificially with a statin drug does not even improve heart disease rates…
In fact, back in 2013, a study of eight million people in Sweden—essentially the entire population—found that those who took statin drugs had no difference in heart disease rates compared to those who didn’t take them!
And I haven’t even gotten to the list of side effects associated with these drugs! That list now includes a higher risk of developing:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)—better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Gluttony effect (whereby people abandon effective, heart-healthy habits)
- Lowered libido
- Muscle damage
- Parkinson’s disease
- Type II diabetes (the leading cause of cardio-metabolic heart disease itself)
Plus, studies also show that statins actually cause damage to the heart—the very organ they’re supposed to protect!
It’s mind-boggling, really.
As the U.K. physicians stated themselves in their letter, 28 scientific studies call into serious question the efficacy and safety of statin drugs. So, as far I’m concerned, we already have the evidence we need about these drugs—without a full, independent investigation.
We simply need more people to acknowledge it—including your doctor. In fact, if your doctor still tries to convince you into taking a statin drug, I suggest you print out the resources cited at the bottom of this Dispatch and have him or her read them. And unless your doctor can make a convincing, evidence-backed case as to why you, personally and specifically, need them, perhaps you can start saying “no” to statins.
In addition, I urge you to learn more about the many safe, effective, natural approaches to protect your heart—without taking dangerous drugs—in my Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“MP calls for independent review of benefits and harms of statins.” BMJ 2019;366:l5380. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5380
“Do statins really work? Who benefits? Who has the power to cover up the side effects?” European Scientist, 3/9/20. (europeanscientist.com/en/features/do-statins-really-work-who-benefits-who-has-the-power-to-cover-up-the-side-effects/#_ftn23)
“Evacetrapib and Cardiovascular Outcomes in High-Risk Vascular Disease.” N Engl J Med 2017; 376:1933-1942.
“No connection between the level of exposition to statins in the population and the incidence/mortality of acute myocardial infarction: An ecological study based on Sweden’s municipalities,” Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine 2011; 10(6). doi.org/10.1186/1477-5751-10-6