(Hint: It’s sure not statins)
Statin drugs—the mainstream’s “magic bullet” for protecting your heart—have turned out to be a big bust. In fact, in light of all their devastating side effects, they are more like “friendly fire” directed on unsuspecting patients. The whole sad story is proving to be a real heart breaker.
In the August issue of Insiders’ Cures, I told you about a major new study that shows statins are actually useless for reducing your risk of dying from heart disease (see the article “Lower your cholesterol—and you may die sooner”).
Wasn’t that supposed to be the whole purpose of taking these drugs?
Fortunately, there is something you can take that really will lower your risk of heart disease and death. And without the deadly side effects of statins.
A fish tale that’s really true
I’m talking about omega-3 fatty acids. The kind that are found in fish and marine oils, and some plant oils.
Study after study proves how effective these nutrients are at protecting your heart. In fact, the evidence is so compelling that the FDA gave one of its elusive “qualified health claims” to omega-3s, stating that research shows they “may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
And now, a huge new research review involving nearly 50,000 people in 16 countries provides further evidence that omega-3s are linked to a substantially lower risk of heart disease and death.
I’ll give you the details on that in a moment…But first I want to tackle the ongoing fraud by the cardiology cartel which persists in trying to weigh the so-called statin “benefits” (which turn out to be zero) against the risks—which are all too real.
Metabolic poisons masquerading as drugs
The growing list of statin side effects reads like the standard textbook of pathology used in medical schools (Rubin’s Pathology, 7th edition, to which I recently contributed the new chapter “Forensic Pathology and Toxicology”).
When it comes to understanding the effects of these drugs, it helps to be an expert in toxicology—because they are basically metabolic poisons, disrupting every hormone, cell, tissue, and organ in your body. Take, for instance, two statin side effects that are particularly ironic.
Feeling weak and achy? Blame statins
The first one is statins’ ill effects on your muscles. Of course, the heart is the most important muscle in your body—yet statins are toxic to muscles. They can cause such severe cramps that many people have to give them up within the first day or two due to crippling and disabling muscle pain and weakness.
And the ironic part is that statins may be doing the same thing to your heart. Not to mention that they can cause your muscles to break down, which releases toxic substances that lead to kidney failure.
Because virtually everyone admits to statins’ muscle toxicity, a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs was just developed and tested. These drugs were supposed to get around the problem of muscle toxicity.
But as my colleague Gina Bari Kolata reported in the New York Times recently, this new class of drugs did not reduce heart disease deaths, despite dramatically lowering cholesterol.1
In fact, there was some indication that death rates were actually increased with these new cholesterol drugs. (Of course, the idea that lowering cholesterol in the diet, or in the blood, is good for heart health or for health in general is a big fat myth that has been busted time and time again).
The gateway drug to diabetes and cardio-metabolic heart disease
The second irony associated with statins is that there is now no question these drugs can cause type 2 diabetes.
Some of the earlier studies on statins did not continue long enough to reveal this side effect. But after decades of pushing these drugs onto tens of millions of otherwise healthy people, the disastrous results are now all too obvious.
Of course, diabetes is the major cause of metabolic cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of heart disease today. No wonder statins show no actual benefit when it comes to reducing the risk of dying from heart disease!
The foods you shouldn’t be eating…despite what the AHA says
A further irony is that the American Heart Association (AHA), which serves as an amen corner for crony-capitalist government, big food, and big pharma, still focuses on only two dietary risk factors for heart disease—saturated fats and salt. Both of which have been proven to be dead wrong (not that there was any real evidence in the first place for these two putative “risk factors”).
As I reported in my Daily Dispatch e-letter in July (“AHA ‘heart-check mark’ not worth the paper it’s printed on”), the AHA ignores the real nutrition-related risk factors for heart disease…like low B vitamin intake, high homocysteine levels, high insulin and blood sugar, and chronic inflammation.
And many of the foods approved by AHA under its Heart-Check scam are anything but healthy for your heart, body, or brain. For instance, the AHA thinks it’s fine to eat white bread and other simple carbs, and wash them down with sugary juices. With a nice big muffin for dessert.2
Despite the science, the AHA remains obsessively fixated on its fictitious fish story about fats and salt—like Captain Ahab maniacally manacled to the white whale…until he gets pulled under, tangled up in his own harpoons and ropes.
But don’t let big government, big pharma, and big food’s fishy stories tangle you up and pull you under. There is a much better tale when it comes to your heart health—the ever-increasing amount of research on the benefits of omega-3s.
The “shark attack” of heart-health studies
As I mentioned earlier, a big new research review provides further evidence that consumption of omega-3s is linked to lower risk of heart disease and death.
Researchers from around the world banded together to organize the Fatty Acids and Outcomes Research Consortium (FORCE). They pooled data from various studies that measured blood or tissue levels of omega-3 fatty acids in a wide variety of people. Then they analyzed the relationship between these omega-3 levels and heart disease.3
There were a total of 19 studies from 16 countries that included 45,637 participants. During the study period, 7,973 people had a heart attack, and 2,781 died.
Together, these studies revealed that, on average, people who had higher blood or tissue levels of omega-3s had a 10% lower risk of having a fatal heart attack.
And people with the very highest levels of omega-3s had up to a 25% lower risk of dying from a heart attack.
The best ways to boost your intake of omega-3s
Fish oil is the major dietary source of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. I recommend 1-2 grams of a high-quality fish oil supplement every day. You can also eat two or more servings of fish a week to help boost your levels.
Fatty cold-water fish such as anchovies, herring, salmon, sardines, and trout have the highest levels of omega-3’s. And fish also provide important proteins and amino acids, selenium and other minerals, and vitamin D. But beware: Some fish can pose health hazards (see the sidebar below).
You can also obtain the omega-3 alpha lipoic acid (ALA) from plant sources such as flaxseed oil, walnuts, and other nuts and seeds and their oils.
What the mainstream won’t tell you…but I will
Of course, the continued research into omega-3s and heart health is all fine and good. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the AHA or the government to change their dietary recommendations.
In fact, as I wrote in a January Daily Dispatch (“Just a handful a day can do wonders”), a couple of years ago the FDA threatened to sue California walnut growers to prevent them from telling the truth that walnut consumption is associated with better health for your heart, brain, and body. The walnut growers turned around and sued the FDA instead—and won. So now the growers can talk truth about the heart-health benefits of walnuts, but you certainly don’t see the feds following suit (so to speak).
Some mainstream studies have also confused dietary consumption of fish versus fish oil supplements, with prostate cancer risk, making a mess of their results (as I reported in the October 2013 issue). And the wrong sources of fish, as well as poor-quality fish oil supplements, can be contaminated with heavy metals such as mercury, which of course have negative health effects (see sidebar).
That’s why I only recommend fish oil supplements I know and trust. Otherwise you may be doing your heart—and your brain and body—more harm than good.
The safest fish to eat
Seafood with the lowest levels of mercury include oysters, sardines, salmon, shrimp, squid, and tilapia.
Also low in mercury are Atlantic croaker, Atlantic mackerel, crab, catfish, crawfish, flounder, haddock, sole, and trout.
Fish with the highest mercury levels include gulf tilefish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, and swordfish. Also high in mercury are bluefish, black cod, Chilean sea bass, fresh tuna, grouper, halibut, and Spanish mackerel. Eat these varieties only on occasion.
And remember, look for seafood labeled as “wild-caught” whenever possible. Especially when it comes to salmon. Wild-caught salmon from the Pacific are much healthier than farmed fish.
3”ω-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acid biomarkers and coronary heart disease. Pooling project of 19 cohort studies.” JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(8);1-13.