More Cholesterol Follies

      182 Comments on More Cholesterol Follies

“It’s no accident that we’re drug oriented, really. The drug companies got us that way and they’d like to keep us that way.  It’s a simple thing. They start you early with the oral habit. Little orange flavored aspirin for children. (pop, pop) Two in the mouth, son. Something wrong with your head? (pop, pop) Two in the mouth. Remember that:  head, mouth. (pop, pop) These are orange; there’ll be other colors later on.”
– George Carlin

I’m wondering what color the drug companies will choose for children’s statins.  Maybe they’ll produce cherry-flavored pills shaped like the American Heart Association’s logo.  Two in the mouth, son.

I was hoping against hope the anti-cholesterol hysterics would never be foolish enough prescribe statins for kids, but a recent news article suggests that’s where we’re headed:

More children should be screened for high cholesterol before puberty, beyond those with a family history of problems, according to wide-ranging new guidelines expected from government-appointed experts who are trying to prevent heart disease later in life.

Any call for wider screening is likely to raise concern about overdiagnosing a condition that may not cause problems for decades, if ever. Yet studies suggest that half of children with high cholesterol will also have it as adults, and it’s one of the best-known causes of clogged arteries that can lead to heart attacks.

High cholesterol is one of the best-known causes of clogged arteries?  Well, in that case, obviously most people who suffer heart attacks must have high cholesterol.  We’ll come back to that.

About a third of U.S. children and teens are obese or overweight. And government studies estimate that about 10 to 13 percent of children and teens have high cholesterol — defined as a score above 200.

Yup, that’s how high cholesterol is defined, all right.  It was defined that way for an important scientific reason:   the average cholesterol level among (non-statinated) adults is around 220.  By defining a normal cholesterol level as high, the National Cholesterol Education Program (whose members nearly all had consulting contracts with statin-makers) turned millions of adults into instant patients.  Now the statin-makers want to tap the kiddie market too.

A key change will be more aggressive recommendations for cholesterol screening and treatment in children, including a change in “the age at which we feel we can safely use statins,” said Dr. Reginald Washington, a pediatric heart specialist in Denver and member of the panel.

I wasn’t aware that the safety of statins for children was based on feelings.  I was thinking perhaps there should be some hard evidence involved.

The pediatrics academy already advises that some children as young as 8 can safely use these cholesterol-lowering medicines, sold as Lipitor, Zocor and in generic form. They are known to prevent heart disease and deaths in adults and are approved for use in children.

Statins are known to prevent heart disease and deaths in adults?  Let’s see what the science has to say on that.  Here’s the conclusion of a meta-analysis on the usefulness of statins for primary prevention – that is, preventing heart attacks in people who don’t already have heart disease:

A new meta-analysis of statins in the primary prevention of heart disease has not shown a significant reduction in all-cause mortality.

Here’s the conclusion of a similar study:

In patients without CV disease, statin therapy decreases the incidence of major coronary and cerebrovascular events and revascularizations, but not coronary heart disease or overall mortality.

Statins may slightly reduce your chances of having a heart attack (if you already have several known risk factors), but they don’t reduce heart disease or overall mortality.  So when a journalist tells you statins are known to prevent heart disease and deaths in adults, the journalist is making a statement that simply isn’t true.

Statins are worthless for primary prevention.  So at best, the kids would be taking a powerful drug they don’t need.  At worst (and I expect the worst), the statins would starve their brains of cholesterol and destroy the mitochondria in their muscles – at exactly the time when their brains and muscles are developing rapidly.  This is a disaster waiting to happen.  With their brain development stunted at an early age, the only career paths open to these kids will be running for Congress or working for the FDA.

But there aren’t big studies showing that using them in children will prevent heart attacks years or decades later.

Well then, by all means, let’s start giving statins to kids based on nothing more than anti-cholesterol hysteria  — and our feelings.  We needn’t bother waiting for those big studies.  To paraphrase George McGovern, we don’t have time to wait for every last shred of evidence to come in.

I said earlier that we’d come back to the statement that high cholesterol being one of the best-known causes of clogged arteries.  If that’s true, then we’d expect most heart-attack victims to have high cholesterol.  But that simply isn’t the case.  Several months ago, I posted about a study showing that nearly three-quarters of heart-attack victims have normal or even low LDL levels – and course, it’s LDL that statins beat into submission.

If you look at heart disease rates and cholesterol levels around the world, you won’t find any correlation whatsoever.  The French and the Swiss both have average cholesterol levels over 230.  They also have the first and second lowest rates of heart disease among industrialized nations.  Russians have an average cholesterol level of 190 – below that magic number of 200.  Russians also have the highest rate of heart disease in Europe.

In another recent news story warning that (eek!) up to one-fifth of people with heart disease aren’t being good little patients and taking their statins, the truth about cholesterol and heart disease slips out again  — although that wasn’t the intention of the article:

More than one in five people with heart disease aren’t getting life-saving statin drugs despite guidelines saying they should, a new study shows.  Researchers looked at nearly 39,000 people who had experienced a heart attack or undergone heart surgery, and found about 8,600 people weren’t prescribed the cholesterol-lowering medications.

Notice the reporter couldn’t resist referring to statins as “life-saving.”  Bias?  What bias?  We don’t see any bias.

Now for the paragraph where the truth slips out:

“Our study shows that half of untreated patients had low LDL levels,” said Dr. Suzanne Arnold of Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, who worked on the new findings. “This supports the assumption that some doctors may not think patients with low LDL levels need lipid-lowering medication,” she told Reuters Health.

The patients in this study were people who already had a heart attack – and half of them had low LDL levels.  If high cholesterol is one of the best-known causes of clogged arteries, then how the @#$% do we explain away the fact that at least half of the people who suffer heart attacks don’t have high cholesterol?  And how on earth do we justify giving statins to kids just because they have “high” cholesterol?

But even in people with low LDL cholesterol, statins can provide a benefit, according to Arnold. “Statins do more than just lower cholesterol,” she said. “They also play a role in reducing plaque and inflammation in arteries. That benefits people regardless of their cholesterol levels.”

Here’s a crazy idea, Dr. Arnold:  Given what you just said, perhaps high cholesterol isn’t the problem.   Perhaps inflammation is the problem, and the only reason statins provide any benefit at all is that they lower inflammation.    We don’t need drugs to reduce inflammation.  We can do that with a proper diet.  Beating down our cholesterol levels isn’t a benefit of statins; it’s a nasty side-effect.

In some people, statins can cause muscle pain and stomach problems such as nausea, gas, diarrhea or constipation. And their long-term effect on muscle tissue is unknown.

Yes, determining the long-term effect of statins on muscle tissue is tricky, especially since so many older people take statins.  As my mom discovered, if you’re a senior citizen who takes statins and you complain to your doctor about muscle pain, your doctor will probably attribute the pain to old age.

So here’s what we need to do:  Let’s prescribe statins to a whole generation of kids.  In just 20 years or so, we’ll finally know the long-term effects of statins on muscle tissue.  I’m sure all those 30-year-olds in wheelchairs will be glad to know they contributed to medical science.


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182 thoughts on “More Cholesterol Follies

  1. LCNana

    Tom, do you or any of your readers know anything about the efficacy of a low-carb diet for people who must take drugs that make them fat? Such as anti-depressants and anti-psychotics?

    A family member has to stay on meds that have made her gain about 35 lbs over the past few years. She genuinely can’t go off. And of course she refuses to go low-carb. But if a low-carb WOE won’t help anyway, maybe I’ll stop nagging her. I believe the weight-gain mechanism of the meds is that carbohydrates are not used properly in the body but I’m not sure of this.

    Not looking for medical advice, of course, but any insight would be useful.

    Oh, and thanks for making a lousy, dark, gray, wet-snowy-Friday even worse with your statin/kids post. (but don’t stop!!)

    If anything, a low-carb diet (with plenty of natural fats) may help with the depression.

  2. Srdjan Ostric

    This is really depressing, Tom. You know, it is a sad day when being the type of doctor you wanted to be when you went to medical school becomes an act of protest, or a subversive act.

    It is also a sad day when simple honesty and dialogue are seen as potentially dangerous, exposing you to liability, and thus, deception and evasiveness become the standard.

    I’ve said it before,an I will say it again, unless doctors and patients demand that their relationship, and complete accountability and transparency in that reationship as such, takes precedence over EVERYTHING else such as big pharm, drugs, insurance, procedures, technology, liability concerns leading to CYA decisions, then we will always have a medical system that is ineffective and overpriced and in many ways harmful to the goals of health.

    We have a long way to go.

    At least we’ve got a few doctors out there who know better, like you.

  3. LaurieLM

    Cholesterol-sulfate deficiency and the link to autism. From Stephanie Seneff. Link provided below. The paper has just been accepted by ‘Journal of Medical Hypotheses’…..yeah!

    “Might cholesterol sulfate deficiency contribute to the development of autistic spectrum disorder?”

    people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/autismR2S2_reviewed.pdf

  4. Dr. William Davis

    Thanks for another informative post, Tom.

    The absurdity of the entire “reduce cholesterol to reduce cardiovascular risk” is especially well revealed when the next level of testing beyond simple cholesterol testing, i.e., lipoprotein testing, is performed. This is when you learn several crucial lessons:

    1) Total cholesterol is a crude, unreliable number, as it incorporates too many variables, including HDL.
    2) LDL cholesterol is an absurd number, a fictitious value obtained via the 1960s-era Friedewald calculation. It bears little resemblance with reality on an individual basis.
    3) The number one abnormality in people with heart disease–by a HUGE margin–is excessive quantities of small LDL particles. Small LDL particles are not just small; they also have a unique conformation that means they persist in the bloodstream for up to a week (rather than two days like large particles), are uniquely prone to oxidation and glycation, and are especially effective at triggering multiple inflammatory phenomena.

    So what triggers small LDL particles? “Healthy whole grains” and carbohydrates. What glycates and oxidizes small LDL particles? “Healthy whole grains” and carbohydrates. Statins reduce the number of small LDL particles but does not remove the inciting cause, i.e., carbohydrates.

    The enormity of nonsensical conventional dietary advice, coupled with misleading cholesterol values, adds up to the biggest nutritional and health blunder, I believe, ever committed in human history.

    Is there any way you could clone yourself and take over the medical community?

  5. JuneBug

    When my nephews were in their teens (like, 20 years ago), for some reason we were talking about cholesterol. My brother stated “Yeah, adults have to worry about cholesterol but you guys don’t because all the stuff you are supposed to be eating is high in fat.” He was talking about things like whole milk, eggs, butter, and red meat. Scary to think that my brother, the computer expert, knew better then than doctors know now.

    Indeed.

  6. Justin B

    When my wife and I visited my parents for the holiday, we brought eggs along with us for breakfast, because I know my mom only buys the fake carton stuff, and we knew better than to put that in ourselves. When my mom saw my wife putting eggs in the fridge, she yelled out “you know my family has a tendency toward high cholesterol, right?”. My wife replied “dietary and internal cholesterol are not the same thing”. Completely disregarding the words my wife had just uttered, my mom then repeated herself. Then my wife repeated herself. I finally just had to yell out “please don’t worry about it” to both of them. Then my mom turned to me and said “I was just making sure you know about our family’s health situation”. I replied “Of course I do, that’s why I brought eggs”, and walked away.

    Yikes. Fortunately, my mom and in-laws were open-minded and no longer fear fat and cholesterol.

  7. Joe Brown

    Tom – I read the same article and find it very troublsome. Also, my stuation may or may not help Don from AK. I was first prescribed statins around 1985 because of high cholesterol. Over the years the dose was increased and I have had 4 angioplasties, without stenting. I am now in my late 60’s and I suppose I qualify as a “high risk” person who has CAD. In early January next, I am scheduled for a nerve biopsy to try and detrmine the cause of severe neuropathy in my feet – a condition common to diabetics of which I am not one. The Doc taking care of this believes it may have been caused by “medication” I stopped taking statins almost 2 years ago and will never take another. I work out for about an hour each day and my whole body hurts for the rest of the day. I didn’t stop taking them soon enough. At about he same time I quit the statins, I began a low carb diet and have since eliminated wheat. I have imporvement in Trigs, 47 pound wieght loss and inflamatory markeres are normal along with glucose etc. If my body iddn’t hurt so much, I’d say I feel normal. Primary care Doc says it’s due to old age.Well, maybe we’ll find out. When you find out who and what to sue, sign me up. Thanks for your informative posts.

    I’m sorry the statins ruined your muscles. That’s what makes them so horrible … the muscle damage can be permanent.

  8. john

    “With their brain development stunted at an early age, the only career paths open to these kids will be running for Congress or working for the FDA.”

    Okay, now that’s just a classic. What’s that movie with Luke Wilson where he’s like the only smart person left?

    Idiocracy. Fun flick. The courtroom scene was a stitch.

  9. Stacie

    I think it is more like “feebly” effective. And actually, since 2005 all trials for secondary prevention have been epic fails. Dr. De Lorgeril does a great job of refuting the supposed pleiotropic effects of statins. He is a cardiologist/researcher who is completely against statins.

    I’ve read his work. Apparently once the standards for clinical trials were tightened up, statins haven’t fared so well.

  10. AndreaLynnette

    “Good lord … so now when people with low cholesterol develop heart disease, it’s because they’re “especially sensitive” to cholesterol?!! Talk about your lousy ad-hoc theory. I suppose this also means the millions of people with “high” cholesterol who don’t develop heart disease are “especially resistant” to cholesterol as well.” — Tom

    Yep, basically. Meanwhile, my mom’s memory and cognitive abilities are thoroughly impaired, she’s going blind, and her kidneys are failing! But that’s okay, we’ll ignore her deadly blood sugar as long as we keep her *^@#!!!! cholesterol down with a drug that its own makers admit causes constipation, stomach pain, nausea, headache, muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, decreased urination, lack of energy, tiredness, or weakness, loss of appetite, chills, blisters, rash, hives, itching, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, joint pain, and sensitivity to light.

    Welcome to modern medicine.

  11. FrankG

    Many thanks Tom… I thought these might save wear on our collective foreheads AND on the furniture

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/facepalm.jpg

    http://www.craigboyce.com/w/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Face_Palm_Boy.jpg

    http://img.myconfinedspace.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/face-palm-your-doing-it-wrong.jpg

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fzI2_8Phd7k/TaxF2aWraOI/AAAAAAAAAeU/_RVKqDJK3uw/s1600/HouseFacePalm1.jpg

    and pardon the language but…

    http://theneweditor.com/uploads/ImpliedFacepalm.jpg

    I like it. Easier on the forehead.

  12. AndreaLynnette

    This is the kind of thing that I keep showing my mother and her doctor. Mom had a quadruple-bypass about 3 years ago, and her cholesterol was 135! She had terribly LOW cholesterol and had 4 pulmonary arteries that were 90% or more occluded! So, they did the surgery and told her that obviously her body is especially sensitive to cholesterol, so we have to get her cholesterol under 100! The doctor has her on statins and is constantly harping on her cholesterol numbers, which are “good” even for the most anti-cholesterol fanatic.

    At the same time, they’ve basically given up on controlling her blood sugar (Type II diabetes) and have decided that 150 is her “new normal” because that’s what her body doesn’t want to go lower than. Of course, the 15% fat, 65% carb diet she’s on can’t be bad for her! This just makes me so freakin’ mad.

    Good lord … so now when people with low cholesterol develop heart disease, it’s because they’re “especially sensitive” to cholesterol?!! Talk about your lousy ad-hoc theory. I suppose this also means the millions of people with “high” cholesterol who don’t develop heart disease are “especially resistant” to cholesterol as well.

  13. Mirva

    Here in Finland, there was a discussion about adding statins into milk like vitamin D. I just hope it wasn’t anything else than an idea.

    I’d stop buying milk for our girls immediately.

  14. Marie

    Tom,
    Thank you for posting your analysis of these types of articles. The way you point out the discrepancies is so informative & of course, entertaining.

    Thank you.

  15. cancerclasses

    This one is just too easy to debunk, but I’ll defer to my lipid science professor to explain everything I know about statins & cholesterol: Defective LDL Cholesterol Becomes a “Poison Delivery System”

    “LDL cholesterol is not the “bad guy” that everyone would have you believe; it serves a VERY IMPORTANT ROLE in our natural (healthy) bodily functions.

    …huge numbers of molecules in the omega 6-based cooking oils are already RUINED by commercial food processing. The body then incorporates these adulterated oils INTO the LDL cholesterol. With the consumption and transport of DEFECTIVE cancer-causing processed oils, LDL cholesterol acts like a “poison delivery system” bringing deadly transfats and other ruined oils into the cells. It is primarily the oxidized (adulterated) parent omega 6 that clog the arteries, NOT SATURATED FAT! Renowened interventional cardiologist, Dr. David Sim, makes a great analogy that anyone can understand:

    “It’s like building a wall without having enough bricks. You use another material and ‘fill in the hole’, but it doesn’t work correctly. The same thing happens when cholesterol doesn’t have enough (organic, cold processed) parent omega 6 to incorporate.”

    In nature, with the consumption of organic, unprocessed Essential Fatty Acids rather than adulterated oils and transfats, LDL cholesterol should be made up of significant amounts of properly functioning “parent” omega 6, linoleic acid (LA), and as a result it will NOT BE HARMFUL.

    Furthermore, (properly formed cholesterol) is THE NATURAL TRANSPORTER OF PARENT OMEGA 6 AND PARENT OMEGA 3 INTO THE CELLS. [We NEED cholesterol to transport ESSENTIAL fatty acids into our cells, or we become deficient in these fatty acids, and our body does not function properly.]

    That’s why it’s NOT necessary to lower LDL cholesterol, nor is the absolute LDL numbers as important, when the diet contains sufficient unadulterated EFAs.

    Also note the body has no natural “cholesterol sensor” in the bloodstream. Unlike sodium, calcium, glucose levels, your body does not need to maintain a strict cholesterol level. For example, glucose levels are maintained to an amazingly tight 0.1% (just 1 teaspoon of sugar per every thousand teaspoons of blood) in each of us! Nature implemented biological sensor mechanisms only if required.

    THERE IS NO NEED FOR A CHOLESTEROL SENSOR BECAUSE THE ABSOLUTE NUMBER IS IRRELEVENT.

    This is THE REASON the medical profession has offered us no insight into why our cholesterol numbers keep plummeting, yet heart attacks continue to increase. LDL CHOLESTEROL IS IMPROPERLY BLAMED for a myriad of health problems when the real culprit is defective EFAs. LDL cholesterol has no alternative but to transport these killers throughout our body since we have inadequate amounts of properly functioning LA in our diets. The “experts” never made this critical connection to pinpoint the REAL “problem” with LDL. The cholesterol-lowering drugs simply can’t lower the defective omega 6 enough.” http://goo.gl/KURer

    For more of the real truth about statins read any or all of the articles linked here: http://goo.gl/Vdr8M

    I wish your lipid professor could have a conversation with a few thousand doctors.

  16. Don in Arkansas

    Tom, great post but…………I admit I’m confused by statins not being effective in people (men) with ‘no prior heart disease’ thing. In 2004 I had what was described as a ‘cardiac event’. Not a heart attack, mind you, but an ‘event’. Had 2 stents installed & have not had any problems since. Releasing you from any liability on medical advice 🙂 what would be your take on my need for statins to hold cholesterol levels down? I am 65 and my last numbers were: Total 175, HDL 45, LDL 120 (calc), and trig 51. HDL Risk Factor was 3.9 whatever the hell that is. Just a side note – at the time of the ‘event’ I weighed around 300 and am currently 60 lbs lighter. Current WOE is low-carb, grain & sugar free. If you know of any info out there I could research it would be helpful. Just finished The Great Cholesterol Con but am still confused.

    I wouldn’t want my cholesterol level beaten down. I’d want my trig/HDL ratio below 2.0, which you can do with diet (no sugar, no refined starch, lots of natural fats), as you’re doing now. To the small degree that statins provide a benefit, they do it by lowering inflammation, not by beating down cholesterol levels. That’s why they’re (minimally) effective in men with existing heart disease — men who have heart disease probably have higher levels of inflammation.

  17. Linda

    “Perhaps inflammation is the problem, and the only reason statins provide any benefit at all is that they lower inflammation. We don’t need drugs to reduce inflammation. We can do that with a proper diet.”

    So I have been all over the net during the past few weeks and still can’t seem to get a concise answer to this. What causes inflammation and how to reverse it?
    I’ve been low carbing for over three years, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, but still ended up with blockage in three arteries and am now taking a statin and wearing a stent!
    Is it vegetable oils as some seem to think? Heredity?

    Heredity of course plays a role. Vegetable oils can produce inflammation because they’re too high in omega-6 fatty acids.

    Blockages usually take many years to develop. You were probably developing them long before you went low-carb.

  18. 1956okie

    My 97-year-old grandfather’s cholesterol stays around 320. He takes NO medications and has no health issues–unless you count needing to wear reading glasses. He drives daily in San Diego traffic. He grows his own food and stays active. Let’s see….that “artery-clogging cholesterol” is REALLY causing him problems, isn’t it??!!

    On the other hand, my 87-year-old father-in-law’s cholesterol is around 160. Triglycerides around 350. And he has EIGHTEEN stents in his heart and takes handfuls of pills every day. Yes, 18 stents. And you better believe he drinks his fat-free milk, eats his “I can’t believe it’s not butter” and his fat-free cheese and salad dressing and is doing his best to cut back on meat. Because the doctor says it’s “healthier” and will keep him from having any MORE heart attacks….

    Let’s see. Which one is in more danger????? (rolling eyes and tearing out hair here)

    Among the elderly, those with higher cholesterol live longer on average.

  19. Don in Arkansas

    Thanks for the quick response. I think I may just get off of them for a few months, stay with the current WOE and then get rechecked so I can have a fight with my doctor :-). It would be nice if I can get him to do a test to actually count the LDL & see what type of LDL it is.

    Tell the doctor you want a particle-size test.

  20. Janet

    It isn’t getting better in this news release. Can you say ambiguity?

    http://cardiobrief.org/2011/11/22/long-term-followup-of-hps-shows-extended-benefits-of-statins/

    “Now the HPS investigators report the followup results after a mean of 11 years in a paper published online in the Lancet. After the trial ended statin use and, consequently, LDL levels were similar between the two groups. In the first post-trial year patients who had been randomized to simvastatin during the trial had an additional 14% reduction in events compared to patients who had been randomized to placebo (p=0.05). After the first post-trial year there were no further additional differences between the former groups, but the relative difference between the two groups remained unchanged.”

    So was the result the same with and without the statin or was there really a difference in LDL and/or events?

    “In a linked Comment, Dr Payal Kohli and Dr Christopher P Cannon, TIMI Study Group, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA, say: “We now have strong evidence from HPS and several other randomised controlled trials that prolonged treatment with statins is indeed efficacious, safe, and has long-lasting beneficial effects, even after discontinuation of therapy. For this reason, concerns should be put to rest and doctors should feel reassured about the long-term safety of this life-saving treatment for patients at increased cardiovascular risk.”

    Even after discontinuation of the therapy?? (Here we go again with this “life-saving treatment” thing.) This seems to say that lifetime treatment isn’t needed?? Oh my, that isn’t what they ment to say is it?

    Talk about doing a verbal dance.

  21. Dave, RN

    The real reason they are trying to give statins to kids is because the patent on Lipitor is expiring. If you can find a new use for a drug (like a pediatric use that was not previously granted) then you can renew the patent. Another example of this is Alzheimer’s disease. Drug companies are trying to prove a relationship between statin use and lower risk/prevention of Alzheimer’s. If they can “prove” it then they have cause to renew the patent.

    This is all about money.

  22. Dave, RN

    Oh, and the other angle they are going for to keep the $$ wagon rolling for Lipitor is getting it approved for over the counter sales.

    I’m sure that’s coming next.

  23. Bex

    That article is actually terrifying….not sure how that would pan out here, what with meds being free on the NHS for children but still….

    Funny, I went and asked my doc for a thyroid function test, and he ticked the ‘cholesterol’ box as well…I told him I wasn’t interested in getting it checked but he said we might was well…..for what reason I know not, as I’m a female of childbearing age. Apparently, it was normal, at 4.1……

    Everyone’s stopped questioning me about my diet, they still buy low fat crap though

    My fear would be brainwashed parents buying OTC statins and giving them to kids.

  24. Judy B

    My late father was a long-time type 2 diabetic and statin user. During his final illness, he went from using a cane to being completely bed-ridden in 3 months. His medical professionals also regarded blood glucose of 150-180 as normal and if his fasting level dropped below 100, they said he was hypoglycemic. Of course, if I challenged them on any of this, I was told that I didn’t know what I was talking about as I was not a medical professional. They also blamed his ever increasing weakness on old age. Oy vey….

    “That’s not a doctor, that’s God. He just thinks he’s a doctor.”

  25. Rocky

    We’re already seeing learning dysfunction and behavioral issues from the low-fat diets that we’re forcing on our children. I shudder to think what further lowering childrens’ cholesterol through statins will do to impair mental and hormonal development.

    Undoubtedly, should this occur, it will pave the way for even more high-profit drug treatments and government-mandated “solutions.”

    Of course. There will be demands for a huge federal program to give the mentally-impaired kids special classes.

  26. Phyllis Mueller

    What is a normal or average cholesterol for children of various ages? Has anyone ever measured that? Are they simply extrapolating that children;’s normal or average cholesterol levels are like those of adults (which they might not be)? What if “high” cholesterol is normal for children at various ages and stages?

    I suppose attempts at expanding the market for statins is to be expected, given that Lipitor went off patent this week. Other brands can’t be far behind. (Zocor is already generic.) I heard a news report (I believe I am quoting this correctly) saying Lipitor cost about 5 cents a pill to make and was sold for 5 dollars a pill. The company’s “lost revenue” has to come from somewhere. Drug companies are in business to make money, not protect children (or anyone else). Doctors and government are complicit. What do we do?

    Statins (like many other drugs) are known to interfere with blood sugar regulation, leading to more inflammation, more diabetes, and higher blood pressure. This would be good for children? The recent publication of data from a study of participants the Boston marathon (where statin-taking runners had higher levels of creatinine kinase, a marker of muscle damage, than non-statin users in both skeletal muscle and heart muscle and that CK levels increased with the age of the person) sadly has not received much mainstream media attention so far. Although the skeletal muscle damaging aspects are acknowledged by medical professionals (a cardiologist once said to my husband, “What’s a little muscle pain compared to not dying of heart disease?”) I think the heart (though also, of course, a muscle) was somehow believed to be exempt. Not!

    The correct comparison would be, “What’s a little muscle pain, liver damage, and cognitive impairment compared to a very slight reduction in the chances of having a heart attack with no reduction whatsoever in your chances of living longer?”

  27. Michele

    How can I find a cardiologist for my husband that will get him off the statins? He had a major heart attack a year ago. I looked at the Living La Vida Low Carb website, but there weren’t any doctors listed in our area.

    That’s a tough one. Not sure how you go about find one.

  28. Becky

    I’m a huuuge fan of the “let’s experiment on a large sector of the human population because we don’t have time to conduct any actual sicentifically valid studies in a safe, clinical setting before millions of kids drop deat at age 12 due to heart attacks (because that’s happening daily, right?)” method of testing highly suspicious medical theories. It worked so very well with the lipid hypothesis, what with obesity, morbid obesity, type II diabetes and heart disease all at screamingly high rates despite the large decrease in fat consumption over the last 60 years, right? Maybe we should just permanently dispense with scientific experiments and just start making every trial on large segments of the population!

    That seems to be the trend.

  29. LCNana

    Tom, do you or any of your readers know anything about the efficacy of a low-carb diet for people who must take drugs that make them fat? Such as anti-depressants and anti-psychotics?

    A family member has to stay on meds that have made her gain about 35 lbs over the past few years. She genuinely can’t go off. And of course she refuses to go low-carb. But if a low-carb WOE won’t help anyway, maybe I’ll stop nagging her. I believe the weight-gain mechanism of the meds is that carbohydrates are not used properly in the body but I’m not sure of this.

    Not looking for medical advice, of course, but any insight would be useful.

    Oh, and thanks for making a lousy, dark, gray, wet-snowy-Friday even worse with your statin/kids post. (but don’t stop!!)

    If anything, a low-carb diet (with plenty of natural fats) may help with the depression.

  30. Srdjan Ostric

    This is really depressing, Tom. You know, it is a sad day when being the type of doctor you wanted to be when you went to medical school becomes an act of protest, or a subversive act.

    It is also a sad day when simple honesty and dialogue are seen as potentially dangerous, exposing you to liability, and thus, deception and evasiveness become the standard.

    I’ve said it before,an I will say it again, unless doctors and patients demand that their relationship, and complete accountability and transparency in that reationship as such, takes precedence over EVERYTHING else such as big pharm, drugs, insurance, procedures, technology, liability concerns leading to CYA decisions, then we will always have a medical system that is ineffective and overpriced and in many ways harmful to the goals of health.

    We have a long way to go.

    At least we’ve got a few doctors out there who know better, like you.

  31. cancerclasses

    My lipid professor actually does regularly present these facts to thousands of physicians every year around the world, both informally to any interested groups and as a member of A4M, The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and ISSFAL, International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids, and I don’t know how many other associations & organizations.

    He says that a regular occurrence at his presentations is that when these professional physicians are presented with the well known & long established biochemical & physiological facts which happen to conflict with their belief systems and their clinical practices, many of them get extremely agitated, upset & get up & walk out.

    So yeah, he does talk to many of them, but as the sayings go he can’t make them listen or understand his material for them. http://goo.gl/VixoD

    I guess it’s the phenomenon described in “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me).” The doctors can’t bring themselves to believe they’ve been giving out the wrong advice for all these years.

  32. LaurieLM

    Cholesterol-sulfate deficiency and the link to autism. From Stephanie Seneff. Link provided below. The paper has just been accepted by ‘Journal of Medical Hypotheses’…..yeah!

    “Might cholesterol sulfate deficiency contribute to the development of autistic spectrum disorder?”

    people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/autismR2S2_reviewed.pdf

  33. Janet

    Don’t know where Michele is, but there is a very well known doc in this area who is very against statins. I’m in east TX. If that is an option, I’d be happy to pass on his info.

  34. Dr. William Davis

    Thanks for another informative post, Tom.

    The absurdity of the entire “reduce cholesterol to reduce cardiovascular risk” is especially well revealed when the next level of testing beyond simple cholesterol testing, i.e., lipoprotein testing, is performed. This is when you learn several crucial lessons:

    1) Total cholesterol is a crude, unreliable number, as it incorporates too many variables, including HDL.
    2) LDL cholesterol is an absurd number, a fictitious value obtained via the 1960s-era Friedewald calculation. It bears little resemblance with reality on an individual basis.
    3) The number one abnormality in people with heart disease–by a HUGE margin–is excessive quantities of small LDL particles. Small LDL particles are not just small; they also have a unique conformation that means they persist in the bloodstream for up to a week (rather than two days like large particles), are uniquely prone to oxidation and glycation, and are especially effective at triggering multiple inflammatory phenomena.

    So what triggers small LDL particles? “Healthy whole grains” and carbohydrates. What glycates and oxidizes small LDL particles? “Healthy whole grains” and carbohydrates. Statins reduce the number of small LDL particles but does not remove the inciting cause, i.e., carbohydrates.

    The enormity of nonsensical conventional dietary advice, coupled with misleading cholesterol values, adds up to the biggest nutritional and health blunder, I believe, ever committed in human history.

    Is there any way you could clone yourself and take over the medical community?

  35. JuneBug

    When my nephews were in their teens (like, 20 years ago), for some reason we were talking about cholesterol. My brother stated “Yeah, adults have to worry about cholesterol but you guys don’t because all the stuff you are supposed to be eating is high in fat.” He was talking about things like whole milk, eggs, butter, and red meat. Scary to think that my brother, the computer expert, knew better then than doctors know now.

    Indeed.

  36. Peggy Cihocki

    This article and the similar one mentioned by @Beowolf on MSNBC describe a scenario that is just too scary to contemplate, but contemplate it we must. And fight it, we must. Thanks, Tom!

  37. Peggy Cihocki

    This article and the similar one mentioned by @Beowolf on MSNBC describe a scenario that is just too scary to contemplate, but contemplate it we must. And fight it, we must. Thanks, Tom!

  38. Joe Brown

    Tom – I read the same article and find it very troublsome. Also, my stuation may or may not help Don from AK. I was first prescribed statins around 1985 because of high cholesterol. Over the years the dose was increased and I have had 4 angioplasties, without stenting. I am now in my late 60’s and I suppose I qualify as a “high risk” person who has CAD. In early January next, I am scheduled for a nerve biopsy to try and detrmine the cause of severe neuropathy in my feet – a condition common to diabetics of which I am not one. The Doc taking care of this believes it may have been caused by “medication” I stopped taking statins almost 2 years ago and will never take another. I work out for about an hour each day and my whole body hurts for the rest of the day. I didn’t stop taking them soon enough. At about he same time I quit the statins, I began a low carb diet and have since eliminated wheat. I have imporvement in Trigs, 47 pound wieght loss and inflamatory markeres are normal along with glucose etc. If my body iddn’t hurt so much, I’d say I feel normal. Primary care Doc says it’s due to old age.Well, maybe we’ll find out. When you find out who and what to sue, sign me up. Thanks for your informative posts.

    I’m sorry the statins ruined your muscles. That’s what makes them so horrible … the muscle damage can be permanent.

  39. john

    “With their brain development stunted at an early age, the only career paths open to these kids will be running for Congress or working for the FDA.”

    Okay, now that’s just a classic. What’s that movie with Luke Wilson where he’s like the only smart person left?

    Idiocracy. Fun flick. The courtroom scene was a stitch.

  40. Stacie

    I think it is more like “feebly” effective. And actually, since 2005 all trials for secondary prevention have been epic fails. Dr. De Lorgeril does a great job of refuting the supposed pleiotropic effects of statins. He is a cardiologist/researcher who is completely against statins.

    I’ve read his work. Apparently once the standards for clinical trials were tightened up, statins haven’t fared so well.

  41. AndreaLynnette

    “Good lord … so now when people with low cholesterol develop heart disease, it’s because they’re “especially sensitive” to cholesterol?!! Talk about your lousy ad-hoc theory. I suppose this also means the millions of people with “high” cholesterol who don’t develop heart disease are “especially resistant” to cholesterol as well.” — Tom

    Yep, basically. Meanwhile, my mom’s memory and cognitive abilities are thoroughly impaired, she’s going blind, and her kidneys are failing! But that’s okay, we’ll ignore her deadly blood sugar as long as we keep her *^@#!!!! cholesterol down with a drug that its own makers admit causes constipation, stomach pain, nausea, headache, muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, decreased urination, lack of energy, tiredness, or weakness, loss of appetite, chills, blisters, rash, hives, itching, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, joint pain, and sensitivity to light.

    Welcome to modern medicine.

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