Statins and the Cholesterol Myth

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Cholesterol, essential ingredient for life, health and sex

Although cholesterol has a bad reputation for clogging the arteries, it’s not the enemy. Cholesterol is essential for life and health. It provides energy to cells, helps make cell membranes, and assists in the formation of sheaths around nerves. Plus, it plays a vital role in the production of the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, and other adrenal hormones like DHEA and cortisol.

While cholesterol is in some foods we eat, the liver manufactures most of it. In fact, each day our bodies churn out about 1000 milligrams of cholesterol, compared to the average dietary intake of about 325 milligrams for men or 220 milligrams for women.

No matter whether it comes from the liver or our diet, cholesterol and other dietary fats must move from the digestive system and into the cells to perform these terrific tasks. Fat must be packed into protein-covered particles that allow the fat to mix with the blood. These tiny particles are lipoproteins (lipid-or fat-plus protein).[The Doctor’s Heart Cure, Al Sears, M.D.]

Blockbusters and me-too drugs

A blockbuster drug is defined as a drug with sales of over a billion dollars a year[1], and lipitor, a lower cholesterol drug, is one of them. The me-too drugs are made by other companies who create their own versions of blockbuster drugs to have also their own portion of the lucrative market. The best known family of me-too drugs is the statins-drugs to lower blood cholesterol levels. The original statin drug, Merck’s Mevacor came into the market in 1987 and then it came other me-too drugs like a plague: Merck’s Zocor (because one is not enough), Pfizer’s Lipitor, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pravachol, Novartis’s Lescol, and in the summer of 2003, the FDA approved AstraZeneca’s Crestor. There was another that had to be removed from the market, Bayer’s Baycol, because at the approved dose caused a deadly side effect.

They are all pretty much the same, but how come we have so many statins? Basically the pharmaceutical industry persuades us that one drug is different from the other one, in subtle ways. For example, pharmaceutical companies test their statins in slightly different outcomes for slightly different patients and then statins are promoted as especially effective in those outcomes. Or statins get tested with older statins in strengths that are not equivalent. That is a common way to break into the me-too market! And then they rely heavily on their marketing so as to sell even better than generics like lovastatin (Mevacor is now sold as generic lovastatin) that are cheaper.

The problem is that the cutoff for high cholesterol has been lowered over the years, one might argue as for the cause of it, who benefits? Certainly not the patients as we will see shortly. Once high cholesterol was reserved for levels of over 280mg/dL, then it was lowered to 240 and now most doctors try to keep cholesterol below 200 which most people find it impossible to achieve, hence they are put in statin which causes drugs like lipitor to be the top-selling drug in the whole world in 2002 and 2004, and its competitor Zocor was second [2,3]. Actually, Lipitor has been the best top selling drug in quite awhile, it holds the top ranking for several consecutive years and its profits are increasing[3]. Cholesterol drugs have the biggest drug profits in the history of the world… There you have it, who benefits. You can take it for granted that profits buy a lot of propaganda (such as lobbyists), advertising and marketing to doctors, including free continual medical education. I had a colleague once who was pursuing the protocol where all vascular patients in our unit would take statins, based on dis-informative studies she was fed by pharmaceutical companies. That situation is very similar in cardiovascular patients from modern medicine nowadays. And although statins might reduce heart attack risk (only slightly), it is probably due to the reduction of inflammatory markers and not because they reduce cholesterol and if this is the case, it is really worth to take statins just for this slight benefit? After all there other non-harmful means, for example diet, to reduce inflammation in your body.

The obscure side of the cholesterol-lowering drugs pushing

This is when it gets murkier… Cholesterol by itself does not cause heart disease, this is what the pharmaceutical companies want us to believe, after all they are making huge profits and they will likely want to keep their status and their money, of course. Almost 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels.[4] Before all the known statins were introduced, researchers already had found that none of the trials had any statistical significance in decreasing the death rate from coronary disease [5], what this meant is that even when statins lowered cholesterol, it didn’t decreased deaths from heart attack. Archaeological records and evidence from many different surviving hunter-gatherers contradicts the believe that our diet nowadays has a higher-fat/cholesterol content. Hunter-gatherers who ate mostly animal foods were taller, more robust, had stronger bones, and much better teeth. Actually, the death rate from heart attack increased during the last century, the time when animal-fat/cholesterol intake declined with the boom of low-fat foods, hydrogenated oils, refined sugars and other evil processed foods and toxins in our environment.

Side effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs

Cholesterol-lowering drugs interfere with vital processes necessary for maintaining health, including energy production in your heart and your capacity to calm oxidative stress in your heat and arteries.[6] Among the side effects of statins we have muscle aches, chronic fatigue, liver toxicity, digestive tract problems, rashes, blurred vision, muscle inflammation and weakness, back pain, tinnitus, insomnia, kidney failure, pneumonia, high blood pressure, rhabdomyolysis (potentially deadly). They stimulate cancer growth in rodents and in human studies, breast cancer was more common in women who took statins. Evidence shows that the lower cholesterol levels are, generally speaking, the higher the risk of cancer.[7] Cholesterol levels below 160 are linked to depression and low testosterone levels. There is also the possibility that normal levels of the mood neurotransmitter, serotonin, might depend on healthy levels of cholesterol. In fact, a recent study suggests that statins may lessen brain function because statins keep the brain from making cholesterol, which is vital to efficient brain function and if you deprive cholesterol from the brain, you directly affect the release of neurotransmitters which are crucial for data-processing and memory functions.[8] Statins also block the body’s production of CoQ10, a most important nutrient and antioxidant which protects the heart among other organs as demonstrated by hundreds of studies. Coenzyme Q10 (also called ubiquinone: “occurring everywhere”) plays an important role in the manufacture of ATP, the fuel that runs cellular processes. Low levels of CoQ10 are found in nearly all cardiovascular diseases, including angina, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure; and other diseases like Parkinson’s disease. Statins deplete the body of CoQ10 by a 40%[9].

To this day, this huge statin problem has been restricted for the adults and the elderly. But pathetically enough, now they want to push them in kids: Cholesterol Drugs for Kids.

It has come to my attention too, that they are now claiming that statins have an unexpected positive effect on brain cells. Do you think that this is the way you want to protect your brain?? I repeat, statins lowers natural levels of CoQ10 which are related in Parkinson’s disease among others. Instead of investing all the billions they earn in public education of diets and other healthy natural treatments, they are only seeking to see in what other conditions they can get push cholesterol-lowering drugs too to perpetuate their top sales rankings.

Somebody has to stop all this scam before it gets even worse. Get informed and inform others too!

Further reading:

The Truth About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs (Statins), Cholesterol and Health [link]

Feeding the irrational fear of cholesterol [link]

NaturalNews feature articles on statins and statins-drugs

Statin drug alert [link]


[1] The Truth About the Drug Companies, Marcia Angell, M.D., 2005 Random House Trade Paperpack Edition

[2] Leading Products in 2002 Global Pharmaceutical Sales,

[3] Leading Products in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 Global Pharmaceutical Sales,

[4] Castelli WP. Cholesterol, lipids in the risk of coronary artery disease—the Framingham Heart Study. Canadian Journal of Cardiology. 1998 July; 4 Suppl A:5A-10A.

[5] Ravnskov U. Cholesterol-lowering trials in coronary heart disease: frequency of citation and outcome. British Journal of Medicine. 1992 July 4; 305 (6844): 15-19.

[6] The Doctor’s Heart Cure, Al Sears, M.D., Dragon Door Publications.

[7] Alawi A, et al. Statins, Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol, and Risk of Cancer. Journal of the American College of Cardiologists. Published on-line 20th August 2008.

[8] Yeon-Kyun Shin et al. Cholesterol-reducing Drugs May Lessen Brain Function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. February 2009.

[9] Ghirlanda G, Oradei A, Manto A, et al. Evidence of plasma CoQ10-lowering effect of HMG-COA reductase inhibitors: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 1003 Mar; 33(3):226-229.

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