Statin treatment is solely focused on lowering cholesterol numbers, but research tells us only 50 percent of people who suffer from a cardiac event actually have high cholesterol.
It also underscores that other risk factors are as important as – or perhaps even more important than – cholesterol. And, since we cannot live without cholesterol, medicine needs to think about what we are using to control it.
Our body needs cholesterol to synthesize the naturally-occurring steroids in our body and to help us produce progesterone, testosterone, estrogen – really all of our sex hormones, which, when decreased, lead to muscle aches and pains, depression, anxiety and low libido.
New Research: “Statins are a complete waste of time in patients aged 60 and over.”
What you are about to read is new research from the British Open Medical Journal and reported in the London Daily Telegram June 12, 2016
- Cholesterol does not cause heart disease in the elderly and trying to reduce it with drugs like statins is a waste of time, an international group of experts has claimed.
- A review of research involving nearly 70,000 people found there was no link between what has traditionally been considered “bad” cholesterol and the premature deaths of over 60-year-olds from cardiovascular disease.
- The new study found that 92 percent of people with a high cholesterol level lived longer.
The authors of the study have called for a re-evaluation of the guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries, because “the benefits from statin treatment have been exaggerated”.
The results have prompted immediate scepticism from other academics, however, who questioned the paper’s balance.
High cholesterol is commonly caused by an unhealthy diet, and eating high levels of saturated fat in particular, as well as smoking.
It is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins and has been traditionally linked to cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease.
Co-author of the study Dr Malcolm Kendrick, an intermediate care GP, acknowledged the findings would cause controversy but defended them as “robust” and “thoroughly reviewed”.
- “What we found in our detailed systematic review was that older people with high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, the so-called “bad” cholesterol, lived longer and had less heart disease.”
Vascular and endovascular surgery expert Professor Sherif Sultan from the University of Ireland, who also worked on the study, said cholesterol is one of the “most vital” molecules in the body and prevents infection, cancer, muscle pain and other conditions in elderly people.
- “Lowering cholesterol with medications for primary cardiovascular prevention in those aged over 60 is a total waste of time and resources, whereas altering your lifestyle is the single most important way to achieve a good quality of life,” he said.
Lead author Dr Uffe Ravnskov, a former associate professor of renal medicine at Lund University in Sweden, said there was “no reason” to lower high-LDL-cholesterol.
But Professor Colin Baigent, an epidemiologist at Oxford University, said the new study had “serious weaknesses and, as a consequence, has reached completely the wrong conclusion”.
Another sceptic, consultant cardiologist Dr Tim Chico, said he would be more convinced by randomised study where some patients have their cholesterol lowered using a drug, such as a stain, while others receive a placebo.
He said: “There have been several studies that tested whether higher cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol in elderly patients and observing whether this reduces their risk of heart disease.
“These have shown that lowering cholesterol using a drug does reduce the risk of heart disease in the elderly, and I find this more compelling than the data in the current study.”
The British Heart Foundation also questioned the new research, pointing out that the link between high LDL cholesterol levels and death in the elderly is harder to detect because, as people get older, more factors determine overall health.
Note: This is not the first time research has come out against the use of statins and received skepticism from traditional cardiology. But skepticism is a two way research street.
Safety and life-saving efficacy of statins have been exaggerated, says new research
Dr. David M. Diamond, a professor of psychology, molecular pharmacology and physiology at the University of South Florida, and Dr. Uffe Ravnskov – the same researcher mentioned above, an independent health researcher and an expert in cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, claim in a recently-published critique that statins produce a dramatic reduction in cholesterol levels, but they have “failed to substantially improve cardiovascular outcomes.”
The duo further state that the many studies touting the efficacy of statins have not only neglected to account for the numerous serious adverse side effects of the drugs, but supporters of statins have used what the authors refer to as “statistical deception” to make inflated claims about their effectiveness.
Their critique of the exaggerated claims regarding statins’ ability to prevent strokes, heart attacks and heart disease-related deaths on a large scale has been published in the medical journal “Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology.”
Excerpt from NY TIMES
FOR two generations, Americans ate fewer eggs and other animal products because policy makers told them that fat and cholesterol were bad for their health. Now both dogmas have been debunked in quick succession.
First, last fall, experts on the committee that develops the country’s dietary guidelines acknowledged that they had ditched the low-fat diet. On Thursday (February 19 2015), that committee’s report was released, with an even bigger change: It lifted the longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol, saying there was “no appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Americans, it seems, had needlessly been avoiding egg yolks, liver and shellfish for decades. The new guidelines, the first to be issued in five years, will influence everything from school lunches to doctors’ dieting advice.
How did experts get it so wrong? Here is the article
The Cholesterol debate has become very one-sided in the last few years. In mid-2014 a paper available from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, said many Americans are led to believe that high blood cholesterol as a result of heavy saturated fat intake causes cardiovascular disease.
As such, Statin drugs are often prescribed to curb heart disease risk by lowering cholesterol. This conventional knowledge is boldly challenged. While many studies show a correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease, this alone does not prove a “cause-and-effect” relationship. “In fact,” the authors point out, “if analyzed carefully, there are more studies that disprove the ‘cause and effect’ hypothesis than even come close to proving it.” A trend of vilifying saturated fats based on flawed research is traced back through the second half of the 20th century, eventually meeting overdue criticism in a 2010 meta-analysis and a 2012 paper contrasting scientific literature with U.S. and European advisory committee guidelines.
While saturated fats have been blamed for causing heart disease, more recent scientific literature points instead to processed sugars, trans-fats, and starchy/processed high-glycemic carbs as the more likely culprits. “Our nutritional courts,” the authors claim, “tried and convicted the wrong man.”
Statin drugs designed to treat high levels of LDL cholesterol began to be widely prescribed in 2001. The commentary authors suggest that “We must treat the patient thoughtfully and choose statin drugs carefully with extreme diligence to avoid unnecessary side effects.”
While these drugs have been linked to lower risk of CVD, numerous studies and clinical trials over the past decade have forced the medical community to re-examine the role of LDL cholesterol in statin use benefits. Some even began to demonstrate that reducing LDL alone was counterproductive in reducing some measures of CVD risk. As such, the authors advocate a more creative and thorough approach to addressing CVD risk, free of the “dogmatic polices” built around saturated fat and cholesterol centric thinking.
Managing cholesterol naturally
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we utilize natural alternatives to the widely prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.
- Diet – An eating plan rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, especially “super foods”, and one that takes into account a person’s unique special needs
- Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle is one of the most serious risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease – we work with our patients to develop an activity plan that takes into account their risk factors, interests, budget and time constraints, and includes aerobic exercise, as well as strength training and flexibility work.
- Additional Supplementation – We ensure an adequate supply of all necessary nutrients with supplements, with dosages customized to take into account a person’s age, weight, general medical condition, health history, etc.
- Relaxation – Identifying the stressors in a person’s life, then working to find ways to alleviate them – whether through practical alternatives, meditation, exercise-based meditation, acupuncture, massage or a better connection to others – is critical to overall cardiovascular health.
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Magaziner Center for Wellness
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