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Archive | Health problems

More Bad News for Statins


More bad news for cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins:

Express: Statins doubles risk of diabetes concludes 10 year study into controversial drug

The exact results must be interpreted with caution as this kind of statistical study can’t prove cause and effect. However, that statins cause an increased risk of type 2 diabetes has been conclusively proven before. Even industry-funded trials have not been able to cover it up, so the effect is likely substantial.

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Higher Fat Variation of DASH Diet Lowers Blood Pressure, Triglycerides, Study Shows


The DASH diet – Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – is often promoted as healthy. But it’s mostly a very conventional low-fat diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables and low-fat (yuk) dairy.

Interestingly a new study tested a higher fat version of the DASH diet – including full fat dairy. More total fat and less carbohydrates. And what happened? It turned out to be an improvement, resulting in better health markers in participants. Surprise, surprise, to all who still fear fat.

Science Daily: Higher Fat Variation of DASH Diet Lowers Blood Pressure, Triglycerides, Study Shows

AJCN: Comparison of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet and a Higher-Fat Dash Diet on Blood Pressure and Lipids and Lipoproteins

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New Study: Tens of Millions of People May be Taking Statins Needlessly

According to a new study, tens of millions of people worldwide may needlessly be on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs.

Around 45% of people recommended statin drugs under today’s guidelines show no signs of cardiovascular disease in the study. This indicates that many of them may have no need for the drug, and suffer side effects for no good reason. Except, that is, to increase profits in the pharmaceutical industry.

Sunday Express: Two million people [in the UK] are given statins needlessly, new research shows

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What Do You Do if You Get Elevated Cholesterol on a Low-Carb Diet?

Analyzing cholesterol on a low-carb diet

It’s a question I often get. Isn’t a low-carb and high-fat diet bad for the cholesterol? And what if you get an elevated cholesterol on LCHF, what should you do?

The good news

First the great news: A low-carb high-fat diet usually results in an improved cholesterol profile, indicating a lower risk of heart disease:

The classic effect of a low-carb diet on cholesterol is a slight elevation, partly due to an elevation of the good (HDL) cholesterol, indicating a lower risk of heart disease. This especially as the cholesterol profile also typically improves in two more ways: lower triglycerides and larger, fluffier LDL particles. All things that reduce risk of heart disease, statistically.

It has also been shown that two years with low-carb, high-fat diet advice results in a reduction of atherosclerosis – people actually got less signs of heart disease.

The bad news

However, there are also potential problems, even if they are rare.

On average the elevation of total and LDL cholesterol is so small that most studies do not even pick up on it. But for a smaller number of people – possibly around 1-2 percent of the population – there can be worrying elevations of LDL and total cholesterol, beyond what can be considered normal.

This potential risk is worth taking seriously. It can also be worth taking steps to correct it. I’ve written more about it on the page about potential side effects of low-carb diets:

Low Carb Side Effects & How to Cure Them

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Attacking Those Who Criticize Statins


Questioning the massive overprescription of cholesterol-lowering medication is risky. When the Australian TV show Catalyst aired a show discussing this the drug industry went into damage control overdrive:

Dr. Kendrick: Attacking those who criticise statins – again

Of course it’s much more effective for the attacks to be perceived to come from outside the industry. So, in an example of such an attack, the article discussed by Dr. Kendrick is about how negative statin news in the media decreases the number of people taking the drugs, possibly (given all kinds of assumptions) resulting in more people dying. This is a potentially effective way to silence critics and journalists: “take your drugs and shut up, leave the thinking to us.”

This article is written by a Dr. Børge G. Nordestgaard, who just happened to receive an unknown amount of money for “consultancy” and for “lectures” from Astra Zeneca, Pfizer and Merck. These are the three companies making billions of dollars selling the statins Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor.

Is Dr. Nordestgaard a concerned scientist or a simple industry attack dog? With his pockets stuffed with statin money? You decide.

Mail Online: Ignore statins scare stories – says expert paid by drug firms: Top professor under fire for pushing benefits of the drugs while pocketing thousands

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Crippled by Statins, Now a Competitive Weightlifter


David Purkiss became depressed, desperate and ended up in a wheelchair from taking statins – but doctors insisted he keep taking them. After deciding to stop he’s now a competitive weightlifter.

Dailymail: Crippled by statins: Cholesterol-busting drugs left David in a wheelchair – but doctors insisted he keep taking them

This is an excellent illustration of a basic fact. The positive effect of statins is often quite small and it’s not always worth suffering side effects for it. At the very least people deserve to know the truth about the effect – not propaganda – so that they can make an informed decision.

The truth? Statins every day for five years can lower the risk of a heart attack by about 1 percent and can on average make you live 3 or 4 days longer. These are results from studies done by the pharmaceutical industry, who sell the drugs, and so probably represent the best-case scenarios.

Is that kind of an effect worth suffering side effects? Only the person taking the drug can decide. David Purkiss decided it was not.

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Big Headlines about Statins

Sunday Express

Big headlines about statins in the UK yesterday. It may not be worth taking statins if you suffer annoying side effects, unless you think a few days of extra life is worth it.

Express.co.uk: Statins add a mere three days to life

I wrote about the study earlier last week:

The Terrifyingly Tiny Effect of Statin Drugs


The Terrifyingly Tiny Effect of Statin Drugs

If you have heart disease and take a statin drug to lower your cholesterol, how much longer will you live – a few more years? A couple of extra months? Or can you count the difference in days?

We already know that statin manufacturers use imaginative statistical tricks to make a 1% reduction in heart attack risk seem impressive, but this is a new angle.

For the first time a recent study looked at all the scientific trials of statin drugs to see how long extra, on average, people lived by taking the drug.

The result? If people did not have heart disease they lived only 3 days longer on a statin drug – during drug trials that were on average five years long. If they did already have heart disease and took the drug daily for about five years they lived… 4 days longer.

The cost of these 4 extra days include the risk of side effects like feeling tired, lack of energy, slightly lowered IQ, muscle pain etc. – every day.

I think potential users of these drugs should be informed of these facts first.

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Cholesterol Numbers After Six Years on a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet


Tommy Runesson

What happens to cholesterol numbers on a long-term high-fat diet?

My fellow Swede Tommy Runesson lost 200 pounds on an LCHF diet, starting six years ago. He continues to eat a very strict LCHF diet (examples can be seen daily on his blog) combined with some intermittent fasting.

So what happens to the cholesterol on this high-saturated-fat diet? Apparently only good things. Runesson has checked his levels every year and just published his six-year results:


lchf 6 years

Far right column showing latest results in US units

Everything looking good!

Of course this is only one person, and it’s only six years. What happens after that? I can tell you what happened to me:

My Health Markers After Eight Years on LCHF


Demonization and Deception in Cholesterol Research – Great New Presentation by Professor David Diamond

Have you heard that saturated fat has been wrongly accused, starting with the shenanigans of Ancel Keys? Or that a total cholesterol number is not very helpful for determining risk of heart disease? Or that the benefits of statins have been vastly exaggerated?

Probably all these facts are familiar to you already. But I’d still recommend to watch this new presentation by Professor David Diamond. I’ve heard this story many times but still found the presentation well-worth watching. Not only does Professor Diamond bring up new details to the story, he also does it in great style and with lots of (sometimes dark) humor.

Statin humor

A quick example, which of these drug ads would make you most likely to have a pill a day for the rest of your life?


Obviously the left ad is the original one, for the biggest blockbuster drug of all time. Amazingly the right ad may be a more honest and transparent way to present the exact same study finding.

The 1 percent number is the real chance that the drug will benefit you, over many years of taking it (without even mentioning the risk of side effects).

Could you even imagine a drug company printing the more honest right ad? It would look like a joke.