“Statins Can Drain the Life Out Of Us”

Here’s another reason to not take cholesterol-lowering medication (statins) unless you definitely need it*:

DrBriffa: Statins can drain the life out of us

*/ Statins are in general only a good idea as secondary prevention, meaning you already have heart disease.

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11 Comments

  1. Jeff
    Fresh paper from Lancet, may 2012:

    The effects of lowering LDL cholesterol with statin therapy in people at low risk of vascular disease: meta-analysis of individual data from 27 randomised trials

    "In individuals with 5-year risk of major vascular events lower than 10%, each 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol produced an absolute reduction in major vascular events of about 11 per 1000 over 5 years. This benefit greatly exceeds any known hazards of statin therapy. Under present guidelines, such individuals would not typically be regarded as suitable for LDL-lowering statin therapy. The present report suggests, therefore, that these guidelines might need to be reconsidered".

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2812%2...

    I think statins are necessary supplement in paleo-low carb diets. After all, the Western paleo-crew do not have parasites which are very efficient in lowering serum cholesterol levels. In animal models parasites alone have even regressed CVD.

    Evaluating lipid-lowering trials in the twenty-first century.

    “…Only pure vegetarians for practical purposes do not need statins, most of the rest of us do”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19406281

  2. Jeff,
    So only 1% chance (!) of saving you from a heart attack if you take a pill every day for five years(!). IF they lower your cholesterol that much and IF we are to take these trials and that meta analysis at face value (the trials are after all funded by the companies selling the pills).

    Side-effects: About 10-20% seem to feel tired and a lack of energy (according to the study above). About the same percentage might have sore or stiff muscles. A few will get diabetes and cognitive difficulties. Etc. etc.

    I think it's pretty clear we should not put statins in the tap water.

  3. PJ
    @ Jeff

    "I think statins are necessary supplement in paleo-low carb diets."

    "Supplement"? Please don't tell me you are serious about taking statins as a supplement. Are LCHF Paleo people deficient in statins?

    Pure vegetarians may not "need statins" because their cholesterol is already TOO low.

    That paper published in the Lancet is nothing but a load of garbage. Anyone that can say that the benefits outweigh the risks of taking statins, for the general public, absolutely needs to get off the statins themselves and have their heads examined.

  4. Kim
    Anyone who wants to learn about the real world experience of people actually on these or any other drugs, needs to visit askapatient.com You can search any RX drug and read about individual experiences. Statins are some of the worst. It's enough to make you weep.
  5. PJ
    @ Kim

    I took a glance at the first couple of pages on Lipitor. OMG! I can't believe that there are actually women taking it to PREVENT high cholesterol, of all things! There are hundreds of people's comments on this one drug alone and it must represent a tiny percentage of the people that actually take this poison. Those poor people. I wonder if they understand that a doctor cannot make you take a drug. Only you can put yourself on a drug. Research people. Research.

  6. Garth
    Ok, I'm really confused now. I have been on Lipator and surpalip for about 7 years now, I can honestly say that I didn't notice any side effects but lately during excerciseing I have noticed my muscles getting sore and tired, I just put it down to getting older (Im 53), but 2 years ago I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Whether it came from the statins I don't know. but now I'm getting a bit scared, do I stay on these statins or do I come off them? I was put on them because my cholesterol was 10 something and my trigs where 11 something, not fasting results I might add. Since I have been on them my cholesterol has always been 5 or lower, and my trigs lower than 2. Am I safe to come off these statins? Im on a LCHF diet
  7. Garth, cholesterol is a "marker" for the health/disease balance in your body. If you have inflammation (from stress, smoking, etc.), or digestive dysfunction due to eating the wrong things, your cholesterol/triglyceride scores are going to get worse.

    But cholesterol itself doesn't cause the heart disease! Doctors have been mis-led into believing cholesterol is the cause because cholesterol is what builds up in fatty deposits in arteries of sick people. Instead of focusing on what starts these build ups in the first place, nutritionists have made cholesterol out to be a dangerous molecule in all forms, which precipitates out of solution if ever you have too much.

    But blaming cholesterol for heart disease is like blaming nicotine-stained teeth for causing lung cancer. The more stained your teeth are, the higher your risk of lung cancer, but it's not because the staining has anything to do with it; it's because people with more stains on their teeth are probably those who smoke *more*. Statins are equivalent to doctors prescribing teeth whitening kits to combat lung cancer.

    I can't tell you to stop taking your statins because I'm not a doctor, but my advice is if your current doctor is pushing statins, for heaven's sake, please get a second opinion. Statins (as well a low-cholesterol levels) have been linked to all kinds of chronic ailments, including depression, early-onset Alzheimer's disease and suicide.

    For more information, check out the many categories on statins and cholesterol on this website: http://healthydietsandscience.blogspot.ca/ Better yet, bookmark it and bring some printouts to your doctor!

  8. @ Brian
    There is huge evidence that lowering LDL-cholesterol reduces the risk for cardiovascular events. We can not allow us to ignore this fact. I can provide you with many references, here is one which shows a very strong relationship between the magnitude of LDL lowering and risk reduction:

    http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/21067804/reload=0;jsessionid=grl3RNsF...

    Whatever we think of the causative role of cholesterol or inflammation, whatever we think of statins and their side effects; we cannot ignore scientific data this strong.

  9. @Axel F
    "Scientific data this strong"? Stop being silly. That study is a meta-analysis of many differently (and often incompatibly) performed studies, not a clinical trial. I can find many studies which say the exact opposite.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19074985 - Diabetics taking statins had an increase of 2% in total death rates and an increases of 31% in death from cardiovascular diseases.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18757089 - Virtually no difference in mortality rates and cardiovascular incidents between statin-takers and placebo.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/291/18/2243.abstract - No difference in overall mortality between statin-taking women and non. Heart disease mortality was actually HIGHER for women who began taking the drugs *before* they had heart disease.

    http://www.jnrbm.com/content/10/1/6/abstract - A HUGE observational study following statin use in the general population of Sweden between 1998 and 2002. Statin use tripled. Rates of heart disease were unchanged.

    http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?volume=170&issue=12... - Here's a meta-analysis study very similar to the one you linked to, only this one finds that the risk reduction for all cause mortality when taking statins is an almost insignificant less-than-1% for all groups. Many statins also include an anti-inflammatory, which could easily explain the entire reduction.

    So, who are you to pick and choose which observational studies we should and should not base medical policy upon? Why is your study praising statins worth more than those I listed which seem to indicate they are dangerous?

    You can consult Dr. Briffa for a more detailed debunking of your article: http://www.drbriffa.com/2010/11/15/recent-review-on-statins-ignores-b...

  10. @Brian
    Thanks for taking the time to provide these references.

    The first one is a study on the predictive value of CRP in diabetes, not on statin therapy.

    The second one is a study on patients with heart failure which I don´t think is the issue here.

    The author´s conclusion from the third reference you mention was: For women without cardiovascular disease, lipid lowering does not affect total or CHD mortality. Lipid lowering may reduce CHD events, but current evidence is insufficient to determine this conclusively. For women with known cardiovascular disease, treatment of hyperlipidemia is effective in reducing CHD events, CHD mortality, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and revascularization, but it does not affect total mortality.

    The fourth one is an observational study as you point out.

    The last study did not show an effect on mortality with statins in primary prevention. This does not disprove that LDL-lowering is beneficial although the effect maybe much smaller in primary than secondary prevention. These are the words from the authors of this paper (early on in the Introduction part of the paper): "There is little debate that, compared with placebo, statin therapy among individuals with established coronary heart disease (CHD) not only prevents complications related to atherosclerosis but also reduces all-cause mortality"..

    Finally, here is a quote from the very recent 2012 European guidelines on cardiovascular prevention:
    "The evidence that reducing plasma LDL cholesterol reduces CVD risk is unequivocal: the results of epidemiological studies as well as trials with angiographic or clinical endpoints confirm that the reduction of LDL cholesterol must be of prime concern in the prevention of CVD. Meta-analyses of many trials show a clear dose-dependent relative reduction in CVD with LDL cholesterol lowering. Every 1 mmol/L reduction in LDL cholesterol is associated with a corresponding 20-25% reduction in CVD mortality and nonfatal myocardial infarction. "

    http://www.escardio.org/guidelines-surveys/esc-guidelines/GuidelinesD...

  11. My thoughts on the use of statins in "healthy people".

    http://www.docsopinion.com/2012/06/19/should-i-take-cholesterol-lower...

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