29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol

29 billion reasons to lie about cholesterol

The documentary 29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol should be worth seeing. Without a doubt millions of healthy people are taking statin drugs every day for no good reason.

Except, of course, for those 29 000 000 000 reasons, counted in dollars.

The need to treat “high cholesterol” over 200 mg/dL (or some other arbitrary number) with statins is marketing talk. It’s not based on good science. A recent meta-analysis of all relevant studies shows no clear benefit of taking statins for people without heart disease. That’s despite the fact that all these studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies selling statins.

Bottom line: If you don’t have heart disease you’re probably better off without cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Documentary web site

More about cholesterol

23 Comments

  1. Lynda NZ
    I have just finished reading the book of the same name. I can't wait to see the movie!! We need more movies like this. My partner just turned down statins and his doctor thinks he is mad. He told the doctor he was getting healthier from his diet and exercise, not sure the doctor gets this often!!
  2. Jenn (NZ)
    Well done to your husband, Lynda! It's hard to stand up to your doctors and say "no". After all, they're supposed to be the medical professionals - sometimes I think they feel that they (and Medicine,) are infallible. I'm glad you're husbands health is improving with diet and exercise, that's really good news! Keep up the good work :)
  3. Stacie
    I have not read the book, but hope to see the movie. I do not understand the comment about being better off without them if you do not have heart disease. How about you are better off without them if you do have heart disease. Trials prior to 2005 show a very feeble benefit for men with CAD. (And keep in mind who funded these sturies, so I think the "supposed" benefit is suspect.) Fish oil provides a much better benefit anyway. Since 2005, all statin trials for secondary prevention of heart disease have been failures. So, I think the statins need to be sent to the trash heap. Also, in the 4S Trial, benefit was seen only after 1.5 years and disappeared 2 to 3 years later. Hmmm.
  4. Lezlee
    I don't have an optical drive on my computer, nor do I have a TV. I only do streaming. How can I download it? I'll be glad to pay for it.
  5. Gina
    I have been refusing statins for a few years now, and always, ALWAYS get a hassle from my doctors about it. One actually told me it was a "matter of life and death," after which I promptly fired her and moved on to another doctor. But all of them insist, and I don't feel well versed enough in the medical literature to give them scientific backing for my position, so now I just let them write the scrip and throw it away as soon as I leave the office. They never seem to notice, not even when I don't get the liver enzyme bloodwork I'm supposed to get.
  6. Stang
    Thank you for sharing.

    As a photographer/video shooter, I can't help but feel the urge to switch the camera angle or fix the audio while watching a lot of videos on diet! It's great though that the internet and media can be used to get this information out to the ill-informed.

  7. Stacie
    Here is something good from the scientific literature:

    The newest “statin” is… magnesium!
    Posted by Brad Weeks, MD on September 16, 2011
    Dr. Weeks’ Comment: The principles of Corrective Medicine and Psychiatry dictate that before committing a patient to lifelong dependence upon a synthetic drug, we assess the status of the naturally occurring chemicals “ortho-molecules” within and strive to replenish any relevant deficiencies. In the following article, we see that… ”God’s statin” is…. magnesium!”

    Note that the date of publication is… 2004! (Only 7 years ago…)

    Has your cardiologist read this article?

    Are you still taking a statin drug?

    If so, pay attention to your Co Q 10 levels!

    J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):501S-505S.

    Comparison of mechanism and functional effects of magnesium and statin pharmaceuticals.
    Rosanoff A, Seelig MS.

    Source

    Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.

    Abstract

    Since Mg(2+)-ATP is the controlling factor for the rate-limiting enzyme in the cholesterol biosynthesis sequence that is targeted by the statin pharmaceutical drugs, comparison of the effects of Mg(2+) on lipoproteins with those of the statin drugs is warranted. Formation of cholesterol in blood, as well as of cholesterol required in hormone synthesis, and membrane maintenance, is achieved in a series of enzymatic reactions that convert HMG-CoA to cholesterol. The rate-limiting reaction of this pathway is the enzymatic conversion of HMG CoA to mevalonate via HMG CoA. The statins and Mg inhibit that enzyme. Large trials have consistently shown that statins, taken by subjects with high LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) values, lower its blood levels 35 to 65%. They also reduce the incidence of heart attacks, angina and other nonfatal cardiac events, as well as cardiac, stroke, and total mortality. These effects of statins derive less from their lowering of LDL-C than from their reduction of mevalonate formation which improves endothelial function, inhibits proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells and macrophages, promotes plaque stabilization and regression, and reduces inflammation, Mg has effects that parallel those of statins. For example, the enzyme that deactivates HMG-CoA Reductase requires Mg, making Mg a Reductase controller rather than inhibitor. Mg is also necessary for the activity of lecithin cholesterol acyl transferase (LCAT), which lowers LDL-C and triglyceride levels and raises HDL-C levels. Desaturase is another Mg-dependent enzyme involved in lipid metabolism which statins do not directly affect. Desaturase catalyzes the first step in conversion of essential fatty acids (omega-3 linoleic acid and omega-6 linolenic acid) into prostaglandins, important in cardiovascular and overall health. Mg at optimal cellular concentration is well accepted as a natural calcium channel blocker. More recent work shows that Mg also acts as a statin.

    Filed

  8. My favourite recent Cholesterol research papers are
    Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid?
    Full text PDF at link
    It concludes
    Our study provides an updated epidemiological indication of possible errors
    in the CVD risk algorithms of many clinical guidelines. If our findings are generalizable,
    clinical and public health recommendations regarding the ‘dangers’ of cholesterol should be revised.
    This is especially true for women, for whom moderately elevated cholesterol (by current standards) may prove to be not only harmless but even beneficial.

    and

    Association between serum cholesterol and noncardiovascular mortality in older age
    Higher total cholesterol was associated with a lower risk of noncardiovascular mortality in older adults.
    This association varied across the late-life span and was stronger in older age groups.

    Age- and sex-adjusted analyses showed that each 1-mmol/L increase in total cholesterol was associated with an approximately 12% lower risk of noncardiovascular mortality

    Age group-specific analyses demonstrated that this association reached significance after the age of 65 and increased in magnitude across each subsequent decade.

    This was driven largely by non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) and was partly attributable to cancer mortality.

    Conversely, HDL-C was not significantly associated with noncardiovascular mortality

  9. Diane
    My partner just rolls his eyes at all this. I can't get him to see the light. I hope that this information can change the culture because the information alone isn't going to change his mind. He needs peer pressure and ask-your-doctor TV commercials, apparently.
  10. Nads
    I hate that I work in the health industry (Physiotherapist) and I'm a witness to all those elderly men and women to whom they give these statins. I'm in no position to say anything. It's not my job. Yet we're trying to improve the fitness and strength of these people and that's very hard when the statins are depleting their muscles!
  11. Tom Hepplewhite
    Is it true cholesterol is the body's attempt at healing cardiovascular disease and so cholesterol does go up when there is cardiovascular disease but reducing cholesterol is pointless given that it isn't the cause?
  12. Disease Creep: How we're fooled into using more medicine than we need.This is a guest post from independent medical investigative journalist Jeanne Lenzer. She is a former Knight Science Journalism Fellow and a frequent contributor to BMJ, and has published works in The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Discover, The New Republic, and other outlets. Full text at link and well worth reading.
  13. The Truth About Ancel Keys: We’ve All Got It Wrong
    DENISE MINGER does it again. Not only does she make you laugh out loud she also manages to explain some complicated statistics in a way that keeps you interested and smiling.
  14. Serum cholesterol levels and survival after rtPA treatment in acute stroke
    Survival of stroke patients receiving current, most effective medical treatment is related to blood cholesterol levels, with an inverse relationship between cholesterol and mortality.
  15. Margaretrc
    @Gina, there are some great books out there that you could give/loan your doctor if you wish to provide them with scientific back up your position. They are written by fellow doctors, too. In fact, the newest one out (that I know of) is written by a cardiologist!!!!: "The Cholesterol Delusion" by Ernest N. Curtis, M.D. There's a great review on Dr. Eades' newest blog entry. Others are "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Malcolm Kendrick, M.D. and "Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You" by Uffe Ravnskov, M.D., PhD. There's also "Statins and the Misguided War on cholesterol" and "Lipitor, Thief of Memory" by Duane Graveline, M.D. If you are already aware of these books, my apologies. I appreciate your tactic of ditching the prescription rather than confront the doctor and have some sympathy for it. However, if we don't educate these doctors, who will? Also, many doctors get $ just for writing the prescription, regardless of whether you take it or not, (I think), so.... When my doctor prescribed Boniva for me, it took a while for me to gather the courage to talk to him. I actually filled the prescription--then dumped it. But my daughter, a vet, said I owed the doctor an explanation so, on my next visit, I explained my position and gave him a book that I had found that clearly discusses and references the argument against bisphosphonates for people with my level of risk (low). It's our health and we have a say in it. But until people start fighting back, doctors are going to continue to think they know best and push the drugs they're paid to push. Just saying...
  16. Milton
    @Tom (11): As I understand it, cholesterol is a vital component in the repair and rebuild functions of our body. It is such a critical component that every cell in the body is able to make cholesterol, and in fact most of the cholesterol in our bodies (as much as 70-80%) is created and not ingested. Which makes you think that maybe we place too much emphasis in trying to control a substance that is so important that the body is very active in regulating it.

    Unfortunately, cholesterol gets a bad rap as if it's something that is harmful to us. While there is some effort to split cholesterol into "good" and "bad" types, that is a mistaken notion. Cholesterol is cholesterol. HDL and LDL are not cholesterol. They are proteins that carry cholesterol to and from the areas in the body that need it. Neither cholesterol nor those proteins are the CAUSE of arterial blockage, though they are the substance that can get trapped within damaged artery walls. So when a doctor checks your blocked blood vessels, what does he see? Cholesterol. So it mistakenly gets the blame.

    This is like saying that since oxidation is a part of the process of arterial blockage, we should look for ways to reduce our oxygen intake, since less oxygen must mean less oxidation! So the way to better health is to breath very very shallow.

  17. Zepp
    Three Reasons to Abandon Low-Density
    Lipoprotein Targets

    http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org/content/5/1/2.full.pdf+html

  18. Ted Hutchinson thank you for your posts here.

    Ok, so I'm in a similar situation to many, having to wrestle with my doctor about statins. I've given him a bunch of articles, but he just says they all refer to old studies and mainly to only one study. I'm simply not able to argue with him. I will give him the article you linked to, Ted, which says, "This is especially true for women, for whom moderately elevated cholesterol (by current standards) may prove to be not only harmless but even beneficial."
    BUT, I do not have moderately elevated cholesterol. I have exceedingly elevated cholesterol.

    Total: 464.03
    HDL: 78.49
    LDL: 375.09 (but when I calculated with the Iranian method, they were a little less)
    Trig: 65

    I am fifty years old, do not smoke, rarely drink, have CFIDS (post viral fatigue syndrome), probably adrenal fatigue as well. No known history of heart disease, my brother has similar numbers, is five years older than me is fine. I rarely eat wheat, few grains, and take in quite a bit of coconut oil.

    All the anti statin studies I've looked at talk about 'moderately' elevated cholesterol. My LDL alone is above that, although if I do the ratios it's likely I have the 'right' kind of LDL. I live in Ireland, no VAP or NMR etc tests here, not even heard of.

  19. I should add I'm slightly underweight, my BMI is 18.
  20. Alexandra M
    Zepp - Thanks for that great link! Of course it will be totally ignored in favor of:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/w_DietAndFitness/red-meat-tied-increased...

  21. Zepp
    Sandra!
    Tot/HDL= 464/78,5=5,9

    Its the safest predictable mesurment on ordinary lipids.

    It should below 6, preferly under 5!

  22. @TedHutchison on Disease Creep: I made it my goal last year to get off all medication and at this point the only medicine I take is for migraines on an as needed basis. I think all too many doctors throw meds at people happy for a "magic pill" whether it works or not.

    I told my doctor who kept suggesting statins--even though my good cholesterol is excellent and the bad not really that bad-- that I didn't believe in them.

  23. 1 comment removed
  24. Susie
    I lost 75 lbs on LCHF in 2 years. I was a size 22, now size 10. I'm 5'1 1/2" tall. I am 54 yrs old. I have not had any illnesses since eating LCHF. I could not see my feet & now my waist curves in and tummy almost flat. The only exercise I do is walking.

    Now my total cholesterol (1/30/2014) is 396, Triglycerides 89, HDL 86, LDL 292 & High Density Lipoprotein 4.6.

    On 10/1/2012 my total cholesterol was 269, Triglycerides 146, HDL 63, LDL 177 & High Density Lipoprotein 4.3.

    I am on 1/2 Chlorthalidone 25 mg Tab for high blood pressure. 1/29/2014- 138/68

    I am afraid to see my doctor for these new test results. I emailed her today and asked for a particle size test for my LDL cholesterol. Have not made an appointment yet.

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