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Statin Nation II – What Really Causes Heart Disease?


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What really causes heart disease? Are healthy people being turned into profitable patients by the statin industry?

High cholesterol is hardly a main cause of heart disease. The benefits of cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) for heart-healthy individuals has been exaggerated dramatically, and the risks of side effects have been silenced. This has made these drugs the most profitable ever for the pharmaceutical industry.

Statin Nation II

The movie Statin Nation examined a lot of this when it was released a few years ago. Recently the sequel was released – Statin Nation II. Watch the trailer above and you can watch the entire movie on the membership pages (free trial here).

Watch Statin Nation II

About the Movie

Statin Nation II goes into more detail on all the paradoxes and contradictions in the cholesterol hypothesis. And how the people in the pharmaceutical industry are allowed to collect the evidence that is later used to create official guidelines on who’ll need their drugs.

As an added bonus people who are partly funded by the pharmaceutical industry are allowed to sit on the expert committees that decide on the guidelines (using the industry’s evidence). Not surprisingly a lot of people end up being told they need the drugs, even healthy people. Incredibly naive, really.

The problem? These are powerful drugs with significant risk of side effects. Taking them without needing to is not just a waste of money – it actually does more harm then good.

The movie also examines what the real cause of heart disease might be. Among other things stress and stress hormones, which likely play a significant role.

Selected Statistics

However, I think the movie sometimes stretches it a bit by using selected statistics. The same thing they criticize others for doing.

For example, they point at a study that concludes that people with many common risk factors (such as obesity or high blood pressure) have a lower risk of dying if they suffer a heart attack, as compared to others. Based on this they suggest these risk factors are not important for heart disease.

To me this is misleading. The statistics only include people who have already had a heart attack. This disregards the fact that many more people with these risk factors will suffer a heart attack in the first place. People who get a heart attack despite lacking conventional risk factors may have a different, more dangerous, type of heart disease due to other causes, for example a different genetic background.

In any case, heart disease is a lot more common with the risk factors – obesity, high blood pressure etc. – the opposite of the impression you may get from the movie.

Who Really Needs Statins?

It’s clear that statins are effective drugs. They DO tend to lower the risk of heart disease – probably by reducing the amount of small, dense LDL particles in the blood. This reduces damage/inflammation in the blood vessels.

For people with heart disease or extremely high risk for heart disease it may very well be worth taking a statin drug.

The problem is that as any effective drug statins also have significant side effects – like muscle ache, weakness, marginally lowered IQ and even an increased risk of diabetes type 2. These are not drugs you should take without a very good reason. If you do that they will probably do you more harm than good.

Watch Statin Nation

Keeping things like this in mind, the movie is well worth watching and the criticism of the pharmaceutical industry feels fair enough.

Watch Statin Nation 1 and 2 (for members, free trial available)

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15 Comments

  1. Paul TR
  2. BobM
    The problem with risk factors is that they're abysmally bad at predicting who will actually have a heart attack. See Malcolm Kendrik's book The Great Cholesterol Con, in which he reviews some calculators based on risk factors.

    Also, the calculators that use the risk factors can't agree on what's important. Here's a risk calculator from the National Heart, lung, and Blood Institute:

    http://cvdrisk.nhlbi.nih.gov/

    Here's another one from the Mayo clinic:

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/heart-disease-risk/ITT-20084942

    I entered my data into both. The former gave me a risk of 5%, the latter a risk of 40%.

    The latter told me I needed to do the following:

    "Eat a healthy diet that emphasizes: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains, Low-fat dairy products and low-fat proteins, such as poultry, fish and legumes"

    If I did this, I could improve my risk to 18% from 40%.

    What a crock of crap. I refuse to eat most fruits, all whole grains, all legumes, and anything that's "low fat". I guess I'm destined to die of a heart attack, even though eating low carb (and now intermittent fasting) has caused me to lose over 30 pounds, reduced my fasting blood sugar level, increased my HDL (first time ever), etc.

  3. Zepp
    If one have a deficit of mykotoxins one can take Statins as substitut!
  4. Paul TR
    Reply: #7
  5. Paul TR
  6. Boundless
    re: It’s clear that statins are effective drugs.

    So is hemlock, for generous definitions of "effective", but there's that nagging question of all-cause mortality.

    re: They DO tend to lower the risk of heart disease ...

    And raise the risk of dying of something else. Only two groups arguably get net benefit, and it's minor:
    - middle-aged males who have had an MI
    - people with FH

    In both cases, a diet and lifestyle approach* might provide more CVD protection and also eliminate the statin risks, for dramatically improved net benefit.

    In extreme FH cases where diet alone isn't doing it, statins might have some value, but only if stern cautions are provided regarding the side effects and the crucial need for CoQ10 supplementation (or just wait for PCSK9 inhibitors, which may have their own issues).

    re: – probably by reducing the amount of small, dense LDL particles in the blood.

    They do that, but there's disagreement that it's the root of the MI risk reduction. Kendrick, for example, thinks the benefit arises from NO synth.

    And then we have the serious question of: is the data supporting statins trustworthy. At least one of the key trials won't allow independent investigators to look at the raw data. We also have this in the news this week:
    http://www.drugawareness.org/editor-of-lancet-medical-research-is-unr...
    ________
    * Bill Davis' Cureality (formerly TrackYourPlaque) claims to be having great success this way.

  7. Stephen
    Thank you for posting this excellent video. It clearly explains the structure and functions of the major lipid players. It is well worth the time to watch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXkE8_NdAyQ

  8. Paul TR
    Personally, I like the talk by Prof. Johnson. Work in his lab showed that CICO is a faulty concept (as those with clinical experience know anyway).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1afyKN18S0
  9. Paul TR
  10. Paul TR
    Reply: #11
  11. Stephen
    All good talks. Thank you. I am coming to understand, from the Ken Sikaris talk and elsewhere, that the only lipid number that bears real significance is triglyceride. The rest are driven by and can be predicted by this value. If your triglycerides are high then you are in trouble, regardless of what the rest of the numbers are.
    Reply: #12
  12. Paul TR
    "...real significance is triglyceride…"
    Yes it is a very powerful marker, the other one is fasting insulin.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q90868BIxbI
  13. Paul TR
  14. Paul TR
  15. Paul TR

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