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Statins and cholesterol

Blog categories: 

Taking on a few myths.

Anti-cholesterol drugs (statins):

Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are bad for you. Here's a few links, but that's just the tip of the iceberg:

Kauffman: Statin Drugs - A Critical Review of the Risk/Benefit Clinical Research

I'd like the details for this one, too: submitted, accepted, and published, OK, but WHERE?

Anthony Colpo: Statin Drugs: The Ultimate Manifestation of Anti-Cholesterol Stupidity?

This looks like yet another opinion piece, but that's all you get if the big medical journals can't be bothered to publish quality articles against statins. Or, if they actually have published such, please point me to some of them - I haven't found any, which of course in itself is rather significant, no?

Statins deplete co-enzyme Q10, which means you get, in order: 1) muscle myopathy (muscle weakness and/or pain), 2) rhabdomyolysis, which isn't always reversible (muscular necrosis - your muscles disintegrate), 3) kidney failure, 4) death.
They estimate that 0.1 - 2.5 % of those taking statins are affected.

Herbalists see myopathy and/or rhabdomyolysis in something like 10-20 % of clients who take statins. This can of course be due to natural selection: people who have strange symptoms visit herbalists to get rid of them. It can also be due to consistent underreporting, all the way, of statin side effects.
The myopathy and rhabdomyolysis is usually (but not always) reversed by stopping the statins. An alternative would be to supplement with CoQ10, but hey, statins are a stupid idea to start with, unless you're in the high-risk category of people with hypercholesterolemia; in that case, eat your CoQ10, religiously.


Cholesterol, against all current wisdom, is not bad for you. It's not a marker of heart disease risk, it's just a marker of age. Here's a few very enlightening links about that:

Mary Enig on the margarine lobby and their very successful propaganda against animal fats (and against cholesterols): "Oiling America".

This anti-cholesterol thing of course plays into the pockets of large pharmacogiants with anticholesterol drugs (statins), so if you as a external-funding-dependent researcher dare say anything at all against either the cholesterol-is-dangerous dogma or against statin drugs you're pretty much unemployed ever after.

Gary Taubes got a journalistic prize for his piece "The Soft Science of Dietary Fat".

Of course, Ravnskov is well-known for his vehemently anti-anti-cholesterol point of view; his very rabidity is probably detrimental to his street cred.

And there's a whole organization of cholesterol sceptics. It takes guts to belong to this group; hats off to them all.

There's other interesting things, too, like the fact that cholesterols fluctuate with the seasons. Do the researchers then suggest to make the "disease marker" dependent on seasons? Of course not. Thus, about 1/5 of the population that is sheep-like enough to get checked for cholesterol, and lamb-like enough to start taking anti-cholesterol meds when their docs say so, are put on those meds (for life, pretty much), where they would've gotten completely clean papers in summer.

It's like, yargh. Here's hoping for honest scientific journal editors, honest docs, honest researchers, and, a hopeless hope, I know, honest pharmacogiants.

Related entry: Cholesterol and statins.
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