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Statins and cholesterol

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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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Ah... just got a call from my statin client. In short, she was on statins for just 2-3 months, 2-3 years ago, developed myopathy (muscle weakness) and has never gotten any better. She was at the point where if she sat down for a half hour, she couln't get up.

I had her use St. Johns Wort oil externally, and a blend of St. John's Wort, Solomon's Seal and Black Cohosh (all which I consider connective tissue anti-inflammatories, and then each herb according to their specific indications... the SJW for nerve irritation/inflammation, the solomon's seal for tendon ligament inflammations and stiffness, the black cohosh for the constant dull achey pain).

Now she says she can get up 80% of the And her hot flashes are better... how's that for side effects?

Yeah, I can't find anything in JAMA that even remotely resembles the piece described. That's with PubMed and EMBASE Drugs & Pharmacology--I thought I would be clever and surprise you with the PDF, but you're right, it just can't be found. Suspicious, that.

Nor, with PubMed only, anything matching the description of the Kauffman piece--I'd guess because he is a professor of chem, and because big journals likely would shy away from such an article anyway.

A big fat pain, to be sure.

Thanks for trying, Persimmon! Kauffman has replied to my emails; more when I'm back in town.
And yes, that's the sort of thing I'm talking about, Jim. 'course, less physical side effects like impaired memory (search for "spacedoc") and personality changes are just as likely, on statins ... as is a heart attack due to anger, 'cos you're more likely to be cranky if you don't have enough cholesterol in your blood. Y-a-r-g-h.

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