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A new study finds the chemical war against cholesterol using statin drugs was justified through statistical deception and the cover up of over 300 adverse health effects documented in the biomedical literature.
Better safe than sorry, right? This is the logic that defines the grasp that the pharmaceutical company has on our psyche. Perhaps your mother, father, brother, and boyfriend have been recommended cholesterol-lowering medication, just to help hedge their bets around a possible chest-clutching demise. In fact, recent guidelines have expanded the pool of potential statin medication recipients, so that there are very few of us who seem to be walking around with acceptable levels of artery clogging sludge.
But how is it that drug companies got a foothold? How have they convinced doctors that their patients need these medications, and need them now? They are banking (literally) on the fact that you haven't brushed up on statistics in a while.
It turns out that a common sleight of hand in the medical literature is the popularization of claims around "relative risk reduction" which can make an effect appear meaningful, when the "absolute risk reduction" reveals its insignificance. In this way, 100 people are treated with statin medications to offer 1 person benefit, and the change from a 2% to a 1% heart attack rate is billed a 50% reduction rather than a 1% improvement, which is what it actually is.
Perhaps this would still qualify as better safe than sorry if these medications weren't some of the most toxic chemicals willfully ingested, with at least 300 adverse health effects evident in the published literature so far, with at least 28 distinct modes of toxicity, including:
- Muscle damage (myotoxicity): view 80 studies here.
- Nerve damage (neurotoxicity): view 54 studies here.
- Liver damage (hepatoxocity): view 32 studies here.
- Endocrine disruption: view 16 studies here.
- Cancer-promoting: view 9 studies here.
- Diabetes-promoting: view 8 studies here.
- Cardiovascular-damaging: view 15 studies here.
- Birth defect causing (teratogenic): view 11 studies here.
Beyond the known fact that statin drugs deplete the body of two essential nutrients: coenzyme Q10 and selenium, they are also highly myotoxic and neurotoxic. Because the heart is one of the most nerve-saturated muscles in the human body, these two modes of toxicity combined represent a 'perfect storm' of cardiotoxicity – a highly ironic fact considering statin drugs are promoted as having 'life-saving' cardioprotective properties.
A powerful expert review by Diamond and Ravnskov decimates any plausible indication for these cholesterol-lowering agents, giving full consideration to the above mentioned side effects.
They plainly state:
"Overall, our goal in this review is to explain how the war on cholesterol has been fought by advocates that have used statistical deception to create the appearance that statins are wonder drugs, when the reality is that their trivial benefit is more than offset by their adverse effects."
The Cholesterol Meme
It's tempting to look the number one killer of Americans in the eye, and say, "WHO did this? Who is responsible?" It is also consistent with American perceptions of health and wellness to demonize a natural and vital part of our physiology rather than look at lifestyle factors including government subsidies of inflammatory food products.
Not only is low cholesterol a problem, but it puts an individual at risk for viral infection, cancer, and mental illness because of the vital role that lipids play in cell membrane integrity, hormone production, and immunity.
A broadly toxic xenobiotic chemical, statin medications have only been demonstrated to be of slight benefit by statistical manipulation. For example, Diamond and Raynskov elucidate that:
- The JUPITER trial of Crestor vs placebo resulted in increased fatal heart attacks in the treatment group which were obscured by combing fatal and nonfatal infarctions.
- In the ASCOT trial was used to generate PR copy boasting Lipitor's 36% reduction of heart attack risk, a figure arrived at through use of relative risk reduction from 3 to 2%.
- The HPS study has 26% drop out rate prior to the beginning of the trial (which also demonstrated a 1% improvement with treatment), so that those with significant side effects were functionally excluded from the study.
While no study has ever shown any association between the degree of cholesterol lowering and beneficial outcomes described in terms of absolute risk reduction (likely because they would be perceived as insignificant), the adverse effects are not only always presented in these terms, but are also minimized through the technique of splitting common side effects up into multiple different categories to minimize the apparent incidence.
These side effects are real and common and include "increased rates of cancer, cataracts, diabetes, cognitive impairment and musculoskeletal disorders". Their paper focuses on three primary adverse effects, all of which are likely to land you in the "sorry to have thought I would be better safe than sorry" category.
In at least four trials, statistically significant increases in cancer incidence was found, and handily dismissed by all authors as insignificant because they claimed "no known potential biological basis" is known. This may be because the authors are still thinking of cancer as a genetic time bomb that has nothing to do with mitochondrial dysfunction, loss of lipid integrity, or environmental exposures.