The following article form the
"Center for Medical Consumers" summaries the real Cholesterol
sham that is being imposed on the unsuspecting. I have highlighted
the key points to assist all to get the gist of this issue and ramp
up on these concerns. Naturally, pharma and their medical cronies
will not discuss these openly due their funding dependencies.
..."Dr. Ravnskov managed to push the envelope
further by making a case for high cholesterol as a protective against
cancer. He showed slides listing published studies that found higher
rates of infectious disease among hospitalized people with low cholesterol
levels. Also, several studies found higher cancer rates in people
with low cholesterol levels...
"Anyone who questions cholesterol usually finds his
funding cut off," said Paul Rosch, MD, who started
his talk with a reminder that half of all heart attacks occur in
people with normal cholesterol levels. "Stress has more deleterious
effects on the heart than cholesterol," said Dr. Rosch,
...hundreds of people wrote in to say they, too, had experienced
severe memory loss while on Lipitor. "Patients are reluctant
to report amnesia, or they attribute the symptoms to old age or
early Alzheimer's," explained Dr. Graveline. "And doctors
are reluctant to see that the drug they prescribed was the cause."
Still, the official word on Lipitor is that memory loss is not a
statin side effect. "Thousands of cases of memory dysfunction
have been reported to the FDA's Medwatch program," he said,
"but after two years, the agency still hasn't acted. And most
practicing physicians are unaware of the problem." Lipitor
is not the only statin linked to this side effect, observed Dr.
..."In drug trials, the pharmaceutical companies often
divide similar adverse effects into six or seven different categories
to keep the scarier side effects under 1%."...
...statin drugs deplete the body of an important anti-oxidant
(CQ10) with muscle wasting and heart failure as a result.
..."It has been pretty well documented from biopsies that
the severity of heart failure correlates with the people who have
the lowest levels of Q10."...
..."[People are eating] a diet high in grain and inappropriate
fats, instead of the natural animal fats, such as lard, tallow,
chicken fat, goose fat, and the natural vegetable fats, such as
olive, palm, and coconut oils, that we used to have in our diets,"
and contrary to the current "propaganda," she explained
that these fats and oils are essential components to a healthful
diet. These so-called good fats provide the major fuel for the heart,
kidneys, and skeletal muscles, said Dr. Enig, who said the inappropriate
fats are the highly processed polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean,
canola, and corn oils, which are promoted [ironically] as heart
SKEPTICS AND THE BAD NEWS ABOUT STATIN DRUGS
By Maryann Napoli (June 2003)
The cholesterol skeptics were there. So were the physicians who
challenge the safety and necessity of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
And then there were the lipid researchers whose findings totally
contradict the prevailing dietary advice to the public: Avoid saturated
fats, limit cholesterol, and use more polyunsaturated oils. Their
presentations were met with enthusiastic approval at a conference
held last spring in Arlington, Virginia. But then again, the attendees
were not the usual people who show up at a conference billed as
"Heart Disease in the 21st Century: Beyond the Lipid Hypothesis."
They were practicing physicians, biochemists, farmers, greenmarket
activists, researchers, cooks, parents of young children, and people
who have been told their cholesterol is too high. The general message
was: Fats are extremely important to good health...the right kinds
of fat, that is.
Cholesterol was the dominant topic of the two-day event, as well
as the subject of the opening lecture provocatively entitled, "High
Cholesterol Protects Against Disease." Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD,
a Danish physician who has published many critical papers about
the purported association between cholesterol and cardiovascular
disease, led off with a slide showing the results of all the major
clinical trials that attempted to prove that lowering cholesterol
in healthy but high-risk people would reduce their death rate from
heart disease. "The reduced rates of cardiovascular mortality
were small for men and non-existent for women," said Dr. Ravnskov,
who is the author of The Cholesterol Myths, a paperback that refutes
the theory that cholesterol in our food and in our blood causes
These cholesterol trials also looked at total mortality, that is,
the deaths from all causes, and found little difference between
the study participants who tried to lower their cholesterol and
those who did not. In other words, some clinical trials showed that
the heart disease death rates were, in fact, lower among men who
had reduced their cholesterol levels. But this benefit was offset
by a higher rate of deaths from other causes.
Given these unimpressive research results, why is high cholesterol
so firmly imbedded in our consciousness as a sure-fire sign of a
future heart attack? Dr. Ravnskov said that it all started with
the landmark Framingham Heart Study, which began following healthy
people in the early 1950s to see who had a heart attack and what
distinguished them from the people who did not. High cholesterol
was one risk factor--but it was only one of more than 240 others.
"They [public health officials, cardiologists, etc.] have confused
a statistical association with causation," he observed. "It's
as if they saw a house burning and determined that the bigger the
fire, the more fireman are present, and then concluded that firemen
cause burning houses."
When studies failed to prove that lowering cholesterol made any
lifesaving difference, researchers forged ahead with more multi-million
dollar clinical trials. Not until the statin drugs (Lipitor, Mevacor,
Zocor, Lescol, Crestor, Advicor) came along did cholesterol-lowering
finally prove to be lifesaving to high-risk but healthy people.
Whether this benefit might actually be due to the anti-inflammatory
effects of statins has been the topic of controversy ever since.
As with several of the speakers who would follow him, Dr. Ravnskov
is unimpressed with the reduction in heart disease mortality shown
for the statin drugs "When you look at the CARE trial [Cholesterol
And Recurrent Events], Pravachol did show a small benefit--after
five years 5.7% had died from heart disease in the [untreated] control
group, compared to only 4.6% in the treatment group, but [this benefit]
was not dose related." he said, referring to the expectation
that the more a person lowers his or her* cholesterol, the less
likely a heart-related death. Also, the people taking Pravachol
had a few more deaths from other causes. Dr. Ravnskov managed to
push the envelope further by making a case for high cholesterol
as a protective against cancer. He showed slides listing published
studies that found higher rates of infectious disease among hospitalized
people with low cholesterol levels. Also, several studies found
higher cancer rates in people with low cholesterol levels.
Women told to take statin drugs should be aware of this risk found
in the CARE trial: There were 12 cases of breast cancer in the women
taking Pravachol, compared with only one case in the untreated (control)
group. Statin drug proponents dismissed this worrisome finding as
a fluke, said Dr. Ravnskov, because the control group would be expected
to have had more than one case of breast cancer.
"Anyone who questions cholesterol usually finds his funding
cut off," said Paul Rosch, MD, who started his talk with a
reminder that half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal
cholesterol levels. "Stress has more deleterious effects on
the heart than cholesterol," said Dr. Rosch, who is a clinical
professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College
and president of the American Institute of Stress. He put a different
spin on the oft-quoted studies of immigrants with low rates of heart
disease that change for the worse years after they emigrated to
the U.S. The shift to a Western diet is usually identified as the
culprit, but Dr. Rosch suggests that the stress of adapting to a
new culture is harder on the heart. For example, a study of Japanese
male immigrants found a lower rate of heart attack among those who
consumed a Western diet but retained a Japanese lifestyle, compared
to those who continued to eat only traditional Japanese foods but
lived a Western lifestyle.
Statin Drugs & Memory Loss
Duane Graveline, MD, MPH, a retired family doctor and former NASA
scientist/astronaut, recounted his own hair-raising experience taking
the popular statin drug Lipitor for only six weeks. Soon after he
went for a walk, Dr. Graveline was found wandering, confused, and
reluctant to enter his own home because he didn't recognize it or
remember his wife's name. Six hours later--after being examined
by a neurologist and undergoing an MRI--he came to his senses. Transient
global amnesia (TGA) was diagnosed. Neither he nor his physician
suspected Lipitor, so Dr. Graveline was restarted on one-half the
previous dose. Again, at six weeks, the TGA returned. This time,
he regressed to his teen-age years with no memory for his time in
college, medical school, or the recent past. "Many decades
of my life were obliterated," he said. "The diagnosis
was TGA: cause unknown."
To verify his growing suspicion that Lipitor might be the cause,
Dr. Graveline wrote to Joe and Teresa Graedon, the husband and wife
team that writes the syndicated column called The People's Pharmacy,
which specializes in warning the public about drug side effects.
The Graedons asked for permission to print his letter in their column,
and once it appeared, hundreds of people wrote in to say they, too,
had experienced severe memory loss while on Lipitor. "Patients
are reluctant to report amnesia, or they attribute the symptoms
to old age or early Alzheimer's," explained Dr. Graveline.
"And doctors are reluctant to see that the drug they prescribed
was the cause." Still, the official word on Lipitor is that
memory loss is not a statin side effect. "Thousands of cases
of memory dysfunction have been reported to the FDA's Medwatch program,"
he said, "but after two years, the agency still hasn't acted.
And most practicing physicians are unaware of the problem."
Lipitor is not the only statin linked to this side effect, observed
A reporter pointed out to that FDA-required trials do not report
memory loss in people taking statins. An explanation was offered
by Joel M. Kauffman, PhD, research professor of chemistry and biochemistry
at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. "In drug
trials, the pharmaceutical companies often divide similar adverse
effects into six or seven different categories to keep the scarier
side effects under 1%." To illustrate his point, Dr. Kauffman
said that amnesia could be divided into confusion, memory loss,
senility, and cognitive impairment. There is general acknowledgment,
however, that muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy,
and rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal muscle disease, are statin
side effects, though they are thought to be rare.
With a little distance from his harrowing TGA experience, Dr. Graveline
said that he began to question why he took Lipitor in the first
place. "I had come to think of cholesterol as my personal enemy--my
cholesterol levels had climbed [over the years] despite a fat-restricted
diet, but no one mentions the proper function of cholesterol in
the body," he continued. "We doctors march to the low-fat,
low-cholesterol band." He soon learned that cholesterol plays
a critical role in the maintenance and healthy functioning of cell
activity in the body.
Several speakers expressed the opinion that the statin drugs' ability
to reduce cardiovascular mortality has nothing to do with cholesterol
reduction, but instead can be attributed to their anti-inflammatory
effects. (A viewpoint that has been appearing in medical journals
over the last few years.) Furthermore, the physicians who addressed
the conference were united in their concern that the statin drugs
deplete the body of an important anti-oxidant with muscle wasting
and heart failure as a result. Peter Langsjoen, MD, of Tyler, Texas,
said that he left his invasive cardiology practice at the University
of Texas Health Center to specialize in "congestive heart failure,
primary and statin-induced diastolic dysfunction and other diseases
of the heart muscle." For over 20 years, he has been using
coenzyme Q10 to treat a broad range of cardiovascular diseases.
Q10, as he called it, can be purchased over the counter as a dietary
supplement in health food stores and pharmacies.
Dr. Langsjoen said that the research on the importance of Q10 ties
in nicely with the underlying philosophy of this conference because
increased levels of this "vitaminlike" substance can be
found in traditional foods with high fat content like organ meats,
seafood, and red meat. "I call Q10 vitaminlike because it has
properties of a vitamin," explained Dr. Langsjoen, "but
since we synthesize it, as well as get it in our diet, it's not
truly a vitamin." All statin drugs decrease both the blood
levels and cellular concentrations of Q10, observed Dr. Langsjoen,
the higher the dose, the greater the decrease in Q10. "As we
get older, our Q10 levels fall, but we really don't know why--could
be the diet," he said. "People who make it to 90 tend
to have high Q10 levels, though. Most of the Q10 research has been
focused on heart failure, said Dr. Langsjoen because the heart uses
a huge amount of Q10. "It has been pretty well documented from
biopsies that the severity of heart failure correlates with the
people who have the lowest levels of Q10."
What's more, there is a serious gap in information regarding the
role of statins in treating heart failure. "All the major statin
trials excluded patients with class III and IV [advanced] heart
failure, so we have no safety data in these patients with heart
failure, though statins are prescribed to them with reckless abandon."
Dr. Langsjoen is not alone in this concern which was expressed over
a year ago by Australian physicians who asked, "Statins and
Chronic Heart Failure: do we need a large-scale outcome trial?"
in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Most medications destined to cause an adverse effect will do so
early on, according to Dr. Langsjoen, who found this not to be the
case with statins. "You don't realize you're in trouble until
two or three years later, and it's hard to relate it to a drug you
started a few years ago.
Dietary Fats and Oils
The story of how statin drugs became a multi-billion-dollar industry
may have started with the identification of cholesterol as the chief
culprit in heart disease, but in time the public learned that the
low-fat diet would prevent heart attacks in people without symptoms
of heart disease--an idea that the sponsors of this conference believe
has produced numerous health problems. Mary Enig, PhD, an expert
in lipid chemistry, spoke of the misinformation perpetuated upon
the public by the government-sponsored "pyramid diet,"
which was introduced over 20 years ago and marked the beginning
of the promotion of the low-fat diet. Along with the "use sparingly"
advice, fats, oils, and sugar are at the very tip of the Food Guide
Pyramid symbol that appears on food labels.
Dr. Enig believes that the rise of obesity is related to type of
foods Americans have been encouraged to eat by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, the food industry, and consumer groups. "[People
are eating] a diet high in grain and inappropriate fats, instead
of the natural animal fats, such as lard, tallow, chicken fat, goose
fat, and the natural vegetable fats, such as olive, palm, and coconut
oils, that we used to have in our diets," and contrary to the
current "propaganda," she explained that these fats and
oils are essential components to a healthful diet. These so-called
good fats provide the major fuel for the heart, kidneys, and skeletal
muscles, said Dr. Enig, who said the inappropriate fats are the
highly processed polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean, canola,
and corn oils, which are promoted [ironically] as heart protective.
"Before the advent of modern vegetable oils, mankind consumed
small accounts of fresh, undamaged polyunsaturated fatty acids found
naturally as a component of his food," according to Dr. Enig.
"Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids is much higher
today because vegetable oils are used widely as cooking oils and
in salad dressings, baked goods, and snack foods. Polyunsaturated
oils should never be heated--yet during the extraction process these
oils are subjected to very high temperatures that encourage rancidity
and the formation of many harmful breakdown products." An example
of the harmful breakdown product, she explained, is something called
trans fatty acids, which are now generally recognized by mainstream
medicine as harmful to the heart. Dr. Enig said that trans fatty
acids do not appear on the nutrition labeling of food products,
but they should. Trans fatty acids are abundant in partially hydrogenated
vegetable oils, which are usually listed in the ingredients section
of the food label, and are found in only small amounts in animal
Dr. Enig is a leading spokesperson for the Weston A. Price Foundation,
which sponsored this conference. The foundation is named for a dentist
who, beginning in the 1930s, studied the dentition of healthy isolated
people untouched by Western civilization. He found that they inevitably
had great bone structure and beautiful straight teeth.
Primitive diets were nutrient dense, with four times the calcium
and mineral and ten times the level of fat-soluble vitamins, compared
to the modern American diet. Dr. Price continued to study these
isolated people as Western foods were introduced. The white flour,
sugar, devitalized oils, etc., gradually displaced the traditional
foods, such as organ meats, fish eggs, and butter from pasture-fed
cows. Changes in diet led to rampant tooth decay; narrowing of the
face that brought on a susceptibility to sinus infections; narrowing
of the pelvis that led to childbirth difficulties; and behavioral
problems. Sally Fallon, president of the tax-exempt foundation,
told the conference that its goal is to disseminate the research
of this "nutrition pioneer. According to the information packet
supplied to the conference attendees, the Weston A. Price Foundation
takes no food industry funding.
For More Information:
-Lots of free information about the traditional foods championed
by the Weston A. Price Foundation can be found on its Web site (www.westonaprice.org).
Tapes of this and past conferences can be purchased via this Web
site. Those without Internet access can call (202) 333-HEAL to learn
the cost of receiving printed material from the Foundation.
-Visit the International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics at www.thincs.org.
Most of the conference speakers belong to this Network. The 51 members
are listed along with their publications.
--- *A study of elderly French women living in a nursing home showed
that those with the highest cholesterol levels lived the longest
(The Lancet, 4/22/89). The death rate was more than five times higher
for women with very low cholesterol. Several other studies have
shown similar results. Ironically, Dr. Ravnskov noted that in his
practice it was usually the elderly women who were most worried
about their cholesterol levels.
Maryann Napoli is the associate director of the Center for Medical
Consumers in New York City.
For more information see: BEYOND
THE LIPID HYPOTHESIS - Exposing the Fallacy that Cholesterol and
Saturated Fat Cause Heart Disease
See also : Drumming
up More Business