Last week “The Times” contained an article headlined, “Statin scare stories are reason for heart attacks.”
The implication of this article was that the research showing serious side effects from statins (please see earlier blogs) including:
- muscle pain
- type 2 diabetes
- reduction of effective coenzyme Q10
- impaired mental function
- complication with some statins and some antibiotics
is somehow no more than a scare story.
Danish research is cited suggesting that while one in ten statin users in a trial number reported side-effects not all of these people were suffering statin related problems. There is (blogs passim) evidence that side-effects are under-reported. About 6 months ago a friend of mine, who is a vigorous 70 year old, complained that his ability to play tennis had suddenly declined seriously. He found that his mental function was reduced and when he eventually ran for a ball it was like trying to run in diving boots. I immediately asked him if he had recently been prescribed statins and, of course, his decline turned out to have coincided with statin use. After discussion he decided to stop his statins. A month later he reported that he was back to his old self. I recently met him again and asked how he was. He said he was alright, which did not sound that encouraging. It turned out that his GP had persuaded him to go onto a half-dose and he had agreed!
The Danish researchers allegedly asserted that 2% of heart attacks were explained by stopping statins and that [this sounds contradictory] “1 per cent of deaths from cardiovascular disease associated with early discontinuance of statins.” Putting aside the question of how it could possibly be said in any case that stopping statins had caused, or even resulted in failing to prevent, deaths from cardiovascular disease, there is a presumption here that statins have any significant benefits. The magnitude of the benefit to be derived from statins really depends on whether you believe that low cholesterol means that you are less likely to suffer ill health and death. The research shows the opposite. One day the statin lobby will be discredited in the world media, but given that there is so much money being derived from statins that day is probably still a long time off.
It is the oxidization of cholesterol and not the cholesterol itself that causes cardiovascular disease. The answer is not a drug with serious side-effects, but antioxidant supplementation. Avoid sugar, sweeteners, cooking by heating all oils (except coconut oil, which is a saturated fat like animal fat and butter – olive oil on salads is good, but don’t heat it), excess exercise and stress, air pollution, obesity (a little fat is good), processed foods, hydrogenated fat etc..