A few months ago, the ABC TV show “Catalyst” ran a documentary series titled ‘The Heart of the Matter’. The story challenged conventional knowledge and medical paradigms on cholesterol treatment and in particular provided compelling evidence on the reckless and dangerous use of the drug Statin by the medical profession. You can watch part of the documentary here:
There was an immediate critical response from the mainstream media, conventional health professionals and organisations including the Australian Heart Foundation describing the documentary as sensational, irresponsible and biased.
According to the big pharmaceutical companies Statin drugs are “miracle” medicines that have prevented countless heart attacks and strokes. Worldwide sales of Statin are $33 billion dollars and rising.
Something doesn’t add up. If Statins are so dangerous, why has the medical world flooded the market with this drug? A cynical but obvious explanation for widespread over-prescription is the vast amounts of money they generate.
More than 20 million prescriptions are written in Australia each year for Statin drugs. These drugs are prescribed for lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver. In effect, these drugs block the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol. Now that is a problem.
Cholesterol actually plays an important role in maintaining health. When cholesterol levels are too low, the cell membrane can become ‘leaky’, a situation the body interprets as an emergency, releasing a whole heap of corticoid hormones that work by taking cholesterol from one part of the body and transporting it to areas where it is lacking. Cholesterol also regulates proper hormonal levels and is the precursor substance for the production of vitamin D.
People who take cholesterol-lowering Statin drugs are becoming vitamin D deficient. It is also known that Statins are responsible for depleting CoQ10 levels, a vital substance that is necessary for cellular energy production (not to mention cardiovascular health). People who are on Statin medication should consider both CoQ10 and vitamin D supplementation.
Research recently published in American Chemical Society’s weekly journal Biochemistry suggests that chronic, low cholesterol levels in the brain might trigger anxiety and depression due to the effect of Statins on serotonin cell receptors
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal looked at 2,004,692 patients aged 30-84 years old (including 225,922 new Statin users) and found that Statin use was associated with moderate or serious liver dysfunction, acute renal failure, moderate or serious myopathy (muscle disease), and cataract. In fact for every heart attack the drug prevented, more people suffered liver damage, kidney failure, cataracts or extreme muscle weakness as a result of taking their Statin.
The researchers who led the 2010 British Medical Journal study on Statins found that for every 10,000 women treated with Statins, there were only 271 fewer cases of heart disease compared to extra 74 cases of liver damage, 23 cases of acute kidney failure, 39 cases of extreme muscle weakness and 307 cases of cataracts. In other words, Statins literally harmed 443 people, while ‘helping’ 271 people.
There are conditions where the use of Statin is justified and to quit taking the medication would not be recommended. Consider CoQ10 and vitamin D supplementation . Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.
For most people, making lifestyle changes is a safer option. Make the dietary and lifestyle changes you need to make to reduce your risk of disease. Quit smoking, eat fresh wholesome foods and eliminate or reduce the highly processed fast foods.
BM/2010:340:c2240 - Balancing the intended and unintended effects of Statins