Statins Harm The Heart, Confirmed Once Again.


Statins Harm The Heart, Confirmed Once Again

New research published in the journal PLoS indicates that the use of the cholesterol-lowing class of drugs known as statins is associated with an increased prevalence of microalbuminuria, a well-known marker of vascular dysfunction, affecting both cardiovascular and kidney disease risk.

Statins Harm The Heart

Microalbuminuria is known to double the risk for a cardiovascular event in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and is a marker for endothelial function; endothelial dysfunction may, in fact, be far more significant than elevated blood lipids in determining cardiovascular disease risk. This new finding therefore calls into question the justification for using statin drugs for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, which is presently the standard of care in the drug-base conventional medical model.

According to the study:

Microalbuminuria (MAU) is considered as a predictor or marker of cardiovascular and renal events. Statins are widely prescribed to reduce cardiovascular risk and to slow down progression of kidney disease. But statins may also generate tubular MAU. The current observational study evaluated the impact of statin use on the interpretation of MAU as a predictor or marker of cardiovascular or renal disease…
Use of statins is independently associated with MAU, even after adjusting for bias by indication to receive a statin.

This study confirms a growing body of research indicating that statin drugs are cardiotoxic. Examples of this cardiotoxicy are as follows:

A review published in the journal Biofactors in 2004 found that the use of statin drugs may be resulting in coenzyme q10 depletion, and raised the possibility that this could be behind the congestive heart failure epidemic presently afflicting those in the United States.

Another more recent study published in the journal of Clinical Cardiology demonstrated that statin drugs weaken the heart muscle in humans.

 

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of statin therapy on myocardial function as measured with echocardiography with tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) and strain imaging (SI) independent of its lipid-lowering effect. BACKGROUND: Statin use is known to improve outcomes in the primary and secondary prevention of ischemic heart disease, but their use is also associated with myopathy, muscle weakness and in rare cases, rhabdomyolysis. We sought to evaluate whether TDI and SI is able to identify changes in myocardial function associated with statin use. METHODS: Myocardial function was evaluated in 28 patients via echocardiography with TDI and SI. We identified 12 patients (5 females) without overt cardiovascular disease (including hypertension, smoking, and diabetes) that were on statin therapy and compared their echocardiographic findings with 16 (12 females) age, sex, and cholesterol-profile-matched controls. Tissue Doppler imaging parameters of diastolic (E(‘)/A(‘) and E/E(‘)) and systolic (S’) function were measured. Regional systolic function was obtained by SI in 4-chamber, 2-chamber, long axis, and average global views. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in myocardial function as measured by Doppler and minor differences as measured via TDI among the 2 groups. There was significantly better function noted with SI in the control group vs the statin group in the 4-chamber (-19.05% +/- 2.45% vs -16.47% +/- 2.37% P = 0.009), 2-chamber (-20.30% +/- 2.66% vs -17.45% +/- 4.29% P = 0.03), long axis (-17.63% +/- 3.79% vs -13.83% +/- 3.74% P = 0.01), and average global (-19.0% +/- 2.07% vs -15.91% +/- 2.81% P = 0.004) views. CONCLUSION: Statin therapy is associated with decreased myocardial function as evaluated with SI.

 

A growing body of clinical research now indicates that the cholesterol-lowering class of drugs known as statins, are associated with over 300 adverse health effects — research boldly flying in the face of national health policy, medical insurance premium guidelines, statin drug manufacturer advertising claims, and the general sentiment of the public, with approximately 1 in every 4 adult Americans over 45 currently using these drugs to “prevent heart disease.”

The Cholesterol Myth

For well over 40 years, statin drugs have successfully concretized a century old myth about the primary cause of heart disease: namely, that cholesterol “causes” plaque build up in the arteries, ultimately leading to obstruction of blood flow, and subsequent morbidity and mortality.

Indeed, the medical establishment and drug companies have been singing the praises of this “cholesterol myth,” to the tune of 25 billion dollars in statin drug sales, annually.

While it is true that oxidized low-density lipoprotein is found within the atheromatous plaque that is found in damaged arteries, it is less likely a cause than an effect of heart disease. The underlying damage to the lining of the artery, which could be infectious, chemical, stress and/or nutritionally-related, comes before the immune response that results in plaque buildup there. Blaming LDL cholesterol for causing heart disease, is like blaming the scab for the injury that caused it to form, or, like blaming the band-aid for the scab it is covering — this is, after all, the inborn and fatal flaw of allopathic medicine which focuses only on symptoms of disease, which it then — fool-heartedly — attempts to suppress by any chemical means necessary.

Death By Statins?

No one can deny that statins do exactly what they are designed to do: suppress cholesterol production and reduce measurable blood serum levels. The question is, rather, at what price do they accomplish this feat, and for what ultimate purpose?

With the National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines, having been designed by “experts” on the payroll of statin drug manufacturers, requiring ultra-low levels to obtain a strictly theoretical and numerical definition of “health,” statin drugs are guaranteed to receive first-line treatment status in the goal of the preventing and treating heart disease through lipid suppression.

What is at question here, is whether the unintended, adverse effects of this chemical class of drugs are less, the same or worse than the purported “cardiovascular” benefits they provide?

Fundamentally, statin drugs damage the muscles and nerves in the body — so much so that a dose as low as 5 mg a day (albeit in rare cases) can kill a human. There are well over 100 studies demonstrating the myotoxic, or muscle-harming effects of these drugs, and over 80 demonstrating the effects of nerve damage, as well. When you consider that a vast proportion of our body is comprised of muscles and coordinating nerve systems, this drug has the potential to cause damage to the entire body, and undoubtedly does so universally, differing only in the matter of degree — the damage occurring acutely in those at the tip of the iceberg, asymptomatically in the majority of others at the base.

Moreover, statin myotoxicity is not exclusive to skeletal muscle. If you consider that the heart is also a muscle, in fact, is our most tireless muscle, an obvious red flag should go up. It is a remarkable fact that it took over 40 years before the biomedical research and publishing fields were able to produce a human study, like the one published in the Journal of Clinical Cardiology in Dec. 2009, showing that statin drugs, despite billions of advertising/marketing dollars to the contrary, actually weaken the heart muscle. 

These results, while disturbing, are to be expected given the well-known problem associated with statin drug use, namely, the inhibition of the mevalonate pathway necessary to produce the heart-essential nutrient coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency itself may be a major contributing cause to heart disease. There is also research that statin drugs deplete the body of the cardioprotective minerals (and associated mineral-protein complexes) zinc and selenium. This finding may also explain why rates of heart failure may be increasing in the general population given these drugs.

While the discovery that statin drugs, instead of preventing heart disease, likely contribute to it, is surprising and counterintuitive, it should not distract from the more disturbing discovery that they contribute to over 300 disease and/or adverse health effects.

Millions of statin drugs users around the globe are risking their lives on a bad bet that taking a magic chemical pill will reduce their risk of dying of a disease that is not caused by a lack of the drug. What is more likely to happen, however, is that the quality and duration of their lives will be reduced, profoundly, along with billions of dollars of squandered cash that could have been spent on authentically medicinal and cardioprotective foods, nutrients, minerals and vitamins.

In light of these findings, a very serious question is raised: are those who are party to the manufacture, promotion, administration and/or prescribing of this chemical class of drugs, in violation of the medical ethical principle of informed consent? And is this ethical violation, insofar as it results in injury to those who have been mislead and/or coerced to take these drugs, also a legal/criminal one?

Cracking the Cholesterol Myth: How Statins Harm The Body and Mind


Cracking the Cholesterol Myth: How Statins Harm The Body and Mind

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:

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.

Cancer

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.

With statistically significant increases in cancer incidence and deaths, in some trials, the minimal cardiovascular benefit is far eclipsed by the cancer mortality. In one of the only long-term trials, there was a doubling of the incidence of ductal and lobular breast cancer in women taking statins for more than ten years. One of many reasons that women should never be treated with these medications.

Myopathy

As one of the more well-known side effects of statins, muscle breakdown and associated pain, or myopathy has also been obscured in the literature.  Despite an incidence up to 40% in the first months of treatment, researchers only catalogue patients who had muscular symptoms in addition to elevations in a blood measure called creatine kinase (CK) at ten times normal for two measures (not 9.9, not 8, and not one measure).

In fact, a 2006 study in the Journal of Pathology found that statin therapy induces ultrastructural damage in skeletal muscle in patients without myalgia,” indicating that statin-associated muscle damage may be a universal, albeit mostly subclinical problem for the millions put on them.

Central Nervous System Dysfunction

Linked to suicide in men, depression including postpartum, and cognitive dysfunction, low cholesterol is not a desirable goal for the average psychiatric patient, aka half of the American population.

It turns out that 25% of the total amount of cholesterol found in the human body is localized in the brain, most of it in the myelin sheath that coats and insulates the nerves:

 “It has been estimated that up to 70% of the brain cholesterol is associated with myelin. Because up to half of the white matter may be composed of myelin, it is unsurprising that the brain is the most cholesterol-rich organ in the body. The concentration of cholesterol in the brain, and particularly in myelin, is consistent with an essential function related to its membrane properties. “[i]

The cell membrane, specifically, is highly vulnerable to damage by statins:

“The cell membrane is an 8 nanometer thick magical pearly gate where information, nutrients, and cellular messengers are trafficked through protein gates supported of phospholipids and their polyunsaturated fatty acids. Cholesterol and saturated fat provide essential rigidity in balance with other membrane components. Without them, the membrane becomes a porous, dysfunctional swinging gate. In a self-preservational effort, cholesterol supports production of bile acids, integral to the breakdown and absorption of consumed essential dietary fats.” Source

By extension, behavioral and cognitive adverse effects may be the manifestation of this fat-based interference.  Diamond and Ravnskov state:

A low serum cholesterol level has also been found to serve as a biological marker of major depression and suicidal behavior, whereas high cholesterol is protective [54–57]. In a study by Davison and Kaplan [58], the incidence of suicidal ideation among adults with mood disorders was more than 2.5-times greater in those taking statins. Moreover, several studies have shown that low cholesterol is associated with lower cognition and Alzheimer’s disease and that high cholesterol is protective.

A review article called Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events Associated with Statins: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Prevention and Management discusses the state of the literature around the intersection between mental health and cholesterol control. Despite generally dismissing a strong signal for concerning psychiatric adverse events, the article seems to conclude the following:

  • Severe irritability, homicidal impulses, threats, road rage, depression and violence, paranoia, alienation, and antisocial behavior; cognitive and memory impairments; sleep disturbance; and sexual dysfunction have all been reported in case series and national registries of those taking statin medications.  Sound like the laundry list of rapidly spoken side effects at the end of a drug commercial? To anyone with a history of or current psychiatric symptoms, the role of these now ubiquitous medications should be appreciated.
  • The signal for lipophilic statins – simvastatin and atorvastatin – was stronger which makes mechanistic sense since these medications penetrate the brain and brain cholesterol deficiency has been implicated in bipolar, major depression, and schizophrenia.

Of course, none of these findings nor their suppression should be surprising because there is no pharmaceutical free lunch, and because Americans are so accustomed to interfacing with human health through the lens of a one pill-one ill model. We are yanking on that spider web and expecting only one thread to pull out.  This perspective would be less disturbing if it didn’t serve as the foundation for medical practice, determined by boards such as the American College of Cardiology and The American Heart Association , the majority of whom have extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry. An industry that has paid out 19.2 billion dollars for civil and criminal charges in the last 5 years alone.

So, the next time you hear of a doctor recommending a cholesterol-lowering intervention, tell him you’ll take that 1% risk and spare yourself cancer, cognitive dysfunction, myopathy, and diabetes. And then go have a 3 egg omelette WITH the yolks.