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Fibromyalgia

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, typically very painful, especially in response to pressure, and sometimes patients have symptoms like stiff muscles, joints and connective tissues.
Other symptoms often include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, difficulty swallowing, bowel and bladder problems, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms or twitching, weakness, nerve pain, palpitations,
cognitive dysfunction (“foggy thinking”).
Around 2% of the population are affected, usually between the ages of 20 and 50, although not all patients have all symptoms.
Women are nine times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, giving weight to the theory that hormones play a big part in the cause and treatment.
Diagnosis is difficult because there is no formal test. Symptoms are vague and similar to many other conditions.
Often patients with celiac disease are mistakenly diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and do better on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, nearly everyone will do better on a gluten-free diet, or even better, a diet free from all grains, flour and any other product of grains, regardless of refined, wholemeal or any other form.
Some medical specialists say it is “all in the head” but few patients would agree with this!

Testing

Although there is no formal testing for fibromyalgia, the following tests should be arranged by the doctor to eliminate some factors that may indicate or aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Ferritin (Iron Study) – A serum ferritin level under 50 ng/ml means a 650% increased risk for Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid Function – If autoimmune hypothyroidism is present, it should be treated first to see if Fibromyalgia symptoms subside
  • Other autoimmune conditions – Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and others can resemble Fibromyalgia symptoms and should be treated first
  • CRP (C-Reactive Protein) – An inflammation marker. Source of any inflammation should be treated first
  • The FM/a blood test (plasma and PBMC (Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells) – Tests cytokine concentration. Low cytokines may indicate Fibromyalgia

Treatment

Doctors say there is no known cause or cure. However, some approaches can be very effective in reducing symptoms, including:

Therapeutic options

  • Mindfulness Training reduces psychological distress and depression
  • Yoga, Tai-Chi and other stretching exercises are helpful as they stimulate the lymph glands, increasing our HDL (good cholesterol), improving waste product and toxin removal, also reducing pain, fatigue, mood, cortisol levels and improves coping ability

Diet

  • Raw Food has been shown in studies to significantly improve the majority of fibromyalgia patients
  • Vitamin C and Broccoli consumption in a study found that the combination of 100mg of vitamin C from food, plus a 400mg broccoli supplement reduced pain by 20% and decreased 17% in Fibromyalgia impact scores

Things to avoid

Exposures to toxins definitely increase fibromyalgia risk:

  • Breast Implants have been linked to cancer, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia and chronic pain
  • Aspartame (an artificial sweetener) should be eliminated from the diet, as it turns into formaldehyde in the body, which can aggravate fibromyalgia.
    Natural sweeteners such as Erythritol, Xylitol and pure Stevia are healthy alternatives
  • MSG (MonoSodium Glutamate) should be eliminated from the diet. Known to cause headaches and fibromyalgia
  • Vaccine Adjuvants containing mercury or aluminium have been shown to cause musculoskeletal pain conditions like fibromyalgia
  • Fluoride comes from fluoridated tap water, foods irrigated with fluoridated water, toothpaste, dental treatments and antibiotics, and must be avoided. A fluoridated water supply should be switched to rainwater and/or install a Reverse Osmosis water system for all drinking and cooking. Ordinary water filters do not remove fluoride, and even boiling water makes little difference

Prescription Medications increase risk

Many prescription medications increase risk of fibromyalgia, or actually cause it.

  • Statin Drugs reduce CoQ10 and vitamin D3, causing hundreds of health problems, including fibromyalgia and muscle pain, vastly outweighing any benefit in many cases
  • Prescription antidepressants like Celexa (Citalopram), Paxil (Paroxetine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) include fluoride which makes fibromyalgia even worse, and causes weight gain.
    Antidepressants increase risk of cancer by over 40%, and most of the time do not work any better than a placebo
  • Many drugs contain bromide, which is even worse than fluoride, and more easily displaces iodine from the thyroid gland
  • Antibiotics destroy many bad bacteria, but also much of the good bacteria as well, compromising our immune system, which can take up to two years to rebuild
  • Paracetamol, Panadol, Tylenol and other names for acetaminophen should be avoided as studies show them to start causing liver issues even at the recommended dose two 500 mg tablets four times a day (4000 mg) for a few days. Unfortunately, patients who experience a lot of pain invariably over-dose, and just a 50% increase starts causing severe liver damage. The advertising slogan “safe and effective” is one of the biggest lies of the drug industry, and the most common cause of liver poisoning in the Western world. The majority of all patients on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of Panadol overdose. Panadol also reacts with an enzyme in the body to destroy our natural glutathione, which is one of the body’s main defenses against pathogens, often called the “master antioxidant”. Less glutathione means more Fibromyalgia

Here is a list of some drugs commonly prescribed that contain Fluoride or Bromide, two halogens that displace iodine from the thyroid and cause hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, depression, weight gain, hair loss, cancer, and will aggravate Fibromyalgia:

  • Advair (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Alphagen (brimonidine) – bromide
  • Atrovent (Ipratropium) – bromide
  • Avelox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Adovart (dulasteride) – fluoride
  • Celebrex (celecoxib) – fluoride
  • Celexa (citalopram) – fluoride and bromide
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Clinoril (sulindac) – fluoride
  • Combivent (from the ipratropium) – bromide
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin) – fluoride
  • Diflucan (fluconazole) – fluoride
  • DuoNeb (nebulized Combivent) – fluoride
  • Enablex (darifenacin) – bromide
  • Flonase (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Flovent (fluticasone) – fluoride
  • Guaifenex DM (dextromethorphan) – bromide
  • Lescol (fluvastatin) – fluoride
  • Levaquin (levofloxacin) – fluoride
  • Lexapro (escitalopram) – fluoride
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin) – fluoride
  • Lotrisone topical cream – fluoride
  • Paxil (paroxetine) – fluoride
  • Prevacid (lansoprazole) – fluoride
  • Protonix (pantoprazole) – fluoride
  • Prozac (fluoxetine) – fluoride
  • Pulmicort (budesonide) – fluoride
  • Razadyne (galantamine) – bromide
  • Risperdal (risperidone) – fluoride
  • Spiriva (tiotropium) – bromide
  • Tobra Dex (from dexamethasone) – fluoride
  • Travatan (travoprost) – fluoride
  • Triamcinolone – fluoride
  • Vigamox (moxifloxacin) – fluoride
  • Vytorin (from eztimibe) – fluoride
  • Zetia (eztimibe) – fluoride

An immune response to intestinal bacteria may cause some symptoms, so an alkaline diet with plenty of enzyme-rich raw vegetables and fresh fruit may help, along with a little cheese, yogurt, whey, fermented vegetables such as Sauerkraut, and/or supplemental probiotics such as Acidophilus
to build up beneficial intestinal bacteria. 75% of our immune system is in the gut, and this is where the immune system often first breaks down.

MSG (monosodium glutamate) has been shown to aggravate symptoms, so most processed food, which contains MSG, often hidden in the ingredients list by being called other names or chemicals, should be eliminated.

Eliminating yeast from the diet may also help. Yeast is a raising agent found in most breads and other flour-based baked foods, also Vegemite. Changing to a fresh food diet of vegetables and fruit can eliminate yeast, lose excess weight, build immunity and improve general health.

Casein from milk and other milk products may also help, although some people are sensitive to dairy products and do better with no milk or other dairy products.

Food allergies can be a problem and I would start by eliminating wheat, flour, bread, cakes, anything made from flour, sugar, soy, milk, corn, eggs and nuts for at least a week or two.
If that helps, introduce them back into the diet one at a time (except sugar, which should be omitted forever, and all flour products), until the culprit is found.

If that is not enough, see my Vaccinations article and read about the relationship between Panadol, Vaccinations, Glutathione and Autism.

Many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) and SLE or Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), but the above treatments can improve all of these conditions.
While these natural alternatives may not work for everyone, nearly all patients report improvement in their condition, and of course, these are all good for weight loss, fighting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, better sleep, improved mood, reduced pain, better pain tolerance, building muscle and reduced cancer risk. Many patients are deficient in GH (growth hormone) so high-intensity exercise and weight loss will help by increasing natural production of Growth Hormone.

LeanMachine online supplements

Updated 24th January 2020, Copyright © 1999-2020 Brenton Wight and BJ&HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

The cancer fighting benefits of Coenzyme Q10

Reproduced from original article:
www.naturalhealth365.com/benefits-of-coq10-3221.html

by:  

benefits-of-coq10

(NaturalHealth365) Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a substance found in every cell of our body. It is in a variety of foods, and healthy people are not likely to develop a deficiency of this nutrient. But, you might want to think about taking in some extra CoQ10 – especially if you’re taking a statin to lower your cholesterol levels.

CoQ10 has many potential health benefits, including possibly lowering the risk of certain cancers. Women, especially, should take note, since recent research points to links between breast cancer risk and lower levels of CoQ10 in the blood.

Clearing up the confusion about CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is technically not a vitamin because your body can synthesize it, so you do not need to get it from food. However, its structure is similar to that of vitamins. Also like vitamins, it acts as a coenzyme functions in your body’s metabolic reactions.

CoQ10 also has powerful antioxidant properties. For example, it helps prevent harmful oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and it supplements the work of vitamin E, or tocopherol. When your blood levels of CoQ10 are lower, your body needs more vitamin E from the diet to carry out heart-healthy antioxidant reactions.

What are the health benefits associated with CoQ10?

Can a Coenzyme Q10 deficiency increase the risk of cancer?

Since the 1960s, researchers have noted associations between lower blood levels of CoQ10 and cancer. People with lymphoma, myeloma, and lung, head, neck, and prostate cancers tend to have lower levels of CoQ10.

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A recent study looking into links between CoQ10 and breast cancer examined data from nearly 1,000 women aged 40 to 70 in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. Those who had serum levels of CoQ10 in the bottom fifth of participants had a 90 percent greater chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer than those whose levels were in the middle fifth.

“The current Shanghai Women’s Health Study, with relatively larger sample size and longer follow-up time suggests an inverse association for plasma CoQ10 levels with breast cancer risk in Chinese women,” according to study authors Robert V. Cooney of the University of Hawaii and colleagues. Based on these results, future research should investigate potential effects of supplementation on the risk of breast cancer.

The study also confirmed the association between low CoQ10 and higher risk of cervical cancer, myeloma, and melanoma. This makes the results relevant to men as well as women. This study is far from definitive, but it seems likely that there is a link between healthy CoQ10 levels and reduction in cancer risk.

CoQ10 is in a variety of foods, including meat, fish, and eggs, and organ meats, such as heart, kidney, and liver, are especially rich sources. You can also find CoQ10 in plant-based foods, such as cauliflower, peanuts, soybean oil, and strawberries.

Obviously, you can obtain additional benefits, with ease, by supplementing your diet with a high quality CoQ10 supplement.

Sources for this article include:

Healthline.com
NaturalHealth365.com

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

© 26th August 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019

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

The chemical war against cholesterol using statin drugs has been wrongly justified through statistical deception and the ongoing 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.

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.”

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.

Originally published: 2015-02-27

Article updated: 2019-08-26

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Cholesterol does not cause heart disease

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked July 24, 2019
Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/07/24/cholesterol-myth-what-really-causes-heart-disease.aspx
cholesterol myth what really causes heart disease

Story at-a-glance

  • A 2018 scientific review presents substantial evidence that high LDL and total cholesterol are not an indication of heart disease risk, and that statin treatment is of doubtful benefit as a form of primary prevention for this reason
  • Three recent reviews that supported the cholesterol hypothesis were found to have misrepresented data and findings of previous studies to support their own conclusions
  • Overall, the analysis found the association between total cholesterol and CVD is weak, absent or inverse in many studies
  • Older people with high LDL do not die prematurely — they actually live the longest, outliving both those with untreated low LDL and those on statin treatment
  • A 2015 meta-analysis of 11 statin drug studies found statin use postponed death by a mere 3.2 days in primary prevention trials and 4.1 days in secondary prevention trials

For the past six decades, the U.S. dietary advice has warned against eating cholesterol-rich foods, claiming dietary cholesterol promotes arterial plaque formation that leads to heart disease. We now have overwhelming evidence to the contrary, yet dogmatic thinking can be persistent, to say the least.

After decades’ worth of research failed to demonstrate a correlation between dietary cholesterol and heart disease, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans1,2 finally addressed this scientific shortcoming, announcing “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

To this day, the evidence keeps mounting, showing there’s no link between the two. Similarly, the evidence supporting the use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to lower your risk of heart disease is slim to none, and is likely little more than the manufactured work of statin makers — at least that’s the implied conclusion of a scientific review3 published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology in 2018.

Cholesterol myth kept alive by statin advocates?

The 2018 review4 identified significant flaws in three recent studies “published by statin advocates” attempting “to validate the current dogma.” The paper presents substantial evidence that total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels are not an indication of heart disease risk, and that statin treatment is of “doubtful benefit” as a form of primary prevention for this reason. According to the authors:5

“According to the British-Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, a theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be shown to be false. If it cannot be falsified, it is not a scientific hypothesis. In the following, we have followed Popper’s principle to see whether it is possible to falsify the cholesterol hypothesis.

We have also assessed whether the conclusions from three recent reviews by its supporters are based on an accurate and comprehensive review of the research on lipids and cardiovascular disease (CVD) …

Our search for falsifications of the cholesterol hypothesis confirms that it is unable to satisfy any of the Bradford Hill criteria for causality and that the conclusions of the authors of the three reviews are based on misleading statistics, exclusion of unsuccessful trials and by ignoring numerous contradictory observations.”

As reported by Reason.com:6

“A comprehensive new study on cholesterol, based on results from more than a million patients, could help upend decades of government advice about diet, nutrition, health, prevention, and medication …

The study … centers on statins, a class of drugs used to lower levels of LDL-C, the so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol, in the human body. According to the study, statins are pointless for most people …

The study also reports that ‘heart attack patients were shown to have lower than normal cholesterol levels of LDL-C’ and that older people with higher levels of bad cholesterol tend to live longer than those with lower levels.

No evidence cholesterol influences heart disease risk

Indeed, the authors of the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology analysis point out that were high total cholesterol in fact a major cause of atherosclerosis, “there should be exposure-response in cholesterol-lowering drug trials.”7 In other words, patients whose total cholesterol is lowered the most should also see the greatest benefit. Alas, that’s not the case.

A review of 16 relevant cholesterol-lowering trials (studies in which exposure-response was actually calculated), showed this kind of exposure-response was not detected in 15 of them. What’s more, the researchers point out that the only study8 showing a positive exposure-response to lowered cholesterol used exercise-only as the treatment.

Patients with high total cholesterol should also be at increased risk of death from CVD, but the researchers found no evidence of this either, not-so-subtly pointing out that this is “an idea supported by fraudulent reviews of the literature.” They provide the following example of how research has been misrepresented:9

“The hypothesis that high TC [total cholesterol] causes CVD was introduced in the 1960s by the authors of the Framingham Heart Study. However, in their 30-year follow-up study published in 1987, the authors reported that ‘For each 1 mg/dl drop in TC per year, there was an eleven percent increase in coronary and total mortality’.

Three years later, the American Heart Association and the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published a joint summary concluding, ‘a one percent reduction in an individual’s TC results in an approximate two percent reduction in CHD risk’. The authors fraudulently referred to the Framingham publication to support this widely quoted false conclusion.”

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Contradictory findings routinely ignored or misrepresented

To determine whether the three reviews under analysis had misrepresented previous findings, they scoured the three papers for quotations from 12 studies reporting results “discordant with the cholesterol hypothesis.” Only one of the three reviews had quoted articles correctly, and even then, only two of the dozen studies were quoted correctly.10

“About half of the contradictory articles were ignored. In the rest, statistically nonsignificant findings in favor of the cholesterol hypothesis were inflated, and unsupportive results were quoted as if they were supportive. Only one of the six randomized cholesterol-lowering trials with a negative outcome was cited and only in one of the reviews.”

The researchers also highlight a large meta-analysis that simply ignored “at least a dozen studies” in which no or inverse association was shown. Overall, the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology analysis found that “the association between total cholesterol and CVD is weak, absent or inverse in many studies.”

No link between LDL and heart disease either

The Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology paper11 also tears apart claims that high LDL causes atherosclerosis and/or CVD. Just as with total cholesterol, if high LDL was in fact responsible for atherosclerosis, then patients with high LDL would be diagnosed with atherosclerosis more frequently, yet they’re not, and those with the highest levels would have the greatest severity of atherosclerosis, yet they don’t.

The researchers cite studies showing “no association” between LDL and coronary calcification or degree of atherosclerosis. Ditto for LDL and CVD. In fact, a study looking at nearly 140,000 patients with acute myocardial infarction found them to have lower than normal LDL at the time of admission.

Even more telling, another study, which had originally reported similar findings, still went ahead and lowered the patients’ LDL even more. At follow-up three years later, they discovered that patients with an LDL level below 105 mg/dl (2 mmol/L) had double the mortality rate of those with higher LDL.12

Interestingly, the authors suggest this inverse relationship may be due to low LDL increasing your risk for infectious diseases and cancer, both of which are common killers.

They also review evidence showing older people with high LDL do not die prematurely — they actually live the longest, outliving both those with untreated low LDL and those on statin treatment. One such study13,14 — a meta-analysis of 19 studies — found 92% of individuals with high cholesterol lived longer.

Benefits of statin treatment are overblown

Lastly, the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology paper analyzes statin claims, showing how studies exaggerate benefits through a variety of different tactics. Again, in some cases, by simply excluding unsuccessful trials.

“Furthermore, the most important outcome — an increase of life expectancy — has never been mentioned in any cholesterol-lowering trial, but as calculated recently by Kristensen et al.,15 statin treatment does not prolong lifespan by more than an average of a few days,” the authors state.16

Indeed, the study they’re referring to, published in BMJ Open in 2015, which looked at 11 studies with a follow-up between two and 6.1 years, found “Death was postponed between -5 and 19 days in primary prevention trials and between -10 and 27 days in secondary prevention trials.” The median postponement of death in primary prevention trials was 3.2 days, and in secondary prevention trials 4.1 days!

Considering the well-documented health risks associated with statins, this is a mind-bending finding that really should upend the dogma. And yet, the dogma remains, and may even strengthen in coming days.

JAMA editorial calls for end to ‘fake news’ about statins

The cholesterol myth has been a boon to the pharmaceutical industry, as cholesterol-lowering statins — often prescribed as a primary prevention against heart attack and stroke — have become one of the most frequently used drugs on the market. In 2012-2013, 27.8% of American adults over the age of 40 reported using a statin, up from 17.9% a decade earlier.17,18 But that was six years ago, I suspect over a third of adults over the age of 40 are now using statins.

In addition to the BMJ Open study cited above, an evidence report19 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, published November 2016 in JAMA, found 250 people need to take a statin for one to six years to prevent a single death from any cause; 233 had to take a statin for two to six years to prevent a single cardiovascular death specifically. To prevent a single cardiovascular event in people younger than 70, 94 individuals would have to take a statin.

As noted in a 2015 report,20 “statistical deception created the appearance that statins are safe and effective in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” The paper points out that by using a statistical tool known as relative risk reduction, the trivial benefits of statins appear greatly amplified.

Scientific findings such as these are the core reason why statins are given negative press. However, we may soon see a reversal in the news cycle, with negative statin articles being tagged as “fake news.”

According to a June 2019 editorial21 in JAMA Cardiology, written by cardiologist Ann Marie Navar,22 statins are the victim of “fear-based medical information,” just like vaccines, and this is what’s driving patient nonadherence. Cardiovascular Business reported:23

“We know that what people read influences their actions, Navar said, and indeed, one 2016 study in the European Heart Journal found that on a population level, statin discontinuation increased after negative news stories about statins surfaced in those communities.

In another study, more than one in three heart patients said they declined a statin prescription solely for fears of adverse effects. ‘Measles outbreaks are highly visible: a rash appears, public health agencies respond, headlines are made and the medical community responds vocally,’ Navar wrote.

‘In contrast, when a patient who has refused a statin because of concerns stoked by false information has an MI, the result is less visible. Nevertheless, cardiologists and primary care physicians observe the smoldering outbreak of statin refusal daily.’”

Cardiovascular Business summarizes Navar’s suggestions for how doctors can fight back against false information about statins and build adherence, such as handing out yearlong prescriptions with automatic refills.24

When I first wrote about the censorship of anti-vaccine material occurring on every single online platform, I warned that this censorship would not stop at vaccines. And here we’re already seeing the call for censoring anti-statin information by glibly labeling it all “fake news.”

Chances are, the censoring of anti-statin information is already underway. A quick Google search for “statin side effects” garnered pages worth of links talking about minor risks, the benefits of statins, comparison articles, looking at two different brands — in other words, mostly positive news.

The scientific fact is, aside from being a “waste of time” and not doing anything to reduce mortality, statins also come with a long list of potential side effects and clinical challenges, including:

An increased risk for diabetes
Decreased heart function25
Nutrient depletions — Including CoQ10 and vitamin K2, both of which are important for cardiovascular and heart health
Impaired fertility — Importantly, statins are a Category X medication,26 meaning they cause serious birth defects,27 so they should never be used by a pregnant woman or women planning a pregnancy
Increased risk of cancer — Long-term statin use (10 years or longer) more than doubles women’s risk of two major types of breast cancer: invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma28
Nerve damage — Research has shown statin treatment lasting longer than two years causes “definite damage to peripheral nerves”29

How to assess your heart disease risk

 

cholesterol levels

As a general rule, cholesterol-lowering drugs are not required or prudent for the majority of people — especially if both high cholesterol and longevity run in your family. Remember, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests your overall cholesterol level has little to nothing to do with your risk for heart disease.For more information about cholesterol and what the different levels mean, take a look at the infographic above. You can also learn more about the benefits of cholesterol, and why you don’t want your level to be too low, in “Cholesterol Plays Key Role in Cell Signaling.” As for evaluating your heart disease risk, the following tests will provide you with a more accurate picture of your risk:

HDL/Cholesterol ratio — HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24%.
Triglyceride/HDL ratio — You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2.
NMR LipoProfile Large LDL particles do not appear to be harmful. Only small dense LDL particles can potentially be a problem, as they can squeeze through the lining of your arteries. If they oxidize, they can cause damage and inflammation.

Some groups, such as the National Lipid Association, are now starting to shift the focus toward LDL particle number instead of total and LDL cholesterol to better assess your heart disease risk. Once you know your particle size numbers, you and your doctor can develop a more customized program to help manage your risk.

Your fasting insulin level — Heart disease is primarily rooted in insulin resistance,30 which is the result of a high-sugar diet. Sugar, not cholesterol or saturated fat, is the primary driver. Clinical trials have shown high fructose corn syrup can trigger risk factors for cardiovascular disease within as little as two weeks.31

Any meal or snack high in carbohydrates like fructose and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar.

The insulin released from eating too many carbs promotes fat accumulation and makes it more difficult for your body to shed excess weight. Excess fat, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease.

Your fasting blood sugar level — Research has shown people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dl have a nearly 300% increased higher risk of coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl.32,33
Your iron level — Iron can be a very potent oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. Ideally, you should monitor your ferritin levels and make sure they are not much above 80 ng/ml.

The simplest way to lower them if they are elevated is to donate your blood. If that is not possible you can have a therapeutic phlebotomy and that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body.