The Cholesterol Myth [video] Part 2

Heart of the Matter | The Cholesterol Myth: Dietary Villains and Cholesterol Drug War.
Thursday, 31 October 2013 on ABC 1 (Australia)

Is the role of cholesterol in heart disease really one of the biggest myths in the history of medicine?

For the last four decades we’ve been told that saturated fat clogs our arteries and high cholesterol causes heart disease. It has spawned a multi-billion dollar drug and food industry of “cholesterol free” products promising to lower our cholesterol and decrease our risk of heart disease.

But what if it all isn’t true? What if it’s never been proven that saturated fat causes heart disease?

And what if the majority of patients taking cholesterol lowering drugs won’t benefit from taking these pills?

In a special two part edition of Catalyst, Dr Maryanne Demasi investigates the science behind the claims that saturated fat causes heart disease by raising cholesterol.

30 thoughts on “The Cholesterol Myth [video] Part 2

  1. G G

    Thanks for posting this.

    It is very worrying that patients are being encouraged to follow poor advice and take drugs that will not improve their health. I know people who have not had heart problems but they are on ‘maintenance doses’ of statins. What’s that all about? We really are at the mercy of big business and doctors who do not see past the prettied up data in favour of big business.

    Any chance that these two videos can be made compulsory viewing for all working in primary care?

      1. mec76

        Excellent idea. Damn statins should be banned, excepting for use in exceptional circs – and those circs tend to be pretty rare.

    1. celia

      I find it really shocking that Emily Banks should tell people they are likely to die if they give up or fail to start taking statins. That’s scaremongering and very extreme. Does she have a particular axe to grind?

      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        One of the tactics regularly used to silence criticism of medical dogma is to accuse your critics of ‘killing people.’ Sorry to say that his a very common thing. Peter Gotzsche (a critic of breast screening) is regularly accused of killing thousands of women. I have been accused of killing people many times, as has Dr Uffe Ravsnkov. It is an easy card to play if you want to silence people.

  2. Jo

    I watched those programmes – what about that doctor who said that side effects were in patients’s imaginations!! My own doc told me that there were no side effects when I was prescribed them about 6 years ago. When I started to become forgetful I looked up the internet and found out the memory loss was an ‘anecdotal’ effect, the suggestion being I suppose that it was imagined. I decided not to wait until it was an official side effect and stopped taking them. So it was ‘phew’ when a few years later memory loss was admitted as a side effect.

      1. celia

        Of course it’s very hard for some people to admit that they’re wrong, especially when they’re in a position of some importance. We have human nature to contend with too.

  3. mec76

    PS This was following a failed prep for colonoscopy and the colonoscopist coming up against a twist in the bowel. Am over the mSv limit and was to;ld that ‘they didn’t ‘do” MRI. Sigh. Don’t despair, but *don’t take another pill…

  4. Richard Gibbs

    I thought the criticism of washouts in drug trials was invalid. If someone has such an adverse reaction to a drug that they can’t take it long term then they are not relevant to the trial, which is supposed to evaluate the benefits of taking the drug long term. The real issue is with adverse reactions that are ignored during the trial.

    1. celia

      I’m not sure I agree with you there, although I would if the people who were removed before the trial officially started were then included in the final statistics. Otherwise you get a skewed result.

    2. David Bailey

      I don’t think this is entirely fair. If a significant fraction of people are excluded from a trial because they have strong adverse reactions, that fact should at least be noted prominently because it must indicate something about a drug’s toxicity!

    3. FrankG

      Not in the least an invalid concern: if they use the result of the “pre-washed” trial to conclude how few of the general population will have side effects from this drug.

  5. Lisa

    My father in law has been on Lipitor for years. He has never had heart disease. The statins have caused him to develop Alzheimers disease. Could he be just imagining those side effects???? It’s outrageous. I told my husband to confront his doctor and demand to know why he was ever put on them.

  6. gibson

    My doctor suggested statins “because you’re diabetic” and I declined back then because my cholesterol was (and is) just fine. That was years ago before all the controversy really heated up. I know he noted it on my file because for the next three years, whether seeing him or his PA, it was offered again and again. They finally let it rest. My A1c is in the normal range with diet and exercise.

    When he asked for a reason, I told him of one friend who had muscle wasting and another who had memory and cognitive problems. I’ll take my chances!

    1. mec76

      Having kept up to date on the incoming statins discussions, information, statins are not advised for diabetics. Good you stayed away from them.

  7. mec76

    Lisa – Your father-in-law could come off the statins, he does not have to remain on them. And, no one can force him to stay on them. IF one does not want to make a ‘fuss’, just stop taking them, and for follow-on scripts, don’t place em with the pharmacy ! Though better to be up front and say ‘no more’.

    No. Your father-in-law will not be making up the side effects, they can resemble Alzheimer’s, i.e. loss of memory – and all the rest. – but by stopping the statins, then should see a reversal; then watch for the better health as the side effects begin to diminish.

    1. celia

      I agree. I came off statins following memory problems, muscle and tendon problems, and general fatigue. My memory improved after 2 weeks. Now 6 months later, my energy is just returning, and I am still working to improve my muscles and tendons. I took the advice of Duane Graveline, and reduced the dosage gradually before cutting them out altogether. I also now take coQ10 and some other supplements to aid the recovery.

  8. Jean lyon

    My friend who is 77 has been in Simvastitin for 3 years. I noticed her terrible cough, got on the internet and found this blog and many other sites. She came off the drug and noticed the cough stopped after 3 weeks, so did her muscle aches and then she told me she felt much sharper, no longer walking around in a fog. She is fit, goes to the gym, does the Run for Life each year. Her cholesterol was measured after 2 months at 8.6, so they put her on a different statin. I was shocked, but I didn’t have long to wait. After a week, the cough was back and her legs were killing her. Suffice to say she is off them and never going back on them.

  9. Jean lyon

    I also have another male friend who is 65 and has had a leaky heart valve for 40 years during which time he has operated as an airline pilot until retiring recently. The consultant cardiologist has now put him on Lipitor. His cholesterol is normal – no other cardiovascular problems. His partner who is my best friend has noticed he is not very sharp, very tired and is suffering restless leg syndrome every single night since going on the Lipitor. Why would a doc give a statin for a leaky heart valve?

  10. thespecialone

    I have just bought that book and found your website through a friend. When I reached 50 yrs of age (now 53), I went for a ‘wellman’ check at the local doctors’ surgery. When the results came back it showed my cholesterol level at 7.0. The nurse went through a lot of prepared questions and she could not understand my answers and basically thought I was lying. Do I exercise regularly? ‘Yes I do’ I stated – ‘5 times a week on average, plus I cycle to work and every time it is convenient’. Do I smoke or ever smoked? Nope. Do I drink stick within the guidelines for drink (which I think are plucked out of thin air anyway) and I stated yes I do mostly. Some weeks more than others. Overweight? Nope. I eat healthy too and don’t eat junk food. ‘Come back in 6 weeks and we will do another test’ she said. I didn’t bother to go back. Found out that my sister-in-law and her husband, both in their 60s, both obese, both eat junk and drink more than me had ‘healthy cholesterol’ levels at under 5.0. I totally agree with the arguments that cholesterol is not bad and I think I am a little bit more proof of that fact.

  11. theusesofnot

    I’m a 46 y.o Australian male Caucasian. About 2 months ago I came home feeling tired and out of breath and suddenly I started feeling horrible pain under my arms and in my muscles, across my back, etc. I managed to get myself to a hospital and was diagnosed as having a heart attack. I had two operations that resulted in two stents in my heart. According to the doctors I came pretty close to dying and should consider myself very lucky. I lost consciousness a few times, and I told my heart had even stopped at some point.

    In hospital I was asked if I had any family history of heart disease, which I told them I don’t know. I’ve been an on/off smoker, eat very little junk food, have a history of regular exercise but no exercise in the past 18 months. I sit a lot because of my work with computers, and I have a fairly high carb diet. I was told by my doctor that my “good” cholesterol as very low and my “bad” cholesterol was slightly high, and that my ratio was quite a bit higher than normal.

    I was put on medications and discharged from the hospital about 6 weeks ago. I didn’t really question the medications until now.

    Less than a week after leaving hospital I experienced a sudden and very painful sciatic attack in my left leg which made me bed bound for a few days. If I tried to get up and walk I would get horrible pain in the muscles down my leg. Parts of my left leg and my left foot went numb and are still that way two weeks later, despite seeking treatment with physio and acupuncture. The muscle in my leg is very sore and I get pain with any kind of pressure such as from massage.

    This is strange for me because I have never had any sciatic issues in my life before and my GP advised that I probably have a disc bulge and need to have a scan done. At the moment I’ve put this off.

    Also, about a week ago, I walked out of a shop and for a moment forgot where I’d parked my car! Good God, that was so strange and it made me wonder what is happening to me. I also sometimes lose thoughts that just moments ago were clear in my mind. And I’ve also noticed that I’m sometimes forgetting the names of things, which again is strange because I’ve always prided myself on having an excellent memory.

    The daily drugs the doctors put me on are:
    (1) Perindopril – Coversyl (5mg)
    (2) Clopidogrel (75 mg)
    (3) Atorvastatin – Lipitor (40 mg)

    After reading swathes of this blog and hours of research into the whole world of heart disease, I have decided to stop the above drugs and only take the one Aspirin a day. I want to hopefully address this issue with exercise and diet. I’m also now looking into eliminating most carbs, short of some sourdough bread for sandwiches.

    So I’m embarking on a “try something and observe the changes (if any)” experiment, an experiment that only started yesterday. I will write again on this blog in a months time and provide an update.


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