5th August 2020
This article was first published on RT.com on the 4th of August, and it can be seen here
In the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic almost every other medical condition has been shoved onto the side-lines. However, in the UK last year, heart attacks and strokes (CVD) killed well over one hundred thousand people – at least twice as many as have died from COVID-19.
CVD will kill just as many this year. Which makes it significantly more important than COVID-19, even if no-one is paying much attention to it right now. So, it is good to see that research goes on, and papers are still being published.
One of the most significant, and of great interest to me personally, was a critical examination of the benefits of lowering cholesterol. This was published on the fourth of August. The paper was called ‘Hit or miss: the new cholesterol targets,’ and it came out in Evidence Based Medicine, one of the key titles that sits under the umbrella of British Medical Journal publishing
It was carefully worded, as all clinical papers are, but a key section of the press release was as follows: “Setting targets for ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels to ward off heart disease and death in those at risk might seem intuitive, but decades of research have failed to show any consistent benefit for this approach, reveals an analysis of the available data, published online in BMJ Evidence Based Medicine.”
What is being said here is the following. Everyone thinks that lowering LDL, a.k.a. ‘bad cholesterol is considered the single most important way to reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes. However, “decades of research have failed to show any consistent benefit for this approach.”
Surely this flies in the face of almost all the advice we have been bombarded with for the last fifty years, or so? Cholesterol – by which we really mean low density lipoprotein (LDL) – is a killer and must be lowered. This is the whole point of statins, the single most widely prescribed type of drug in the history of medicine. Drugs that have racked up sales of nearly one trillion dollars since their launch.
Now, newer, and far more expensive LDL lowering medications are available, riding on the success of statins. They are injectable, rather than a tablet, and the cost is far higher. In the US, you are looking at around $5,000 per year. In the UK, one of these drugs Repatha, costs the NHS just over £4,000 per year. These drugs are known as PCSK9-inhibitors.
These are eye-watering costs. It is estimated that around seven million people in the UK take statins currently. If everyone converted to a PCSK9-inhibitor, this would cost the NHS twenty-eight billion pounds a year. Not far off the entire defence budget.
But do these drugs work, does lowering LDL work? Surely it does, surely it must. The answer is, not necessarily. Yes, statins have been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, not by a massive amount, but the effect exists. At least in some studies, if not all.
However, many other drugs also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease without having any
effect on LDL levels, e.g. aspirin. A number of researchers have long argued that the benefits of statins are mainly due to “off-target” effects. By which they mean that, yes, statins lower LDL, but they also have effects on many other things and it is the “other things” that provide the benefit.
For example, statins have been found to have quite strong anti-coagulant (anti blood clotting) effects. Same as aspirin, as highlighted in the 2013 paper, ‘Anticoagulant effects of statins and their clinical implications.’ It states: “There is evidence indicating that statins… may produce several cholesterol-independent antithrombotic [anti-coagulant] effects.”
So, it has always remained possible that the main benefit of statins was NOT due to their impact on lowering LDL BUT because of something else that they do.
In this recent study, the authors decided to examine this possibility. So they gathered together all the LDL lowering trials – at least those big enough, and long enough to count – and try to establish whether the amount that the LDL was lowered, matched the reduction, if any, in cardiovascular disease. The technical term for this is “dose-response”.
Or, to put this another way, if the LDL hypothesis is correct, the greater the LDL lowering, the greater the benefit on CVD should be. What did they find? Here are the key findings – from the press release:
“Their analysis showed that over three quarters of all the trials reported no positive impact on the risk of death and nearly half reported no positive impact on risk of future cardiovascular disease.
And the amount of LDL cholesterol reduction achieved didn’t correspond to the size of the resulting benefits, with even very small changes in LDL cholesterol sometimes associated with larger reductions in risk of death or cardiovascular ‘events,’ and vice versa.
“Thirteen of the clinical trials met the LDL cholesterol reduction target, but only one reported a positive impact on risk of death…
“Considering that dozens of [randomised controlled trials] of LDL-cholesterol reduction have failed to demonstrate a consistent benefit, we should question the validity of this theory.”
And they conclude: “In most fields of science the existence of contradictory evidence usually leads to a paradigm shift or modification of the theory in question, but in this case the contradictory evidence has been largely ignored, simply because it doesn’t fit the prevailing paradigm.”
In short, what they found was that there was absolutely no correlation between the amount that LDL was lowered and the resulting benefit on CVD. In fact, the benefit was inverse i.e. the less the LDL was lowered, the greater the benefit.
This is a hugely important finding that really ought to be shouted from the rooftops. I admit I have a horse in the race, having long argued that LDL has nothing to do with heart disease (and being roundly condemned for doing so). So, it is nice to have my thoughts so powerfully supported in a peer-reviewed, high impact journal.
For the average person on this street, what this research means is that you should stop worrying about your LDL levels, and obsessively trying to get them down with drugs or diet. Tucked away in the paper was this significant finding:
“Moreover, consider that the Minnesota Coronary Experiment, a 4-year long RCT [randomised controlled trial] of a low-fat diet involving 9423 subjects, actually reported an increase in mortality and cardiovascular events despite a 13% reduction in total cholesterol.”
Cholesterol (LDL) went down, CVD went up. We really are wasting a colossal amount of money. And causing avoidable death?
I am waiting on a follow up consultation by phone call today and I know this doctor is going to put me under pressure to start statins.my cholesterol is 7.8 and he’s horrified apparently but the funny thing is my ferritin has been climbing it’s now 599 but no one is in the slightest bit interested in that,the system overall has let me down so badly that I’ve been turning to private medicine to try and get help but it’s looking like even people at the top of their tree in private consultation have this obsession in prescribing statins ,I’m even self injecting b12 because the gps will not follow the guidelines for pernicious anemia,which I had diagnosed by private blood tests and give me the proper help I need to keep me alive and reasonably well.im ready to do battle today re the statins but oh so weary of bad medical care from all corners.
Thank you as always dr Kendrick,time and time again your wise words are proven accurate.
Hi, Jeanie, that sounds dreadful to go through. Do you have a “functional medicine” doc in your area that would work with you on a less drug-oriented approach? I am not sure how that specialty is labeled in the UK, but someone like Dr. Akil, for instance.
Hi Annie no ive given up now to be honest and with the help of blood tests and research till my head hurts I pretty much treat myself.as yet I’ve not found one doctor private NHS or alternative that I can trust ive had far too many “tests” but no one joining dots and actually helping me get well ive had to trust my own instincts so many times.you wouldn’t believe how much ive spent of savings to get this far the nhs has proved time after time just how incompetent and uncaring the wrong gp or consultant can be.its not just me look at the rise of health forums and you’ll see just how desperate people are to get help.these people actually become quite expert at helping their fellow sufferers i have more knowledge of b12 and its treatment than any gp ive met.they tried me on statins 15 years ago and I was so ill with them but not one doctor checks my records to see ive previously tried them and never will again.x
The Wisdom of the Crowds, self-explanatory phrase for ordinary people collectively knowing a good deal more than the professional ‘experts’
I must say Jeannie, that since reading this blog for several years I find myself less and less enamored to universal medical care. It would be better to break the corruption, the cartels and monopolies’ pricing games so that medicine is affordable again as it was until about 30 years ago. A solution for the poor is also needed but it seems to me that the doctors, at least in the UK, have very little freedom, including freedom of thought. And the pricing scams, while not as bad as the US, are pretty bad.
Alas, doctors in the US are constrained by the insurance companies – they dictate what is allowed for the patient.
You don’t want to go to a corporate and insurance run system, which is what we have here in the US where there are two classes of care.
For those with insurance, you get the best care anyone can get. The better insurance means you pay a higher premium, but have no deductible. The system figuratively roll out the red carpet and send out a horse and golden carriage to bring the patient to their appointments.
The rest of the people, those that can’t afford those plans pay a lot in deductibles until they can meet the requirements for good care. Medication too is out of pocket until the discount is met is met, and there are tons of restrictions on what is covered and what is not with all kinds of tier-levels and authorizations to meet.
These plans aren’t inexpensive either. The patient pays a good premium amount for squat. Meeting the deductible mounts to thousands every year at the least. I recently ran into this with some eye drops. The drops would cost me $500 per month. I promptly talked to my eye doctor who came up with an alternative. (It’s funny how this works!)
Then there are those with no insurance at all because they can’t afford the monthly premium. They are treated, but given minimal care at best. The doctors and consultants rush them through the system while the patient is scoffed at for not having coverage. Even before the patient is discharged from the hospital, demands being made along with follow-up calls until the bill is paid.
In this part of the system, the most expensive procedures are not used until the last resort, and by then it’s usually too late. Ethically this is wrong, but this is what corporate medicine has done to our medical system here.
Is this the world you want? I’m not so sure.
Jeanie, I feel for you.
In 2004 I developed severe muscle spasms in my legs along with muscle rigidity, overall body stiffness, tremors, difficulty with coordination, and had numerous falls. I contacted my GP and he sent me to a neurologist, another quack, who said I had focal dystonia without giving me any tests. I pushed the issue and he caved and gave me some tests that showed some neurological problems, but still insisted it was focal dystonia.
Now if I see something’s not right, I push and question. I don’t care if the other party is an “expert”, I put on my critical thinking cap and ask, push the point, and ask more. His answer to me is it’s focal dystonia because I play the piano – I played once a day for an hour during the week, and maybe a few hours on the weekends. If it was in my feet, how would playing the piano affect it? Instead of answering my questions, he put up a barrier and told me the dystonia can be treated by Botox treatments in his clinic. Yes. He was out to make money on me.
I pushed back again and asked for further tests. I insisted he look at other aspects and eventually he caved and gave me Sinemet – the gold standard for Parkinson Disease. The result was 100% reverse of the symptoms. He made a snide remark, told me I wasn’t old enough for PD, and then it got worse…
During a consultation, he didn’t write anything on his notepad, although he increased my medication and introduced Mirapex into the equation. When I had my follow-up with my GP, the report was different than what was discussed at the Neuro’s office. After a brief and shocking consultation, my GP’s face turned from normal to dark purple to pale yellow-grey, and we decided I see another neurologist at a much more reputable clinic where I have an excellent doctor. This other neurologist is no longer in practice.
Throughout this ordeal, I had to fight my way through the system myself because each time I was more or less told that this was all in my head and I was looking for attention. I told one doctor that if he treated all his patients the way he treats me he wouldn’t have any business left. I said I don’t care who he is. He’s a doctor who gets paid by my insurance, and gets a lot of money for that too, therefore, I am a customer just like in any business and I’ll take my business elsewhere. He didn’t say anything to me afterwards and I did find something else. Perhaps your doctors need to be put into their place too. They all seem to get too big for their britches as time goes on.
The thing is even with a nationalized system, the medical systems we have don’t want to pay out for things that take too much work. A simple diagnosis by a quack would have sufficed for them. My long ordeal of well over a couple of years cost them plenty. I am sure you are costing the NHS system a lot too and they too are seeking a quick fix just the same.
Hi John no the truth of the matter is 90% of the blood tests the scans and even the coloniscopy they said I needed was all done private paid for from our savings because the nhs refused to take me seriously like you say.even the hpylori I had was dismissed as a gastric bug until I had private testing done to confirm I did indeed have it and I went back to nhs with the results and demanded triple therapy treatment.id had it b4 so recognised the symptoms myself.i won’t bore you with the variety of things I’ve had investigated intrusive and otherwise its quite shocking that I’ve had to do all the legwork because GPS and so called consultants are too damned lazy to do their jobs properly and as you say after a severe head injury due to one of my numerous falls I was basically stitched up and dumped no scans nothing I spent the next 3 years of my life trying to recover and I was determined to get to the bottom of things so when I was well enough I researched and learned as much as I could on my “good days” then did my best to contact the best in their field since I was paying anyway.I self inject b12 every other day.which I buy from german pharmacies. by paying a lot of money i was able to get a definite diagnosis of pernicuous anemia when nhs said normal bloods,they don’t even do the proper testing.
we want to get well and enjoy our lives but christ they don’t make it easy.
Im so sorry to hear about your experiences its not right that we have these challenges due to medics greed and incompetence.
I’d make their salaries performance driven let the public do feedbacks on every gp and consultant and rate them then pay them the bloody salary they deserve based on those ratings.
Check out Dr. William Davis at http://www.undoctored.com for lots of info on improving health. More there than can be summarized here.
Many thanks i will do that x
Jeannie, arm yourself with knowledge. Read the book The Truth About Statins Risks and Alternatives To Cholesterol Lowering Drugs by Dr Barbara Roberts MD, a cardiologist of 30+ years who specialized in women. And JUST SAY NO
Many thanks just ordered online much appreciated.
I’ve decided also to eliminate all gluten from my diet my ferritin blood tests results have finally started to reduce latest one has dropped from 599 to 474.thats in a month so with my new eating regime of no gluten and restricted carbs plenty grass fed meat and chicken and as organic as i can go im confident of also reducing cholesterol but all tips and advice always appreciated.Im determined to get myself and my husband as well as I can.lifes too short for all this stress and illness isn’t it.
Hi Jeanie – what a weird coincidence. Just today I went to see my first ever rheumatologist (after waiting one month short of a year to see him) and one of the things I brought up with him was my escalating Ferritin levels. Like my GPs, he wasn’t in the least bit interested. My Ferritin went up to 615 last Xmas (from 348, when it had already been at that high level for a year) and has never come back down further than 384. I have terrible muscle pain, along with lots of other problems, like sleep issues and breathing problems, but today I was told I didn’t have any autoimmune issues (on the strength of a physical exam, nothing more) and here’s a leaflet on Fibromyalgia. When I asked if he thought I had Fibro he just muttered into his socks, so I still don’t know what is going wrong with me. The blood tests show inflammation, I patently HAVE inflammation since I’m so damn sore, but are the docs interested in what’s CAUSING the inflammation? Nope. I know exactly what you mean about giving up on it. I swore I wasn’t going back after today. It’s just too frustrating and depressing.
Hi chancery.Dont give up pursue as much as you can,my consultant actually said to me today why did you stop statins and I replied because I could barely walk my muscles were so painful I couldn’t lift the brush to my hair I thought I was dying to which he replied there’s other things we can prescribe to lower cholesterol,I’ll check and advise your gp what to Prescribe,I said I’d prefer a month on my new diet then retest and discuss again which he agreed to,he also agreed my ferritin was too high and would instruct gp to investigate further,have you had a haemochromotosis test done Chancery?Mines was negative.
Hi Jeanie, no I’m missing something for haemochromatosis, although I completely forget now what that was! I don’t fit the condition anyway. My elevated ferritin appears to be from something else, but no-one knows or cares what!
Ivor Cummins highlighted he had a raised ferritin level back in about 2014; he recognised he was pre-diabetic, because he researched it himself; best bet is to ditch all sugars; and starches as best you can Chancery; no rice, no potatoes, no bread etc: Diet Doctor has recipes and advice https://www.dietdoctor.com
Here is a 2014 video where Ivor talked on his ferritin levels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pxZUQORzLw .. it seems to be a marker of being metabolically unwell: good news: you can fix it by ditching sugars/starches
Thats a good point ive just been diagnosed pre diabetic myself and have did exactly as you say and dropped the sugar and got carbs and starches as low as I can and my fasting bloods this time came back with normal blood sugar levels and I lost around 5-6 llbs the first 10 days and weight is still dropping itll be interesting to see if my ferritin levels also drop when I’m next tested.thank you for that info
jeanie: Good for you. After I gave up bread about five years ago I lost 15 pounds in about three weeks. Funny thing, it was mostly belly fat. Dropping carbs to as low as you can tolerate has many other benefits, too. I don’t miss them, myself. About two months ago I switched to the Carnivore Diet (meat, eggs, seafood, and a bit of cheese) and I’m not looking back. Took about a week or so to adjust to it.
Well done Gary im also determined to follow this route and ive even persuaded a very reluctant other half lol.take care.
Have they checked your thyroid and done dull TFTs.. (probably not) as most dont! They often say fibromyalgia when in fact it could be your thyroid playing up. Also vitsmin levels Vitamin D, B12, need to be optimal. They wont give enough B12 injections either! You need TPO, Tgab, T4, T3 Free T4 and RT3 but docs wont check these either. Its really appalling! If you could afford private tests you might find its to do with this and not fibromyalgia at all! TPA (Thyroid patient Advocacy) could help you with this if youcpost your latest bloods, or Health Unlocked.
Hope this helps
Hi Jane. I have subclinical hypothyroidism, and have done for years, but docs don’t want to treat it. Like my ferritin, my TSH took a leap up from its normally slightly elevated 5.6ish to 10.7 – the highest it’s ever been. Although, like the ferritin, it had come down again by this July, it was only to 5.8, still higher than it had been previously. Despite both it and the ferritin still being slightly higher than their normal too-high figures, I was told “no need to repeat”. In other words ‘DON’T repeat – we don’t want to watch it and we don’t want to know’, which I’m sure feels fine to them but just makes me anxious that something is going unrecognized.
I did read that the reason they don’t treat subclinical is becasue it doesn’t make any difference to symptoms, but I do wonder how true that actually is. Or is it more the case that they treat it so badly and half-assedly that it’s no wonder women don’t get relief from the symptoms? As they flat out refuse to pay any attention to it, let alone treat it, I guess we’ll never know, Incidentally, hypothyroidism runs on my mother’s side of the family. My gran and all her sisters had it, allegedly. I tell docs that too, but it makes no difference.
Thats appalling chancery.if you go onto health unlocked whuch is recommended by NHS and look at the thyroid forum you will get such good advice its been a life saver for people like us these fellow suffered have a wealth of knowledge and can give you the support and benefit of their knowledge on all things thyroid.dont suffer on your own there is help out there despite these idiot doctors you are having to deal with.shame on them.
hi Chancery; David Unwin is a GP who is very keen now on low-carb; what you are hearing as “no need to repeat” is: “we don’t understand this”: “we don’t have a drug for this”: so we just wave you away. I would suggest Chancery you try ditching ALL sugars and starches as best you can; and just see how you do: Diet Doctor has lots of recipes; and advice; and a success stories page that shows the good results; many of these thyroid issues seem to settle when wheat is given up; and inflammation decreases; do try it and see how you go; it has worked well for us; all best wishes
Not treating sub-clinical because it doesn’t make any difference to the symptoms is obviously rubbish as, if it really was sub-clinical there would be no symptoms and therefore no test. The NHS doesn’t treat until you’re half dead as it means you’ll get free prescriptions and be an expensive patient. But if they can give you anti depressants instead, they get extra funding points (even more if you also develop heart disease) You should have been offered levo as soon as your TSH hit 10 or when it went over range if you also have raised TPO antibodies. Replacing missing hormones makes a lot of difference.
Chancery, your TSH is too high. Go to the excellent thyroid support forum on health unlocked and the people on there will help you.
Chancery & KJE
However “it can be argued that T3 that is the key thyroid hormone, because T4 is basically a ‘prohormone.’ ”
(Interpreted KJE ‘s “levo” here as manufacturered T4.)
Obviously T3 is the active hormone (everyone knows that – except the NHS, apparently), but NHS policy is to give a “trial” of levothyroxine when TSH is over 10, OR TSH is over range with symptoms and high TPO antibodies (NHS doesn’t test TG antibodies), so GP was ignoring guidelines if no “trial” when TSH went over 10. I take T3 and avoid the NHS by buying my own (challenging at the moment)
I would say, that if you if you are over, say 70, the best thing is not to worry about all this. I decided that passing 65, it is best to simply enjoy life and not worry like crazy about any of these medical measurements! Clearly, from the research Dr K is discussing, it is incredibly hard to find evidence that taking statins is beneficial, while it is awfully easy to find evidence that they are harmful to a fair proportion of those who take them – so it is best not to take them!
Strangely, it can be calming to realise that one day you will die – whatever you do – so as you get older, the sheer stress over worrying about different tests and what they mean simply isn’t worth it.
Great advice David im not there yet lol I think I’ve learned enough from Dr kendrick to agree with you def no statins for me.many thanks.
I agree don’t go the statin route. My long retired GP did that to me due to familial high cholesterol. After taking Lipitor for a few years, I developed liver enzyme problems. My CPK went from 39 to 390 and I developed muscle damage from that. I agree with Dr. Kendrick it doesn’t make a hill of beans of difference. My grandmother and my two great aunts lived well into their late 80s and mid-90s. None of them suffered from the ills of high cholesterol and all died from causes.
What is your fasting triglyceride/HDL ratio? Search PubMed for “triglyceride/hdl ratio.” The last 20 years have produced a stack of studies, done in many countries, that show the TG/HDL ratio to be a stronger predictor of future heart disease than LDL-C. Medical practice, writ large, is shockingly conservative and resistant to change, and clings to LDL-C mainly because measuring it came first (triglyceride testing was introduced long after cholesterol testing). And, of course, the huge profits from statins incentivize the drug companies to influence the centers of academic medicine to promote statins. While statins are show to have benefits for those who’ve ALREADY had a heart event, the statistics are very poor for treatment of those without a preceding heart problem. If your TG/HDL ratio is good, you are not likely to need to worry. If you can get a coronary artery calcium scan, which shows the ACTUAL condition of your arteries, not some speculative association with blood lipid markers, so much the better. My LDL-C is quite high and my TG/HDL is rock bottom, so I am not willing to take a statin.
Despite repeatedly telling Doctors that her cholesterol levels were and historically always had been fine my wife was put on statins after 2 major strokes in 2017. This drug was new to us and we were not warned of the dangers. She got statins induced IMNM in 2018 and is still suffering the consequences. Stroke rehabilitation all but stopped. Your article confirms our view that the automatic administration of statins is a flawed policy. We are paying the price.
sorry to hear this Laurence;
Covid discussions seemed to produce a lot of aggro?
Mr Chris, surely that’s a good thing. If all the discussions were aggro free we could well be into groupthink, which is no use at all, unless we work for the MSM.
Lots of ad hominem arguments
I’m a bit like Dr K, prefer reasoned argument to name calling
Yes, that small group of people who dominate the comments with their certainties.
Maybe they’ll give it a rest for a while, but don’t hold your breath. Some people who’s comments i’ve not seen for a while have re-appeared and their thoughts and questions are actually interesting
Steve B, the certainties don’t sound so much like aggro if you agree with them 😁
Surely the big difference between an infectious disease and cardiovascular disease is you can’t catch a cardiovascular disease from someone else.
A disease is an undesirable cell function. You may not desire it, but your system may know better and instigate such a function. So you feel feverish, which you don’t want, but your system does the necessary to overcome the unwanted pathogen. Later you feel better, with any luck. CVD may have many causes, but unless the definition of CVD rules it out, diseases of the heart components can be caused bu moulds or bacteria (probably viruses too), I would think these could be picked up from other people, as well as from the general environment.
But being a non-specialist and non-trained, non-scientist how could I possibly think such a thing?
Depends what you mean by ‘catch’.
We are not all independently minded with the means (time money) to follow the science (tm Matt Hancock et alia).
I would suggest that many of us are effectively ‘infected’ with the bad habits – diet, exercise, drug abuse (alcohol, smoking) – by those around us, and those will certainly lead to CVD (if cancer doesn’t get us first).
I’ve heard it said heart disease can be gotten from mothers in law
Actually, Con, I have been looking at life and seeing and thinking about how much disease and even fatalities are caused by meanness, cruelty and undeserved persecutions. The wounds and stresses are well documented to lead to heart disease, cancer and many other conditions.
And, these actions are intentional and personal, whereas guiltloading strangers at large into feeling responsible for your health and asking them to sacrifice themselves for your benefit, well, it could be a bit self-centered.
I think we should mandate kindness, honesty and fairness.
And I’m not totally kidding.
But, but, if we got people off statins and onto aspirin instead, there would be widespread massive hemorrhaging!!! Of profits from drug companies… we can’t have that now, can we? Harrumph, harrumph.
An excellent piece of evidence that statins have very little, if any, beneficial effect in extending the lives of heart patients. It was evidence I fortunately do not need. I was on statins. There was no reduction in blood-pressure so the dose was tritated upwards. Statins, together with other medications, were making me feel ill and lethargic. My activities and work output were reduced – if you call writing work.
The day came when I decided to bin the lot. I’ve never looked back. At 75 I’m on my bike most days or evenings doing rides of about thirty miles. The pains I used to experience have gone. Life and living is a whole lot better and every day is a Godsend. Listen to your body.
Exactly my experience, muscle pains, irritability lethargy etc
Much better off them , for example hardly ever see my doctor
I have my annual review on Friday. Because I suffer from cuff-syndrome there will no doubt be another attempt to impress on me that I am not following best medical practice. But I can cope. I’ve had years of experience.
Actually my BP was “good for me” and there was no condemnation of my lifestyle. Statins being good for heart patients is a Big Pharma lie.
I hadn’t heard about the irritability, I don’t need anything to make me more of a miserable bastard.
This is my problem, I like exercising. The side effects would likely put me backwards in any effort to lose weight and become healthier.
My issues are more likely caused by blood sugar than anything else. I’d rather work to and have more help with a reasonable and effective way to reduce that. Unfortunately all advice is to cut fat and eat more complex carbs which is only going to make things worse.
I still think “listen to your body” is the best advice Rob.
One has to ask which is the dominant objective: healing patients, or maximising profits?
I see a parallel with the Pentagon’s notorious F-35 fighter jet, which by many accounts is still not fit for purpose after 20 years of development – but which has earned American corporations immense amounts of taxpayers’ money.
Fantastic. I wish I could shout it loud enough for everyone to hear.
Agreed, but unfortunately you won’t be allowed to, except to like-minded audiences on private blogs, as social media and the ‘alleged’ news papers have closed ranks over the dissemination of real news on matters that will adversely affect the profits of their shareholders and – in the UK – regulators.
For example, I have been repeatedly posting on the Guardian cif about the Covid-19 disease and the need to treat to stop the progress of the virus as soon as it is apparent that infection might have occurred, to the point that I am now blocked from posting anything.
It is truly frightening that many people still believe that statins work with no side effects – it is a belief system system after all, taken on faith despite e.g. thennt.com – but then again people continue to vote against their best interests and steadfastly believe that democracy works for them despite all evidence to the contrary.
Not quite: the story was in yesterday morning’s Telegraph. I cut it out so that I could use it as a bookmark in Doctoring Data. Or maybe in The Great Cholesterol Con.
It starts thus:
Statins have limited positive impact on risk of early death, study finds
Decades of research have failed to show ‘consistent benefit’ from cholesterol-lowering drugs to fight heart disease, say scientists
3 August 2020 • 11:30pm
Statins and other cholesterol-reducing drugs rarely have a positive impact on the risk of early death, a new study has found.
The findings, published in the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine magazine, suggest decades of research have failed to show a “consistent benefit” for taking the drugs to curb heart disease.
“Statins have limited positive impact on risk of early death…”
Typical carefully chosen weasel words.
When you think about it, everything in the universe is limited – with the possible exception of numbers.
Another error (probably unintentional): “positive impact on risk of early death” would probably mean increasing that risk. No doubt the author was thinking of “positive” as meaning “good for the patient”.
Be reasonable: if she’d had a decent education she wouldn’t be a journalist.
dearieme, there have been, and still are good, well educated journalists. John Pilger, Paul Foot, Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia, Veronica Geurin, Lyra McKee, John Cook. The list goes on. To say journalists can’t have had a good education is questionable.
The real answer is to abandon The Guardian!
Steve-r, oh you poor soul! Trying to converse with the fake news BBC house journal the Gruinard.
You should try debating the greatest science fraud of all time – global warming with them.
Sorry – I have little sympathy with anyone who thinks the guardian is an unbiased publication.
Yes statins, and the low fat high carbohydrate (i.e. sugar) diet advocated by the AMA and the BMA are one of the biggest killers in history.
Fortunately about 15 years ago I was introduced to a book called Protein Power by DRs Michael and Mary Eades, which saved my life. I am now 78 and carry my golf clubs around an Open venue golf course 3 or 4 times a week. I weigh 11 stone 10 which is 16 pounds heavier than what e n my be a beautiful ex fiancee said yes.
We have just celebrated 51 years of healthy marriage.
BTW I do not possess a dog muzzle like which I see every obedient victim wearing.
At a distance they look as if they are wearing one of their wife’s sanitary appliances.
I wonder if that is government policy?
This Dr Kendrick should be minister of health if we lived in a sane world.
Thank you. I will share far and wide in the hope that someone I know will benefit.
‘…..nearly one trillion dollars…’ is why the statin con rolls on. The Fat Emporer and yourself changed the way many people look after themselves and it’s heartening to see this paper endorse your beliefs.
I read about it in The Mail (UK). The anti-Statin angle is being rebuffed, quite convincingly too for the thousands who believe their Statins are keeping them alive. From The Mail:
Alun Hughes, professor of cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology at UCL, said the authors had conducted ‘flawed analysis of published data’.
He added: ‘In contrast to the authors’ conclusion, I think there is convincing evidence that statins reduce total mortality and cardiovascular events.’
Cardiologist Professor Robert Storey, from the University of Sheffield and Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the British Heart Foundation both defended Statins with convincing statements.
It’s going to take a long time to make a change – unfortunately. While I my continue with my personal health regime, that requires the careful balancing of red wine, pork sratchings and lots of exercise, I will continue to trumpet the cause.
Well, if they didn’t defend their position, they’d have to admit they’d been wrong for decades. Unthinkable!
However, I have read that there is a place for certain low dose statins in cancer treatment, so big pharma needn’t lose out completely.
It’s only 3 of them. Atorvastatin, simvastatin and one other.
Jeremy, this response was interesting to me too. I noticed that one of the groups that had been quite aggressive in attacking the Statin meta analysis was the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which had also been implicated in defending sugar.
FTL: Coca-Cola directly funded GEBN, contributing at least $1.5 million by 2015, and distributed millions more to GEBN-affiliated academics to conduct research.
‘Coke used public health academics to carry out classic tobacco tactics to protect its profits,’ said Gary Ruskin, the executive director of US Right to Know
And eggs! Dozens of eggs! When in doubt, make an omelette. Takes about 5 minutes to make, less to eat, and makes your tummy feel wonderful.
Best if you can get pasture fed eggs. Industrial ones, not so good.
Con’s comment is interesting. I want to ask how frequently covid death is correlated to heart disease?
Con’s comment is interesting. I want to ask about the correlation between covid and heart disease as a comorbidity?
It is so good to see your theory vindicated in a paper at last Dr Kenrick! I wonder if any of your detractors will ever consider an acknowledgment of this? Just kidding, of course they won’t. Never apologise, never explain seems to be the allopathic model.
I have a naturally low LDL, an Endocrinologist pointed it out to me saying my statins were working beautifully. When I told him I don’t take that muck, he said then I must be a red wine lover. Which I am. But now wondering if perhaps the LDL needs to be less low! Drat.
Same here. Always low LDL – and I read that low LDL might mean a worse outcome from CV19. I’ve tried talking to my liver, but it just sulks.
KJE, your liver is probably just pissed off at having you back seat driving when it’s working hard to keep you healthy! 😎
You are not interfering with your body supply of cholesterol by taking statins. Good. So you can surely trust your body to make the cholesterol it needs.
Congratulations and thank you for your enlightening books.
Well done for standing up for truth and science in the face of huge pharmaceutical and establishment pressure.
It must be heart warming to at last get some peer support !
I’m glad to have this confirmed again as I am in effect betting my life on it. I stopped taking statins years ago after reading The Great Cholesterol Con and refuse to have my cholesterol monitored. Fortunately my local GP surgery don’t seem too concerned. After all it is my life.
My levels are off the chart; however, after years of taking the statin drugs and complaining to a locum about the pains in my bones, muscles, etc. He said it was the drugs. I quit and have never worried about it since. The regular GP has classified me as non-compliant.
I remember the exact moment when I realised that statins were the cause of my problems, which sound not dissimilar to yours. I wonder if there was a time when people became non-compliant when they realised that the bleeding treatments weren’t doing them any good – the medical profession is so resistant to change!
I am in the US, and 11 years ago concluded that statins were making me extremely grumpy as in maybe depressed, then did a deep dive into the medical literature and concluded that the risk reduction from statins was non-existent or nearly so. The difference in my experience is that, with some four different primary care doctors, none have pushed back at all. Either they all recognized that I was dug in and not going to budge or – and I think this is the case – they all were aware that the benefits of statins are very modest (speculative in primary care), and that side effects are real. This even after seeing my 99th percentile high LDL and total cholesterol.
Barkeater: Good. Our primary care doctor never said a word after we both declined statins. In her last decade or so of practice I never saw any pharma reps prowling about, either. I was fortunately familiar with Uffe Ravinskov’s work by that time, so was well-armed to resist.
Non-compliant? Do you not have the right to decline any diagnostic or treatment? I wouldn’t agree to anything unless having all the information up front, on specifics, risks and benefits (and with a full understanding on the methodology used to arrive at the conclusions — so often that is dodgy). How can you be classified in such a way? Does this go on a record somewhere? I’d sue….
Problem is,. many if not most prescribers are completely clueless as to the kind of hell blocking the mevalonate pathway can unleash on an unexpecting, and un informed patient. I was on Lipitor 3.5 years, In me it resulted in a 28 day end stage alzheimer’s like hospital stay. Brain MRI revealed “Innumerable foci of increased T2 Signal scattered throughout the Deep and Subcortical white matter of the brain including the corpus callosum and the brainstem. Biopsy revealed the lesions to be apoptosis and electron microscopy revealed mitochondrial DNA mutations most closely resembling Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy with Lactic Acidosis and Stroke-Like Episodes (MELAS). I was set to transfer to a nursing home at 34 years of age. When a visiting professor from Johns Hopkins recommended a Mitochondrial Cocktail, and within 24 hours of my first dose, I began to be able to answer simple questions, I could now verbalize the need to use the restroom instead of wetting or soiling myself as I had done the prior 3 weeks. Its now going on 18 years later, I remain disabled primarily due to the frontal lobe pathology revealed on extensive neuropsych testing, and an essentially unchanged brain pathology. My muscles cause me intense pain (7/10) some days better and some worse. I battle unbelievable fatigue probably 20 out of 24 hours, except for the first 3-5 hours after I wake. I was a critical care RN for 12 years prior to lipitor destroying my life. And now I spend the bulk of my time and energy trying to undo the wrongs I did as an RN, and educating as many as I can to the real truth of these drugs. And the fact that they MAY help only a very small percentage of those who take them, to the tune of 1-2 %, NOT the glorious relative risk reductions so often boasted in pharmaceutical advertising.
That is so sad your so young to have all that inflicted on you and I don’t know how you cope but I admire you for being a battler.take care
I have fired 2 neurologists and 1 primary care doc who originally prescribed the POISON. Drs are no different than auto mechanics, if you are not satisfied with their work, find a new one.
Thank you Dr Kendrick.
Excellent news, I didn’t start the statins I was prescribed just before reading your book … you convinced me totally, and I’m so glad that you are getting the peer support and vindication due to you at last. I’m going to read Doctoring Data next ….
Interesting reading once again.
As I reached a certain age I was encouraged to have a health check up..( human M.O.T. )..
About 55…doctor asked questions..
No..I have never smoked..
No..I don’t drink .
I was not over weight..
Yes..I do exercise..I cycle,enjoy walking,gardening.
Never had health problems..
I felt I was giving answers opposite to what he would have liked.
My ldl tests came back as “industrial”…9.5…
He was horrified…
My statins went from 20 to 80m..and my ldl from 9.5…to 3.5…
In myself I can honestly say that I feel no difference to where I was before..apart from being reminded that I am reaching the age of worrying about death..(something that I never did before my M.O.T..)
It was purely peer pressure that put me on statins..
Now I wonder why I succumbed.
Jimmy, I chronicled my recent experiences on the prior post the mirror yours. Despite extensive research in regard to Statins and LDL, when a person in a white coat (in this case an ND) literally goes wide-eyed at LDL numbers and strongly pushes for a Statin, it’s very challenging to remain mentally and emotionally balanced. In the past year I had to place my younger sister in hospice care and watch her waste away (cirrhosis), adjusted to stay-at-home orders, had another friend die of cancer, another being scanned today to see if she might make it through the year, and been to the ER with my wife due to her chest pains (thankfully gastritis), and remained level and stable. In fact, that defines me in many ways – I stay level when the world around me goes crazy. Yet here I was in a doctor’s office, literally feeling woozy and dysregulated by someone’s insistence that my numbers were alarming. This feeling was amplified when she called a few days later to say she had consulted a cardiologist who was super alarmed by my numbers, and not only should I go on a statin, I should immediately be taking aspirin (to no doubt prevent my immediate expiration). She also referred me to cardiology with my HMO.
As other health markers, by the way, I have just about zero CRP, my BP is below 120, my HOMA-IR is .7, all good metabolic markers, and my LDL was pattern A. But apparently none of this mattered, because my LDL was above 200.
In a decompressed moment, I did two things: One, I scheduled a CAC; two, I reached out to Ted Naiman, who is a doctor in my area who specializes in diet and exercise (and promotes low carb). I can’t say enough about Dr. Naiman. He scanned the same labs that had caused my ND’s eyes to bug out and shrugged. I’m quite lean and muscular and have been pushing the limits of keto and fasting. He said I’d likely get a zero on my CAC, and gave me a few alterations in diet/exercise (mostly to cool my fasting a bit – especially two day fasts) to reduce cortisol and don’t be afraid of ramping up carbs a bit. He confirmed what I knew, yet apparently needed to hear from someone in a white coat, that lean mass hyper responders on low carb show elevated LDL. It’s merely how the body adapts to unique energy needs. I know it’s silly, but having someone with a white coat tell me I was just fine made a world of difference. The next day my workout felt great, I was energetic and optimistic. And a few days after that, Dr. Naiman emailed me with the results of the CAC: Zero.
As someone trained as a researcher who has been reading Dr. Kendrick, Ivor Cummins, etc. I find it embarrassing that I had such an amplified response to my original ND. But I also recognize that, as much as we all know, it is very intimidating to have someone in a white coat express alarm and how psychologically devastating this can be. I hope others can take solace in my experience.
I’m not surprised your systolic BP is below 120. Fasting is a great means of lowering blood pressure. Exercise is good too,
John, I think it all goes together. I suspect low HOMA-IR tracks pretty nicely with reduced BP. My wife has been much less aggressive with exercise but has lowered her BP 40 points with low carb and time restricted eating.
Long may you and your wife’s improvements continue. It’s so good not to be on medication when there are alternatives like fasting and exercise KidPsych.
jimmy mcgrory: ‘My ldl tests came back as “industrial”…9.5…’
I just love that phrasing. Eight years ago, I, too, had “industrial strength LDL” much like yours. The doctor gently read the results over the phone. “I’ve never seen cholesterol this high. These are the levels at which we start to see heart attacks.” I admit the number surprised me, but I didn’t jump at the chance to take cholesterol-lowering medications. The doctor even suggested my issue was hereditary.
Some years ago, Dr Kendrick reported on a study that showed lowering blood pressure had little effect on clinical outcomes (at least when BP was in the older “moderate hypertension” category). The study had no effect on treatment protocols. Later, BP treatment became even more aggressive.
The cholesterol study won’t impact treatment either. For metabolic issues, Medicine is mostly about treating lab numbers. If they can slot you into the right “bucket”, it is not important whether you live or die, so long as you die with good numbers. It means the doctors did their jobs.
If you decide to continue with your statins – knowing what you now know – at least keep an eye out for strange muscle pains. I took Simvastatin for 3 years before trouble set in rather suddenly in the form of nasty cramps and weakness in a leg already weakened by polio 55 years earlier. Of course, my GP and I didn’t give the statins a second thought, and I thought the problem was associated with polio.
Very, very fortunately, I discovered in time that the problem was the statins!
And have a look to at the snowballing rate of Autism Spectrum Disorders. While blame is piled on to the Department of Education for not meeting need the rate in schools is going up by 20-25% a year as defined by the Northern Ireland school census. The 2020 census recorded a 4.2% rate for the province and 6.9% in Belfast (64% at the most serious educational rating for disability). I post on this regularly in BMJ Rapid Responses and no one takes any notice. The DHSC couldn’t care less and just trots out its usual platitudes and lies.
This would be an impossible burden on society even without the COVID farrago.
I read in yesterday’s Times (the article about how doctors are not to recommend ibuprofen and paracetamol so much) that 20 million people in the UK are said to suffer chronic pain.
I asked myself “What kind of civilization gives almost one third of its people chronic pain? And how?”
I ask myself “is the damage caused by non-steroidal anti inflammatories better than the chronic pain.?” I’ll find another remedy.
I always remember the WOSCOPS study done in 1998: http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/97/15/1440 Doctors often quote this study as showing the benefits of statins yet in the study it clearly says:
“….we hypothesized that larger decreases in LDL would be associated with greater benefit. However, no clear, graded relationship was observed between LDL fall and risk reduction with pravastatin”.
“….the observation suggests that in WOSCOPS, the influence of pravastatin on CHD risk could not be completely explained by the reduction in LDL cholesterol.”
“…pravastatin may, through pathways not involving lipid lowering, beneficially affect atherosclerosis”
Hi Clive Great to chat. If life in the prison gets too onerous you are always welcome here. At least you know we have been genuinely self isolating. On a different note it looks like I have in life’s rich tapestry managed to get two things right, firstly gold and secondly statins. Why do nt they just quietly ditch them and save the health service a fortune. While they are at it why not ditch all the other life style drugs…. Perish the thought. I wonder how many people have died uneccesarily from side effects??? On this subject I have been reading about an Israeli physician who took all his over 70 patients of all meds. Guess what they all lived longer. Kendrick like Berg is a great Doctor, whose philosophy is based on a common sense approach. It’s a great shame the country is not run on the same lines. Love Simon
Sent from my iPad
This could be bad news for a patient kept alive by the placebo effect. Cardiologists would also have to find another cause of CVD, or a vaccine to protect the heart.
Hurrah for this! The beginning of vindication.
Thank you Dr. Kendrick.
When I saw this in The Times, I thought wey-hey, at last they are beginning to see the light. But then the article finished with a “but do not stop taking them, consult you Doctor.” Harruph! What do (most) doctors know? Diddly squat. They certainly don’t know how to think.
And unlike some medications, stopping suddenly isn’t a problem. I think the ubiquitous “consult your doctor” is so that no one can accuse them of giving out medical advice inappropriately. In the end, either you are willing to do some homework and trust yourself a bit, or not. For probably most people, they do not have that confidence.
Good to see a new post and one not about COVID-19.
But….but….”CVD” kind of sounds like “COVID”, doesn’t it?
And some folks claimed statins were good for “COVID”, didn’t they?
Just can’t get away from this stuff. Fergie needs to get on it! Stat!
Is it possible for you to send me the research link re butter and it’s effect or otherwise on blood cholesterol?
Mike Gander Green Bank Northwood Green Westbury on Severn GL14 1NB 01452 760537
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Many thanks, Dr Kendrick.
As with Jeannie I had my consultation today. I stopped statins over 7 years ago. Now, with total cholesterol 7.8, LDL at 4.4 , HDL at 1.6, I anticipated what the topic would be. I declined trying other drugs, saying I was happy with my ratios and present state of good health. End of discussion.
Back in 2013 I was a physical wreck, wracked with muscular pain, and so weak I had to give up driving. I felt near death, and I would likely end my days hair-free, as my curls were coming out in handfuls. I had been taking statins for about 10 years.
When Tom Welsh mentions that 20 million people have chronic pain, I would link that to the many people ingesting statins, and I further suspect that Covid deaths of many elderly people, (very likely to be taking statins), is linked to unhealthy, low cholesterol levels.
On the vitamin B12 issue that Jeannie mentions, my levels were low (300) . I thought that was cause for concern being an elderly female, but my worries were dismissed. So, as with stopping statins against advice, I began privately supplementing with B12. My level is now 1120.
It isn’t easy to ‘go it alone’, and I try to be as careful as I can to keep healthy. I rarely ask for medical advice. Fortunately, with problems beyond my knowledge, I am having better conversations with the medics, than in the past.
Hi Jennifer you’ve made some great points re statins and elderly people’s immune systems.I have pernicious anemia now diagnosed again by doing private blood tests.i have no intrinsic factor so even though the levels are now high in my blood serum I cant process it into the cells where its needed so I have to self inject every other day ,again all at my own expense,to keep the levels high in the hope that more spills over into my cells.theres no way I’m putting statins into the mix as I already have a low immune system and I’m so grateful to the posters here and of course dr kendrick for his informative posts and his courage in sharing this info.
Jeannie, I have been reading your threads over the last week to the various responders of your predicament, with great interest.
I have been following Dr Kendrick’s blog almost since its inception. As you can imagine I am absolutely anti-statins, and will never change my views after the way I suffered. What amazes me is that every year or so the blog has a few weeks of anti- statin cases which are mind -boggling in their intensity. I thought I was ill enough after years of complying with my prescription for various sorts of medications . I concluded that enough was enough! Surely I couldn’t feel worse omitting the mixture of concoctions, than I did taking them? In fact I improved immensely off all of them. But I felt abandoned by the medics. However, reading this blog showed I was not alone, although I would never advise anyone to follow me….the individual must do their own research.
It is heart breaking to hear folk’s descriptions of how they have suffered. We can’t all be hypochondriacs. It is as though we are in an impenetrable bubble which our GPs and consultants dare not penetrate, lest they face professional misconduct threats.
Hi Jennifer your right i was only on statins for a short period about 15 years ago and that was enough to convince me they weren’t for me so I just stopped them and like you say my health and strength improved very quickly and I had around 10 good years of reasonable health.I had the head injury caused by bouts of dizziness not knowing I was actually b12 deficient and of course got progressively worse.I can’t convince them that a simple vitamin administered as an injection because i have no intrinsic factor to absorb pills will do me more good than any amount of cholesterol reducing drugs because they cant patent a vitamin and make a fortune from it as they do statins.what a sad corrupt world we live in now and thank God for people like dr kendrick who gives us this information which gives us the tools to think for ourselves.
Amen to that.
well done Jennifer; as KidPsych comments, it can be hard to “stand up against” the hectoring and so that some doctors can dish out; great to hear you are keeping so much better.
If you build a house, you need bricks and mortar. Then some building authority comes along and says no no mortar ist very bad for your house. Scratch it of..
Cholesterol lowering ist a similar craze. Forty years and more I keep on touting about this to my relatives but no way – the answer I get ist “Butthedoctorsaid”.
My butt. We Finns are probably still World Champions in dying from CVD.
Thank you for your work 2.0.
Tuulikki Kyytsönen Medical Translator
Dr. Malcolm Kendrick schrieb am Mi., 5. Aug. 2020, 09:48:
> Dr. Malcolm Kendrick posted: “5th August 2020 This article was first > published on RT.com on the 4th of August, and it can be seen here In the > midst of the COVID-19 epidemic almost every other medical condition has > been shoved onto the side-lines. However, in the UK last year, h” >
I wish the following were true, but from my reading, it really isn’t:
“In most fields of science the existence of contradictory evidence usually leads to a paradigm shift or modification of the theory in question,
anna m: It is true, but can take decades or centuries.
With now twenty years experience of severe CVD I would today not dream of approaching the NHS again and any GP’s involved if I was not feeling “very close to the border”. And even then I think I would hesitate.
If they will get hold of me I am convinced that my remaning days would be “numbered” when put on numerous ‘heart’ drugs (never touch them is my advice!) and also subject to a comprehensive CABG.
Hard work in my garden(as far as I am able) makes me feel good today.
And of course the LCHF way of living helps and with a Scotch whisky (Ardbeg is a favorite) and lots of vitamins and minerals will keep my arteries in resonable shape.
The Scottish health plan — whisky and Dr Kendrick’s advice. ;o)
Just need to avoid the deep-fried Mars Bars.
Hi Jeremy: On eating Mars products deep fried in corn oil for reducing cholesterol, don’t stop without checking with your doctor.
Far more effective than https://youtu.be/Efv9POk5tnw from the buffoon.
AhNotepad: And I thought our politicians on this side of the pond were knuckleheads! They ain’t got nothin’ on Boris the Clown.
The need for corporate profits means Pharma has little interest in an honest historical narrative, certainly not in our wellbeing, nor the vagaries of human health. Congrats to MK for his perseverance.
It is a mysterious business none the less, when one considers that cardiologist Paul Dudley White could not explain why the incidence of angina/ Ischaemic heart disease tripled from the time his medical career began in 1911, till 1970 . And why people with “ familial hypercholesterolaemia “ used to live to a ripe old age pre 1900. Is there some other hidden-in-broad-daylight gremlin in all this ?
Please read ‘The Invisible Rainbow’ by Arthur Firstenberg, especially the chapter on The Irritable Heart. Have a bottle of gin beside your chair, better than a defibrillator.
GPs who have spent a lifetime in Welsh industrial valleys may not write legibly, but we have earned first class degrees in scepticism. And we usually recognise a gremlin, when he is pointed out.
Exercise or the lack of it. The normal daily routine involved walking, cycling and physical activity. That reduced gradually for obvious reasons.
Heavy labour, was common at turn of century. Its present day equivalent is the gym hours and sports.
The labour effort involved in building the Manchester ship canal was incredible with workers reputed to consume 12,000 calories per day – compared with 2,000 plus now. Following machinery introduction, engineers remarked on the poorer physique of the workers.
First, don’t get me wrong – I’m well convinced of the truth that statins are minimally useful in heart disease and in many instances are downright harmful.
That said, I’d like to address some perceived problems with papers such as this and how they’re viewed.
Ioannidis has strongly suggested that meta-analyses are useless at determining . . . anything. Does he have something there? Meta-analyses are particularly prone to selection bias. I know, I know, the author preempts the accusation saying he looked at researches across the board. But?
This brings to mind Doctoring Data. Mightn’t the precepts of Dr Kendrick’s excellent book be used in examining this paper? The precepts should apply whether or not we’d like to believe the paper’s conclusions. Right? I’d like to see the results of the Doc’s rigid application here.
I fear that as soon as the author is seen as a member of THINCS, his work will be discounted by Establishment Persons who might otherwise have given the paper thoughtful consideration. Reputation, ya know? Hurts even if slanderous.
This paper was not a meta-analysis
I was thrilled when i found the article by Ravnskoff et al in the Summer of 2016 indicating that Seniors with the highest LDL lived the longest.
Then I saw the gang that wrote it and had misgivings. (THINCS’s reputation)
Then I looked into it all more deeply and satisfied those misgivings.
All that was needed was to sit back and wait for the Medical Community’s conversion.
Nothing. Nothing in four years.
Will the current article fare better??
The current article:
(This was not included in the usual reference links)
(From the BMJ:
What is meta-analysis?
Meta-analysis is a research process used to systematically synthesise or merge the findings of single, independent studies, using statistical methods to calculate an overall or ‘absolute’ effect.2 Meta-analysis does not simply pool data from smaller studies to achieve a larger sample size. Analysts use well recognised, systematic methods to account for differences in sample size, variability (heterogeneity) in study approach and findings (treatment effects) and test how sensitive their results are to their own systematic review protocol (study selection and statistical analysis). )
If these articles are not meta-analyses, might they be deemed more reliable? Less??
JDPatten: With statins we don’t even need published work such as this. The fact that the data are hidden speaks volumes. Were the data favorable we would hear no end to the crowing about these wonder drugs. The pleiotropic effects, which are the only benefits statins provide can be had much cheaper and without adverse effects. How? For two, fatty fish, for the anti-coagulant effect of EPA and DHA; L-citrulline and sunshine for vasodilation.
Yes Gary. Yes.
It depends on who the “we” is.
The folks here that we only know by code names are a “we” that need little further assurance.
The “We” that constitutes the rest of mankind is a different story. Statins are the most prescribed “medicine” worldwide.
The physicians who prescribe because that’s what they’re taught in med school and that’s what their mentors and their peers do are part of this humanity we’re all stumbling through.
There’s a huge acceptance history to shift. I know that it was not easy for me.
So, meta-analyses are your pet fake-statistical peeve? Mine are the “mythical data” studies — those where data do not exist, because it would be (pick one or more) impractical, too expensive, unethical, logistically impossible, or (here insert your own excuse of choice). But, if the data DID exist, by gum, you could be sure they would support the completely objective author’s pet hypothesis. No, really they would!
But, do not despair of seeing the data, because … the completely, unequivocally objective author has, fortunately, developed a model to generate these data! The trials cannot be run, but here are the data they would generate, if they could be run! I am not even going to waste time looking up the term for these mythical data. — there is actually a “scienterrifical” name for it. This “MM” greatly offends me as a scientist, albeit a retired one.
I’ll confess. I am an agnostic. Neither atheists nor religionists have come up with very convincing data to support their positions. I’ll further clarify that I am a mootist agnostic, as I’ve seen not one iota of data that it makes one d@mn bit of difference if one vs. the other is correct.
I wonder how Sir Rory is going to spin this?
Wow. Thank you Dr Malcolm Kendrick for your words of wisdom once again.
This UPI article (H/T Instapundit) cites a doctor who disagrees.
“Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, president-elect of the American Heart Association, thinks the latest research relied on questionable studies and remains a proponent of cholesterol-lowering drugs.”
Well, that settles that!
Dr. Kendrick, thank you! I have followed your blogs and feel your information are very helpful! I attended a healthy class a few years ago, and the class really taught us to reduce cholesterol from food, even egg yellow. But right now I don’t know how much we should control our food. Actually I found out the stress play a big role in cholesterol. My cholesterol dropped when I often walked outside in the park, and increased when I was stressed.
I suspect that chronic stress induces an involuntary inflammatory response,
which consequently messages the liver to increase cholesterol production. Feedback mechanisms reverse this when the body feels that the danger (stressors) has passed.
The cholesterol story – based on the shaky at best 7 countries study, then after many drugs and interventions that lowered cholesterol but made no difference to mortality except when it worsened it, was eventually ‘proved’ by statins, which made a statistically but not clinically significant difference to middle aged men (only, not women at all) with pre-existing coronary heart disease. By hiding the side effect data, and ridiculing criticism by using eminent cardiologists to do their dirty work, they have a ‘well established’ safety profile. By using the relative risk trick, their actual risk reduction of 1 – 2% has been boosted to 30 – 40%, and pushed for (nearly) everybody over 60 to take. This is why many GPs, for example, one of my partners, believe that statins are marvellous. She pointed out that since statins arrived, we ‘never see patients with chest pains’ – in fact, the reason we don’t is that ALL GP telephone messages advise anybody with chest pain to phone 999 – which is probably why A and E is overrun with 25 year olds that pulled a muscle moving a wardrobe.
I certainly wonder about how side effects are tracked with statins. My father in law, who was a triple Jeopardy winner (he used the money to pay for graduate school) and annoyingly sharp (up into his 70’s it took a team of people to match him in Trivial Pursuit), has, as of yesterday, been moved to a downstairs bedroom because he can no longer climb the stairs due to debilitating Alzheimers. In fact, the man with the razor sharp intellect and prodigious memory, as he moves up into his 70’s, can not recall what disease he has. As far as I know, he continues to take statins on the advice of his doctors. For years I tried to dissuade him and have him focus on diet (eating more animal fat) and moving his body more. Unfortunately not only did he continue taking statins, but he and his wife watched Fork Over Knives or some other vegan propaganda and increased eating processed vegan foods. One of the seminal moments in this horrible descent was when he ate a box of Girl Scout cookies and literally experienced a fugue, not recalling where he had been for many days. Meanwhile a much younger friend of mine has been struggling with a lack of sex drive (cholesterol is a precursor molecule to sex hormones). In both cases, one could attribute the decline to normal aging and thus obscures any negative side effects. In a sense, statin producers are immune from any serious inquiry into any potential damage their drugs might cause.
That setting TARGETS for cholesterol lowering is probably not usefull, is not a new insight. In 2014 a very official Belgian consensus conference, in which I partipated, and whose conclusions are supposed to be followed by all Belgian medical praticioners concluded the following:
“188.8.131.52. Cibles thérapeutiques
Certains guides de pratique mentionnent des valeurs-cibles de LDL-C afin de déterminer si la dose du traitement avec statines doit être augmentée ou pas. Ces valeurs-cibles varient fortement selon les guides de pratique et ne sont pas basées sur des preuves solides. Le jury estime qu’il n’est pas nécessaire de viser des valeurs-cibles prédéfinies.”
The new publication only confirms this, it seems to me.
thanks mvanbellinghen: I understand the last sentence of the Belgian advice is
“The jury believes that it is not necessary to aim for predefined target values. ””
In fact many of us believe it is a complete nonsense to aim for an LDL value:
I had a cholesterol reading of 5.8.
Taking Statins I got it down to 2.9
The young cardiologist took a look at the reading and said she was doubling my Statin dose, because there was evidence that ‘statins smooth out the arteries’.
I asked her if cholesterol could go too low?
She said it couldn’t go low enough.
A small voice somewhere said ‘Is that true?’
Searching the internet I stumbled on the Doctor’s blog.
Couldn’t believe what I was reading.
I’ve always been a goodie-two-shoes as far as the NHS is concerned, we’re the same age and I’ve always been fantastically well looked after by all those who sail with her.
So I dithered – came off Statins, went back on them etc.
I found it difficult to question the entrenched position, it seemed so disloyal, and who was I anyway, I’m not a doctor.
And whenever I mentioned Dr Kendrick and others, I was left feeling I was stupidly backing the wrong horse.
Dr Kendrick’s horses have romped home a number of times, glad to hear he backed another winner, and I’m really glad I backed him
Low animal fat and high complex carbohydrate diet (Standard Western ‘healthy diet’) with an embarrassing lack of evidence before it was implemented, and a more than tripling of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the 40 odd years doctors (me too, at one time!) have been advising it compared with evidence based low carbohydrate diets which produce impressive results. As they say over the water, go figure, and while you’re at it, improve your figure.
James: Yup. Tell your doctor about SLOS (Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome). You can read about it in “The Great Cholesterol Con.” Cholesterol most certainly can go too low!
James: many would say the best thing with statins is to flush them down the toilet.
That would pollute the water supply, so everybody would be taking them, like it or not.
“I found it difficult to question the entrenched position, it seemed so disloyal, and who was I anyway, I’m not a doctor.”
I am not a medical doctor either, and I know exactly how you feel. I only arrived here (7 years ago!) because I got a nasty reaction to my statins after 3 years where they seemed benign. You can read the full details about how I realised what was wrong in this post:
(Skip down to the line that begins “Dear Sir Rory,”)
Reading Dr Kendrick’s book was indeed a shock – statins, cholesterol, and saturated fats – all associated with completely wrong ideas! I was persuaded by the fact that he was still a doctor in the NHS, and the fact that his book was looking at actual studies, all carefully referenced.
Cholesterol is used in many places in the body – that at least seems uncontested – so the idea that cholesterol could be lowered to an arbitrary degree was clearly silly.
Dr Kendrick’s cholesterol horse romped home some time ago, but Big Pharma has an iron grip, and I don’t suppose things will change anytime soon.
This smart and popular young oncologist who wrote the book on Medical Reversal (literally!) might be the way in.
He pointed out that, at the time his book was published, virtually half of medical procedures in use over the previous decade had been shown to be useless or harmful.
Chat him up him concerning statins, and that might constitute a foot in the door.
Why not? Stick it out; it’s only your neck. 🙂
It is extraordinarily difficult to understand (or believe) how evolution and nature have conspired to produce a substance in us all that commits everyone to a life of medication. The cholesterol molecule is essential for good health. Cell wall integrity and neurilemma construction are two roles in which cholesterol plays a vital part. It is known that 25% of your body cholesterol is found in the brain. I wonder why. Dietary interventions do not alter cholesterol levels and adjustments via medication are sadly misinformed.
Good health is supposed to be a partnership between the patient and treating clinician. Compulsion, whether mediated by pharmaceutical companies or not, has somehow become the right (only) pathway good health. The medical profession has squandered the automatic trust that was placed in it by the public, which has been evidenced by nonsense public declarations from supposedly august bodies (with considerable vested interests) year on year.
If you want to stay healthy, then you should keep as far away from doctors as you can. Death is the natural corollary to life and imbibing medications that significantly harm the organism at a profound level will never prevent any person from dying. I will never take statins, I enjoy full cream milk (gold top) butter and a full fat diet along with an occasional glass of wine.
This is not a recipe for great health (we are told) but I will die having eaten and lived well. In my opinion, there is no case for permitting the medical profession, or people in a position of assumed authority, to create a climate of fear. Everyone should know at this juncture that stress presages poor health. I would argue that responses to COVID-19 have created massive stresses in the general population, with fatality figures broadcast daily. How could that help people?
I had ldl of 8.3, presumed to be FH. No symptoms. Went on statins but had severe reaction after 10 days so discontinued (obviously). GP’s going nuts, referring me to consultant, also going nuts, wanted to put me on PCSK9 injections, which i refused. Every time i went to GP about anything they brought up subject of statins. So i said i want a full cardiology heart and artery test to see if there is a problem. I had perfect outcome to all tests so that proves my ldl is not doing me any harm at all.
Good for you. Very difficult to stand up to such concerted pressure
It is little wonder that certain responders here have lost faith in medical services. I was 59 at the time. Following routine blood tests, I received a phone call saying I must urgently collect a ‘script, doubling my Simvastatin from 40mg to 80mg. I dutifully dashed to collect, and paid for the medication.
The simvastatin 80mg was combined with Ezetimbe. I sat looking at the box for a couple of days, and decided to question it. Within minutes a GP phoned and asked if I had taken any of the pills, and sighed with relief when I said I hadn’t. I was asked who had prescribed them, but as I had not seen a doctor for a long time, I could not say, since the ‘script had been sent direct to the pharmacy. I never found out who the prescriber was.
My total cholesterol had never exceeded 8.3. Today I checked up on NICE, and I certainly never reached the criteria back then for such a change. So, I continued on Simvastation 40mg for the following years, struggled along on 3.8….no wonder I was ill! Had I used that ‘script, I reckon I wouldn’t be writing this story today.
For the last 7 years i have been statin-free. Blood tests inevitably include cholesterol levels, and show I have never exceeded 7. So, I get questioned, but once I raise the topic of ratios, the discussion ends.
Thats just terrifying.
My cholesterol results were
Total cholesterol 7.59 mmol (range 0-5)
LDL cholesterol 4.56 mmol (range <3)
Non HDL cholesterol 5.5 mmol (range <4)
Triglycerides 2.07 mmol (range 1.3)
Total cholesterol: HDL 3.63 ratio (range <4)
I'd appreciate any comments or ammo for gp visit as they really do hound me to start statins and I have no idea how to load my case against doing this other than previous side effects.are my ranges that bad as they say?
It is difficult to have a range of <4. Equally fascinating that the normal cholesterol range is 0 – 5. Anyone with a level of 0 would be dead
I get the impression they just pluck the numbers out the air.these ones were private lab reports.
My blood results are listed, confidential to me, on my GP site, ( for me to peruse at length on such foggy days as we’re enduring on the North Yorkshire coast today). When reading Jeannie’s numbers, and comparing with my latest results, I looked closer for explanations from the lab. I was bemused to learn that different labs use different parameters to describe as “normal’ or “abnormal”, and use different techniques to do the same tests. Also, some of my tests, e.g. LFTs are classed as “acceptable” on the lab print out, but “abnormal, not requiring attention” by the medic signing them off. Confused, Jennifer? you bet I am. I feel like the ‘A’ level students today expecting a pass mark, only to be told they have failed.
My cardiologist recently reported to my GP that I have hypercholesterolemia. Here are my stats: Cholesterol 5.2 mmol/L; HDL. 2.05; Trig 1.20; LDL. 2.6; Chil/HDL 2.6; Non HDL. 3.2.
Needless to say, he also called complained that I consistently refuse statins!
Oh dear. Obviously barking. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.
Jeanie, I did send off a response regarding inconsistencies in lab parameters, and their interpretations, which has landed somewhere on the blog this evening. Apologies for mis-spelling your name.
I am at a loss to offer you any help regarding discussing things with any medics. My advice to patients (when I was a practicing Nurse), was to jot down any questions/points they wished to discuss, to ensure nothing was overlooked. My own advice came back to bite me on the bum when I did the same for myself. For convenience I typed up my questions. My GP was far from impressed by my polite questioning regarding the poly-pharma I was being subjected to, and accused me of paying too much attention to Dr Google. I have the letter from 7 years ago, and at times have a re-read of it. Not in a 1,000 years could it be described by anyone as rude. I wish you well in getting things sorted to improve your health.
Doreen, you may have saved yourself from a lifetime of misery by taking charge!
I refused my consultants recommendation to my gp this week that I go on statins to reduce cholesterol,I advised that I’d previously tried them years ago and within days suffered terrible muscle pain and weakness,I said I would try a low cholesterol diet and be retested in a couple of months.He still said in letter to gp he recommended prescribing ezitimbe for me.
Any thoughts on this,is it really necessary? My ferritin is very high at 599 and they are doing more bloods ,negative for haemochromotis,they are a formidable team to battle but I guess I should be grateful I’m getting any kind of help In the present climate.
It’s so difficult when you don’t feel great and they get angry and accuse you of not wanting to help yourself by following their advice,I do but I refuse to be bullied into things I’m not comfortable with,especially the invasive stuff.I also do not want to just comply and take the tablets off them and pretend to take them but worry that by debating their recommendations they will get ticked off and not give me the help I need to get well.catch 22 and I pay private for most of this.
They can’t force you to get the prescription filled. I often used to ask the chemist not to supply all the items I was prescribed (usually because I couldn’t afford it). If it’s the only item prescribed, just don’t bother getting it filled.
I have given up hope that the medical profession will ever give up their obsession with lowering LDL.
We moved and hubby now has a new doc. I had hopes that she was not part of the hidebound establishment. But no, during the second appointment, she brought up statins and a plant based diet. No eggs or dairy and very little meat were permitted, in her opinion.
Back to the drawing board!
A little bit of progress on the saturated fat front:
Gary, thanks for the link. Great article. Got a number of good contributors, too, such as Volek and Krauss. I think it’s significant it is in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
See Dr Kendrick’s old post “Four Legs Better” for some commentary on a “strange statement” the former president of the ACC made several years ago.
I plan to keep both the recent article and Dr Kendrick’s post to give to any doctor who wants me on cholesterol-lowering medication.
Asking questions are really good thing if you are not
understanding anything totally, but this article provides nice understanding yet.
If Cholesterol was Oil
So my car was a bit down on power so I took it to a mechanic that advised a get a boroscope to check the cylinder linings for damage or wear. Sure enough the cylinder linings were worn, the mechanic diagnosed “too much oil”. I queried this and he said “yes, oil is very often present at the scene of excessive wear”. He recommended an oil additive that would make the oil so thick, it would put a strain on the oil pump and reduce the amount of circulating oil. I asked if there wasn’t some risk in doing this, he said that some people had complained that this approach effected other ancillaries, like the steering pump and so on but this was more likely because the cars were just old.
I asked wasn’t the wear more likely to caused by friction, he noted that evidence of friction was often found in the same places that oil was delivered. I then noted that I had been having trouble with dirty fuel for many years and that perhaps this had contaminated the oil (eg via crankcase ventilation) and that had caused the excessive wear. In fact when I found the fuel had been contaminated I had the oil checked and it was full of dirty particles, but since using cleaner fuel, further tests showed I no longer had dirty particles in the oil.
He explained that I had to understand that it was not the cleanliness of the oil that was important – it was having too much oil.
You see, the oil capacity of all cars is known, and the average capacity of all cars is considered a cut off point for proper total oil capacity for any car.
But not to worry, if the additive did not reduce the circulating oil, he’d recommend adding sand as well as that was shown to soak up oil on roads and therefore was another promising treatment for too much oil.
I asked if this approach achieved good results. He said oh yes, people bring their cars back to me right up until they stop working altogether.
Geoff_Fraser – hilarious. Just what we all need in these ghastly times. Thank you for making me smile. And your analogy Is spot on.
Terrain theory mentioned at 1:13 of https://youtu.be/50qU_NrynVo suggestion is lowering LDL makes you more susceptible to pathogens.
Hello. This video is gone (“This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated”), but the problem with this bad, bad, bad LDL is on the edge of it’s final solution: “‘Inclisiran’, a small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic agent, reduces hepatic synthesis of PCSK9 [Gene]”. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1912387
‘Inclisiran’, which a few days ago has been approved for the treatment of elevated LDL cholesterol in parts of England and Wales, in the coming decade is claimed potentially could prevent 55,000 heart attacks in the UK and save more than 30,000 lives. The drug is administered as an injection twice a year and increases the liver’s ability to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol.
However, ‘science’ does not say much about the medical/health- effects of suppression of PCSK9-Gene in other (than the liver) tissues / organs where it’s is also present and active as well.
COVID-19 seems to have been pretty fortunate for present and future RNA / DNA pharmacology, but I can have my doubts if dr. Kendrick once more can lift the burden of participate in another one anti-cholesterol war. Thank you.
Extract BELOW – can agree with most of this but is wheatgrass the solution to heart disease?
And despite all the notifications on the benefits of cholesterol the article then suggests a solution for “bad”cholesterol. Confusing – is it not – but that logic or lack of logic is pretty common – I find.
“can’t say enough how important cholesterol is. Your body makes cholesterol because it is so incredibly vital, the body cannot leave it to chance that you would consume it. Did you know that you would die instantly without cholesterol? Cholesterol is a fundamental part of every cell in your body.
WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL
Cholesterol is a fatty substance essential to many metabolic processes. Cholesterol is utterly important because it makes hormones like estrogen, testosterone and adrenal hormones, helps your metabolism work efficiently. Cholesterol is needed by your body to produce vitamin D and make bile acids, which help the body digest fat and absorb important nutrients.
Instead of multivitamins take wheatgrass! It provides you with over 100 nutrients: all vitamins A, C, E, K and a complete range of B complex vitamins, 17 essential amino acids and chlorophyll. – HERE
Pointing to an extensive data analysis published at Medium.com new analysis evaluated by American Thinker‘s Thomas Lifson confirms the fact that cholesterol is not a cause of heart attacks. In fact, cholesterol helps to protect against heart attacks, leading to the conclusion that statin drugs are actually harmful for your body.
STATIN SCAM AND HEART DISEASE
Pharmaceutical companies have altered the definition of high cholesterol in order to promote cholesterol medications on people.
THE REAL CAUSE OF HIGH CHOLESTEROL
In fact, all of this useless focus on high cholesterol is taking away our attention from the real cause of heart disease which is inflammation & Sugar. Chronic inflammation is a major predictor of coronary artery disease. Studies found that high levels of CRP (inflammation) puts you at twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular-related problems as those with high cholesterol.”