This allegation is the thrust of an article by Byron Richards. It is also something that I agree with him on. He has written an excellent article on the subject of statins introducing some new material and I have reproduced it below for you.
It is common for people to be ‘forced’ to go on to a statin drug when there is no need for it. The latest instance that was brought to my attention was just a few days ago when a lady made a comment on this blog about her husband being told to go on a statin drug or else his insurer would not give him coverage. His total cholesterol was less than 200! I made the comment that I thought that was criminal.
The reality is (and I have said it many times before), the levels of cholesterol as promoted by the Cholesterol Council of America are artificial and rarely occur in real life. They have to be forced to that low level by a statin drug which is why so many people are encouraged to go on them.
There is also more to the cholesterol question than just the overall numbers. For example, the size of your LDL particles are important as is the amount of oxidization. These parameters are not measured by normal cholesterol testing. Over the years we have had considerable success with our Cholest-Natural which helps people achieve their normal healthy cholesterol levels naturally. It also helps in reducing the oxidation of cholesterol which is critical, but it will not force cholesterol down to an unnatural artificial level.
Sadly we have cases in which people have taken Cholest-Natural and then decided that it is not working for them because it has not achieved the artificially low levels which are now being promoted. No natural remedy will achieve those. In some cases their total cholesterol has even gone up and they are disappointed by the result, but generally when the figures are examined it is found that there has been an increase in HDL which is excellent and a drop in LDL which is good but the total cholesterol is up overall because of the increase in HDL. This means that it has achieved the desired objective although it may not be apparent.
Unfortunately, as I said the tests do not measure the reduced level of oxidation which is the most dangerous aspect of cholesterol. I honestly believe that the levels of cholesterol that you have in your body after being on our Cholest-Natural for 3 - 4 months is what they are supposed to be…for your body.
If you are on a statin drug and you decide to come off it you must do it gradually as you will experience a spike in cholesterol levels when you do. We have some suggested protocols as to how to do this.
If you remain on a statin drug then it is crucial that you supplement with CoEnzymeQ10. I have covered the reasons for this in other parts of this blog.
Now for his article:
THE STATIN SCAM MARCHES ON - By Byron J. Richards, CCN - December 11, 2007
Considering that tens of millions of Americans now take statins to lower cholesterol, the following headline was conspicuously absent from the major media this month: “Statins Found to Turn On Gene that Causes Muscle Damage.” It’s now a fact of science; a new study shows that taking statins destroys your muscle to a greater or lesser degree. And let’s not forget that the heart is a muscle.
Place this study juxtaposed to another rather interesting recent finding: the more fit you are the longer you will live – and the two just don’t add up. How can you destroy muscle and be more fit? You can’t. Sure you can drug your cholesterol number lower, but will you be healthier, fit, and live longer?
In the new study researchers found that statins activate a gene signal in muscles called atrogen-1. When this gene activates it targets key muscle proteins for destruction. The activation of this gene drives the process of muscle atrophy and muscle wasting. It is induced in cardiac muscle in failing hearts. Why on earth would any person want this gene activated by a drug?
The researchers tested statin-taking humans who were complaining of severe muscle pain. Muscle biopsy found that the atrogen-1 gene was activated, compared to people with severe muscle pain not on statins and controls. They went on to show through various experiments that statins activate the gene. This is extremely bad news for any person taking a statin.
Right now doctors ignore the majority of muscle aches and pains caused by statins, and in their mind only consider the problem serious when it is debilitating (rhabdomyolysis), which apparently happens less than 1% of the time. However, at least 5% - 7% of statin users experience significant muscle problems. The number is greater than 10% if a person is taking the now commonly prescribed higher doses. And if a person is trying to be fit and exercise the number jumps to 25%. These numbers are clearly on the low end as it has now been shown that doctors are ignoring their patients, not reporting the side effects of statins to the FDA, and telling them the side effects they are experiencing are not from the drug!
This new science shows that as soon as the atrogen-1 gene is activated by statins it starts destroying muscle. This means that even mild aches or pains while taking a statin is a sign that muscle is being destroyed, an entirely new and sobering perspective on the side effects of statins. Statins directly work against being physically fit, as is evidenced by the difficulty statin users have exercising without troubling symptoms.
Cardiomyopathy (serious weakening of the heart muscle) is a known adverse and often not reported side effect of statin therapy, previously thought to be the result of a statin-induced coenzyme Q10 deficiency. It is likely that the combination of Q10 deficiency with atrogen-1 activation is behind this problem.
Statins – Perversion of Science for Profit
The statin industry is a 20-billion-a-year propaganda machine, producing more yearly revenues from one class of drug than all professional U.S. sports combined. Just like any hot-selling drug on the market, negative studies are discouraged to say the least. They are either thrown in the trash can when they don’t work out or critical researchers are often blackmailed, meaning if they publish something negative they will never again get research money from the industry. These well known tactics discourage basic research on drug-related toxicity problems.
When statistics are honestly looked at in the case of using statins for many years to prevent a first heart attack, for every life that is saved (1% over 10 years use) statins cause an equal number of adverse deaths due to accidents, infection, suicide, and cancer (1% over 10 years use). This means that as a general public health measure, which is now the lion’s share of current statin use, they are an ineffectual waste of money. It has now been proven that middle-age men would be better off taking an aspirin a day for a tiny fraction of the cost (of course there are many supplement options). Statin-taking for a number of years does not reduce mortality rate. None of these facts phase the statin industry, which keeps churning out positive spin and moving right along regardless of the damage being doing and the money wasted.
The fraud of statins inside one’s body centers on the regulation of an enzyme known as HMG CoA reductase. Statins work by reducing the function of this enzyme, the higher the dose the more the enzyme is reduced, and the less cholesterol is made. It is well known that individuals with naturally lower cholesterol (LDL at 130, total less than 200) in their 40s and 50s have fewer cardiovascular problems as they grow older. However, taking a statin to reduce cholesterol to these levels or even lower is not the same thing as natural healthy function.
In healthy individuals with lower cholesterol the HMG CoA reductase enzyme is active at a high level as part of health. It is part of a complex communication system within the body that regulates energy, immunity, fat metabolism, leptin, cellular thyroid hormone activity, liver-related synthesis, stress tolerance, adrenal function, sex hormone synthesis, and brain function. This system is core to survival! The high activity of this enzyme is a type of metabolic fitness, similar to the idea of muscle fitness. The enzyme is very active in a healthy state for a variety of important and vital needs.
Drugging this enzyme is similar to making a person get around in a wheelchair, whether they need one or not. If you put a person’s metabolism in a statin-induced straightjacket, then maybe Humpty Dumpty won’t fall off the wall so easily. That may be a useful concept for someone in brittle cardiovascular health, but it has little to do with the average person concerned about general cardiovascular well being and maintaining a healthy level of fitness and vitality.
Doctors don’t use statins to try and reduce HMG CoA activity a little bit, with the idea of approximating some type of healthy function of the enzyme (the lowest and least toxic dose possible to provide improvement). Doctors actually could care less what healthy function of the enzyme actually is. Rather, the new “gold standard of medical care” is to batter the enzyme into a state of submission so that cholesterol levels are abnormally low. Any apparent benefits of a statin, many of which are falsely touted, is accomplished by poisoning some aspect of health. How long can such a charade be allowed to continue on millions of unsuspecting Americans? Why won’t the FDA demand drug companies include a correct risk profile as part of the labeling? As normal, the FDA continues to sleep on duty.
Double the Dose – Rake in the Billions
In 2004 the government-funded National Cholesterol Education Program selected a panel of nine “experts” to review statin drug use and make recommendations as to guidelines doctors should follow to reduce cardiovascular disease. They recommended that individuals at high cardiovascular disease risk attain LDL levels < 100 mg/dL and individuals at very high cardiovascular risk attain LDL levels < 70 mg/dL (levels that are abnormal, levels which are seldom ever this low in healthy people with no cardiovascular disease). Their advice was published in the marketing journal of the American Heart Association, Circulation. This “scientific journal” failed to disclose that six of the nine authors had direct financial ties to the makers of statin drugs.
Today, in doctor’s offices around the country, these abnormal cholesterol levels are being pushed on anyone over the age of 40, requiring a double or triple dose of statins or combination with some other toxic drug (like fibrates) to achieve these completely unnatural and unhealthy levels of cholesterol. In hindsight we can see that these recommendations boosted yearly statin sales by seven billion dollars. A class-action lawsuit has already been filed against Pfizer for illegal Lipitor promotion. Many others are sure to follow as this fraud becomes better understand by those who are injured and those footing the bill.
Further highlighting this fraud is a study appearing in the October 3, 2006, issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers reviewed all studies relating to cholesterol-lowering benefits by statin drugs, with a focus on the new abnormally low cholesterol levels promoted by the American Heart Association. Their conclusion, “current clinical evidence does not demonstrate that titrating lipid therapy to achieve proposed low LDL cholesterol levels is beneficial or safe.” That is a rather shocking conclusion coming more than two years after the fact. The finding did not phase the statin marketing machine or the prescribing habits of any physician.
Make Vitamin E a Scapegoat
During the time in 2004 that Big Pharma was plotting its statin bonanza it needed to fire cannonballs at its most widely recognized competition, Vitamin E and other antioxidants. No problem. First, in August 2004, the American Heart Association used its marketing magazine to print a bogus article contradicting hundreds of nutritional studies, stating that antioxidants A, C, and E are not effective for cardiovascular disease risk reduction. Then, in November of 2004, with trumpets blaring at their yearly AHA meeting, they make the brazenly fraudulent claim that vitamin E increases the risk of death by 6%!!!
Outside the marketing meeting masquerading as a scientific conference, the chairman, Dr. Raymond Gibbons of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was holding a dog and pony show press conference. “I spend all my time trying to tell patients why they should not take vitamin E. Too often in terms of the supplements there’s very scant science. In this area, we have the science. Vitamin E doesn’t work.” He implored his captive audience of reporters to help him convince patients to stop taking Vitamin E and take the “proven” drugs. The next day, all major media ran the story telling consumers vitamin E was dangerous. Program effective. Damage done.
Within weeks the American Heart Association had brainwashed doctors and the American public to actually think vitamin E was dangerous, clearing out the primary competition to statins for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Doctors were telling all their patients to stop taking vitamin E. The anti-vitamin rhetoric spread like wild fire through doctor’s offices around the nation and continues to this day.
Within a week the bogus vitamin E information coming from the American Heart Association meeting was debunked. Physician and nutritional expert, Alan Gaby, pointed out all the flaws as well as the safe and effective track record of vitamin E. By April of 2005 the leading antioxidant scientists in the world had published a comprehensive review showing the safety of vitamin E up to doses of 1600 IU per day, again debunking the false vitamin E story and explaining the high degree of safety of antioxidant nutrients. The media was nowhere to be found; the public never heard vitamin E was truly safe and vital for immune function, prevention of cognitive decline, and a wonderful nutrient for cardiovascular support.