Cholesterol- Good Guy or Bad Guy?
I have put together some of my findings about the side effects of statins in my post Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins. But in the process of uncovering all this, I have also found out about how cholesterol is not the bad guy. The entire war on cholesterol is misguided because it is based on faulty research. In this post I want to give an overview of what I’m finding as well as links to more information if you are interested.
If you are taking cholesterol medications, you owe it to yourself and your family to find out more. It is an absolute necessity these days to educate yourself about health and not just swallow what the doctor gives you in the way of information as well as drugs. Most doctors are overworked and simply don’t have time to look into this kind of thing. They do as they were trained to do, and that is to dispense medications to control symptoms. And the drug companies certainly don’t have your good health as their motivation; they just want your money.
Egg is free image from Wikimedia Commons.
We all know this one; high cholesterol is dangerous because it gets deposited in your arteries, clogging them and putting you at risk for heart disease. This has been the mantra we have learned from our doctors and from the media. No one would dream to question any of this because it’s all fact that’s based on years of research, right? And because this is so pervasive in our society, some companies apparently require cholesterol tests and medication to lower levels, and some people have even considered putting statins (cholesterol-lowering medications) in our drinking water. Can you imagine?
This is just how ingrained this thinking is now. And anyone that tries to come against this doctrine is met with serious resistance. There is now a wealth of information available in books and online that contradict this and expose the faulty research that has been used to keep statins as the most prescribed drugs today. The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article printed Nov. 1, 2011 entitled Pfizer Reports Higher Profits and Share Buyback Plan :
Let there be no doubt as to why this cholesterol doctrine has taken over.Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company, surprised Wall Street in a good way Tuesday with higher-than-expected quarterly sales and an aggressive plan to respond to looming generic competition to Lipitor, the top-selling drug in the world.At the same time, Pfizer executives said they were negotiating with payers and pharmacy benefit managers to preserve branded Lipitor sales against generic competition. Lipitor loses United States patent protection on Nov. 30. The cholesterol drug had $10.7 billion in sales last year, more than 15 percent of Pfizer’s total of $67.8 billion sales.A letter from one benefit manager, Catalyst Rx, to pharmacies said they would receive a large point-of-sale discount on brand-name Lipitor to beat the price of generic competitors. The flier, an unusually aggressive posture toward new generic drugs, said pharmacies would be asked to block any sales of generic Lipitor and substitute the Pfizer version, with presumably a lower price, from December through May.
Clipboard is free image from Wikimedia Commons.
Enter the idea that fat is bad. This whole concept which has been promoted by the US Government for decades is another reason the population has been taken over with chronic disease. The "fat is bad" theory has run amok, wreaking untold damage on the health of nations around the world.
The problem with this is that fat plays a crucial role in the body. Not only is cholesterol an absolutely essential substance for a myriad of functions, there are several fat-soluble vitamins that will not be absorbed if no fat is being consumed. Vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat-soluble, and deficiencies of these will cause a world of hurt. For a list of those symptoms, check out something-fishy.org.
The food industry has cashed in on this trend quite handsomely. They have reaped millions in foods with little or no fat but lots of sugar or sweetener, highly processed stuff that will do nothing but deprive your body of nutrients while packing on extra pounds. It is seriously unwise to eat foods with little or no fat, but this is precisely what we have been told to do, and most of us have believed this for decades. I used to avoid butter like the plague, but now I use it regularly.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn't fat that puts on pounds, it is sugar, high-fructose corn syrup (hidden in a world of things) and flour products (refined or not) that cause the trouble. (See The Science of Weight Loss for more on this.) And it is these products that abound in so many of the so-called "healthy" products on grocery shelves today. Is it any wonder that obesity is running rampant in this country?
Of course there are good fats, and there are bad fats, a subject for another post. I am still researching this one in light of this whole cholesterol scam thing. Here, I am simply stating that your body needs fats to survive, so I think it's safe to eat those eggs.
Butter is free image from Wikimedia Commons.
What Is Cholesterol?
So just what is cholesterol? It is a white, waxy substance that is created in your liver and in specialized cells in the brain that is an absolute necessity for life. It is found in every cell in your body, being a constituent of cell walls and nerve fibers, and is used in tissue repair. Cholesterol is also a precursor to steroid hormones and bile acids, and used in the formation of Vitamin D. Large concentrations of cholesterol are found in the brain and spinal cord, vital for nerve signal transmission. If you don't consume enough cholesterol, your liver will produce it to bring levels back up to optimum.
Because cholesterol is an absolute necessity for life, long-term statin use WILL have repercussions. It was my mother's memory loss that first brought all this to my attention, already having an understanding that a large percentage of the human brain is cholesterol. Consensus seems to be that it is 60 percent fat, but I haven't found out how much of that is specifically cholesterol. This is a significant amount. Deprive your body and thus your brain of cholesterol, and brain function will be impaired. Simple logic. On looking into this, I found that it is specifically the myelin sheath around nerves that is composed of cholesterol, and it is the myelin sheath that actually transports nerve impulses. It would seem logical that most if not all of that fat in the brain would be cholesterol. A cholesterol deficiency will damage the myelin sheath and impair nerve signal transmission.
Cholesterol's function in tissue repair is where the heart disease issue comes into play. Cholesterol does indeed collect in arteries; understanding why brings understanding as to why cholesterol isn't the problem. Damage to arteries is what triggers the body to send cholesterol in to repair them; finding out the cause of the damage will fix the problem. Eliminating the cholesterol only treats symptoms. The actual cause of artery damage will be covered directly.
Cell diagram is free image from Wikimedia Commons.
Because of the vast number of functions cholesterol performs, depriving your body of this substance will result in some extremely serious side-effects, generally over a period of time, though some people experience side effects right away. At the top of my list is brain function. As stated above, memory loss is one of the primary side effects, and it doesn't necessarily have to be long-term use to experience this one. Dementia, Alzheimer's and amnesia can all be the result of statin use.
Another major problem is muscle deterioration. Statins deprive your body of CoQ10, a necessary nutrient for energy production and is also an antioxidant, protecting cells from free radical damage. Without CoQ10, there is no energy produced, and that is most readily observed in muscle tissue where energy needs are high. Muscle aches and weakness are the number one side effect, indicating that muscle damage is already occurring. Can you see how this could lead to a much greater risk of heart attacks, the one thing statins are supposed to prevent? Initial muscle weakness is referred to as myopathy; when the muscle tissue actually starts to break down, it is called rhabdomyolysis, a condition that can lead to kidney failure. Both of these conditions can be the result of statin use. For more information about these two side effects, see Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins.
Another problem is the fact that statins will deprive your body of organic compounds called dolichols, substances that are used in the formation of neuropeptides that control emotions. When these chemical processes are disturbed by statins, the result seems to be behaviors such as depression, irritability, aggression, violence and even suicide.
Another lesser-known side effect is hair loss. Hair has a high cholesterol content, so as cholesterol levels go down with statin use, available cholesterol for hair growth and maintenance drops. Another possibility is that because cholesterol is a precursor to steroid hormones, hair loss could result from the lack or imbalance of those hormones.
Because cholesterol has such wide-ranging functions in the body, the side effects could be much greater than we suspect. Deprive your body of cholesterol, especially over years, and the fallout is bound to be severe.
Brain diagram is free clip art from Artvex
What Actually Causes Heart Disease?
Artery damage is the problem in heart disease. If the arteries weren't damaged, the cholesterol wouldn't collect there in the first place. So finding out what causes the damage will get to the cause of the problem. According to Chris Kresser among many others, it is inflammation that causes heart disease, not the cholesterol that collects there to repair it.
In Uffe Ravnskov's book, Ignore the Awkward, it is proposed that infections cause arterial damage and trigger heart attacks. Others are looking at the damage done by uric acid in the blood, a dangerous substance that increases with sugar consumption. Dr. Joseph Mercola explains how fructose specifically (high fructose corn syrup) will elevate uric acid levels in the bloodstream leading to chronic low-level inflammation among a whole host of other health-robbing actions. He specifically mentions heart disease as a result of elevated uric acid levels.
Another factor is homocysteine, an amino acid that oxidizes and releases free radicals that damage arteries. According to Jean Carper in Stop Aging Now!:
High blood levels of homocysteine triple your chances of heart attack and double your risk of blockage of the carotid arteries. p. 269.Homocysteine will attack blood vessel walls, trigger clotting mechanisms and will stimulate the growth of smooth muscle cells in artery wall linings that promote the formation of plaque. A certain amount of homocysteine is normal, but elevated levels are dangerous, and those elevated levels occur simply because there is a deficiency of B vitamin supplements, specifically B6, B12 and folic acid. Heart disease, at least for some people, could be considered a deficiency disease. See an interview with Kilmer McCully, M.D. for more information. It is his research that brought this whole concept to light many years ago. The resistance he met in the medical community cost him his research funding and his job, but has since been vindicated. The real cause of heart disease is finally being recognized.
Bottom line- it is pretty well accepted (at least outside the medical community) that it is NOT cholesterol that causes heart disease. The cholesterol is the good guy, there to help repair the damage already caused by inflammation brought on by infections and/or elevated levels of homocysteine and uric acid. These are the causes I have found so far. Common sense would then dictate that you quit consuming high fructose corn syrup (carbonated beverages, primarily), and take some vitamins!
For a great overview of the actual relationship between heart disease and cholesterol, see Zoe Harcombe's article Cholesterol and Heart Disease: there is a relationship but it's not what you think.
Heart diagram is free image from Wikimedia Commons.
Statins- 21st Century Snake Oil?
Many authors have done their work researching all this. Much has been written to expose the fraud that has been perpetuated on the public all in the name of profits, so here I will simply point you to their books so you can find out for yourself, and I sincerely hope many of you will do so. A great deal of evidence is presented to show the faulty research upon which all this cholesterol hype has been based. Statins have been marketed as almost a miracle drug while there is little evidence to support claims that they save lives. According to Duane Graveline in his book Statin Drug Side Effects, (p. 109), statins do have an anti-inflammatory effect that may actually prove helpful to some, but with the obvious side effects, there are other options that are much safer. To put it bluntly, we have been lied to.
The damage these drugs have caused and will cause leaves me completely appalled. I am fairly certain that my mother would not have ended up in a nursing home if she had not been given statins for years. She passed away with severe memory loss and was wheelchair bound with major muscle damage that apparently was not reversible.
Generally speaking, doctors have the best of intentions, but are overworked and are not taught much if anything about nutrition and prevention; they are trained to diagnose symptoms and treat them with drugs and/or surgery. And they of course are completely indoctrinated into the theology of cholesterol and heart disease. I encourage you to check out 6 Ways to Take Charge of Your Health. Placing blind trust in the medical profession is just plain dangerous- the entire system has become too corrupt. I have listed resources below so you can educate yourself. It is high time we all learn how to take care of ourselves and take charge of our health.
Snake Oil Poster is free image from Wikimedia Commons.
The Great Cholesterol Coverup
Website, blog, facebook page and documentary film by Justin Smith. Link to his book, $29 Billion Reasons to Lie about Cholesterol, is below. Film trailer:
Statin Nation II is due to be released this fall.
Marketing to Doctors
Video that portrays the problem of doctors in bed with Big Pharma. No beating around the bush here! WARNING- definitely rated "R"!
Dr. Oz interviewed Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr. Jonny Bowden who expose the cholesterol scam. They challenge the accepted premise that cholesterol causes heart disease and they state that statin side effects are grossly under-reported. This is taken from an episode of his program and is divided into 3 different videos.
If a statin drug has been prescribed for you, YOU WERE HARMED. SUE! Statins! is dedicated to protecting public health, improving patient care and keeping you well. SUE! Statins!
All these books are available at amazon.com; most are available as used books to keep your costs down. You can also check Bookfinder for the lowest prices available online.
Duane Graveline Books
Duane Graveline was a NASA physician that experienced amnesia from statin use and has since written several books on the subject. He also has a website- spacedoc.com.
The Statin Damage Crisis
Statin Drugs Side Effects
Lipitor Thief of Memory
Ignore the Awkward by Uffe Ravnskov
The Great Cholesterol Myth by Stephen Sinatra, Jonny Bowden
The Great Cholesterol Con by Malcolm Kendrick
The Great Cholesterol Con by Anthony Colpo
$29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol by Justin Smith
How Statin Drugs Really Lower Cholesterol: And Kill You One Cell at a Time by James B. and Hannah Yoseph. This is one book you have to get. The Yosephs thoroughly examine the paper trail that brought statins to market, proving the deception on the part of both drug companies and the FDA.
Are Your Prescriptions Killing You? by Armon Neel. Full of valuable information about the over-prescribing of medications, especially to seniors who are particularly vulnerable to side effects. He devotes an entire chapter to the dangers of statins.
More Reading Online
Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins- This is my original page about the damaging effects of long-term statin use.
Spacedoc- Duane Graveline's website with an enormous amount of information.
Stopped Our Statins- another website with loads of information available. They also have a Facebook page.
Statin Damaged- a Yahoo group for people who have experienced damage from statin use.
Stephanie's Page- Dr. Stephanie Seneff is a senior research scientist at MIT and has written quite a bit on the dangers of statins. She says, "I will, in fact, make the bold claim that nobody qualifies for statin therapy, and that statin drugs can best be described as toxins."
The Cholesterol Truth- This is a great article about how cholesterol levels are artificially set and how a perfectly healthy public is being duped into being drugged with statins.
Cholesterol, Lipitor and Big Government: The Terror Campaign Against Us All- an article by Karen De Coster.
High Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease- article by Vreni Gurd at Trusted.MD.
Health Impact News- great article about the multiplying lawsuits against the drug companies because of the damage statins have done.
Cholesterol Myths- Uffe Ravnskov's website
The Dangers of Very Low Cholesterol- Dr. Ronald Hoffman's website
Kilmer McCully MD Connects Homocysteine and Heart Disease- article by Gloria Bucco
This Addictive Commonly Used Food Feeds Cancer Cells, Triggers Weight Gain and Promotes Premature Aging- Article by Dr. Joseph Mercola
Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins- Statins are dangerous drugs that cause memory loss and muscle damage.
The Science of Weight Loss- why you can't seem to lose weight if you follow the standard advice to eat less and exercise more; and what actually works.
Breakfast Cereal Diets- Really??- Why eating cereal can't possibly help you lose weight for the long term.
"Healthy" Foods That Aren't- Several foods that are perceived as healthy but really aren't.
They Told Me He's a Quack- several people who have contradicted the "experts" and have given real hope to hurting people.
Sugar- the Real Villain- what sugar does to you and why our addiction to it is at the root of much of our problem with chronic disease.
Water for Health- Why we need water to stay healthy.
Restless Legs Syndrome- Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms- My experience with RLS and what has helped me.
Protein, pH and the Alkaline Diet- How the pH of the food you eat affects your health.
Arthritis and Osteoporosis: They CAN Be Reversed- Two conditions that can be reversed naturally as proven by doctors who have treated their patients with natural supplements.
Phonics and Dyslexia- Information that can help dyslexic adults as well as children, and a post about the phonics-whole language wars and why phonics wins every time hands-down.
Quill pen is free image from Wikimedia Commons.