Statins – Don’t Be Fooled By The Research

by Malc on November 10, 2008

molecule2The latest “Statins Beat Heart Attack” headlines would be wryly funny if they weren’t so tragic.

Short sighted journalists are fooled by profit-hungry drug companies who, as often seems to be the case, are driving partisan research chemists.

“Statins Reduce Heart Attacks”

This is not news, and it is not even surprising. Anything which reduces general inflammation in the body will reduce heart attacks. This includes Omega 3 fatty acids, and any number of herbs including nettles, ginger and turmeric. The problem with using statins instead is the many side-effects users have reported.

The New Trial

The new trial is clearly partisan. For a start, it is called ‘Jupiter’, which stands for Justify the Use of Statins… Hmmmh – little doubt about the results they are looking for, then.

The particular brand of statins it ‘justifies’ is Crestor, made by AstraZeneca which costs around £26 a month. As the predominant statins used in the UK are the generic Simvastatin which cost £1.42 a month, the trial results are great for AstraZeneca. No doubt certain sectors of the community will be calling for the replacement of Simvastatin with Crestor (is it me – or isn’t that also a toothpaste?).

Drug Company Strategy

Statins are the best thing that have happened to drug companies for a long time. They are turning into a license to print money. One prime benefit of selling statins is that they are being used by younger and younger people – and they ‘need’ them for life.

As the drug companies see their profits slashed by cheap generic replacements – they simply come up with a new twist – as in this case – to show, by a flawed study, the superiority of their new, replacement product. Then they get to milk it drug until the patent runs out.

This is exactly what they did with HRT (ERT); each time the evidence showed that HRT damaged health, new research unearthed a new supposed benefit of HRT so they could persuade doctors to keep prescribing it and journalists to keep writing about how good it was.

What To Do Instead Of Taking Statins

This trial was carried out by selecting people with a high level of c-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. They were then given statins.

Agreed – CRP does indicate general inflammation in the body which gives a raised chance of heart and artery disease as well as of diabetes, various cancers and Alzheimers’ disease.

Where I don’t agree is the treatment. Drugs are not usually necessary.

To treat raised CRP a combination of herbal treatment and fish oils will usually bring it down. Take these, then recheck CRP in 2-3 months.

Ideally, CRP should be less than 0.5 mg/L (milligrams per litre) in men and less than 1.5 mg/L in women.

Avoiding Statins – or Coming Off Them

Don’t just stop statins if you are taking them. Come off them with professional guidance. Most certainly involve your doctor in this process. Similarly if you have been told that you need to take statins. Be cautious. Around 50% of people come off statins because of the side-effects; but don’t put yourself at risk by just not taking them – you need an alternative strategy.

1. The following link leads to an article which contains a list of 8 natural alternatives to lower cholesterol, based on sound science:
Natural ways to cut cholesterol

Extract from this article about avoiding statins:

If your doctor advises you to begin taking a statin drug, suggest a lower dose or a delay in initiation of the drug until you have had two to three months to try natural cholesterol- and LDL-lowering agents. Patient involvement in treatment decisions is commonplace today, and most physicians will work with you. A rough rule of thumb: adherence to a low-fat, high-fiber diet (that eliminates processed foods), along with some of the nutritional supplements discussed in this article, will lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 30%. Keep this in mind when starting your program. ……..”

See the article for more detail.

2. This article covers the role of general inflammation in generating disease
Aging and Longevity – 4. Inflammation

Also, read Life Extension Revolution, by Miller, Chapter 7:  Cooling Inflammation: Disease-Proofing Your Body

Above all, don’t fall for the drug-company hype; because that’s what it is. In 2004 the pharmaceutical industry was estimated to be receiving $22 billion (£14 billion) from statin drugs.

Do your research and make your own mind up. And it’s not easy to get your CRP checked regularly – but is very, very useful to do so as it gives an early warning of problems to come.

  • Shaun@lose arm fat

    normally i do not take the time to make posts but nice site you have here!

  • Peter@Statins Side Effects

    Very imformative article. The statins debate will continue long and hard and there are benefits as well as side effects to taking them.
    .-= Peter@Statins Side Effects´s last undefined ..If you register your site for free at =-.

  • http://none Pamela

    Has anyone any straight forward advise to offer me I had many.many side effects very bad from Symvastatins- thankyou Pamela.

  • Malc

    Hi Pamela. I am no expert on statins, but I have heard lots against them and not much in their favour. I think doctors are ‘trigger-happy’ in prescribing them, I know some people have had bad side effects, especially affecting the muscles, and I know drug companies push them hard as they are big profit earners.

    Not very scientific evidence I know: so I suggest you Google for more evidence. Try – the Life Extension website, they have some good info.

    Hope this helps – good luck.


  • Malc

    Hi Fransisco – just Google it mate, you will find all your answers easily.

    All the best


  • http://google Pamela

    Malc; thankyou will try Google again I came off statins a week ago and some side effects already much less and gone. Pamela

  • Malc

    Pamela – Fantastic! Good luck.



  • mml

    The pharmacogenetics of statins are not well understood, and not much study has been devoted to this area. (little surprise there). mutations in a gene, the SLCO1B1 gene, which encodes a transport protein , the OATP, which is responsible for moving statins into the liver to be detoxified (phase II detoxification) have been identified. without this part of the process, statins can build up in the blood stream , developing toxic levels. a few studies noting increased plasma statin levels for individuals with one of two iedentified genetic mutations in this gene have found statin levels at 134% higher than normal–toxic levels by anyone’s measurement. other measures have noted AUCs of 400% higher (area under the curve –a measurement of drug levels), leading to toxic effects of these drugs. 2 of the SNPs identified have been found associated with those individuals who develop severe myalgias and myopathies; my belief is those are the lucky ones. for those who do not develop myalgias possessing the SNPs, I think neurodegenerative disease ensues–alzheimer’s , parkinson’s, ALS-like syndrome, lewy body dementia like syndrome.
    statins have never been found to benefit women–read:
    Evidence for Caution: Women and Statin Use by Harriet Rosenberg and Linda Allard
    And statins’ benefits? recall the JUPITER trial in which the following statistics were found: the number needed to treat (NNT) for 1.9 yrs: 120 individuals. thus 120 people needed to take Crestor for 1.9 yrs for 1 person to not have a heart attack. The study also found that for every person that was helped (that 1 out of 120 over 1.9 yrs) 3/4 of a person developed diabetes. Sound like great stats to you???

  • Anonymous

    Very interesting. Sounds like “highly marginal benefit” to me; and when considered together with the risks of developing severe muscles pain and weakness and other documented side effects, has to be a no-no unless there really is no other option.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment.


  • Bvandussen

    the link above “Natural ways to cut cholesterol” doesn’t take me to an article but rather to a site selling vitammins, etc.  Thought you’d like to know.

  • Malcolm Simmonds

    Many thanks – have updated the link to be better J



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