Monday, April 11, 2011

Knowing How They Work, You'll Know They Don't

The statin industry has enjoyed a thirty year run of steadily increasing profits, as they find ever more ways to justify expanding the definition of the segment of the population that qualify for statin therapy. Large, placebo-controlled studies have provided evidence that statins can substantially reduce the incidence of heart attack. High serum cholesterol is indeed correlated with heart disease, and statins, by interfering with the body's ability to synthesize cholesterol, are extremely effective in lowering the numbers. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. and, increasingly, worldwide. What's not to like about statin drugs?

I predict that the statin drug run is about to end, and it will be a hard landing. The thalidomide disaster of the 1950's and the hormone replacement therapy fiasco of the 1990's will pale by comparison to the dramatic rise and fall of the statin industry. I can see the tide slowly turning, and I believe it will eventually crescendo into a tidal wave, but misinformation is remarkably persistent, so it may take years.

I have spent much of my time in the last few years combing the research literature on metabolism, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and statin drugs. Thus far, in addition to posting essays on the web, I have, together with collaborators, published two journal articles related to metabolism, diabetes, and heart disease (Seneff1 et al., 2011), and Alzheimer's disease (Seneff2 et al., 2011). Two more articles, concerning a crucial role for cholesterol sulfate in metabolism, are currently under review (Seneff3 et al., Seneff4 et al.). I have been driven by the need to understand how a drug that interferes with the synthesis of cholesterol, a nutrient that is essential to human life, could possibly have a positive impact on health. I have finally been rewarded with an explanation for an apparent positive benefit of statins that I can believe, but one that soundly refutes the idea that statins are protective. I will, in fact, make the bold claim that nobody qualifies for statin therapy, and that statin drugs can best be described as toxins.

Why do I blog about statins as much as I do?  Mainly, it's a result of my horror at some of the people I've met who take statins.  It would appear that doctors will give that stuff to just about anyone with a bit of abnormal blood work - never mind age, gender or other significant factors.  

Perhaps you think you should take statins - that's fine with me.  What I react to is young, very healthy people being advised to take these powerful drugs and seemingly not knowing the side effects - AND, knowing that for the vast majority the symptom that is being treated - a poor blood lipids profile - is completely treatable by restricting carb intake to 100g/day, with the primary side effect of that treatment being weight loss, better sleep, greater energy levels, and removal of the need to eat every few hours to avoid a blood sugar crash.  

Why don't doctors use diet to treat their patients' abnormalities on a fasting lipids profile?  My post tomorrow will describe the experience many have when they try the doctor recommended diet.  It's much like what was described in this post about Clarence Bass.

No comments:

Post a Comment