by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN
Picking on cholesterol as the villain in heart disease not only ignores the lack of evidence for such a connection, but also ignores its importance in the functioning of the human body. Certainly very high cholesterol is indicative of problems in body balance, but choosing lower and lower levels to vilify is, in my opinion, dangerous in the extreme.
The Health Ranger, now at http://www.naturalnews.com/, puts it well, in his Health Fictionary:
Spontaneous mass diagnosis – The process of redefining health in order to instantly label as many consumers as possible with a fictitious disease. Spontaneous mass diagnosis works by moving the goalposts that define a disease state. A “normal” level of LDL cholesterol used to be 130. Last year, a panel of corrupt medical decision makers with under-the-table financial ties to drug companies spontaneously decided that “normal” LDL cholesterol should be 100. Overnight, ten million more Americans were suddenly afflicted with the fictitious disease of high cholesterol. And the treatment for this spontaneous disease? Statin drugs, of course. The aim of Big Pharma is to make sure everyone fits the definition of at least one disease, because the prescription drug lords know that once a person gets on one prescription drug, the inevitable side effects will create other health problems that need to be treated with even more drugs. Instant recurring revenue! Now that’s a clever marketing plan!
Proper diet and correct exercise will usually mean balanced cholesterol. Not only is that true, but there is increasing controversy, even among main stream Doctors, as to whether cholesterol is actually the villain it is made out to be: an article in USA Today in July 2004 quoted Dr. C. Ballantyne, cardiologist at Baylor School of Medicine as saying “The majority of people who end up having heart attacks or stroke don’t have high cholesterol.” It is also instructive to realize that most of the vocal experts recommending the use of statins to bring about lower and even lower levels of cholesterol, have very intimate financial ties to the companies making the drugs – I could not put it better than Jenny Thompson from HSI – go here for her report. http://www.hsibaltimore.com/ealerts/ea200307/ea20030717.html
Research in 2005 shed more light on other possible causes of heart disease. Clay Semenkovich of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., does not accept the cholesterol/heart disease connection, but suggests that with age, the energy producing mechanisms in the mitochondria of the cells become less efficient. This allows highly re-active oxygen species to leak into the blood stream, causing damage to the walls of the blood vessels. http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050523/full/050523-7.html
This makes cholesterol a conundrum. Good cholesterol is essential to many body functions, including the very ability of our cells to reproduce, to take in and eliminate nutrients, and yet at the same time, a substance which, in excess, appears to lead to early disease and death. The question is, how do we control the bad, without causing a deficiency of the good, and evidence shows the answer is generally not medicinal drugs: my feeling has always been that many of these drugs were put on the market before we knew the full extent of the damage they might do at the cellular level.
We can only be grateful, however, that we live in an age when tests are available that enable us to find out where we stand: in years gone by, we would not have known to take evasive action. There are also tests now to ascertain Homocysteine levels, perhaps an even greater indicator of risk for cardiovascular problems – and possibly Alzheimer’s disease, too. C reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, also needs to be considered. However, on the principle that any imbalance in a body system requires adjustment, cholesterol and triglycerides that are extremely high should be addressed.
One of our major organs, the liver, is key to the proper control of cholesterol, and because of the many insults it suffers from faulty diet, toxins, harmful (hepatotoxic) medications, it is often functioning at less than optimal levels. I strongly recommend the use of milk thistle or artichoke extracts, sometimes with other important liver protective herbs, to enhance liver function in people suffering from faulty cholesterol metabolism, particularly if they are on medication. Conversely, the evidence linking success with diet, a perfectly safe approach – is incontrovertible.
high in fruits, grains and vegetables
low in animal protein (or eliminating it altogether)
may by itself not lower blood cholesterol levels all the way, but studies have been done that indicate this step alone can add over 3 years to one’s life-span. Additional steps which will help you achieve total success are
to eliminate hydrogenated oils and trans fatty acids from your menu (i.e. margarine and crisco)
eat fish once a week at least (or, in view of reports of high mercury levels, use a supplement)
eat oat bran for breakfast
add apples, pears, grapefruit or oranges daily (they are high in a miracle substance called pectin : a study at the Clinic of Cardiology in 1988 found that 15 gms of citrus pectin per day reduced cholesterol counts by 10%!)
lower your caffeine and alcohol intake (in other words, using my favorite word, Moderation!)
eat more garlic and onions
season with cayenne pepper and ginger (not necessarily both at once)
and add daily exercise to your regimen
Make sure also that you are drinking an adequate amount of water – put simply, this dilutes the constituents in the blood stream.
Lowered cholesterol will not be your only benefit under these changes, believe me.
Why is it important to limit trans fatty acids?
A report released by the Institute of Medicine on July 11th 2002 says it all: “It is recommended that trans fatty acid consumption be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet,” a panel of experts stated, noting that trans fatty acids are known to increase blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, while lowering levels of high-density lipoprotein.
There is increasingly strong evidence suggesting that high cholesterol levels may be related to a fatty acid deficiency/imbalance, and that taking moderate amounts of “good fats” may actually help lower cholesterol. The oils usually mentioned are flax, olive and fish oil, but perhaps we need to add…. NUTS
NUTS TO YOU
Macadamia Nuts Lower Cholesterol in Men…Macadamia nut consumption may help reduce cholesterol levels in men, according to a study published in a recent Journal of Nutrition (2003, vol.133:1060-1063). In the study, 17 men with high cholesterol incorporated macadamia nuts into their diets for four weeks. The amount of nuts eaten was between 1.5 and three ounces per day, which equaled roughly 15 percent of the men’s total daily calories. Total cholesterol levels decreased by three percent and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was 5.3 percent lower by the end of the trial than at the beginning. Researchers also observed that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol rose eight percent.
A handful of almonds a day, with their oils rich in vitamin E, can also beneficially affect cholesterol levels.
Interestingly, Dr. D’Adamo mentions in his book, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, that some blood type O individuals can lower their cholesterol by adding meat protein to their diet. This is an approach that obviously requires the supervision of a knowledgeable health professional, but I append the information here as an illustration of the extreme INDIVIDUALITY of health problems! I also am appending some information on a recent study, which I found on www.mercola.com Most African populations are blood type O.
A study of nomadic tribes in Africa suggests that people who combine a diet rich in saturated fat but low in total calories with vigorous exercise may not be damaging their hearts as much as previously believed.
Despite their fatty diets, the Fulani of Nigeria had healthy cholesterol levels. The researchers suggest the finding can be attributed to the population’s high activity level, low-calorie intake and lack of smoking. I would add that the type of fat was also a factor. I doubt they had access to trans fatty acids, for example!
Researchers took blood samples from 121 Fulani men and women aged 15 to 77 and measured total, LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol, as well as several vitamins, and homocysteine — a protein associated with heart disease risk. They also assessed the population’s nutrient intake.
Overall, men consumed about about 1,670 calories — and women consumed about 1,485 calories — of which nearly one-half came from fat. And about half of total fat calories were derived from saturated fat. In the US, individuals are advised to consume no more than 30% of their calories from fat, of which no more than 10% should come from saturated fat.
The dietary protein content of the Fulani was also found to be higher than US-recommended levels. Women derived about 16% and men derived about 20% of their calories from protein. US dietary guidelines advise that no more than 15% of daily calories come from protein.
What’s more, the typical Fulani diet contained only one third of the level of folate recommended in the US and lower-than-recommended levels of vitamins C and B-6. These vitamins have been linked to a protective effect on the heart.
Despite all of this, participants’ average levels of total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol fell within US recommended levels, while average LDL fell below recommended levels. The average body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight and height, was about 20. A BMI of at least 25 is generally considered to be overweight.
Despite a diet high in saturated fat, Fulani adults have a lipid profile indicative of a low risk of cardiovascular disease. This finding is likely due to their high activity level and their low total energy intake.
It is not clear why a diet rich in fat and saturated fat was not associated with elevated cholesterol and heart disease risk but the authors suggest that an overall low intake of calories and a lifestyle marked by physical activity and no tobacco use mitigates the effects of such a diet.
They also note that most of the current recommendations regarding heart disease risk factors are based on studies conducted in Western nations, where the majority of individuals are relatively sedentary. Studies on populations such as the Fulani are rare.
The researchers conclude that the findings with the Fulani do not support the dogma of the past 50 years that high-fat diets necessarily raise cholesterol concentrations.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition December 2001;74:730-736
An interesting study has some encouraging information for post-menopausal women with high cholesterol.
Dr. Arjmandi, PhD of Oklahoma State University conducted a double- blind crossover study, using 38 women with extremely high cholesterol levels. For 6 weeks, they were fed either bread or muffins with a 38 gram content of either sunflower seed or flaxseed meal (whole flaxseeds are not digestible). It turned out that flaxseed lowered total cholesterol by 6.9%, and LDL by 14.7%. Perhaps even more important, a marker for heart disease which increases after menopause, called lipoprotein (a), or Lp(a), was also lowered: Until now, the only control for Lp(a), which is implicated in increased clotting of the blood and atherosclerotic deposits on artery walls , has been estrogen supplementation. This is the first time a dietary factor has been uncovered. Researchers hypothesize that the lignans in flax act on lipids as a phytoestrogen. Speaking of women and high cholesterol, it is interesting to note that there is a high cholesterol/low thyroid connection. Obviously not only women have low thyroid problems, but many more do than men: there appears to be a hormone connection which I theorize may be aggravated by birth control pills and HRT. If you do suspect this may be a problem for you, have it checked and consider some natural measures for thyroid support.
I have been concerned for years about the effects of the Statin family of drugs – lovastatin being the most common – on levels of CoQ10 in the body. Statins can deplete CoQ10 and low levels of CoQ10 can damage the heart. This article by Dr. Langsjoen lays it on the line:
STATIN-INDUCED CARDIOMYOPATHY –INTRODUCTION TO THE CITIZEN’S PETITION ON STATINS
By Peter H. Langsjoen, MD
The medical profession has, after more than 30 years of excellent propaganda, successfully created the wholly iatrogenic – “pseudo-disease” dubbed “hypercholesterolemia” and the associated malady “cholesterol neurosis”. After decades of dismal failure to cure this “disease” of numbers with low fat diets and a host of cholesterol lowering drugs, the medical profession stumbled upon the magic bullet, the cure for this dreaded artificial disease – statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). First released on the US market in 1987, statins have rapidly grown into one of the most widely prescribed class of drugs in history. Statins do three things:
1. They block the body’s ability to make cholesterol, thus lowering the blood level of cholesterol, thereby curing cholesterol neurosis. Doctors and patients equally neurotic have immediate gratification. The “evil” high cholesterol has been dramatically lowered and the future is bright and promising. So far…so good
2. Unrelated to their cholesterol lowering, statins have been found to have anti-inflammatory, plaque-stabilizing properties which have a slight benefit in coronary heart disease.
3. Statins kill people – lots of people – and they wound many, many more. All patients taking statins become depleted in Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), eventually – those patients who start with a relatively low CoQ10 levels (the elderly and patients with heart failure) begin to manifest signs/symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency relatively rapidly – in 6 to 12 months. Younger, healthier people who’s only “illness” is the non-illness “hypercholesterolemia” can tolerate statins for several years before getting into trouble with fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness (usually with normal muscle enzyme CPK tests) and most ominously – heart failure.
In my practice of 17 years in Tyler, Texas, I have seen a frightening increase in heart failure secondary to statin usage, “statin cardiomyopathy”. Over the past five years, statins have become more potent, are being prescribed in higher doses, and are being used with reckless abandon in the elderly and in patients with “normal” cholesterol levels. We are in the midst of a CHF epidemic in the US with a dramatic increase over the past decade. Are we causing this epidemic through our zealous use of statins? In large part I think the answer is yes. We are now in a position to witness the unfolding of the greatest medical tragedy of all time – never before in history has the medical establishment knowingly (Merck & Co., Inc. has two 1990 patents combining CoQ10 with statins to prevent CoQ10 depletion and attendant side effects) created a life threatening nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise healthy people, only to then sit back with arrogance and horrific irresponsibility and watch to see what happens – as I see two to three new statin cardiomyopathies per week in my practice, I cannot help but view my once great profession with a mixture of sorrow and contempt.
Statin-induced CoQ10 depletion is the topic of a recent petition to the FDA requesting that this drug/nutrient interaction be identified in a black box warning as part of statin package insert information. A comprehensive review of animal and human trials addressing this issue has been submitted to the FDA as a supporting document. We, of course, do not expect any response from the FDA, but 10 years from now when the full extent of statin toxicity becomes painfully evident, at least we can, in good conscience, know that we tried and who knows, sometimes small sparks may spread in dry grass.
For the Citizen’s petition to the FDA he mentions, see RESOURCES.
For information on a possible connection between statins and Parkinson’s disease, see RESOURCES
Now it appears that statins also INCREASE deposits of calcium in the arteries: this makes me wonder whether perhaps they have a magnesium depleting effect as well: magnesium is involved in many of the essential enzyme activities in the body. Time will tell what the actual physiological pathway is, but in the meantime this is another alarming danger for elderly people using statin drugs… excess calcium is proposed as posing a 17 fold greater risk for heart attacks, and along with LDL levels, is one of the two most definitive signs of a possible heart attack. See RESOURCES for report.
The most terrifying aspect of the loosening of the regulations in the UK, where statins are now available over the counter, and the increased prescribing of the drugs here, is that the effect on women of child bearing age is not considered.
This is what Dr. Malcolm Kendrick has to say about the threat:
We are sleep-walking into what could be a major medical disaster. Most people, and most doctors, are unaware – or don’t seem to care – that statins should never ever be taken by a women of child-bearing age. The risk, it would seem, is greater than that posed by thalidomide, and no-one seems to be the least bit bothered. ‘Yeh, whatever.’
Yet, when statins go OTC it is absolutely certain that women of childbearing age will take them, knowing nothing of this risk. It is equally certain that a number of these women will become pregnant, and many of these pregnancies will result in horribly deformed children.
How can this possibly be allowed to happen? I can only suppose that it is because everyone believes statins to be utterly safe and cuddly. ‘Statins, why they can’t do any harm. They are safer than aspirin aren’t they?’
Left arm: aplasia of radius and thumb, shortened ulna; additional VACTERL (vertebral, anal, cardiac, tracheal, esophageal, renal and limb defects): left arthrogryposis, thoracic scoliosis, fusion of ribs on left, butterfly vertebra in thoracic and lumbar region, esophageal stricture, anal atresia, renal dysplasia; additional findings: hemihypertrophy of entire left side, craniofacial anomalies (including asymmetric ears, ptosis of eyelids, high arched palate), torticollis.
I am quite certain that many of you won’t know what some of these defects actually are; neither do I. Arthrogryposis….. isn’t that the fabled winged beast in Harry Potter?
But these defects shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise. Cholesterol is essential for the development of neural tissue, so we should expect to find that if the mother is taking a drug that inhibits cholesterol synthesis at a time when the fetus is developing – horrible developmental abnormalities will occur. Such as failure of the brain to develop in the right way, or duplication of the spinal cord.
For more complete details of the birth defects caused by statins consider reading the New England Journal of Medicine, April 8, 2004: pages 1579 – 1582. It’s a letter by Robin J Edison and Maximilian Muenke.
Dr. Kendrick writes for http://www.redflagsweekly.com/index.html
Remember, Red Yeast Extracts are still available, which contain naturally occurring Statins.
They are just not allowed to label the main ingredient with its correct name! Studies in China have shown no toxic effects, and a UCLA study showed no toxic effects on the liver (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2/99) but it would still be wise, in my opinion, to take extra CoQ10 when using them. Politics is playing a part in the availability of Red Yeast Rice: the companies that make the statin drugs are fighting mightily to make it unavailable to the public, since enormous profits are at stake. Any company that made a formula containing Red Yeast Rice, and used a name on the bottle that suggested a cholesterol connection, or any Company which stated the percentage of statins in the product, has been enjoined from selling Red Yeast Rice. Nature’s Plus fortunately did neither of these things, and I have (for the moment at least) Red Yeast Rice available from that Company.
Speaking of the statin drugs, a new study suggests that long-term use of them may increase the probability of developing peripheral neuropathy – “of 166 cases of first-time idiopathic neuropathy, 35 were classified as definite, 54 as probable and 77 as possible cases. Nine of those diagnosed with neuropathy had taken statins, with an average use duration of 2.8 years. Compared with controls, the statin users had a 14.2-fold risk of developing neuropathy classified as definite, and a 3.7-fold risk of developing neuropathy of any classification. “(Neurology. 2002;58:1333-1337) Doctors feel that the benefits of using statins still outweigh the risks, the study concludes. How do we feel??
Statins are not the only cholesterol lowering drug with nutritional consequences: cholestyramine (brand names Questran®, LoCholest®®, and Prevalite®) can reduce the absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins. Recent research on Vitamin D , showing its importance in osteoporosis, cardiovascular health and anti-cancer benefits, must lead us to conclude that this is significant.
Tocotrienols can be very successful to clear existing cholesterol from the liver, and Red Yeast Rice to prevent future high levels.
However, as is often the case, when one possibility becomes hard to implement, another springs up. Much attention is now focused on POLICOSANOL as a cholesterol inhibitor. This substance is derived (in its most effective form) from sugar cane or rice, and also works by inhibiting the HMG-CoA-reductase enzyme in the liver. A recent study compared the effects of this new supplement with a statin drug called fluvastatin, and found that after 4 weeks, it was as effective, while after 8 weeks, it was superior. The drug lowered cholesterol readings by 16.7%, and the Policosanol by 19.3. Not only that, but LDL was also lowered more by the latter, and HDL raised. This study was published in Clinical Drug Investigations, 2001;21:103-13. Similar studies have brought the same results with other satin drugs, such as lovastatin and simstatin. As a bonus, it is also suggested that Policosanol acts as an antioxidant, and can inhibit lipid oxidation , giving extra cardiovascular protection by these means. Policosanol has been studied extensively for safety, and the most note-worthy finding is that even at aggressively high doses no changes have been seen in the liver. I feel, however, that it might still be wise to accompany it with CoQ10!
If your numbers are really high, there are some other supplements that can be of help: an Ayurvedic herb called Guggul (which is actually Myrrh – maybe the Wise Men were really on to something), lowers both cholesterol and triglycerides. And if you don’t like to cook with garlic and cayenne, these can be found in pill form. A good, high potency multivitamin should be considered, with extra Vitamin E, and last but definitely not least, a form of no-flush niacin called Inositol Hexaniacinate, which is both inexpensive and non-toxic. This is what Dr. Whitaker calls “the best single magic bullet for cholesterol.” Combined with chromium, some studies have found it even more effective. Recent research has found a substance called “Chitin” to be extremely helpful for the control both of high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. It is a fiber extracted from the exoskeletons of shellfish which has many health benefits. Another big boy on the block, recommended first by Dr. Atkins, is Pantethine. This is the active form of pantothenic acid, and a component of Co-enzyme A (CoA). 900 mg of this supplement per day will promote proper fat and cholesterol metabolism (Dr. Murray) , while also inhibiting manufacture of cholesterol in the liver. It is virtually guaranteed to improve blood levels of cholesterol and lipids.
New studies (Am J Med 2002;112:343-347 have shown a correlation between Calcium levels in post-menopausal women, and satisfactory levels of HDL – here’s another reason to make sure you are getting enough Calcium!
Doctors are finally becoming aware of the danger in the elderly of lowering cholesterol too far
A study in the Lancet (2001; 358:351-355) states that their study confirms previous findings of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and shows that long-term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases risk of death. In fact, they suggest that the earlier the age at which low cholesterol findings is shown, the greater the risk of premature mortality. Because of this the authors suggest not lowering cholesterol below 4.65 mmol/L in seniors, but taking a “more conservative approach”. A recent (Epidemiology 2001 Mar;12:168-72) Note also that a study of elderly French women living in a nursing home showed that those with the highest cholesterol levels lived the longest (The Lancet, 4/22/89). The death rate was more than five times higher for women with very low cholesterol.
I find, too, that there is distressingly an increasing tendency to treat cholesterol that is above OPTIMAL, but still below normal – see chart above right.
A Canadian study found that those in the lowest quarter of total cholesterol concentration had more than six times the risk of committing suicide as did those in the highest quarter. I would suspect a link to depression also in those using cholesterol lowering drugs for a long period of time. This effect persisted after the exclusion from the analysis of the first 5 years of follow-up and after the removal of those who were unemployed or who had been treated for depression.
These data indicate that low serum total cholesterol level is associated with an increased risk of suicide.
There is also very little mention of the risk of Global Temporary Amnesia. once a medical rarity, now an increasing problem with the stronger Statin drugs. I quote from Dr. Graveline (see RESOURCES for more text)
WHAT IS TRANSIENT GLOBAL AMNESIA?
The syndrome of transient global amnesia was first presented to the medical literature by Bender in the Journal of the Hillside Hospital in 1956. Since that time it has become a well-described condition whose etiology still remains an enigma. Usually transient global amnesia occurs in otherwise healthy, middle-aged or elderly people. The onset is abrupt, without the slightest warning to the patient that a central nervous system catastrophe is about to strike. Suddenly they are without the ability to formulate new memories, a condition known as anterograde amnesia. Any sensory input during this time will be preserved briefly, if at all, only to disappear completely and forever, as if it never happened. Although consistently aware of their own identities, patients are often perplexed as to their surroundings and the identity of those around them. Characteristically these patients question those present repetitively about where they are and what is happening but are unable to remember any explanation. To the consternation and ultimate frustration of doctors, nurses and well-meaning companions, they ask the same question, over and over again, sometimes for hours. Disorientation is profound. Language and social skills are preserved in these patients and their ability to focus attention appears normal but, alas, despite their desperate and almost pathetic desire to learn what is happening, nothing seems to register. Fortunately they are mercifully spared awareness of their memory impairment and preserve a remarkably calm demeanor, cooperating fully with their examiners.
…… we now have Pfrieger’s (Science, November 9, 2001) astounding report that yet another substance is vital to synaptic formation – cholesterol! This very substance we have been taught to believe may be mankind’s worst enemy, this indiscriminate blocker of arteries, the very substance that pharmaceutical companies have devoted countless millions of research dollars to protect us from, is also our key to learning and memory. (Lynn: My emphasis) Could we have been wrong all these years about cholesterol?
Now, moderation is also the rule here! Don’t make sudden changes: ask your Doctor to work with you towards eliminating your medication.
Tell him that what you want is to have your own lifestyle changes make the drugs eventually unnecessary, that you want Health, not Illness Control! He will help make sure you achieve this safely.
Late at night, when things get quiet and just the sounds of crickets waft through the open windows, if you ever hear an exasperated howling in the distance, that’s probably me as I browse through some of the day’s latest health news. My most recent howling was prompted by a report on some new guidelines for the treatment of high-risk heart patients.
The updated guidelines come from the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), so without even reading the first word you already know what they’re going to say: Low LDL cholesterol has to be pushed even lower.
NCEP is part of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. And the guidelines have been endorsed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. (The guidelines were published in a recent issue of Circulation – an AHA publication.)
In other words: We’re talking DEEP medical mainstream here. How deep? Way down deep where the drug money flows.
How low can you go?
In 2001 the NCEP panel of experts said that heart patients who are at very high risk should do whatever it takes (that is: take statin drugs) to get their LDL cholesterol down to 100. Now, after reviewing five studies conducted since 2001, the panel has revised the ideal target for LDL. Now it needs to be 70! At this rate, by the year 2010 they’ll be recommending an LDL of 10.
Think I’m joking? Just wait six years.
The new recommendations suggest that statin drugs should be used in nearly all high-risk patients whose LDL is over 100. The lead author of the guidelines – Dr. Scott Grundy – told the Associated Press that three years ago there were about 36 million people “who could benefit from drugs to lower their cholesterol.” Dr. Grundy guesses that the new guidelines might increase that number by “a few million.”
So if you happen to be the executive of a large drug company that manufactures statin drugs… well! These new recommendations are like Christmas in July! But pharmaceutical execs know that there’s no Santa Claus. And they know that big, beautiful gifts don’t just magically appear under the tree. Someone has to put them there.
Visions of sugarplums
The release of the NCEP guidelines was not accompanied by a financial disclosure statement for the panelists. But just days after the release, Newsday (a Long Island, NY, newspaper) reported that some of the panelists had ties to drug companies. In response to a call for disclosure, NCEP officials posted a statement on their web site. And the details are eye-opening, to say the least. Pfizer is the maker of the statin Lipitor, the world’s best selling drug. Seven of the nine NCEP panelists have financial connections to Pfizer. And five of them have served as consultants to Pfizer. Nice, huh? But if you think that smells fishy, it’s just the tip of the day-old fish bin.
Merck is the maker of Zocor, another very popular statin. Seven of the nine panelists have financial connections to Merck. Four of them have served as consultants to Merck.
Only one of the panelists had no financial connections to any drug company. The other eight have received research grants or honoraria for speaking engagements from Bayer, Glaxo Smith Kline, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Novartis, and more than half a dozen other drug companies. And most of these companies manufacture statin drugs.
Hear that howling in the distance? That’s me.
The acting director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Dr. Barbara Alving, defended the panelists’ drug company connections, telling Newsday that the top experts would naturally have contact with companies that develop drugs within their fields of expertise. She said that individuals who don’t have ties to drug companies, “are probably not the experts in the field.”
Hmm. I wonder how Dr. James Cleeman felt when he read that?
Dr. Cleeman – coordinator of the NCEP – is the only panelist with no financial ties to any drug companies. So in Dr. Alving’s estimation, Dr. C. apparently doesn’t qualify as an expert. But in my opinion he’s a stand-up guy for resisting an all-expense-paid first-class ticket on the drug company gravy train.
But that doesn’t mean that Dr. Cleeman is on the right track. Addressing the initial lack of financial disclosure, Dr. Cleeman dismissed it as procedural blip, a simple oversight that doesn’t compromise the recommendations of the panel. Dr. Cleeman told WebMD that the public shouldn’t be diverted from the importance of lowering LDL cholesterol, adding that, “Nobody is quarreling with the substance of the message.”
Nobody!? Does he mean nobody on the panel? Or nobody at the NCEP? Or nobody at Pfizer? He certainly can’t mean that nobody AT ALL quarrels with the message. Because there are many who quarrel long and loud with the basic concept that low cholesterol is the primary key to heart health. Because it isn’t. It’s not even close. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that the real danger is letting your cholesterol get too low.
To Your Good Health,
Health Sciences Institute
|• Optimal: below 100
• Normal: less than 150 mg/dL
• Borderline-High: 150–199 mg/dL
• High: 200–499 mg/dL
• Very High: 500 mg/dL
|• Optimal: below 100 mg/dL
• Near Optimal: 100 to 129 mg/dL
• Borderline High: 130 to 159 mg/dL
• High: 160 to 189 mg/dL
• Very High: 190 mg/dL and above
• Low: <40 mg/dL
• Average: 40 to 50 mg/dL
• Better than Average: >50 mg/dL
• Low: <50 mg/dL
• Average: 50-60 mg/dL
• Better than Average: >60 mg/dL
Cholest erol/HDL Rati o
• Target goal is below 5:1
• Optimum ratio is 3.5:1
|• Target goal is above 0.3
• Ideal HDL/LDL ratio is above 0.4
Thank you, VRP.com for the chart
A Doctor’s extensive personal experience with Statin side effects – http://www.spacedoc.net/rest_of_my_story.html
Statins and Calcium build-up in Arteries – http://www.mercksource.com/pp/us/cns/cns_news_article.jspzQzidzEz285422
Royal Jelly and LDL Cholesterol – http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/36787
Is there a connection between Statin drugs and Parkinson’s disease? – http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/325/7369/851
How about Lipitor and ALS – http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2006/10/07/lipitor_neurological_side_effect_amyotrophic_lateral_sclerosis_alzheimers.htm
A disinterested report on Cholesterol by Dr. Ravnskov, MD – http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm
STATINS – thief of Memory – http://www.spacedoc.net/statin_amnesia_true_cost.html
Are you experiencing side effects from Statin drugs? This researcher wants to hear from you. – http://www.coloradohealthsite.org/topics/interviews/golomb.html
For information about Macadamia Nut Oil at http://www.macnutoil.com/
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