By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
There’s the question of statin drugs and overmedication in general.
The wonderful John Abramson of Harvard Medical School has been speaking out for the better part of a decade on the overuse of ineffective medications, and has been particularly critical of statin drugs. ¹
Statin drugs have multiple serious side effects from memory loss to fatigue to loss of energy and libido, to serious muscle pain. Yet they are prescribed randomly to anyone with an “elevated” cholesterol level, even though study after study shows little benefit to lowering cholesterol. (Interestingly, in the Framingham study, those with the highest cholesterol actually lived the longest!)
The studies the drug companies point to showing that “statins save lives” usually do not hold up under close examination. You may see a slight reduction in heart attacks but you will see a corresponding increase in cancer and diabetes. And several peer-reviewed studies have shown a significant increase in diabetes among statin users.²
And why don’t we know more about these statin side effects? Simple. Because doctors usually don’t report them.
An exhaustive study by Dr. Beatrice Golumb at Stanford showed that 65 percent of doctors do not report statin side effects because they don’t believe their patients.³
The average patient will come in and say something like, “Hey doc, ever since you gave me this Lipitor, I’ve been forgetting things left and right” and the doc will say, “No, Mr. Jones, that’s just the mild cognitive impairment that comes with age, nothing to worry about, definitely not coming from the statin drug.”
Meanwhile, statins (and lowering cholesterol) are a 31 billion dollar-a-year business.
As the great American writer, Upton Sinclair, once said: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Yet the accepted “conventional” wisdom is that lowering cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease. It does not. As I said on the Dr. Oz show: “Trying to lower the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol is like trying to lower the risk of obesity by taking the lettuce off your Big Mac.”
Dr. Sinatra and I listed several peer-reviewed studies⁴ that showed that more than half the people admitted to hospitals for cardiovascular disease have normal “bad” cholesterol (less than 100 LDL), and just under half had desirable levels of “good” cholesterol (more than 40 HDL). Not only doesn’t cholesterol cause heart disease, it’s a lousy PREDICTOR of it!
Johnny Bowden, PhD, CNS, also known as "The Nutrition Myth Buster" is a board-certified nutritionist with a master's degree in psychology and the best-selling author of thirteen books including "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth", "Living Low Carb", and "The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth." He studied at Julliard, finishing at NYU with a degree in music. He holds a master’s degree in psychology. Later in life he found his life’s passion, becoming a certified trainer and obtained a PhD in holistic nutrition. He has appeared on dozens of television shows, and lectured around the world. You can reach him at: www.jonnybowden.com or follow him on Twitter: @jonnybowden or become a fan on Facebook: @dr.jonnybowden
- ¹Should people at low risk of cardiovascular disease take a statin? | The BMJ
- ²Statins Linked to Raised Risk of Type 2 Diabetes – WebMD
- ³Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism (nih.gov)
- ⁴Lipid levels in patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease: An analysis of 136,905 hospitalizations in Get With The Guidelines - ScienceDirect