Real Cholesterol Statistics Behind Statin Drugs
By Ben Fuchs | PharmacistBen
What are the real cholesterol statistics behind statin drugs? While cholesterol is present in blocked arteries, it is not a cause of heart disease any more than flies buzzing around a garbage heap are responsible for the rotting refuse. But if you believe the notion that high cholesterol is a heart health challenge, that’s understandable and you’re in good company. Over 15 million Americans are on Cholesterol lowering drugs and the doctors at the National Institute of Health believe that another 20 million people should be on them, but aren’t. From consumer publications to television and radio advertising to internet websites, we find the medical “memescape” saturated with the misguided message that cholesterol is the cause of coronary artery disease and statin drugs are the savior that will protect humanity from the horrors of heart attacks.
According to the website “the peoplespharmacy.com“, current guidelines from heart experts insist that virtually every man over the age of 63 and every woman over 70 should be on statin-type cholesterol-lowering drugs, regardless of risk factors. Based on a study published in the May 2017 New England Journal of Medicine, which found that statin drug receiving patients were 1.2 percent less likely to have a heart attack than those on placebo, Dr. Salim Yusef, M.D., D.Phil., the study’s lead investigator and professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada said “The study shows that we should be expanding whom we treat with statins.” He said, “Statins are effective and safe for anyone with an intermediate risk factor and people over the age of 55.”
Don’t fall for it! All drugs are by definition poisons. There are, by definition, no safe poisons. Statistics are numbers and susceptible to manipulation and interpretation. Statins, like all drugs, are poisons; they have to be detoxified by the liver, where they cost the body its precious nutritional resources, and that’s a fact.
According to Dr. David Diamond, a professor of molecular pharmacology at the University of South Florida, expert in cardiovascular disease, Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, it is a “statistical deception” that has been used to make innocent victims and duped doctors believe claims about statin drug’s effectiveness.
The supposed benefits of statins are based on a sneaky little statistical strategy called “relative risk reduction” which quote, “amplifies the trivial beneficial effects of statins,” according to Diamond and Ravnskov. This little drug company's statistical trick works like this: The chance of having a heart attack over a 5 year period without taking statins is 2%. By taking statin drugs, users reduce that risk from 2% to 1%. The “relative risk reduction” is the percentage difference between using a statin drug (1%) and not using it (2%). Since a 1% risk reduction is half of 2%, they claim that statin drugs reduce heart attacks by a 50% reduction in risk. So, you might be told that a statin drug will reduce your risk of having a heart attack by 50%, when the actual reduction in risk is from 2 out of a hundred, to 1 out of a hundred. This practice involves some spurious sophistry that may sell drugs and persuade physicians into promoting them, but it does NOT help their patients.
Doctors Diamond and Ravnskov’s analysis examined 2 separate studies:
In one, called Jupiter Trial, the public and doctors were told of an actual reduction in heart attacks that was less than 1 percentage point but was somehow statistically manipulated to magically become a 54 percent reduction.
In another, the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial-Lipid Lowering Arm (ASCOT-LLA), a 1.1. percent improvement in patient outcomes with Lipitor. When presented to the public via medical journal advertising, this percentage was magically (i.e statistically) transformed to become a 36 percent cut in the risk of having a heart attack.
Here’s all you need to know about the flawed cholesterol hypothesis and statin-based prevention: While clearly statin drugs can suppress the body’s production of this unbelievably important molecule, which is very likely the most functional and important chemical in the body, statin drug’s benefits for preventing heart disease, if there are any, are negligible at best.
The statistical sophistry of statin-mania is why you have to be careful with clinical claims and why we have to use common sense: drugs are foreign to the body; they are poisons and must be detoxified. That is, pharmaceuticals are toxins and only a drug company, statistician or a doctor can somehow believe that number crunching is more important and health-relevant the biochemical logic.
If you’re dead set on lowering your cholesterol with pills, use Essential Fatty Acid supplements instead of statins. EFAs and their derivatives act like natural statin drugs, employing the same cholesterol-lowering mechanism as the synthetic pharmaceuticals, but without the side effects. In fact, instead of side effects, you’ll get side benefits and you may be able to reduce your dose of other drugs. According to researchers, writing in the October 2008 edition of the journal Lipids in Health and Disease, essential fatty acids can act like blood thinners, diuretics, anti-hypertensives, and ACE inhibitor drugs. According to the authors of the same article, they can have anti-inflammatory anti-arrhythmic benefits too. And, EFA’s benefit more than the cardiovascular system. Using Omega 3 and Omega 6 supplements can improve dry skin, eczema and acne, among other skin conditions, while improving post-surgical healing, building bones and helping support mental functioning, memory and mood.