How statin drugs really lower cholesterol & kill you one cell at a time

Introduction

(Jump to the Executive Summary at the end if you don’t want the full monty).

This is a review of a book written by James & Hannah Yoseph entitled How statin drugs really lower cholesterol: and kill you one cell at a time (and many thanks to Eric who posted a comment to say that there is a ‘made easier’ version of this here.)

I won’t reiterate the importance of cholesterol – you can read this on this post. Suffice to say your body makes cholesterol because it is so utterly vital, the body cannot leave it to chance that you would consume it. You would die instantly without cholesterol – it is a fundamental part of every cell in your body.

This book should be read by every person BEFORE they either prescribe or take statins. I would be interested to know if any person could prescribe or take statins AFTER reading it…

There is an interview with the Yosephs here.

The three key contributions of the Yoseph book

There are three key contributions of this book:

1) The explanation of precisely how statins work in the human body (and in animals where they have been used for drug testing).

2) The documentation of medical journal articles proving that the precise mechanism as to how statins work has been known by their proponents throughout.

3) The detailing of the conflict of interest endemic in the pharmaceutical industry and approval processes, which have monumentally failed the human race. The book takes one drug company, Merck, and the American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and a number of other related bodies (e.g. the National Cholesterol Education Programme NCEP) and a handful of individuals and traces in incredible detail the role that each played in this scandal. And it is a scandal.

Let us look at the three main findings that the Yosephs have given us:

1) How statin drugs really lower cholesterol

Every cell needs sustenance. The cell says “I’m hungry” and makes a protein called “reductase.” Reductase activates something called the mevalonate pathway. Mevalonate is cell food just as glucose is brain food. Mevalonate is utterly vital for the life of every cell in the human body.

The Yoseph’s put it this way: “Mevalonate is the essence of cell renewal. In all cells, mevalonate travels down the mevalonate pathway to make cholesterol and isoprenoids (five-carbon molecules). Both stimulate the cell to grow, replicate its DNA and divide into two cells. This is the ‘cell cycle’. This is life.”

Cell renewal is continuous throughout the body – cells lining the gut are turned over every 10 hours to 5 days; skin cells are recycled every two weeks; liver cells are replaced every 300-500 days and bone cells last a decade.

Without the cholesterol and isoprenoids made by the mevalonate pathway, none of this cell rejuvenation happens. Isoprenoids make our cells replicate and renew. Without mevalonate and without isoprenoids, cells age and die. They cannot be replaced.

CoQ10 is an isoprenoid. CoQ10 is vital for cell energy. Heme-A is an isoprenoid. Heme-A is vital for cell energy and drug metabolism. Isopentenyl adenine is an isoprenoid. Don’t worry about the names in all of this – just remember that Isopentenyl adenine is vital for DNA replication. DNA is the blueprint of every cell. Before a cell divides, it replicates its DNA and the new cell can be formed from the same blueprint. There are other vital isoprenoids – all are stopped from functioning by the disruption of the mevalonate pathway.

Fig4

In the simplified flow chart above, showing the cholesterol production pathway in the body, we can see why statins are called HMG-CoA Reductase inhibitors – this is the part of the pathway that they disrupt. Statins disable reductase. Without reductase, the mevalonate pathway cannot function properly. Without the mevalonate pathway, cells cannot rejuvenate properly. It follows that the life of every cell in the human body is catastrophically impaired by statins.

How long does it take cells to be affected? That depends on the life cycle of the cell – 300-500 days for liver cells and up to 5 days for the cells lining the gut.

In chapter four of the Yoseph’s book there is one of the most incredible explanations about what statins actually do, which I have not seen elsewhere. The Yosephs describe the fact that statins are not just HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, they are also reductase stimulators…

Life preserving responses are hard wired at the cell level – our body will do whatever it takes to keep us alive; every cell will do its bit to keep us alive. Because reductase is the ‘food’ for cell reproduction, taking something that impairs this process (statins) triggers the body to try to overcome the damage that is being done. Reductase production increases to try to reopen the mevalonate pathway. It’s a terrific attempt by the body to fight back. However, the Yosephs sadly note: “So far, they have not figured out how to save statin-fed dying cells except by adding back mevalonate.”

The book describes that there are two ways in which every cell of the body can get the cholesterol it so vitally needs: 1) it can make cholesterol and 2) it can take cholesterol from the blood stream.

When someone takes statins, the cells are impaired from making cholesterol so they try to take the cholesterol from the blood stream. The LDL receptors on each cell go into overdrive and try to ‘receive’ more LDL from the blood stream to compensate for the fact that the cell can’t currently make as much itself. This lowers the cholesterol in the blood stream. (Please remember that LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein – it is not cholesterol, let alone bad cholesterol. Similarly HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein – it is not cholesterol, let alone good cholesterol).

That’s how statins lower cholesterol and that’s how statins kill us one cell at a time.

Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH)

It is time to mention Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) here. FH is a genetic condition caused by a gene defect on chromosome 19. The defect makes the body unable to remove LDL from the bloodstream, resulting in consistently high levels of LDL. Bearing in mind that FH is rare to start with – one in 500 people – in some cases of FH the LDL receptors work to an extent (just not very well); in other cases the LDL receptors work barely at all.

My logical consideration of FH suggests to me that the problem is that the LDL receptors don’t work properly and therefore the LDL (lipoproteins) cannot get into the body’s cells in the way that they are supposed to. This means that cells don’t get the vital LDL, carrying the vital protein, lipids and cholesterol needed for the cell’s health. LDL in the blood stream is high because the LDL has stayed in the bloodstream and has not been able to get into the cells – where it is supposed to go. Hence high LDL blood levels are the sign that someone has FH. The high LDL levels are, however, a symptom and not a cause or a problem per se. The problem is that the health of every cell is compromised by LDL not getting to the cell. This includes heart, brain and muscle cells – all cells. An FH sufferer can therefore have heart problems – because of too little LDL reaching the heart cells – not because of too much LDL! How differently things can be seen when one is not blinded by thinking that cholesterol or lipoproteins are bad.

This also explains why high HDL would be seen as good. HDL is the lipoprotein that carries used lipids and cholesterol back to the liver for recycling. If the LDL were not able to get to the cells to do its job then there is little for HDL to carry back to recycle. Hence HDL would be low and this would be seen as bad with impaired understanding as to why.

Ironically, the most serious form of Familial Hypercholesterolemia would receive no benefit from statins anyway. As the extreme form of FH is characterised by LDL receptors working barely at all, even the body going into crisis mode, and trying to take LDL from the blood stream with increased LDL receptor activity, will not work if the LDL receptors are not working well enough in the first place. Hence the LDL will stay in the blood stream with an extreme sufferer of FH and yet the statin has reduced what little chance the FH sufferer’s body had of making cholesterol within the cell. The FH sufferer should ideally be given medication (if anything existed) to stimulate cholesterol production within the cell, so that the cell would at least get the vital cholesterol it needs, even when it couldn’t get it from the blood stream.

2) What was known by whom and when as statins were pushed through to approval?

We need to introduce some key players here:

– Brown & Goldstein were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work with lipoproteins. We will see what they knew along the way and their involvement with statin approval.

– Akira Endo was a Japanese biochemist who graduated from Tohoku University in 1957 and joined Sankyo Pharmaceuticals in Tokyo. Endo is the guy who discovered the poison that statins are made of. In 1971 he began his search for a fungal mycotoxin that would lower cholesterol. (Definition: “Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals”). (A metabolite is a small molecule produced during metabolism.)

In 1976 Endo managed to extract something called citrinin, a disease-causing mycotoxin from Penicillium Citrinum. He discovered that citrinin lowered blood cholesterol and published a report on this. In the same year he abandoned his work with citrinin because it was too toxic. He extracted another mycotoxin from Penicillium Citrinum called “ML-236B”, which was less toxic but still lowered cholesterol. ML-236B became Endo’s first experimental statin. (There’s a great story in the book about how Sankyo, with Japanese cultural traits of trust and honour, approached the American drug company Merck to develop the statin together. Merck shafted Sankyo and Endo was wrongly seen as the betrayer and was ostracised by Sankyo). Endo was then ‘out on his own’ and he approached Brown & Goldstein, seeing the work that they were doing with lipoproteins, and this is how these guys got together.

(Also – if you are thinking that Penicillium Citrinum sounds like an antibiotic, you’d be right. The book states “Statins – secondary fungal metabolites – are anti-life or anti-bios. Statins are antibiotics. Because antibiotics are anti-bios and kill ‘good’ vitamin-producing bacteria in the gut, most are prescribed for as short a term as possible. Statins, on the other hand, are often prescribed for life. Most antibiotics also have specific action on specific microbes. Not so with statins. Statins indiscriminately kill any cell including human cells.” (Their emphasis). This could explain the warnings about gut health on statin patient leaflets.)

In 1953 Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA. In 1979 Marvin Siperstein discovered that DNA replication (cell rejuvenation) required isoprenoids from mevalonate (specifically the isoprenoid called isopentenyl adenine). (p10 in the book) (I won’t dwell on Marvin Siperstein, but he’s one of the good guys in the Yoseph book – writing his important discoveries and highlighting serious issues in medical journals. These articles were sadly ignored.)

In 1976, Beecham Labs in the UK (what became SmtihKline Beecham and then Glaxo SmithKline) had discovered a statin named “compactin”. Sankyo Pharmaceuticals had discovered the same compound in parallel in Japan. They called it Mevastatin. “Stat” in statin means to stop and mevastatin means “to stop mevalonate”. So they knew exactly what they were stopping when they named this drug. Within an hour of adding compactin to cholesterol-rich cells, the cell reproduction cycle was completely stopped. Within minutes of adding back a small amount of mevalonate, DNA replication and cell cycles were completely restored.

This bit is key – because the cells were given ample cholesterol before the experiment (they were “cholesterol-rich cells”), it was clear that the problem was not cholesterol deprivation but isopentenyl adenine deprivation (that isoprenoid that enables DNA replication). The absence of this isoprenoid prevented DNA replication and the entire cell cycle.

As the Yosephs state “Cells are poisoned by statins because statins block the making of isoprenoids from mevalonate. If cells cannot replicate, they inevitably die.”

In 1977 (p37 of the Yoseph book), Endo, Brown and Goldstein published a paper documenting that statins caused an increase in reductase. It was therefore known back this far that statins should not necessarily be called reductase inhibitors, but reductase stimulators. They didn’t detect the increase in LDL receptor activity at this time.

In 1978 Merck developed their own statin.

In 1979 Endo patented another statin and sold it to Sankyo to try to restore his honour.

On p143 of the book, The Yosephs present an image of a paper written by Brown and Goldstein in The Journal of Biological Chemistry (1979). This incredible quotation from their paper is extracted: “Mevalonate, the product of HMG-CoA reductase, also supported growth, confirming that compactin was exerting its killing effect by a specific inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase.” So Brown and Goldstein admitted that the first statin, compactin, had a killing effect and this was a result of inhibiting reductase. They went on to develop further statins, which also inhibited reductase and also had a killing effect.

In 1980, Brown and Goldstein wrote the following in The Journal of Lipid Research (we’ll see who’s behind this journal shortly): “When the regulator of reductase is identified, it may be possible to administer this compound to animals and perhaps to patients, preventing the compensatory rise in reductase…” Hence Brown and Goldstein knew by 1980 that statins both inhibited and stimulated reductase. They also knew that the “compensatory rise in reductase” was something to be prevented.

In 1980, Brown and Goldstein co-authored a paper in The Journal of Biological Chemistry stating: “CoA reductase is inhibited by compactin, mevalonate formation is blocked and cultured cells die.” (p14)

In 1980, Brown and Goldstein co-authored a paper in The Journal of Lipid Research stating: “Incubation of cultured cells with compactin blocks mevalonate production and converts the cells into mevalonate auxotrophs.” (p172) An auxotroph is something that has lost the ability to synthesise certain substances needed for its growth and metabolism.

In 1980, Endo co-authored a paper in The Journal of Biological Chemistry entitled “Isolation and characterisation of cells resistant to ML236B (compactin) with increased levels of HMG-CoA reductase”. The extract (p146 of the Yoseph book) states: “…cholesterol alone is ineffective in preventing cell death…Addition of other mevalonate-derived metabolites to the culture medium along with cholesterol including ubiquinone [That’s CoQ10 remember], dolichol and isopentanyl adenine [that’s the isoprenoid vital for DNA replication] did not prevent the toxic effect of ML236B.” i.e. nothing we could add back to the cell, to compensate for the damage we had done, could prevent the toxic effect.

Also in 1980, Sankyo cancelled clinical trials of their statin on humans after half their laboratory dogs died of cancer. Merck called Sankyo to try to learn from this and Sankyo told them to sod off – quite right! Merck stopped statin development (sadly, only temporarily).

In 1982 Brown and Goldstein wrote in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “If reducatase cannot increase sufficiently to overcome the inhibition by compactin, the cells die.” (p144)

Incredibly, given all of this going on, in 1982 Merck was allowed to give Lovastatin to humans in the first human trial. At this time:

– It was known that statins were toxins.

– It was known that statins blocked the mevalonate pathway.

– It was known that blocking the mevalonate pathway caused cell death.

– It was known that nothing could be added back to the body (not cholesterol, not isoprenoids, nothing) to prevent cell death and the toxic effect of statins.

– It was known that statins not only inhibited reductase, but they stimulated it too. It was known that inhibition of reductase “had a killing effect”. The consequences of stimulating reductase were not precisely known, but caused enough concern for the 1980 Brown and Goldstein article in The Journal of Lipid Research to discuss what might be administered to “prevent(ing) the compensatory rise in reductase…”

In 1984 lovastatin was approved by the FDA in record time.

In 1985 Brown and Goldstein were awarded the Nobel Prize!

3) The conflicts of interest:

We need to introduce some more players at this stage:

Daniel Steinberg

Daniel Steinberg is the overall ringmaster. If you do an internet search you will find remarkably little about him personally and this seems to be deliberate. The Yosephs should be commended for what they have managed to piece together about this orchestrator. (You will find his “Cholesterol Wars”, where he writes that “after much controversy, cholesterol and lipoproteins were implicated, indicted and ultimately found guilty.”)

Steinberg was the founder and first editor in chief of The Journal of Lipid Research (a vehicle for Endo, Brown and Goldstein and lipid theory supporters to use).

Steinberg was Chairman of the Council on Arteriosclerosis of the American Heart Association and used his position to recommend treating high cholesterol as early as 1969. (Introducing the theory that this life vital substance, made by the body, should be treated rather than revered).

Steinberg was co-chair of the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial (LRC-CPPT). This trial was led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), costing the taxpayer $150 million over 13 years. In January 1984 the results were published and claimed that the long sought evidence was now available – absolute differentials were less than 2% in different groups observed.

Steinberg was Merck’s scientific advisor when lovastatin was approved in record time in 1984.

Steinberg was the first speaker at the FDA advisory committee meeting on statins, held at the NIH, in February 1987.

In 2006, writing in his own Journal of Lipid Research, Steinberg reported that “the Goldstein/Brown laboratory showed that this huge over production of reductase, representing an attempt by the cell to overcome statin inhibition, is accompanied by a huge buildup of endoplasmic reticulum, the organelle [place] in which the reductase resides. As a result the cells look “abnormal” but of course they are not cancer cells.” Steinberg admits that the cell tries to overcome what the statin is doing, he uses the unscientific word “huge” twice – neither time in his favour – and he is apparently able to single-handedly declare that abnormal cells are “of course not cancer cells”.

The same article “The discovery of statins and the end of the controversy” (how arrogant is that?!) declared: “…there was no hard evidence that compactin would be toxic in humans, only rumors about toxicity in dogs…” Rumors? Merck contacted Sankyo to understand why half their dogs had developed cancer.

Steinberg chaired the NIH consensus panel, which in December 1984 declared that LDL cholesterol was the cause of Coronary Vascular Disease (CVD) and recommended that a National Cholesterol Education Programme (NCEP) be adopted. Since this time the NCEP has set continually lower cholesterol targets. Their recommended age for statin use is now nine!

The members of the NCEP

The 2004 NCEP financial disclosure report reveals that all members of the 2004 guideline participants had received payments and/or grant funds from the following organisations:

Dr Scott Grundy: Abbott, Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glaxo SmithKline, Kos, Merck, Pfizer, Sankyo.

Dr Bairey: Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Wyeth.

Dr Brewer: Astra Zeneca, Esperion, Fournier, Lipid Sciences, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Sankyo, Tularik.

Dr Clark: Abbot, Astra Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Pfizer.

Dr Hunninghake: Astra Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer.

Dr Pasternak: Astra Zeneca, BMS-Sanofi, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Takeda.

Dr Smith: Merck.

Dr Stone: Abbot, Astra Zeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kos, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Reliant, Sankyo.

The members of the 1987 FDA Panel

On February 19th 1987 the FDA held an advisory committee meeting to review the NIH clinical guidelines for altering cholesterol with Merck’s new statin, lovastatin. The NIH hosted the event. This would be like the NHS hosting the approval meeting for a drug in the UK; implicit support. Incredibly a Merck consultant, Fred Singer, was in the Chair.

Steinberg and the Nobel prize winners Brown and Goldstein were present in support of Merck. The FDA advisory committee comprised 4 FDA employees, 8 FDA advisors (2 were Merck consultants) and 11 Merck speakers and guests. That put the vote 13-10 in Merck’s favour from the outset.

The Yoseph book fully documents the actual comments made in the meeting and by whom – the record was sequestered through a Freedom of Information request. A Merck toxicologist (MacDonald) admitted that rabbits on lovastatin died rapidly. He attributed this to “elevated blood levels” and got away with no one asking him elevated blood levels of what? MacDonald glossed over the fact that statins failed to lower cholesterol in rats, mice and hamsters. This was because rodents are able to reopen the mevalonate pathway – this is why they live. The rabbits couldn’t do this. This is why they died. Dogs were somewhere in between. MacDonald had to admit to liver cell damage in dogs but, again, got away with “We clearly do not understand the mechanism”. It was denied that cataracts had been observed in rats (a few cases in dogs were skimmed over).

A pharmaceutical consultant called Dr Richard Cenedella said: “I have consulted for many drug companies over the years. All of the hyper-lipidemic drugs induce cataracts in mice; it’s an early observation that holds up.” Cenedella wrote to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1987 “…to caution against the possible complication of cataract development that might result from long-term use of this agent” [statins]

Jonathan Tobert was Merck’s Clinical Director for all trials. In March 1988 he stated that to date there had been no cataracts seen in humans taking lovastatin. The year before he co-authored a paper documenting an increase in lens opacities (i.e. cataracts) in 101 lovastatin consumers. The Yosephs pull no punches in the book. This is just one of a catalogue of examples where they are able to prove contradictory statements made by Tobert. On p121 they say “You can tell when Tobert is lying. He is either writing or his lips are moving.” And I thought I was bold!

Interestingly cataracts are back in the news as I publish this, but I have not seen any reduction in statin prescription or usage since the headlines that emanated from this JAMA research.

In April 2009 an extraordinary letter was written to President Obama by FDA scientists to say that “The FDA is fundamentally broken” and detailing examples of suppression of truth, distortion and the “FDA failing to fulfil its mission.” Nothing has happened as a result of this letter.

Conclusion

The remarkable Yoseph book has brought us the most precise understanding of how statins lower cholesterol. It has shown that the dangers were known all along – by those pushing through the launch and approval of statins. It has shown how a few key players – Steinberg, Endo, Brown and Goldstein could work with Merck and how Merck and other drug companies could infiltrate the FDA, influence the NIH and even see the establishment of a National Cholesterol Education Programme comprised of drug company funded representatives.

The scandal has been brilliant, meticulously planned and success guaranteed. Billions and billions of dollars have been generated from first demonising cholesterol and secondly discovering a poison (Definition: “Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals”) that could stop the body making cholesterol. Or, as we now know more accurately – a poison that could drive cells to remove cholesterol from the blood stream, as those cells fight to avoid death.

The mevalonate pathway should never be blocked in a living creature. A rat may get away with it, a human won’t. If only humans died as quickly as rabbits, maybe statins would have never have been approved. The fact that they are killing us one cell at a time, but just more slowly, is little consolation.

The Executive Summary:

Cholesterol is utterly life vital. We die instantly without it. We need it for every single cell of the body, the muscles, the brain, hormones, bile production, fat digestion, reproduction – it simply cannot be emphasised enough how vital cholesterol is.

It is so vital that the body makes it – the body cannot afford to leave it to chance that we would need to get cholesterol from our diet. This makes cholesterol even more vital to the body than essential fats and protein – as we need to eat these.

Statins stop the body from making the cholesterol that it was designed to make (not entirely, or they would have an immediate 100% death rate).

Statins block something called “the mevalonate pathway”. This is catastrophic. Blocking the mevalonate pathway means that cells cannot replicate or repair themselves properly. Blocking the mevalonate pathway means that every cell in the body dies. The only thing that varies is how long each cell takes to die – some take more time than others.

Nothing can compensate for blocking the mevalonate pathway. Nothing except adding mevalonate back in to the body and we don’t do this. (We don’t even know if we can do this in humans. We shouldn’t block this pathway in the first place.) Adding cholesterol makes no difference, adding CoQ10 makes no difference. Blocking the mevalonate pathway is so flipping serious that anyone who does it should be shot. (I really think using the ‘F’ word here is quite appropriate).

The body tries to respond to the crisis that it detects. As cells realise that their ability to make cholesterol has been impaired, they try to take the cholesterol they need from the blood stream. This lowers blood cholesterol levels and ignorant doctors are happy. They know not what they have done.

There is a second way in which the body tries to save itself – it tries to increase the production of reductase, hoping that this may unblock the mevalonate pathway. It can’t. Hence reductase is both stimulated and inhibited at the same time. Who knows how the body responds to this mechanism being totally confused.

LDL receptor activity and reductase activity increase in parallel. The LDL receptors (the ‘doors’ on each cell responsible for letting LDL in to the cell, with the cholesterol and other good stuff that it is carrying) work harder to try to get LDL from the blood stream into the cells. The reductase production increases to try to reboot the mevalonate pathway, so that cells can make cholesterol as they are designed to do.

The inventors of statins knew what statins were really doing throughout the development of this drug (mevastatin literally means to stop mevalonate – they knew exactly what mevastatin would do). They knew that statins blocked the mevalonate pathway. They knew that this caused cell death. They knew that nothing could compensate for this other than putting the vital mevalonate back. They knew that CoQ10 was affected and this was serious. They patented adding CoQ10 to their statins but then never bothered to add it.

Statins were only originally intended for the 1 in 500 people with Familial Hypercholesterolemia. This would not have enabled drug companies to reach the profit potential of their dreams. Hence cholesterol has been demonised and targets have continually been reset by conflicted bodies so that the norm is no longer the norm and everyone can be told that they need statins.

Ironically, the most serious form of Familial Hypercholesterolemia would receive no benefit from statins anyway. As the extreme form is characterised by LDL receptors working barely at all, even the body going into crisis mode, and trying to take LDL from the blood stream with increased LDL receptor activity, will not work if the LDL receptors are not working sufficiently. Hence the LDL will stay in the blood stream with an extreme sufferer of FH and yet the statin has reduced what little chance the FH sufferer’s body had of making cholesterol within the cell.

There’s a great message on p304 of the book where the Yosephs suggest a notice that should be put up in washrooms:

Employees must wash hands before returning to work.

And do not touch the mevalonate pathway!

250 thoughts on “How statin drugs really lower cholesterol & kill you one cell at a time

  • avatar
    May 18, 2015 at 11:52 am
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    Very informative
    I have cholesterol rings since I was in early 20’s. Now I am 58
    Was yelled at about diet. Then new dr. Was told it was genetic. My dad whole side of the family has super high cholesterol.
    My father had 5 by pass done at age 47. Then done again 10 years later. He quit smoking ate perfectly. Exercised and was on Lipitor. Highest dose. I took advice of scare tactic dr and went on Mevacor. I felt terrible all the time but was afraid to quit. We’ll eventually liver tests ceased that medication. Since then have tried others and quit. My total reading is 400.
    My father died at 74 with congestive heart failure. He also had developed Parkinson’s. Which I totally believe to be an exact results of the 80 mg of Lipitor he took fo some 20 plus years. No Parkinson’s in the family. I see my Dr tomorrow for physical and all he will care about is my cholesterol. Last time he said but Wanda I don’t want you to die. You can be bleeding to death and they will look at you and ask. “How is your cholesterol ” I do hope I’ve made the right decision to not take statins. My daughter is 38 and her readings are 400. She is on Crestor to my dismay. I just wanted to let people know that PRkinsons is a known side affect of Prolonged use of Lipitor as stated in fine tiny print in their pamphlet.
    Thank you.
    Wanda Hart

    Reply
  • avatar
    May 9, 2015 at 6:04 am
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    Greetings friends,
    Am integrating this piece of information into this thread, because I want you to know what could very well be one of the most potentially damning, damaging pieces of information to be had about Lipitor, and Lipitor-type medications. I’m not going to go into how I got this information, and many of you will say it’s nuts. BUT the fact is, that it has been made manifest to me that one of the CHIEF components in these statin meds is a chemically synthesized version of ‘Black Mold.’ Yes, that’s right… BLACK MOLD ladies and gentlemen. We’re talking about the highly toxic, life-threatening spore that has sickened/killed many and upset many a household across the globe. That would clearly explain the drug’s powerful ability to rid the body of cholesterol, but it also sheds a terrifying light on the potentiality for other harmful side effects, not to mention an early, untimely and tragically unnecessary death. Do yourself a favor, STAY AWAY from this medication. There are other options, and they are a HELL of a lot safer. Nuff said.

    Reply
    • avatar
      July 3, 2015 at 12:02 am
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      Yet they boast about how safe they are. Cholesterol is safe. Statins are NOT!

      Reply
  • avatar
    April 30, 2015 at 2:51 am
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    I am professor in ophthalmology and 45 yrs male..I had an emergency angioplasty following MI.My Hdl 40 mg/DL and Ldl 115 mg/DL .you wrote in blog that statins is for men under 50 who already had heart attacks.why are u recommending statins for such patients?

    Reply
    • avatar
      April 30, 2015 at 10:31 am
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      Hi Satish
      I don’t recommend statins for anyone, ever, in any circumstances.
      Hope that’s clear!
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
      • avatar
        May 2, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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        thanks Zoe,
        I am a changed person now.I wish to advice everyone not to be on statins.I read in one of the links that u provided that lactate is the fuel for the heart that is provided by sacrificing the muscles by statins.would u encourage to eat yoghurt, sour cream and milk to provide the lactate as fuel to heart and exposure to sun to provide cholesterol sulfate?

        Reply
          • avatar
            May 2, 2015 at 7:16 pm
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            dear Zoe,
            it was exactly the same link which u had provided.would u also agree upon the dietary recommendations of dr seneff.
            best wishes

  • avatar
    April 24, 2015 at 7:49 am
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    My doctor had prescribed 2 different kinds of statin medicines. If I remember correctly…I’ve been taking statin medicine for almost 2 years. During that time I started having really bad muscle pain in the right side of my lower back which is by my spine. The pain goes up to my ribs on the right side of my body. I have osteoarthritis and diabetes, etc. I don’t know if my spine is being effected by arthritis or if I have permanent damage from the statin medications. I had x-rays done some days ago at my doctor’s office. They took a urine analysis. They didn’t take my blood to test it. I was told that the lab people left for that day. The people at the doctor’s office told me the doctor is behind in her work, and they are dealing with new computers. I still haven’t found out what the results to my x-rays are. I’m kind of scared to find out. The pain in my lower back has been so horrible that I can’t lay down in bed to sleep. I have to sit up on my couch with pillows instead. I’ve been off the statin medication for 2 to 3 months. I’m wondering if any of the side effects will go away or if I will have them the rest of my life. I can’t handle this terrible pain the rest of my life. I can barely function each day. I’m disabled, and walk with a cane. I’m in constant pain. I’m tired of suffering. I feel really sad because of the pain. I pray a lot that God will help me. I’m trying to improve my life with eating healthy, and getting exercise, but it’s very difficult to do when I can barely walk. :o(

    Reply
    • avatar
      April 24, 2015 at 8:23 am
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      Hi Shannon – I’m so sorry to hear this – I just wish every person who dismisses statin side effects would read this and I hope that you recover as much as possible. You’re right to wonder if your spine has been affected by osteoarthritis or statins – the statins won’t have helped. Dr Duane Graveline’s books may help – statin damage crisis is one and Lipitor Thief of Memory is another. He also had serious damage but I think he’s recovered much of it.
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
    • avatar
      July 18, 2015 at 7:50 am
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      A diet rich in fat, calories, protein and (most importantly) HIGH in cholesterol and low in carbs should help with the healing process.

      Reply
    • avatar
      July 18, 2015 at 6:52 pm
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      Damn. Your horror story scares the sh!t out of me. My doctor wants me to take statins and wants me lower my cholesterol as I get older. Good thing I read this. makes me sure as ever not to do anything but lower my cholesterol.

      I hope you’re better.

      Wendi who commented about the fat and stuff, you also need co-enzyme Q10 to repair your muscle damage.

      Reply
  • avatar
    April 13, 2015 at 9:58 pm
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    In March of 2007 I was put on Simvastatin 25mg, after a stroke. In May I developed Asthma. In June they found I had fast growing breast cancer, tried to delay surgery until Asthma could be controlled. No dice, so had surgery in July. In August, after complaints about Statin, I was switched to Lovastatin 75 MG? A year later my Pharmacist said he thought Statins were at fault in my many physical problems. I stopped taking them. (Two) 2 days later all signs of Asthma were gone! Only returned one time when I was given a different drug. No Asthma, at all, every since.
    The fact that I lost all semblance of energy has never changed. It just gets worse. Yet, EVERY Dr. appointment has been a rehash of why I need Statins? Now I find that EVERY Dr. Has learned the whole sorry truth on this horrible drug? What happened to, “First, do no harm?”

    Reply
    • avatar
      April 14, 2015 at 9:27 am
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      Hi Rebecka – absolutely – what happened to the first principle? I’m so sorry you’ve been through all of this and even sorrier that there are millions of you :-(
      Wishing you the best recovery possible
      Best wishes – zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    March 26, 2015 at 10:56 am
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    I was 1st diagnosed with FHC at the age of 16, and put on Questran, and ever since then, 30 years on, I have been on every Statin that has hit the market. I have had to live with the most terrible side effects for the last 30 years, and ever so often I would stop my Statins due to all the muscle pain etc, only to be told by my Doctor that I would die of a heart attack if I did not go back on to them. And so the cycle would start all over again and out of fear, I would go back on Statins.
    I was told that my “good cholesterol level is good” and my “bad” cholesterol is very bad – my total cholesterol the last time I went for blood tests was 14, and once again my Doctor told me I would die of a heart attack or stroke due to my cholesterol.
    I am currently on Crestor 20 mg and Ezetrol 10 mg. Please help, I am desperate and cannot cope with the pain I have every day. Is it okay to go off them once and for good?
    Thanks Louise

    Reply
    • avatar
      March 26, 2015 at 5:25 pm
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      Hi Louise – I’m sorry but I can’t and won’t advise you personally to do or not do anything. Your health has to be your decision – your doc isn’t the one living with pain for 30 years – for which I so feel for you. Quality of life is a vital part of life.

      I’ve just this week done a blog for cholesterol/statin queries http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2015/03/worried-about-cholesterol-andor-statins/
      Good luck with whatever you decide to do
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    March 18, 2015 at 2:51 am
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    What about amolopine ? It is killing me . I was on Lipitor for awhile til it started making me have liver problems . Would appreciate any info you have on amolopine , Gracias .

    Reply
  • avatar
    March 9, 2015 at 2:01 am
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    I have had severe side effects with rosuvastatin .I took just 45 tablets of 5 mg .Severe peripheral neuropthy ,digestion issues ,gas,very weak thigh muscles ,my back muscles are weak . Your note clearly explains what I am going thru .Thank you very much .

    I have stopped since 2 months and can see improvement with digestion and gas . Mymusc.e weakness is getting better .

    I started taking CoQ10 hoping it will speed up the healing of the damage done . I would reccomend everyone suffering to log the regulatory bodies in your country .Today we are just small statistic .Someday it will grow and this scam will exposed .

    I have made a mission to highlight it to friends and family . Already have two who very suffering and their Doctors were in denial .

    I changed my doctor after learning and researching on this subject .

    Thank you again .

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 28, 2015 at 8:13 am
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    Mevalonate is cell food just as glucose is brain food. Mevalonate is utterly vital for the life of every cell in the human body.

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 27, 2015 at 5:54 am
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    Hi Zoe,my dad was put on statins and had a bleed on the brain stroke…he died 4 months later in March 2014…since then another two of my relatives who were on statins have had strokes.

    Do you think that with statins destroying coq10 then this will weaken the arteries thus leading to strokes? i noticed my dad had alot of red blotches on his arms and only had to knock his arm for it to bleed..was this a sympton of statins? cheers,steve

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 25, 2015 at 11:24 pm
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    Hi Zoe. Thanks for your input at the Noakes conference.
    Questions: If I stop my statins how long does it take for the normal cell growth processes to restart? And, how long does it take repair past damage? And finally, is the damage fully repaired?
    Many thanks Robert.

    Reply
    • avatar
      February 26, 2015 at 8:49 am
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      Hi Robert – thanks for being there! Got back to a very wet 5’c dog walk this am – bit different to the Waterfront and trying to keep cool!

      The answer is – I don’t know and I don’t know if anyone else does. I understand that damage does repair but not all of the damage all the time. I don’t know if most is repaired most of the time or some, some of the time etc. The acknowledgement of side effects is poor enough without there having been proper studies of damage recovery. Check out some of the Duane Graveline work – books/blogs as spacedoc etc. He suffered severe statin damage and I don’t think all has been recovered.

      If you have suffered damage, I really hope that this is reversible – and quickly – for you. We should know this kind of thing and it’s criminal that we don’t
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
      • avatar
        February 26, 2015 at 3:07 pm
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        So, thinking further. In the near future we are going to convert the epidemic of sugar/carb induced disease to a new epidemic of statin induced disease (= unrepairable statin induced damage). Considering the number of people on statins and likely to continue taking statins, this could approach a huge number with chronic disease for which science can currently do nothing. Wow! This looks like class action for wrong diet advice and then class action for mandatory prescription of useless statins. This will make the tobacco thing appear like a children’s tea party. Does the US have enough money?

        Reply
        • avatar
          February 26, 2015 at 3:18 pm
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          Hi Robert – I’m with you. I think all the no win no fee lawyers are missing out on the jackpot! Get on it guys!
          Best wishes – Zoe

          Reply
          • avatar
            February 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm
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            Zoe thanks responses appreciated Robert

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    February 25, 2015 at 9:47 pm
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    I just turned 50 years old. My doctor has had me on THREE cholesterol lowering medications, Crestor, Trilipix and Zetia for years. He says my cholesterol levels are hereditary.

    I do have cramping in my feet. I am scared to go off of them because they have lowered my cholesterol but I also now have liver pain. My doctor says it is from my drinking…(I do love red wine) but I am thinking all of this medication has something to do with it.
    I also take levothyroxine because my thyroid doesn’t function properly.
    I would like to find a doctor that would supervise my going off of these medications or at least the cholesterol ones. Any assistance would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • avatar
      February 26, 2015 at 9:35 am
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      Hi Chrissie – I’m sorry but I don’t have a list of doctors who think people – women especially – should not take statins. Your IP address looks like the US? I don’t know the US system at all to be able to advise you – try asking on spacedoc.com?

      Good luck
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    February 24, 2015 at 9:32 pm
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    Family DNA lab test no breast cancer. Two sisters with breast cancer my breast dense after taking statins. One sister with breast cancer and diabetes. Statins hurt memory joint and muscle pain. Statins is conducive to fatty liver increase liver enzyme increase cholesterol that is why they increase the milligrams. The population is high is there a conspiracy to decrease the world population with wars and statins. What are people to think if you can trust your doctor or government .

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 17, 2015 at 6:32 pm
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    I went to the doctor, he drew blood, said my Cholesterol was 276 prescribed Lipitor, raised my heart rate to above 110 which, I called him back a week later because my blood pressure was through the roof, I believe raised my blood pressure, called him after 2 weeks on the Lipitor said I am not taking it anymore, he prescribed Crestor, which no change after 3 days on that, I had enough, stopped the Cholesterol medication, still taking blood pressure because I am not sure about that. I had also talked to my daughter’s friend’s mother who happens to be a nurse who asked me if I possibly ate something and if I fasted for the test. I did eat and did not fast as I wasn’t told about that. Needless to say, I am done taking that stuff, adjusting my diet, trying healthy thinks including fruits and vegetables and hoping for the best. But I will never put that stuff in me again, 3 weeks of an elevated heart rate will kill me if the cholesterol doesn’t. Doctors need to be better trained in this area.

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 14, 2015 at 4:15 am
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    My cholesterol was first measured 29 years ago. I was only 20. I was told my cholesterol was high(220) and that because my family had heart disease I was doomed. I have tried everything over the years to lower this number. low fat diets supplements… The numbers kept climbing. I was put on statins when the numbers reached 260. I have, usually around 67 triglycerides and 65 HDL, so my body makes a lot of LDL. I started getting sick from the statin after about 2 years, my blood sugar was rising to prediabetes. I weigh 125 pounds and I am 5 foot 2, with no family history of diabetes. I ditched the Statin. Well now my cholesterol is 280 and the LDL is over 202. I told the doctor, I don’t care, I don’t want diabetes. The nerve of this doctor, he told me, well we have a drug for prediabetes, and because you are prediabetic you should be on a Statin. This made no sense to me at all. (circular reasoning)

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 14, 2015 at 2:11 am
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    So glad I stumbled ont this site.

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 14, 2015 at 12:44 am
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    Thank you for such wonderful information. I’d been feeling statins were not but now I know they will never touch my lips again!

    Reply
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    February 10, 2015 at 10:18 pm
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    I am so thankful for this post. My cholesterol level was a bit high as well as my LDL level. My doctor put me on Liptor. I took it about two weeks and deceived I didn’t need to add another pill to my diet. About the same time the same doctor decided my husband needed to take Liptor also to keep his arteries healthy since he was recently found to be diabetic. He DID NOT have high cholesterol and the diabetes he controls by diet. He noticed his blood sugar starting to slowly creep up (still in the norm rang, but higher than it had been) after having been on it about 3 weeks. I did the research and of course found the lawsuit over Liptor and high blood sugar. He went off of it. We both see the doctor next month. She is a new doctor for us so we’ll see what she has to say. I got a feeling she is a prescribe anything type doctor and if we find that to be the case we will find another doctor.

    Reply
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    February 6, 2015 at 7:14 pm
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    Thank you for saving my life! I finally have medical care (I was without it for seven years in the U.S., so I couldn’t afford the meds) and 2 days ago was given a prescription for statins. I just didn’t feel right about taking it, but ‘everyone’ said with a 7.7 overall cholesterol level, I’d better take it. WHY the LDL level quadrupled in a year’s time while the HDL dropped by 75% was what I wanted to know, but the doctor did not want to address this. ‘Half the world’s on statins,’ he said. ‘Just take the pill.’ I might add that the doc and the chemist, too, said ‘Don’t read the leaflet before taking this med’! That should have given me a big clue. This gnawing feeling that I shouldn’t be on statins has been playing on my mind, and I hopped onto the internet to see what I could find. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I found your well-written article. Instead of the statins, I’m thanking my body for looking after me so well, and now I’m cheering on my cells to accept the LDL my body so generously produces. Your article’s reasoning resonated with me. I’ve always avoided prescription meds like the plague, choosing to live a healthy lifestyle instead. (I was once ‘in the biz,’ as they say; it’s profit, not our improved health, that the drug companies want. You nailed that.) So far so good. Cheers!

    Reply
  • avatar
    February 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm
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    Dear Zoe,
    I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 4 years ago and was put on metformin. I was also given simvastine (sorry about the spelling)even though my cholesterol was 2.9. Since then my back and leg pain has increased to an extent were I developed agonising spasms in my back and hips during the last 6 weeks, which was elevated by medication after two weeks. My short term memory is starting to be affected and I have now a problem it seems with my prostate. Could all this have stemmed from taking statins? By the way my age is 68 and my cholesterol is still only 3.1

    Reply
    • avatar
      February 3, 2015 at 4:15 pm
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      Hi Paul
      This is utterly shocking. Simvastatin is the drug you’ll be on.

      You may also find this interesting (http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-there-is-a-relationship-but-its-not-what-you-think/) Yes – it does show that HIGHER cholesterol is associated with LOWER deaths. I personally think that your doc(s) should be sued for what they have done to you. There are law suits starting in the States against the statin companies. The big one, still growing, is the diabetes class action suit – Lipitor now known to be associated with increased incidence of type 2 diabetes (http://www.drugwatch.com/lipitor/lawsuit/). Your cholesterol was absurdly low and still is and the doc(s) want to lower it further.

      Could the leg pain, spasms, memory impairment etc have stemmed from statins? Absolutely – these are known side effects (Patient leaflet here: http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/24525/PIL/Simvastatin+10mg+20mg+40mg+Tablets). The first side effects listed on this patient leaflet are: “muscle aches and pains, tenderness, weakness or cramps.” “Memory loss” and many more are on the list.

      See this bit part way down the page?
      “Talk with your doctor if any of the following applies to you: you are more than 65 years old.” That means you at 68. The reason that the patient leaflet says this is that there is much trial evidence that low cholesterol is particularly serious in older people. The evidence for low cholesterol and high deaths is not good in older people. I guess your doc hasn’t read the patient leaflet a) at all b) recently c) carefully enough?!

      I really hope that lawyers stop chasing PPI scams at some point and go after some serious harm that has been done to people who frankly deserve compensation in my view.
      So sorry to hear that you’ve been yet another victim of statin profits
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
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    January 25, 2015 at 1:40 am
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    Zoë, You’re phenomenal ! What a good review of the book! and what a super important and accesible explanation as how these things happen (i.e., statins, drug discovery, un-intentional consequences, etc.).

    No comments on the subject, other than i couldn’t agree more with the facts.

    THANK YOU !

    ignace
    [hopefully, ill get the math right down by the “human” check point; … i think it’s a 3 i need to add up …]

    Reply
  • Pingback: Paleo Britain Should You Be Taking Statins? | Paleo Britain

  • avatar
    December 18, 2014 at 11:02 am
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    Hi Zoe, thanks for the article. My total serum cholesterol is 250 and Ldl is 179 m 30 male. I’ve been advised to take 20 mg daily but I haven’t started it yet. Will this put me in any serious trouble?

    Reply
    • avatar
      December 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm
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      Hi Melvin –
      So your cholesterol is completely normal – according to the true norm – not the manipulated figures (http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/06/diabetes-cholesterol-bp-normal-is-no-longer-normal/)

      My personal view is that NOT taking a statin will be far better for your health than taking one, but that’s my view from my research. The blog post you commented on shares the trouble you could be in if you take one!

      Check this out for the tiny ‘benefit’ for the highest risk group (men 50 – c. 65 who have already had a heart attack) http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2014/12/01/what-is-t/
      98.2% getting no benefit has to be weighed up against 5 years of side effects for everyone. (And any benefit is most likely to do with anti-inflammatory properties of statins – not cholesterol lowering, which is a serious side effect of statins!)

      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • Pingback: Experts: Statins Are Harmful and Don't Extend Lives

  • avatar
    December 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm
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    Hi,
    I stopped my statins about a month ago and my muscle discomfort has stopped. I exsercise regularly and try to eat somewhat healthy. What is the solution to lowering LDL and total cholesterol numbers naturally?

    Reply
  • avatar
    November 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm
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    Hi Zoe,
    I am 48 years old and have hFH. I can’t tolerate statins, they make me depressed. 6 years ago I had a fast CT which revealed minimal plaque. I have been on a LCHF diet for about 11 years. From my understanding it appears that statins do not help in the case of FH since the cells are already depleted of cholesterol due to the lack of receptors. Statins would deplete the cells of vital cholesterol even further.
    My interpretation of the overwhelming litterature is thus. A diet low in carbohydrate (less than 70 g per day), strictly limiting fructose, and PUFA, while high in saturated fat from nutrient dense animal foods, along with vegies is my best bet. Is this correct? I recently started eating more butter and my HDL skyrocketed. For the first time my ratios of TC to HDL are in the normal range given this increase in saturated fat. I also read recently, that when carbs are eaten, the best time of day is in the evening, since insulin produces a blunted response at that time. Thanks and keep up the good fight.

    Reply
    • avatar
      November 24, 2014 at 9:45 am
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      Hi Maria – sorry for the tardy reply – lots on!

      We share the same view of statins and FH. To me the issue is that the cells are not getting the LDL taxis that they need (with the cholesterol, protein, phospholipids and triglycerides) and this is the harmful fact. The LDL in the blood stream is just the marker telling us that this vital pathway is not working properly. Statins would then make things worse by impairing each cell from compensating for this by making its own cholesterol. The statins don’t stop this completely, of course, or every person who took a statin would die.

      I also share your view that a low carb diet (I don’t know if 20g is better than 70 or 100 better than 50 – just a low carb diet that you can stick to is a good start), limiting fructose and PUFA and focusing on nutrient dense foods is anyone’s best bet – not just you.

      The timing for eating carbs varies by individual. I’m better eating carbs earlier in the day, as I have a chance to use them for fuel (walking and working). If I have porridge late at night (coming back from a rugby match for example) – I find I can wake a few hours later with the munchies. See what works for you. Sounds like you’re doing well with this approach.

      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
      • avatar
        November 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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        Hi Zoe,

        Thanks so much for the reply. For some reason, I don’t sleep well if I don’t have carbs later in the day. This problem started 6 years after being very low carb. Likely a perimenopause issue, but one that does seem to improve with eating carbs half hour before bed. So I will stick to it.

        My reason for asking about the quantity of carbs is more of a threshold question. I’m worried about eating too many carbs and putting myself in the danger zone for triglycerides, given my family history of heart disease. Do you agree with Dr.Lutz (Life without bread), as long as one sticks to 70 g or less, this should be safe, given that the body uses about that much glucose on a daily basis, assuming that one is insulin sensitive.

        Reply
        • avatar
          November 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm
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          Hi Maria – I would struggle to believe that there is a fixed number that works for everyone – even as an upper limit. However 70g seems a good ‘rule of thumb’ – not too low to be difficult and not too high to be bad for insulin sensitivity. Prof Tim Noakes advises 25g for those who are/have been obese/insulin resistant/type 2 diabetes etc and to stay at this level to manage those conditions. That’s good advice. Depends on the individual – sounds like you’re well aware of what works for you and what doesn’t. Trust your experience!
          Best wishes – Zoe

          Reply
  • avatar
    November 19, 2014 at 1:05 am
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    You should be ashamed of propagating lies and fear-mongering. You are misleading people and compromising their health. Your understanding of the mevalonate pathway is faulty and misinterprets the mechanism of how statins work and have SAVED LIVES!

    DO NOT TRUST THIS WHACK JOB!!! TRUST YOUR PHYSICIANS WHO PRACTICE EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE AND THE PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES IN SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS THAT PROVE STATINS ARE EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES!!!

    Reply
    • avatar
      July 5, 2015 at 12:31 am
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      ‘You should be ashamed of propagating lies and fear-mongering. You are misleading people and compromising their health. ‘

      Yet the drug companies do this all the time but you are not complaining about that, are you? What about the fact they intentionally downplay the life crippling and deadly side effects and suicides from their drugs? You in support of that!??

      People like you are the reason I wake up crying and screaming at night…

      Reply
  • avatar
    November 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm
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    Have been reading several articles trying to figure out what to do. Had an MI in 2006. Had 1 90% blockage. Was put on Lipitor 10 mg and increased to 20 mg because mt LDL was 105 n hdl 59. Was also taking plavix. I felt horrible. Quit taking both after a year and started taking red yeast rice. This has not seemed to bother me but didn’t know it was just a natural statin. Levels now ldl174 hdl 61. They are wanting me back on a statin and I said no but have increased red yeast rice. With my history am a little concerned with levels but don’t want to destroy any more cells than I already have. Does stopping statins stop cell destruction? Or once you’ve taken it is it non reversible. I’ve always been skeptical taking any drugs other than antibiotics like penicillin because I know it works. I take vitamins and supplements. Am ordering coq10 today. I have noticed loss of muscle in last few years and I’m very active. Have horses and do all my own work. Is there any other reading I should do on preventing clogged arteries. I do take krill oil 500 mg. was taking 300 but eye doctor told me to increase due to imbalance in oils in my eyes. I also have start of a cataract which I saw can be caused by statins. Any help appreciated.

    Reply
    • avatar
      November 18, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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      Hi Barb – sorry for the late reply – been in Oslo for a conference.
      I’m sorry to hear about your MI and other health problems and drug pressure. I can’t advise, but I can answer your direct questions:
      1) Does stopping statins stop cell destruction?
      Yes – to the best of my knowledge. There is no reason I can think of why normal cholesterol production could not resume if statins were stopped.

      2) Or once you’ve taken it is it non reversible?
      Some people who have taken statins report that damage was not reversed when they stopped the statins. It makes sense that some damage will be permanent. The body will just do its best to recover cell health if statins are stopped. It may depend on the dose, time taken etc. Duane Graveline may be a good person to google to find out more about statin damage – he’s written a whole book on it (Statin Damage Crisis).

      Cataracts can be caused by statins – and – as the blog you commented on pointed out – this was known about at the time statins were being developed. Why there are not law suits I don’t know.

      This may help in understanding how to avoid the things that damage arteries – as the repair plaque that then forms is what blocks arteries (http://www.zoeharcombe.com/the-knowledge/fat-does-not-clog-up-our-arteries/).

      Good luck with everything
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    October 16, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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    I had a minor TIA following a hip replacement op (1 hour after)I was immediately put on Atorvastatin even though I protested that my cholesterol was low (2.5) I have now stopped against my doctors advice. Reading this has made me realise I was right! As a matter of interest, my Great-grandfather died at age 93, he was a butcher and ate meat every day of his life, he walked down to the local pub daily until a severe bout of flu killed him.
    I shall pass this article to my doctor.

    Reply
    • avatar
      October 17, 2014 at 8:02 am
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      Hi John – how on earth were you supposed to heal after a major operation with your body being impaired from making cholesterol?! Your cholesterol would hopefully have been rising fast from a scarily low base to get the repair kit pumping round the body. There will be law suits one day – not soon enough!
      Wishing you a full and speedy recovery from both
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
      • avatar
        October 19, 2014 at 10:04 am
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        Hi Zoe,
        I survived following 2 hip replacements by flooding my body with vit c before and after! (Doctor said I would poison myself!!)
        Interesting thing is happening to me now, after 3 weeks of no statin I am sleeping through the night without having to go to the toilet! Also, I cant quite put my finger on it but I feel kind of fitter, nothing in particular but just a little fitter.

        Reply
  • avatar
    October 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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    Hey Zoe, Great to have found your site.
    I am 64, 10 months ago had a 4 x CABG operation.
    I was recently screened for a cholesterol trial, the Odyssey Outcomes Study, a new drug to lower LDL for those already on statins but still not down to low enough levels?
    I was on Atorvastatin immediately after the operation and when screened for the study my TC was 2.86 mmol/L, HDL 1.22 mmol/L, LDL calculation 1.39 mmol/L, Trig 0.56 mmol/L.
    Needless to say my LDL levels were too low to be accepted for the study. This is good they tell me.

    I have researched statins on the web for days and have a better understanding of why I have cloudy or fuzzy confused thinking, memory loss and other subtle changes that I put down to aging but have become increasingly advanced in short time.

    However much of the reading states statins should not be discontinued on those who have had coronary surgery or high risk of heart failure.

    My doctor believes statins should be put in our water so that in itself is so bizarre that I wouldn’t even try to broach with him to going off statins.

    From the information available I have no problems to stop taking Atorvastatin but is there more information available re statin for those who have had heart surgery.
    I guess I am looking for confirmation on this point.

    cheers
    Ray

    Reply
    • avatar
      October 14, 2014 at 1:52 pm
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      Hi Ray
      If your doctor had his way the world would end. No healthy baby could be born without cholesterol and thus every female of child bearing age would be impaired from pro-creating. The patient leaflets have huge cautions about pregnancy for this reason. Forgive me for not having much regard for your doctor from this point henceforth therefore.

      The only group that has any ‘benefit’ from taking statins is men of a certain age who have already had a heart attack. Not sure if you’re in that group? This may help review the stats for non-emergency surgery. http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2014/09/12/watch-this-2/

      Cutting a long story short, the smart money is on any ‘benefit’ for this group from statins being due to the anti-inflammatory effect that they have. (I put ‘benefit’ in inverted commas because, knowing how they work, how statins can be deemed to have overall benefit baffles me). The concomitant reduction in cholesterol (achieved as this post explains) is a serious and harmful side effect. It’s not how statins ‘work’ in the rare case where they have any ‘benefit’. I’m aware of a paper waiting to be published that reviews what exactly this ‘benefit’ might be for this small and select group. Think days of possible life extension, not weeks or months. And that’s after taking these drugs for years. This is the kind of info that needs to be out there so that people like you can make informed choices. Do you want to suffer cognitive impairment, memory loss, loss of libido, muscle aches, fatigue, feeling older etc for years for a CHANCE of a few extra days on this planet? And anyone not in this high risk group – you just get the side effects – no benefit.

      I can’t advise you what to do – but you’re doing the right thing to read and question – as much as your mind will allow that is!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
      • avatar
        February 13, 2015 at 7:26 am
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        Hi Zoe,
        4 months ago I stopped taking Atorvastatin as a result of reading your site plus as many clinical trials, university studies and any scientific data I could find on the net. I was amazed at the amount of information totally against statins in general and the lowering of cholesterol.
        After taking the statin for 6 months I finally realised numerous subtle changes were taking place and at 8 months I stopped the statin.
        Things like hopeless memory and concentration, worsening eye sight, low energy and weight loss became more noticeable but now after being off the statin for 4 months I have not noticed any reverse of these symptoms.

        Trying to put some meaning to what was happening to my health, I termed ” zombie” as how I felt.
        Only recently have I figured out what killing you one cell at a time actually means;

        “Statins make you grow older so much faster.” Mentally and physically.

        In conversation with many discussing bypass operations and cholesterol levels, about 50% of people had no complaints about statin drugs but the other 50% dropped the drug due to the side effects such as feeling nauseous or leg cramps or they also investigated what their doctor didn’t tell them.

        I am starting to lose hope that I will recover from the effects caused by Atorvastatin although I think the effects are not worsening.

        I do believe more and more people are becoming aware of the side effects statins and a whole host of other drugs are creating.
        Doctor Google can be thanked for making us more aware.

        Thank you Zoe for your part in informing us of the hidden truths.

        Ray

        Reply
  • avatar
    October 4, 2014 at 1:38 pm
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    Hi Zoe,

    Thanks for this very informative piece. My family has the heterozygous form of FH. I have been on a low carb diet for about 13 years now and therefore have believed saturated fat to be at worst harmless. Recently I read the amazing “Big Fat Surprise,” and now believe that saturated fat is far from being just harmless, but in fact essential.

    If I understand your explanation of how FH works, would not eating lots of saturated fat increase production of cholesterol in the cells, ie. “a sort of natural cholesterol enhancing pill.” This is the approach I am currently taking, and it appears that my HDL has lots of cholesterol to take back to the liver, because it has sky-rocketed. LDL as usual remains unchanged. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • avatar
    September 29, 2014 at 6:10 pm
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    Hey Zoe,

    What a great article! but i am really confused now! Im a type 1 diabetes guy, i have been dealing with diabetes for 8 years. It started at age 22.
    Im 30 years old now. Anyway in the last couple of years my cholesterol levels were always up or at the border line.

    I asked my doc to give me sometime to try new things before going on statins and she agreed.
    Ive tried to do sports & to adapt to a strict diet ( although i cannot cut carbs due to diabetes ), i added many supplements to my regime as “green tea” “garlic” “red yeast rice” “stanols/sterols” “fish oil” but still my results didn’t change.

    Still my Total Cholesterol is 215
    My LDL is 175
    My HDL is 37
    My Triglycerides is 132
    My CRP is 3.4mg/l

    I know that my results aren’t too high, but as a diabetes they are considered Very High simply because the recommendations for LDL are below 100 for all diabetics. You already know the American Diabetes Association Indications for Statins in Diabetes, so what should i do know? I am really confused!

    Reply
    • avatar
      September 30, 2014 at 11:38 am
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      Hi Shad – you’re nearly there – keep reading! You’ll soon piece together the following:
      1) The cholesterol lowering scam will go down in history as the biggest crime committed against humans in the name of drug company profit.

      2) Your cholesterol levels are below average – if they were higher you’d be associated with lower death rates from all-causes and CHD – yes really! http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-there-is-a-relationship-but-its-not-what-you-think/

      3) “I cannot cut carbs due to diabetes”. You should sue the person/people who gave you that belief. Diabetes is the inability to handle (metabolise) glucose/carbohydrates. So why, why, why on earth would you advise a diabetic to consume the substance they can’t handle?! Try this:
      http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2012/05/diabetes-uk-low-carb-diets-%E2%80%93-what-is-the-official-advice-for-diabetics/
      and
      http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2013/11/world-diabetes-day/

      4) You are part of a meaningless numbers game: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/06/diabetes-cholesterol-bp-normal-is-no-longer-normal/

      Read people like Prof Tim Noakes, Dr Malcolm Kendrick, Dr Uffe Ravnskov, Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, Dr John Briffa – many of us are on twitter. I reckon you are weeks, if not days away, from piecing it all together and being angry – very angry – at the complete nonsense you have been fed.
      Best wishes – Zoe
      p.s. you want to read this (http://thescipub.com/abstract/10.3844/ojbsci.2014.167.169) before doing any of that plant sterol stuff – and tell your docs too!

      Reply
      • avatar
        October 1, 2014 at 3:20 am
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        Thank you Zoe, amazing articles.

        But what about the CRP result? isn’t CRP reflecting the inflammation in the body? A C-reactive protein (CRP) test is a blood test that measures the amount of a protein called C-reactive protein in your blood.

        How can i reduce my CRP without statins? Cause the only evidence is that statins really does reduce inflammation.

        I do understand all your articles and i am pretty convinced, but i have a concern, as a type 1 diabetic guy i have fears regarding heart problems because all statistics shows risks are 5 times higher for diabetics.

        So in your opinion how can i know what i am doing won’t be hurting me later? And if numbers aren’t the right thing to analyse heart state so is there any ratio or test which indicates heart functionality?

        I don’t know if you are getting me but if i am going to deny and reject taking statins and consider my cholesterol levels in “normal” range so how can i be sure this is not doing any harm?

        Thanks

        Reply
        • avatar
          October 1, 2014 at 9:20 am
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          Hi again – you’re right to be more concerned about inflammation, but remember that this is double edged…

          Inflammation is a sign that something is wrong, but it’s also a sign that something is healing. You stumble, sprain your ankle, it inflames – that’s both confirmation that you’ve harmed it and confirmation that the blood and lipoproteins (LDL primarily, containing as it does protein, phospholipids, triglycerides and cholesterol) are rushing to the scene to repair the damage.

          CRP is a marker of inflammation. Your can’t work on lowering CRP – you work on lowering the causes of inflammation. It would be like saying I want to stop bleeding – well don’t cut your finger then!

          Main causes of inflammation? smoking, sugar, stress, vegetable oils, trans fats, a lot of nasties in the modern high carb-low nutrient diet that we are advised to consume to be honest. These are the root badies to avoid if you don’t want the body to have damage to deal with, which results in inflammation.

          This blog may interest you – http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/09/the-low-carb-vs-low-fat-study/
          Read the comments below – Barrythebelly is interesting but check the thread started by TerryJ on CRP. It made me go back to the original paper and the CRP difference was striking with the low carb group.

          Want to do the best thing for diabetes? Low carb diet.
          Want to do the best thing for nutrition? Low carb diet. http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/04/healthy-whole-grains-really/
          Best thing for CRP? Low carb diet.

          Would be an easy call for me!
          Good questions!
          Best wishes – Zoe
          p.s. you’re also right that statins have an anti-inflammatory side effect. This explains why the only group that see even a minute ‘benefit’ from statins is men of a certain age who’ve already had a heart attack i.e. they have inflammation. (Paper coming soon from a couple of doc friends of mine on just how tiny this ‘benefit’ is and it needs to be weighed up against this article about what statins do to the mevalonate pathway, side effects, cell damage etc) So manage the inflammation causes :-)

          Reply
  • avatar
    September 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm
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    At age fifty nine I had Aortic Stenosis 84% and was given a titanium aortic valve replacement. I was told at the time that the average life span after my diagnosis was five years so you can imagine how I felt. I was put on various drugs, including statins, and I’ve been on them ever since. After reading about the side effects, many of which I had, I recently decided to give up the statins and had a real argument with my doctor before she agreed and took them off my prescription. I fear that some of the effects are here to stay, memory lapses being the worst, but my sense of balance has returned (no more drunken style walking!)and I feel generally better. I’ve been low cal high fat for a couple of months and have lost ten pounds so things are on the up. By the way I’m seventy eight now so maybe SOME drugs are not so bad!!

    Reply
  • avatar
    September 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm
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    Thanks for the information. I’ve been taking statins for about 30 years. I’m now on 40mgs of Simvastatin after having had 3 or 4 other statins previously. I’ve long been aware that large companies are more concerned with their profits than their consumers and this bunch certainly fit the bill.
    My next move is to contact my GP and confront him with this information and tell him I want to get off statins as soon as possible.

    Reply
  • avatar
    September 14, 2014 at 10:28 pm
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    Hi, I´m a clinical neurologist. I often prescribe Omega-3 for my patients.
    Recently I started also to prescribe resveratrol, or if my patient does not have diabetes I encourage him to take a cup of grape juice daily.
    I also prescribe Co-Q10 to all of my patients with muscle diseases.
    What do you think about these prescriptions ?
    The Framingham study is for sure the most important medical study of the 20th century. Maybe we should not consider cholesterol levels to calculate CV risks.
    Thanks in advance,
    Dr. Aloisio Ponti Lopes
    Curitiba – PR – Brazil

    Reply
    • avatar
      September 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm
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      Hi Dr Aloisio – I’m not a doctor so I’m giving a nutrition opinion here. My first advice is always to eat food – only that provided by nature and not that provided by manufacturers – and that’s how we should obtain the nutrients (macro and micro) that we need.

      Many people don’t get sufficient omega-3, but I would recommend more oily fish before supplements. The balance between omega-3 and omega-6 is very important and most foods contain more 6 than 3 – especially vegetable oils and the processed foods so prevalent in the modern bad diet. I would be concerned about tipping the balance the other way if the omega-3 supplements are excessive – and we don’t know what 3/6 intake/ratios each person is getting so we don’t know what we’re trying to correct. Vary meat/eggs (more omega-6) and fish (more omega-3) and the balance can be achieved more naturally.

      The main reason for prescribing resveratrol seems to be the anti-oxidant properties. My response to this would be – manage the oxidants (sugar, smoking, stress) and the anti-oxidants become less of an issue. Make sure you get enough of the ACE vitamins – natural anti-oxidant combos – and that means getting enough fat soluble vitamins (A/E) as well as vit C – which is quite easy to get enough of. It is difficult to get vit E without sunflower seeds in the diet, so I would encourage these and meat (especially offal)/fish again to get vit A in the form needed by the body – retinol. I don’t know the consequences of resveratrol, if any, so I can’t say if there are any risks to trying this (I don’t think this is generally known).

      I think that CoQ10 is a good idea in the circumstances you described. The statin makers interestingly applied for a patent to add CoQ10 to statins to counter the known muscle damage that was possible/likely – whatever they were thinking. They then didn’t add this – just let the damage happen I guess! I would never let a statin pass my lips so I’ll never take CoQ10 to counter a statin. If you know anyone on a statin, they would benefit from a CoQ10 supplement – as the companies know well.

      I don’t see cholesterol as a risk factor at all. It’s something made by the body to fulfil all of its vital functions. It has been demonised since before Framingham for money beyond wild dreams! http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-there-is-a-relationship-but-its-not-what-you-think/

      I hope this is of interest
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    September 10, 2014 at 3:41 am
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    I have a bad cholesterol level of 285 and rising, what should I do to lower it? I already changed my diet, walk for 30 minutes every day, cut back on dairy products, lost 25 pounds, cut my soda consumption in half and still the numbers go up every year.
    What if they reach 400?

    Reply
    • avatar
      September 10, 2014 at 9:01 pm
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      Hi Gary
      Why are you trying to lower cholesterol? http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-there-is-a-relationship-but-its-not-what-you-think/
      Put everything you currently believe about cholesterol to one side (I should say in the bin!) and then start reading – The Great Cholesterol Con, Fat & Cholesterol are good for you, Ignore the Awkward, anything on here: http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/ and that’s just for starters.

      Your body makes cholesterol. The question should be – why is it making more at the moment? Are you ill? injured? stressed? Your cholesterol level is trying to tell you something – it’s not the cause if anything.
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
    • avatar
      September 11, 2014 at 11:13 pm
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      Zoe

      I am a healthy 67 year old and do not currently take any prescription drugs.
      I do have a high Bilirubin 1.4 ALK Phosphatase 41
      SGOT 38
      SGPT 60
      My cholesterol is 283 and HDL is 39 LDL is 219. These numbers seem very high and they keep going up.
      I did have rheumatic fever at age 9.
      I have been retired for 14 years so have no stress or worries in life. My blood pressure is normal.
      My mother did have a stroke at age 86 and dies from it eventually.
      I know my VA doctor is going to want to put me on statins but I do not know what to do.

      Gary

      Reply
      • avatar
        September 12, 2014 at 9:38 am
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        Hi Gary – I can only add one thing to my reply to your first post. The first reply was – your view of cholesterol needs to change – not your cholesterol level.

        The thing I would add is – ask your doc to explain why s/he would consider putting you on statins at your age when even the patient leaflet cautions against anyone over 70 taking these things? https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/2498/PIL/Lipitor+10mg,+20mg,+40mg,+80mg+Tablets/

        What’s the plan? Put you on mevalonate pathway blockers (doing everything this post describes) for a couple of years, hope any fatigue, muscle damage, memory loss, cognitive impairment isn’t too bad and isn’t permanent and then take you off in 2 years?

        If your mum had healthy years till 86 – that’s way better than most people. You may get something at 86 – chances for a male are that it will be earlier. That’s how it is. Statins are not going to change that. I can’t stress enough that this is about knowledge not blood measures against made up numbers. You sound to be doing just fine. You may enjoy this video – the cholesterol/statin bit is around 30-40 mins in, but it’s all great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vr-c8GeT34

        Read especially about high cholesterol and high longevity in the elderly especially. Low cholesterol is especially bad as we age!
        Best wishes – Zoe

        Reply
  • avatar
    September 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm
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    Hi. What would you advise someone with a cholesterol level of 10? I have been off of meds for a few years. My GP wants me back on them. High cholesterol runs in the family. I’m petrified of stroke. Thanks. Donna.

    Reply
    • avatar
      September 7, 2014 at 5:19 pm
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      Hi Donna – I can’t and won’t advise anyone individually. I know what I would do and I share what I find having no financial incentive for doing so (unlike the drug industry involved in target setting.) This may help. http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/06/diabetes-cholesterol-bp-normal-is-no-longer-normal/
      a) the test is c. 20% inaccurate (http://www.bmj.com/content/298/6689/1659)
      b) as the cholesterol part of the “normal is no longer normal” shows – you do have a reading on the normal distribution curve – just at one end. There will equally be someone with a reading of 3 to balance you – that’s how averages/normal distributions work.
      c) here’s what Dr Malcolm Kendrick has to say about women and statins (http://www.saga.co.uk/health/medicines/statins-case-against.aspx)
      He says a lot more about women and statins in his book “The Great Cholesterol Con.”

      Hope this at least gives you some pointers. The key thing is not to be bullied by anyone and to read lots to make your own decision. It’s your body. It’s you who has to have their mevalonate pathway blocked, CoQ10 production hugely impaired and to suffer side effects ranging from fatigue to muscle aches to loss of mind/memory.

      Very best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    September 1, 2014 at 7:17 pm
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    I have now been off my 10ml Crestor for 6 weeks because the shoulder pain became intolerable. 3 GP’s I have seen didnt know what to do. Is that because all the publicity about how good statin are at lowering cholesterol that they carnt get their head around the idea that they could be harmful.
    After 6 weeks the shoulder and forearm muscle pain/spasms have progressed to include both forearms, shoulder blades and calf muscles ( sufficient discomfort to make me limp), rather scary because my favorite muscle, the heart is right in the middle.
    Seriously….this is scary, I thought that it would slowly get better, not expand to other muscle groups. I have just become a grandfather for the first time, to a beautiful girl and want to be around for quite a while.
    Trying to find a medical professional on the east coast of Australia who might understand whats going on.
    I wonder if reading medical research papers on statins and problems is also a health hazard.(humor)

    Reply
  • avatar
    August 23, 2014 at 6:12 pm
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    I tried Vytorin ,Lipitor, Zetia & Crestor over the past 6 years. side effects from all.
    last year (june ) my cholesterol was 336, I found a natural product called PHYTOMEGA.
    it has phytosterols,coQ10,omega 3 and fish oil.
    my cholesterol (blood test this July)went down to 193.
    I went to a lipid specialist 4 years ago and he wanted me to be a vegetarian (put me 0n 20mlgms Crestor ,strongest on the market)AND he wanted my cholesterol down to 100.
    he sent me to a nutritionist in NYC who completely disagreed and told me eat what you like, but, in moderation.at that time my trys had gone to 1800, glucose was 142.just from diet during that period in 2 months my glucose dropped to 91 and trys down to 118, but cholesterol was still over 280
    now one of the reasons my levels also dropped (this past year) is because I cook my own food.
    I rarely eat out, and if I do it is a piece of steak ,baked potato and a green vegetable.
    the problem out there is the portions are to big , filled with sodium etc.
    ever notice when people get sleepy after eating a big meal is they do not realize that their body is working hard to break down all the trans fats , high fructose and sodium.
    so just wanted to share my statin experience.thanks

    Reply
  • avatar
    August 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm
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    What can I do to bring down LDL? Cholesterol is 213- Total LDL 124 -Total HDL 78- Triglycerides 47
    I eat eggs, organic grassfed meat, chicken and veggies!…Coconut oil and olive oil. No grains, dairy, sugar or legumes.Thank you :)

    Reply
  • avatar
    August 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm
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    The alternative to statins, is to prevent excessive inflammation, which is precipitated by our modern diets that contribute to the rise of the inflammatory precursor, Arachidonic Acid (AA).

    If you increase the dietary intake of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), you introduce a 1:1 competitor against AA for the attention of delta-5 desaturase enzyme, which lessens the production of inflammatory end products and increases the production of beneficial eicosanoids.

    The ratio of EPA/AA is a very critical biomarker that should elucidate the potential that your system is overly inflammatory or not. If you have a low EPA/AA or a high AA/EPA ratio, you most likely have some overt symptoms of systemic inflammation.

    Reply
  • avatar
    August 11, 2014 at 11:40 am
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    I was diagnosed with familial cholesterol about 10 years ago and was prescribed simvastatin first. After I had a lot of muscle cramps I moved over to Lipitor and have been taking 40mg a days since, + fenofibrate + omacor.I piled on weight over the years and was diagnosed with diabetes 2 last year although borderline. I have a feeling the diabetes is a side effect, but I do not know what to do now. When I was first diagnosed my bp was 185 over 125 and my cholesterol reading was 15.. My GP told me I was lucky I was not admitted to hospital and still alive. I am still 3 stone overweight after losing 2 gradually. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • avatar
      August 15, 2014 at 7:52 pm
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      Hi Kim
      Apologies for the tardy reply – just catching up before the weekend. If you google “statins diabetes lawsuit”, you’ll see that this is gathering momentum in the US at the moment. Kim can be a male or female name, but if you’re female, the connection between statins and developing diabetes seem even stronger :-(

      I haven’t heard of weight gain as a side effect of statins, but it could be indirect if the statins inhibit movement (as they can do with muscle damage/aches) and the cognitive impairment for which statins are known may not help with food choices.

      You can see from the above blog that I see the high LDL/cholesterol with FH to be a marker, not the problem itself. The problem is that the LDL is not getting to the cells where it is needed to deliver vital repair substances – including heart cells.

      You may find this reassuring – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15019543 – Uffe Ravnskov has also written about FH sufferers faring better for other mortality and the CHD mortality subsides with age. Hence, if you’re also older (more than 40), this should be encouraging.

      The key target should be to get your weight back to where it was – well done on progress so far – that’s brilliant. Real food/low carb is the route to go – this will help with the diabetes and BP. FH is a genetic condition, as you know, so that’s the one you can’t do anything about. Statins will make it worse in my view (as I explain in the blog) – but I do understand that docs scare the life out of FH people even more than for non-FH people.

      Hope this helps
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    August 5, 2014 at 4:16 pm
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    So , what do you do instead of taking statins? Diet does not do anything for me. It doesnt bring the levels down.

    Reply
    • avatar
      August 5, 2014 at 4:36 pm
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      Hi Carlene – why would you want to bring your levels down? Your body makes cholesterol. Let it do what it was designed to do. This may stun you now, but you’ve opened the door to really learning about this so go for it!
      This for starters
      http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-there-is-a-relationship-but-its-not-what-you-think/
      and then you could try anything on amazon by Dr Malcolm Kendrick (or his blog on open view); Duane Graveline (site is spacedoc.com); John Briffa (also blogs); Uffe Ravnskov (does newsletters for subscribers – all free). There are so many more writers in this area, but that’s just a starter list.

      You’ll find out that the precursor to the most lucrative drug the world has ever seen is to demonise cholesterol – a substance that we die instantly without. The story is worthy of a John Grisham novel – but sadly true and we’ve all been the victims.

      Enjoy the journey – you may end up as angry as others by the end of it
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    July 30, 2014 at 10:48 pm
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    Hi professor. I am from Northern Ireland and my cholesterol was 10.5 and considered so high I was checked for familial hypercholesterolemia which it turned out I did not have. My doctor would like my cholesterol to be 4 but I hate statins. However I did have the main artery of my heart blocked and had a stent inserted and so I take the statins because my doctor has persuaded me to do so. Would you advise someone with as high a cholesterol as myself not to take statins. Thank you.

    Reply
    • avatar
      July 31, 2014 at 8:50 am
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      Hi Doreen – I’m not a professor and I can’t advise you what meds to take. This post tells you what statins do in the body. Knowing what statins do I would never take a statin in any circumstance but you need to have your own view. I certainly wouldn’t follow the advice of a doctor in this area without questioning it. It’s your body, not hers/his.

      There are doctors who won’t just recommend statins because of random numbers. http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/ is one. He does consultations but I’m not sure how that would work with your location. There will be other doctors near you more aware of the raging statin/cholesterol debate.

      Your age matters (not knowing what this is) – even the patient leaflets warn against anyone over 70 being on statins. Higher cholesterol is associated with higher longevity in older people. Your gender matters – demand evidence from your doc for claimed benefit for women. Your number of 10.5 matters – your body has made this amount of cholesterol. Why? Do you not get much sun? (cholesterol turns into much needed vit D in sunshine). Is your body trying to repair the internal damage you have? What does your doc think will repair that damage if s/he attacks your cholesterol repair kit?

      I know what I would do – it’s up to you what you do but I think you’re doing the right thing reading, researching and questioning yourself.
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    July 19, 2014 at 3:22 am
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    Thanks in advance for your help & especially this site. Male, now age 68, took myself off statins ~2 1/2 years ago after > 10 years coreg @ 30mg/day and ultimately coming close to death. I am 6′ 1″ and my strong and healthy weight had varied from 190 lbs to 205 lbs. I am currently 147 lbs, with serious loss of muscle tissue & strength,most likely caused by the statin damage to the cell replication processes. I can find no form of treatment nor does my primary care internal medicine doctor know of one. I noticed an article somewhere about a DNA strand (tip) renewal prompter / helcper in some form (not lithium) with a name I can not recall. The think the name had an “… anease” omponent ending. Any thoughts?

    Reply
    • avatar
      July 19, 2014 at 4:28 pm
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      Hi Bill
      I asked my friends at thincs.org about post statin damage and their advice was as follows:

      1) James and Hannah Yoseph have written TWO books. The first is the subject of this blog. The other book is “Poisoned! Recovery from statin side effects.” (http://www.amazon.com/Poisoned-Recovery-From-Statin-Effects/dp/098544908X)

      2) Duane Graveline has a book about statin damage (http://www.amazon.com/Statin-Damage-Crisis-Duane-Graveline/dp/1424338697/)

      3) One of the thincs members shared what he advises: “I emphasize mitochondrial support, and nutrigenomic modulation along with a low carb ketoadaptive diet. Since statins have a way of interfering with DNA, I look at the methylation pathway and look for problems which can be positively modulated. Same for looking at gene pathways involving cytokines, glutathione, SOD, and liver detox. For this I use a genetic panel by Fitgenes. In this manner I attempt to address the repair processes at the same time as trying to identify and modulate the source of the inflammatory dysregulation which was the triggering factor setting off the genetic predisposition. Personally, I don’t recommend statins for anyone, perhaps with the exception of those whom I would like to kill off one cell at a time.”

      Hope this helps!
      If more replies come in I’ll share them
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    July 16, 2014 at 5:39 am
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    Been taking Statin since 1989 first 20 milgrams then they up it to 40 milg then 80 milg. Then th FDA put a stop to
    doctors ordering 80 milgrams and drop it to 40 milgrams see Kaiser report Side effects are unbearable now night cramps so bad i get no sleep and in great pain ,all my male friends on Statin have the same problem also very bad breath which you never read about plus all the other side effects now eye problems Its all comming out
    I feel so much healthier when a take a break from this nasty dug . i read now that people with average chol.have just as many heart attacks as people with high chol. The one thing better than drugs is exerise and a trainer plus good food and make people laugh .I wonder if these folks did not recieve the Noble Price would we be in this mess
    Kaiser gave my wife Estergen and she died from breast cancer Kaiser pulled this drug saying they made a mistake !!!!!!! maybe they do this with Statins They tell their doctors to give Statins standard order ,then they say sorry we made a mistake

    Reply
    • avatar
      July 16, 2014 at 9:43 am
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      Hi Greg – I’m so sorry to hear this. My only puzzlement is why do people take them? I’d stop taking anything that gave me a fraction of the side effects you’ve mentioned and most drugs I wouldn’t even start – statins being one I will never take.

      You may find this interesting too: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2010/11/cholesterol-heart-disease-%E2%80%93-there-is-a-relationship-but-it%E2%80%99s-not-what-you-think/

      Higher is better – for living longer anyway!
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
      • avatar
        July 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm
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        Dear Zoe
        Thanks for your reply Why poeple take Statins is because the doctors scare you ,one Doc told me you have a choice died from heart attack or put up with leg cramps you have a choice .!! I think also they have nothing to offer you in the way of pills .My new Doc has started to talk about Homopathic prevent heart attacks by better living food and number one exercise . My Father lived to be 92 with 300 LDL and 34 HDL
        GO FIGURE.and never ill in his life. He told me to stay out of Hospitals as you come out with more than you went in with .Thanks for your hard work on your article and letting us read the unbaised side of this Drug
        thank you Greg
        PS look into the worst drug in the world TRICIDE put in bed for a week i could not move a muscle

        Reply
  • avatar
    June 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm
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    My doctor wants me on statins and aspirin and metformin. I have pre diabetes and a recent ultra – sound found some mild atheroscelosis. I also have stage 3CKD due to my sarcoid.

    I may relent to the metformin, if it is is OK for for my renal issue, but the statins and daily aspirin are an issue for me. My aortic plaque may be due to protein only, but without even testing my cholesterol levels, my doctor wants me on the big guns. She does not seem concerned what these drugs could do to my kidneys and liver or my muscles, never mind my mind! I am refusing this, and consulting a naturopathic doctor who specializes in cardiac matters. I want three months to see if I can control this new issue in a safer way.

    My husband has been on statins for years. His doctor tests his blood every three months and sends him home with another prescription, and then he thinks he can eat what he likes. There is no getting through to him, and he has a blind fait in allopathic medicine, or perhaps his mind is already leaving him!

    Doing my utmost to fight those statins, even if my doctor is trying to scare me to death that I am heading for a stroke or heart attack.

    Reply
  • avatar
    June 16, 2014 at 7:44 pm
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    This is a great article. April of2012 had a Stent procedure for a 95% blockage. I was given blood presure,thinner, and Simivastatin for meds. Two years later I am wondering why I have atherosclersis. A little late, do you think? Any way I start doing research as to how I might reverse this if at all possible. I burn up the internet and learn much. A site called Live to 110 catches my attention. I start taking the more supplements and follow the advice of the author. I was already taking supplements forever just some that I wasn’t aware of. I have been a truck driver for years and also very active with physical fitness and running. In March I had a physical and my numbers were good according to the Doctor. After my research I stopped the statins the first week in April. May 30 I go the doctor for passing blood in my stool. They could not find a reason for the blood but did make not that my LDL was up 21 points. Ldl was 102 and hdl was 43. I was asked why the difference and told them I had reservations about the statins. I was advised to take the statins and talk to my heart doctor about them at my next visit which was April 11, 2014. At that visit I took both of my Blood reports to see what he had to say. I told him that I had been having problems with my muscle strength and was sometimes feeling weak. I walk 2 to 3 miles plus lift weights 2 to 3 times a week. 100 lbs is not heavy for me as I am a big man. I have been having trouble with unstable movements and my legs feel insecure after my walks sometimes. I asked him about my numbers on my cholesterol and he told me that the numbers weren’t important any more. I should stop taking the Simvastatin and start taking Atorvastatin 80 mg once at bedtime after 30 days of not taking any statins to see if my problems go away. I left the office kinda confused. If the numbers don’t mean anything, how will we know if it is working? How do you know that you are speeding if you don’t have a speedometer? I haven’t taken the first pill and don’t intend to. After reading your article and many others I think I will let nature take it’s course and keep up the supplements and exercise which I believe helps me the most anyway.
    Thanks for your article.

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  • avatar
    June 7, 2014 at 5:11 pm
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    For elderly people who have been on statins for years, not necessarily to reduce cholesterol but to prevent another heart attack…what is the alternative treatment? Are statin drugs ones that you have to go off gradually? Thanks!

    Reply
    • avatar
      June 7, 2014 at 7:08 pm
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      Hi Sue – how elderly? Even the patient leaflet cautions against over 70s being on statins. Statins lower cholesterol whether you like it or not – and have other horrific actions as described in this post. Low cholesterol is particularly serious for the elderly – being clearly associated with a higher death rate. I would never ever take a statin so I don’t have to worry about coming off them – gradually or otherwise!
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    May 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm
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    i have take only one tablet of statin product and i get a terrible side effect in muscles

    Reply
    • avatar
      November 30, 2014 at 10:42 pm
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      I took Crestor 10mg for 3 days and got severe leg muscle cramps so stopped, thankfully. The doctor put it down as a ‘reaction’, I suppose she didn’t want to add to the long list of statin ‘side effects’. I have since found out that people have died from irreversible muscle disintegration.

      Reply

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