PCSK9 Inhibitors & Statins

Statin side effects pave the way for son of statins…  

Introduction

In May 2014, two doctors were maliciously attacked by a researcher. The researcher heads up the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) at Oxford University.

The doctors’ crimes (they were independent, but the same) were to mention that statin side effects might affect approximately 18-20% of takers. Both doctors referenced a peer reviewed article, which said that “the rate of reported statin-related events to statins was nearly 18%.” (The researcher demanded a retraction of both articles and continues to want the journal editor’s head on a plate, so to speak.

The journal commissioned an independent investigation to see if the articles should be consigned to Orwellian thought police archives. The best thing about the investigation was that it emerged that the researcher’s unit had received £268 million from pharmaceutical companies/interested parties. (Are you thinking what I’m thinking?!)

Wind forward to 4th April 2016 and an astonishing paper was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The paper opened with the words: “Muscle-related statin intolerance is reported by 5% to 20% of patients.”

That’s just muscle-related statin side effects – what do the numbers become when mind, mood, memory, mo-jo and more side effects are added in?!

The study reported in the JAMA paper was funded by Amgen (remember that name). The combined conflicts of the authors covered most drug companies that make cholesterol lowering medications (I couldn’t see any not represented). Even more interesting was the fact that one of the authors, David Preiss, is a member of the CTSU. The same CTSU headed up by the researcher demanding the retractions for even mentioning that statin side effects could be as high as 20%.

What’s going on?

What’s going on is that it has become strategic to attack statins. Statins are now off patent – pharma speak for not being worth as much money any more. In preparation for the end of the gravy train, researchers have been working on other ways to lower cholesterol. The fact that higher cholesterol is associated with lower deaths (for men and women, from heart disease and all-causes) seems to have conveniently escaped their notice.

The powers that be have tried all sorts to find the next blockbuster cholesterol-impairment drug. Most notably they have tried, and failed, to raise HDL, which they think is good cholesterol when it is a lipoprotein. Maybe that’s why they failed.

The one that they have managed to get past drug approval bodies (which is sadly not difficult when most of those are conflicted) is called a PCSK9 inhibitor. (It spell checks to “pesky”, which amuses me).

PCSK9 Inhibitors

If I told you that a drug went on sale on 1st September 2015, which involved fortnightly injections at a cost of £4,000 a year and for which trials on incidents or deaths had not even started, you might be shocked. That’s exactly what happened. A drug named “Repatha” went on sale, having been “granted marketing authorisation” (note marketing authorisation, not drug approval) by the European Medicines agency on 21st May 2015.

Repatha is a PCSK9 inhibitor. One of a human’s estimated 20,000-25,000 protein coding genes is PCSK9. The PCSK9 gene provides instructions for making a protein that helps to regulate the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream. The PCSK9 protein controls the number of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors on the surface of cells. LDL receptors are particularly plentiful in the liver, enabling the liver to remove cholesterol from the blood stream as needed. This is how the body is designed to work.

The company that makes Repatha, Amgen, describes its drug as follows: “Repatha is designed to bind to PCSK9 and inhibit PCSK9 from binding to LDL receptors on the liver surface. In the absence of PCSK9, there are more LDL receptors on the surface of the liver to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood”. Repatha is thus designed to stop the body from working in the way it is designed to work.

Statins were also designed to stop the body doing what it was designed to do. Statins block a vital pathway in the body – the mevalonate pathway. PCSK9 inhibitors impair a genetic/protein production pathway in the body.

My fundamental objection to all drugs that are designed to stop the body doing what it is designed to do, is that I don’t like money-motivated, share-holder driven, pharmaceutical companies ‘playing God’. I trust evolution more than Pfizer and Amgen.

What we need to know about Repatha/PCSK9 inhibitors

There are probably only two key things to know:

1) Repatha has no proven benefit for heart deaths or events.

To quote the European Medicines Agency: “The effect of Repatha on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not yet been demonstrated” (p.11 ).

You may want to read that again. Repatha will cost you/the health service £4,000 a year and it has not been shown to have any effect on heart disease or deaths. It will lower your cholesterol and that is it.

The marketing to demonise cholesterol has been so long and effective – it is quite possibly the best marketing campaign that has ever been undertaken – that people think that cholesterol lowering is the end goal – a benefit in itself. This is The Great Cholesterol Con.

In a media article on the eve of the drug going on private sale, it was noted that “While it is proven the drug lowers cholesterol, its manufacturer Amgen is conducting trials involving 27,500 patients in an attempt to show it saves lives, with results expected in 2017”. The crazy mad world, of pharmaceutical companies and drug approval agencies, considers it sufficient that a drug lowers an arbitrary measurement – in this case cholesterol – no actual health impact is required.

No matter the topic of any blog I write, at the end of the post there are more comments about cholesterol than anything else. People fear cholesterol. People are obsessed with lowering it. Otherwise intelligent doctors think “the lower the better”, without having stopped to wonder why the body is making cholesterol 24-7 if it’s so deadly.

Did you know that statins were also marketed on the basis of cholesterol lowering, rather than proven heart health benefit? Here’s a gem of a quotation from Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s book – Doctoring Data. Pfizer are the makers of the biggest drug blockbuster of all time: the statin Lipitor. It earned them $125 billion during its patent lifetime. (That’s the GDP of Ukraine as a guide, or more than the GDP of 70% of the world’s countries to put it in perspective.) As Malcolm shares in Doctoring Data:

For many years Pfizer were forced to include this little snippet at the bottom of their adverts in the US: ‘Lipitor has not been shown to prevent heart disease or attacks.’”

As Malcolm continued: “I would be willing to bet that you did not know that.”

2) The other thing that you probably should know about Repatha/PCSK9 inhibitors is that the side effects are probably unknown and/or under reported.

Given that the side effects of statins were denied to the point of vicious personal attack almost 30 years after their introduction, you should probably not expect the side effects of PCSK9 inhibitors to be researched fully, let alone openly declared. The prize is simply too huge for irritations like side effects to be allowed to get in the way.

Fortunately, patient leaflets have to tell the truth, or CEOs can end up in jail. The Repatha patient leaflet already cautions that there are many common side effects (i.e. those that affect up to one in ten people): “Flu (high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills); Common cold, such as runny nose, sore throat or sinus infections (nasopharyngitis or upper respiratory tract infections); Feeling sick (nausea); Back pain; Joint pain (arthralgia); Injection site reactions, redness, bruising or pain; Rash.” I’m not sure I want fortnightly injections, let alone any of those side effects (many, such as aches and pains, are very similar to those found with statins). The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS) has far more sinister predictions of the harm that will likely be done by drugs that inhibit the operations of one of our protein coding genes.

Close

NICE originally rejected Repatha on the basis that the cost/benefit was unproven. On the basis that the cost was £4,000 per patient and the benefit was non-existent, this was the only decision that could be made. It should remain the only decision that can be made, but I suspect that NICE will approve Repatha sooner or later. This will be the inevitable outcome of having the NICE review committee suitably staffed with pro-drug support, as has been the case with statins.

Hence the JAMA article attack on statins. NICE need to be given reason to support a drug that has no proven heart disease benefit and a substantial patient annual cost. The current belief is that PCSK9s are not needed because the world has statins. The world is now ready for the truth about statins, therefore: side effects are serious and affect a significant proportion of people (the desired conclusion being that these people would be better off on PCSK9s). Before long more and more people will be moved onto PCSK9s and the son-of-statins will be crowned.

Armed with the full picture, the JAMA paper ceases to be astonishing and becomes breathtakingly cunning and calculated. The prize from PCSK9s could be more like the GDP of Russia than Ukraine – Bond villains have done worse for less than that. If attacking statins is a necessary step on the road to riches beyond riches beyond wild dreams, then so be it. If that means admitting something that has been denied and defended for three decades, then so be it. If that means apologising to Dr Assem Malhotra and Dr John Abramson – the two doctors attacked – then – don’t hold your breath.

32 thoughts on “PCSK9 Inhibitors & Statins

  • avatar
    June 24, 2016 at 1:36 pm
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    Hi Bob,

    I appreciate the Points you’re making: that it’s all about money, that cholesterol maybe is not the cause of any problem, that these medications interfere with natural body processes. You believe in evolution. I get it.

    BUT, I am wondering if you would stick to these positions if you were in my shoes. I have familial hypercholesterolemia and I am already far advanced on the path to serious cardiovascular disease. The natural body process is not working; maybe evolution would like to get rid of me.

    I know that half of my LDL receptors are faulty. I know that the PCSK9 Inhibitor will increase the number of receptors. It seems reasonable to think that this might help something — whether it is through cholesterol reduction or through some other effect. I know that I will most likely die of heart disease or stroke if I don’t do something.

    While I know that there are no clinical results that prove the benefits of the PCSK9 Inhibitor, reason points to the possibility that it might work. Yes, of course, it might not work. Any new medication will not be proven. Should I wait until it’s proven to try it? By then I might be dead.

    Should I not try it because it might have side effects? Well, given that it seems to be tolerated by most people, I think it’s worth a try.

    Should I Refrain from trying it because the price is high or because the drug companies are unethical and might make money on it? Well, what would you do? I for one am glad that science has come up with a new idea, because the old ideas and the status quo are not working for me.

    Reply
    • avatar
      June 24, 2016 at 1:57 pm
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      Hi Scott (jumping in here)
      A few thoughts and things that may be of interest:
      1) All of this 30 mins is fab but at 15 mins in Dr MK talks about FH and asks the question that should be asked https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ls9HWRxvMo

      2) Do you genuinely have FH? (Double figure TC even on meds?) http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2014/06/diabetes-cholesterol-bp-normal-is-no-longer-normal/
      It’s very rare (1 in 500) and yet I see more and more people with a cholesterol level of 9 (on the normal distribution) being told they have FH.

      3) This may be of interest http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2015/03/worried-about-cholesterol-andor-statins/
      Especially the bit on FH here: http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2013/10/how-statin-drugs-really-lower-cholesterol-and-kill-you-one-cell-at-a-time/
      (High LDL is the sign that you have FH – it’s not the problem. The problem is – your body cells – including your heart – are not getting the LDL ‘taxi’ with the vital substances that it contains: cholesterol; protein; phospholipids and triglyceride.)

      4) You say you are on the advanced path to serious CVD – how do you know? Ideally this should be from a measure that is actually useful (e.g. C reactive protein) – not cholesterol.

      5) You may value a book called “Ignore the Awkward” by Uffe Ravnskov – chapter 3 is about FH (I think it’s on open view somewhere). People with FH have no different longevity overall to people without. Your age would be interesting. Some die younger from heart disease, this is evened out with fewer dying from cancer over time.

      You’re asking the right questions and I too would be thinking “lesser of evils” if I were you – I hope this helps with reading material
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
      • avatar
        June 24, 2016 at 4:25 pm
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        Hi Zoe, thanks for your thoughtful response and the link. I am already a fan of doctor Kendrick’s blog. I am also very interested in the things you have to say on the subject. But, let me answer your questions first:

        I haven’t been tested for the genetic defect on chromosome 19, but I have a clinical diagnosis of HeFH. Despite a fairly healthy lifestyle, my total cholesterol is normally between 350 and 400. I also have xanthelasmas and corneal arcus in both eyes, as well as tendon xanthomas.

        I know that I am developing cardiovascular disease because I light up like a Christmas tree when they do any kind of scan with contrast. My arteries are calcified above the 95th percentile for someone my age. I am 54 years old.

        With ultrasound my doctor can see the plaque clogging my carotid arteries, which are more than 40% constricted. There is no question, unfortunately, that I am developing a problem.

        I understand Dr. Kendrick’s argument that HeFH has not been shown to cause cardiovascular disease. But, look at the study he cites…it’s from 1966. And it says that FH does not stop people from living into a seventh or eighth decade. That makes me think about my father. He has FeFH and had a stroke when he was my age. Later, he had a second stroke that left him paralyzed. Yet, he is still alive at age 81. The study would have to add him as another person with FH who lived into his ninth decade. You could also add my grandfather there, who died of a heart attack at age 67. So, this study is not saying that HeFH doesn’t cause cardiovascular disease; it’s just saying that it might not stop you from living into your 60’s. That’s not really so comforting for me, lol.

        And that other study he cites on Dutch geneology…I mean come on!

        Of course, there may be some genetic cause of cardiovascular disease that I share with my father that is actually something other than the defect in an LDL receptor. But, no one has yet identified such a cause, which makes it quite hard for me to get any treatment for it.

        So, what should I do? Well, the only thing I really can do is to try the PCSK9 Inhibitor. At least it addresses a known genetic defect that my father and I share. And, it might, in the end, actually be the right treatment.

        I looked at what you wrote about FH and faulty LDL receptors. The cholesterol is having a hard time getting into the cells where it is needed. I believe you. So, it makes sense to me, what you’re saying about the statins not really helping anything. I’ve never really understood the supporting research on these statins: statins lower cholesterol dramatically, but have a barely detectable benefit for cardiovascular health. Something is definitely amiss there.

        My other thought, though, is that the PCSK9 Inhibitor might really be the right thing to help that cholesterol get to where it needs to go. If only half of my LDL receptors are working, maybe if I double the number of them the world will be in balance. This makes me much more optimistic about the PCSK9 Inhibitor than I ever was about the statins.

        Another difference I see between the statins and the PCSK9 Inhibitor is that the statins are targeted at cholesterol (which may or may not be a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease), while the PCSK9 is targeted at the LDL receptors, which act not only on cholesterol, but also pick up other things out of the blood (FVIII for instance?), any one of which be more directly related to cardiovascular disease.

        I will still have a couple of worries. Maybe PCSK9 Inhibitors will end up causing more problems than they solve. God forbid that it is like Torcetrapid. I know I am taking a chance with it. My doctor warned me it is not proven.

        But, the early study results look okay to me. It doesn’t appear to be making people die.

        When I look in the mirror and see the cholesterol deposits in and around my eyes, I am not too worried that my body will face a shortage of cholesterol. I take this as a reminder that I need to do something to get my body back into a normal Balance.

        Reply
        • avatar
          June 25, 2016 at 9:20 am
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          Hi Scott
          350-400 (9-10 mmol/l for our language!) is normal in that it is on the normal distribution. See fig 2 here http://www.pccj.eu/pdf/3108/Vol1_Num2_July_2008_p107-11114b2.pdf
          For a normal distribution to be a normal distribution some people are at one end and some are at the other. I don’t see this as HeFH.

          You’ll be aware that there are many things that can be associated with Xanthomas – including diabetes and glucose issues. If people with Xanthomas are given the usual avoid fat/eat carbs advice, they are likely making things worse for lipid (triglyceride) or glucose conditions.

          Your logic on the LDL receptors is sound – but do you know that this injection will help all cells to get the LDL needed? Everything I’ve read about PCSK9s suggests that the liver will be the first/main/only? part of the pathway affected and this would remove LDL before it could get into the blood stream, thus making all body cell uptake even less likely. Do you have evidence that PCSK9s will get more LDL into cells? Given that conventional thinking doesn’t see LDL reaching cells as good, I can’t help but think this will NOT have been an end in mind!

          Dr Stephanie Seneff is a expert in sulfate and the pathology associated with calcium uptake. You may like to research some of her stuff on the impact of PCSK9 on calcium and sulfation.

          Calcification IS a genuine CVD issue. If you like Malcolm, google calcification and his name and lots like this (https://drmalcolmkendrick.org/2016/03/22/what-causes-heart-disease-part-x/) comes up. Much more recent too!

          Good luck with the reading – just as well you’re clearly super bright.
          Best wishes – Zoe

          Reply
    • avatar
      July 24, 2016 at 8:06 pm
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      I wrote a long answer but it timed out. How useless.

      Anyway, my TC is always between 10-14, my HDL high, Trig low. I am a septuagenarian, with no cardiovascular disease.

      I quit going to doctors because they are abusive to me over refusing to take Statins. Anymore. I was nearly killed by Baycol, suffrered serious side effects by all, which I was not able to take and kept taking myself off. I have not touched them since 2004/Simvastatin. Over a period of 8 yrs I tried them all but Crestor.

      I suffered all the life-altering side effects, I lost work my profession, and vocation. I lost language, memory, vocabulary so much more.

      I don’t have cardiovascular disease. For Bob.

      Reply
      • avatar
        July 24, 2016 at 8:11 pm
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        But I have now been told I am pre-Diabetic. And yes, I know what the numbers mean. The latest study about this class of drugs harms is that it causes Diabetes 2 in post menopausal women.

        Reply
        • avatar
          July 24, 2016 at 8:17 pm
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          Sorry meant “For Scott”.

          Reply
    • avatar
      October 4, 2016 at 9:00 pm
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      Hi, I also have familial hypercholesterolemia (very high LDL levels). Every medication has had crippling effects, especially Statins. It is as if the body reacts to anything that tries to lower the LDL. (I am trying to understand how different classes of drug have the same side effects?)

      I have done considerable research (I have a PhD) and I am sure now that LDL risk is likely to be made dangerous by vascular damage. Dr Rath claims that the modern diet – even the “healthy diet” lacks the nutrients to stop the vascular damage in the first place. I take sterols, vit D2 &K3 (don’t take D3 without K3) E, B complex, 30ml of olive oil, 30ml cidar vinegar and 2.5gm VitC. It is too early to know how effective this is, but I do feel more healthy. There is growing medical evidence that Berberine is effective in reducing PCSK9. Some practitioners are prescribing this herbal remedy for FH even though it is more commonly used for Diabetic blood sugar stabilization. I have not tried this yet. An under active Thyroid can make matters worse in respect to PCSK9

      Ironically LDL is essential for health, it is implicated in an effective immune system. LAny LDL not used as intended is a problem. However I would be interested to know if, like many others with FH, have a very efficient immune system. I can never remember ever having flu, colds are extremely rare and hardly last longer than a day. Wounds heal up, usually the same day and disappear before a week. It is thought that high LDL makes cancer less likely.
      However oxidized LDL is dangerous in contact with damaged blood vessels. PCSK9 inhibits LDL working to protect cells and inhibits LDL being removed from the body which can lead to old LDL oxidation.

      My consultant is trying hard to get me one of the new PCSK9 inhibitors-I am not sure I want to be a guinea pig before unbiased and extensive trials are concluded.

      Reply
      • avatar
        October 5, 2016 at 7:06 am
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        Hi Mike
        Thanks so much for sharing this very thoughtful exploration. On PCSK9s one would think they would need to demonstrate actual outcome benefit before getting near humans. However…!
        Best wishes – Zoe

        Reply
  • avatar
    June 14, 2016 at 11:17 am
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    Hi
    If you really want to use PCSK9 to lower cholesterol you don’t have to spend £4000pa just use a natural product – Berberine.

    Quoted from URL below
    “According to some studies, berberine works by inhibiting an enzyme called PCSK9. This leads to more LDL being removed from the bloodstream.”

    https://authoritynutrition.com/berberine-powerful-supplement/

    There are lots of warnings about use of Berberine (it is not nice), however you save lots of money ;)

    So have the greedy statinators switched to a new product (PCSK9) at huge cost invented something for which there is a cheap and freely available natural substitute? I sincerely hope so, they deserve to be hoisted on their own petards of greed.

    Reply
    • avatar
      June 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm
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      Hi Robert
      Many thanks – I hadn’t heard of that one. I can imagine anything that deliberately intervenes in the body to disrupt natural cholesterol production is seriously bad news!
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
    • avatar
      October 4, 2016 at 9:05 pm
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      “There are lots of warnings about use of Berberine (it is not nice)”
      ‘Warnings’ but very little evidence of harm, compare this with proved harm by most prescribed medications. Everything has a risk, but sensible use of Berberine is low risk. Just stop if you have a reaction.

      Reply
  • avatar
    April 26, 2016 at 6:34 pm
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    Zoe, will you be doing a probiotic and low carb post anytime soon? I see a lot of “meat wreaks havoc on your gut microbiome”, but I find it difficult to believe that something that has allowed me to lose 50 pounds and make me feel great and cure a ton of ailments suddenly is going to ruin my biome. On the other hand, I have been experimenting with resistant starch (potato starch, plantains, some prebiotics) and probiotics (mainly fermented food, but some pills), and it has cured some “going to the bathroom” issues I had. Once I feel these are completely cured, I’m going to eat “normally” again, without extra resistant starch to see what happens.

    Reply
    • avatar
      April 27, 2016 at 9:06 am
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      Hi Bob
      My Harcombe Diet books talk about three conditions that drive cravings – one of them being Candida. I’ve written about this in the context of gut health and balance rather than in any low carb context. Our real foodie club members are big kefir fans. I know the person who runs this site (https://www.chucklinggoat.co.uk/) and I get kefir when I need probiotics (I had a post op infection a couple of years ago and was zapped with antibiotics, which I avoid unless life threatening). Any time antibiotics are prescribed, probiotics should be too, but they aren’t.

      I would try kefir before resistant starch any day. The Harcombe Diet is also big on Natural Live Yoghurt, for the probiotics. Many very low carbers don’t go near dairy – that’s why we’re more real food than very low carb!

      Hope this helps
      Best wishes – Zoe

      Reply
  • avatar
    April 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm
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    The belief in surrogate markers like cholesterol is maddening especially in the wake of the CETP inhibitors trials being suspended for being ineffective or even dangerous despite moving the cholesterol numbers in the “right” directions. Now, the PCSK9 inhibitors are going to make people a lot of money and nobody even cares if they work.

    Here in the US, the FDA is more interested in protecting drugmakers than consumers:
    “On June 10, an FDA advisory panel voted 11-4 in favor of approving PCSK9 inhibitor evolocumab (Repatha), with most panelists saying they saw no need to wait for the ongoing cardiovascular outcomes trial data.
    The day prior, the committee also voted 13-3 in favor of approving fellow PCSK9 monoclonal antibody alirocumab (Praluent).”
    http://www.medpagetoday.com/ClinicalFocus/PCSK9/56853

    Let that sink in. They approved the drugs without even wanting to see if they worked. Craziness.

    Reply
  • avatar
    April 21, 2016 at 2:09 pm
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    Thank you for the heads-up. I’ve got your post pinned at Pinterest.

    Reply
  • avatar
    April 21, 2016 at 1:46 pm
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    Hmmm, so 7 million people in the UK currently take statins moving to a drug that costs £4,000 per year = £28bn = quarter of total NHS budget. I am sure a discount would be offered, but the number would still be colossal.

    What would the adherence rate be for a drug that requires a fortnightly injection? And for patients unwilling or unable to administer their own injections, would these individuals end up at the GP 26 times a year to receive their dose?

    While these drugs will earn their makers spectacular profits, I cannot see how they will achieve widespread adoption with the UK health system, especially with statin usage entrenched and available in generic form at minimal cost. Amgen and co may have priced themselves out of world domination, especially if they have a raft of other new eye-wateringly expensive drugs on the way to treat other conditions.

    Reply
    • avatar
      April 21, 2016 at 2:07 pm
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      There are approximately 15 million people in the US taking statins currently and the “target market” for cholesterol-lowering drugs is 35 million. The price for PCSK9 inhibitors is between $7,000 and $12,000 annually (£4,800 – £8,300)

      That’s between $91Bn (US billions = 1,000 million 9 zeroes) and $420Bn

      Of course the pharmaceutical companies have no financial incentive in producing these new drugs. They’re doing it for our benefit. Totally.

      Reply
  • avatar
    April 21, 2016 at 11:22 am
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    Hi Zoe.

    If cholesterol is good and statins are bad (I’m with you on this) then what is the purpose of medicating the population? To make the population more sick, and at great expense? Why do that? How does that even make sense?

    It’s the money, isn’t it? And those vested interests… it’s all about the money, isn’t it?

    I’m prescribed three different blood pressure meds which struggle to bring the huge numbers down whilst causing a stack of other niggles. It’s no wonder I resent taking them.

    Really beginning to despair of this planet!

    Reply
      • avatar
        April 21, 2016 at 2:24 pm
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        Oh it’s bad – 200/120 bad. Lost six stone a while back and it made no difference to the BP. So I put the six stone back on. Wish I hadn’t, of course.

        Strangely or not, my cholesterol’s always been fine.

        Reply
        • avatar
          April 23, 2016 at 7:28 pm
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          That sounds genetic. However, have you tried intermittent fasting? I’ve lowered my blood pressure about 15 points (systolic) using IF. But I started at about 118 (systolic) and am around 103 now. I think IF helps remove fat from your liver and pancreas, which lowers insulin resistance and therefore blood pressure. I also lost 30 pounds (not sure how many stone that is) using IF (and low carb), but I lost 20 pounds before that on low carb and did not change my blood pressure at all. (So, I’m down a total of 50 pounds, and 7 inches off my waist.)

          Reply
          • avatar
            April 25, 2016 at 1:30 pm
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            Cheers for the reply Bob. Might just accept that it is indeed genetic. But I thought genes only activated when the conditions demanded them to. So what conditions are they? Stress? pH? Chocolate?

            Still, the weight needs to properly come back off. Been a vegetarian for four plus years and the boredom has hit hard in the last year. There’s so much that’s vegetarian but utterly anti weight loss.

          • avatar
            April 26, 2016 at 6:30 pm
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            M-M, it depends on what you believe. I tend to think that “insulin resistance” causes some or all of “high” blood pressure. I lowered my blood pressure more through intermittent fasting (plus low carb, high fat) than I did with just low carb alone (note: I did both IF and added more fat at the same time). My belief is that IF causes a reduction in fatty liver and fatty pancreas, and this somehow affects blood pressure. If you have time, watching Dr. Fung’s videos on his website (do a search for Jason Fung and fasting) could be helpful. You could try IF to see what happens. Note that if you are eating a high carb diet, though, it takes a day or so (of fasting) to transition to burning fat. That day or so might not be pleasant. I don’t have that transition, as I’m normally eating a lot of fat and very few carbs. I also think that fruit, which contains fructose, is particularly bad for blood pressure, as it (fructose) directly affects the liver. Anyway, you have nothing to lose by trying IF.

          • avatar
            April 28, 2016 at 10:33 am
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            BobM – that sounds like a plan, at the very least. But a high fat / low carb diet for a vegetarian… is that easy? I’m quite stringent in avoiding flesh. But I must a carb monster in the sense that I’ve chucked 6 stone back on so quickly after losing it. I will have a hard look at your suggestions. A bit of I-F could’t hurt.

            If anyone else has conquered monstrous bp without tablets I’d love to know how.

  • avatar
    April 21, 2016 at 11:21 am
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    They, the pharmaceutical companies, just won’t stop pushing poison. PCSK9 inhibitors are yet another in a long line of drugs we don’t need for illnesses that don’t exist. Yet more unnecessary expanse heaped on a sickness service that is very close to total collapse.

    How many doctors, who will probably get brownie points for dishing out these inhibitors, are aware of this https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16893422 and how many patients if they were aware would agree to take them?

    Use of many, some would say all, pharmaceutical drugs is akin to throwing a chemical hand grenade into our bio systems. They have effects and the only one of interest to the pharmaceutical companies is the one they are interested in – any other effect is collateral damage (drug companies probably view these as “friendly fire” incidents) and is termed a “side effect” rather than a more truthful “adverse effect”. And, of course, if adverse effects are obviously apparent they view this as an opportunity to sell another drug. I find it sad that so many people taking drugs, especially statins, claim that they aren’t noticing “side effects” so they think no harm is occurring. It is, they just aren’t aware – yet.

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    • avatar
      April 22, 2016 at 8:35 am
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      Hi Barry
      Thanks so much for that article link – I’m going to tweet it!
      Best wishes – Zoe

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        April 23, 2016 at 11:39 am
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        Hi Zoë,

        You’re welcome.

        Dr Mercola has run a number of articles pointing out the dangers of this latest class of drugs such as http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/08/19/pcsk9-inhibitors-cholesterol-lowering-drugs.aspx (see the references for more detail). Dr. Stephanie Seneff thinks they are a bad idea as well and that should give any sensible person cause to doubt them. BTW – for those not aware of Dr. Seneff her website is well worth visiting for lots of information https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/ .
        In addition this blog has plenty of references http://cindy-on-health.blogspot.be/2012/05/has-big-pharma-gone-bonkers.html .

        I wonder when those that determine health policy and those that advise them will finally accept that they have comprehensively screwed up over the past 40 plus years. Future historians will look back and wonder how the monumental disaster than is modern health care managed to get so much so wrong for so long. Of course those of us unfortunate enough to be living through these times already know – power, money and position with the USA at the epicentre. Health wise the USA is a total disaster given the amount of money poured into “research” (much is merely pharmaceutical company funded to provide support for their drugs) and spent by the American public see http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13497/us-health-in-international-perspective-shorter-lives-poorer-health . Plus the American public cannot rely upon the FDA to ensure that the drugs approved are safe (prescription drugs are a major cause of death and hospitalisation http://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk-few-offsetting-advantages ). How can this be so? Well here’s one possibility http://www.naturalnews.com/053767_Margaret_Hamburg_FDA_commissioner_conspiracy_and_racketeering.html .

        This ended up being a longer comment than first intended, but I get so annoyed that the lives of so many are shortened or damaged by a combination of pharmaceutical company greed supported by doctors, who should know better, blindly prescribing the drugs they produce. If only people would recognise that a diet of real food (no mass produced refined “foods”) would not only prevent but cure many health issues.

        Rant over!

        Best wishes – Barry.

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        • avatar
          April 24, 2016 at 4:55 pm
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          Hi again
          Stephanie and Joe are both awesome – no wonder I like you! ;-)
          Best wishes – Zoe

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            April 25, 2016 at 7:35 pm
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            I concur. I loved the research papers of Stephanie on Cholesterol Sulphate and Glyphosate. Also Malcolm Kendrick and his cynical take on it all and he has already warned of the dangers of PCSK9 most likely causing Diabetes by destruction of pancreas Beta Cells from over take-up of LDL.
            When will they give up on Cholesterol Myth and put the money into research into the real cause of Heart Disease (Problem is they might not like the answer!?)

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    April 20, 2016 at 10:06 pm
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    How sick is it that someone could find a group of people with genetic damage that resulted in abnormally low serum LDLC and, instead of looking for a remedy for these people and the diseases they suffered as a result, then spend countless tens of millions looking for a drug that could drag the rest of humanity down into this damaged state.

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    • avatar
      April 26, 2016 at 12:22 am
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      Stephen!
      There is two problems with your idealistic ideas, 1st the number to treat is probably too small and 2nd There is no monetary benefit for pharmaceutical companies to find a CURE for anything. Their only aim is to find symptoms and surrogate end points to treat. This Cholesterol myth was like manna from heaven, which they won’t let go of if they can help it. And the true efficacy of the drug in reality is an unknown quantity

      Reply

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