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


(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.


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.


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!

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

  • “This is classic modern poly pharmacy – having people on multiple medications. You take one drug, which has a side effect, so they give you another drug to overcome the side effect produced by the first.”
    This is what happened to me – well I’m pretty sure it all started with statins. I’ve been on Rosuvastatin for years, but didn’t really suffer any immediate side effects. After some time I started to suffer from insomnia, became depressed due to lack of sleep, so was prescribed anti-depressants and sleeping pills and now I’m hooked on them. I’m going to try and get myself off all these crappy meds starting with Rosuvastatin. I felt fine before being put on statins.

    • To think the body knows what is going on and your subconscious is trying to warn you yet the conscious mind has no clue until way late.

      Insomnia makes sense. Cholesterol aids in the making of serotonin.

    • I wonder about the length of time you were taking the Rosuvastatin. You took them “for years,” without gross side effects. Then accepted the anti-depressants and sleeping pills — both? I think perhaps this was a poor recommendation. It is difficult to decide if one needs a statin, even for a short time, even if the possibility of familiar hypercholesterolemia is very high.

      • Les statines provoquent la dépression,l’ anxiété des troubles du sommeil, le diabète, des cataractes, des dommages au foie au reins au pancréas au muscles au tendons au ligaments, des idées suicidaires.

  • Hi Paul – the problem is that your doctor more than likely hasn’t a clue how statins work – he simply looks at your blood test results and prescribes what he’s been taught to. Probably protecting himself from a lawsuit too. My daughter is a doctor and hasn’t a clue either. She had been taught at medical school that high cholesterol is bad and statins are good. Ask him to explain how the mevalonate pathway works to see if he actually knows anything. Some doctors aren’t as intelligent as you might expect.

  • “The patient leaflet for rosastatin says…” I take it that you (Zoë and “Professor” Agarwal) mean Rosuvastatin?

      • My cholesterol has been as high as 400 at times. The doctors for years have put me on statins, though I have had severe cramping. One of them told me to start taking CoQ10 and a little Tonic water. These do help.

        I am on Zetia and Livalo right now…

        What can I do? Help please…

        • Hi Luz – I can’t help with what you should do. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know anything about you – age, gender etc.

          I can share something interesting with you – which you may in turn want to talk to your doctor about – neither drug that you are taking has been shown to have any impact on heart disease…

          Zetia – opening paragraph: “ZETIA has not been shown to prevent heart disease or heart attacks”

          Livalo – see p17 of this
          “Fluvastatin (Lescol and Lescol XL) and pitavastatin (Livalo) have not been shown to prevent heart attacks and strokes. So we can’t recommend either one.”

          So – you are taking two substances that will reduce your cholesterol (by impairing the body from making what it is designed to make) when these are known to have NO impact on heart disease. So you are getting no ‘benefit’ and you are getting costs – cramping and possibly other side effects: muscle aches; memory impairment; reduced cognitive ability; fatigue; loss of interest in sex – any of those ring any bells?

          I know what I would do but then I would never ever take a substance that would impair my body’s ability to do what it is designed to do – make cholesterol.

          Good luck with your research/discussions and any decisions that you may make
          Best wishes – Zoe

        • At first ask your doctor to do couple of the ultrasound tests to check your veins ( if they have plague), then ask him to check your thyroid. If your thyroid is not working right you will have high cholesterol,( eg. T3 must be at the top tolerance not the bottom). If your thyroid will work well your cholesterol will be fine. Also check some supplements. They are also helpful.

      • Thank you. I just read the Yoseph’s book and it disturbed me more than anything written by Stephen King. Why can’t our doctors read it and actually save lives? I doubt they have a clue.

  • I currently take simvastatin 20 mg nightly. I had a triple bypass 2yrs ago. My LDL is now too low ie 55 my HDL is just creeping up to 39. Surely it would make sense to reduce the statin to 10mg nightly given the fact that my LDL is so low. Your comments would be appreciated

    • Hi Will – OMG! How are you still alive with cholesterol that low?! Seriously – what are the doctors doing to you? The article you posted on tells you what statins are doing to you. Here are some other posts about cholesterol on my site:

      This one especially may be of interest: The lower the cholesterol, the higher the death rate – for men and women; for heart deaths and all deaths.

      You are part of the eye wateringly lucrative statin scandal. Lipitor alone has earned Pfizer $125 BILLION so far. I would never let a statin pass my lips. My recommendation to you is read everything you can that is NOT funded by the pharma industry eg. Kendrick, Ravnskov, Graveline, Bowden, Jimmy moore etc and come to your own conclusion. No one should take a drug as evil as a statin just because their doc says so.

      Unless you think your body is making cholesterol because it has a design fault and is out to kill you? This really is the biggest drug scandal ever.

      Good luck reading!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      • “OMG! How are you still alive with cholesterol that low?! Seriously – what are the doctors doing to you?”-My words exactly. I literally broke into a sweat and started shaking when I read those levels. Those could be mine someday.

        I swear by this, this needs to be treated as murder or at least attempted/premeditated murder. Maybe not the doctors as they are only going off of what they are taught, but the people making these drugs deserve to be put on trial.

        Investigating this stuff is like watching a horror movie or a murder mystery. So frightening, yet you can’t seem to stop watching.

        Now my left eye won’t stop twitching…my blood test is in a few days. If it’s high and the doctor recommends a statin, I’m so outta there and not looking back.

        • Four months in a row I have had my blood levels checked. They all come back as high. For several weeks I am back on Diatomaceous Earth and they told me it had gone UP. I am NOT going to take the statin and decided to not go back for more blood tests. Dr. said he has been on them for 16 years. Good for him! I’m not taking them!

          • Good for you, Elaine! Did you know high used to be normal? So now days definition of normal cholesterol, LDL or HDL is low.

        • With a total colesterol of 91 and an LDL of 48 I took myself off of statin drugs after taking them for over 10 years.

  • Hi.. I was just told to start taking Lipitor by my doctor after my blood test showed a major increase in my total level 303, LDH at 211, and HDL at 55. Three months ago, she increased my Effexor to 215mg per day from 75mg per day. I have researched this and found that Effexor can drastically raise levels. Help?

    • Hi Pauline – apologies for the tardy reply. We’re on holiday and have just managed to find the brain cells to get on line :-)
      Many thanks for this – you’ve taught me something. I hadn’t heard of Effexor or was aware of the cholesterol impact. I’ve found the patient leaflet and done some surfing, as you have, and you’re quite right – the official Effexor patient leaflet lists increased cholesterol as a common side effect (1 in 10 people affected).

      This is classic modern poly pharmacy – having people on multiple medications. You take one drug, which has a side effect, so they give you another drug to overcome the side effect produced by the first. Given the blog topic that you posted on – where does this end – when you get cancer drugs because statins have destroyed your cells?! Effexor seems a pretty scary drug – are you really sure that you need to be on this and at this dose? With my main interest being weight, I couldn’t help but notice that Effexor, as with most similar drugs, has weight gain listed as a common side effect. That would make most of the people I know reject it straight away! If you have to take E, try lower dose and I then personally wouldn’t take another medication to deal with a consequence of the first. There’s no harm in a cholesterol level of 303 – especially given that you know why it has risen. I wouldn’t get into the spiral of multiple tablets that the pharma industry just loves. Does your doc know that Lipitor and Effexor are even safe together? I would bet that the two have never been studied together in a clinical trial.

      I hope this helps and many thanks for my learnings
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • I came across this website while searching for the effects of statins. I have disturbances in the EKG but my lipid profile was always well within the normal limits with LDL 100 and HDL 40. The first cardiologist talked me into taking Atorovastatin 10 mg a day and after taking it for a month, my thinking process was getting badly disturbed and I developed a little weakness in the limbs. I stopped taking it and after two weeks the symptoms disappeared. When I reported this to the doctor he did not think that the symptoms a were due to the statin. I went to a second cardiologist and he said that this is a placebo effect and asked me to take Crestor. I started taking 5mg every other day and after a month my feet started swelling. I stopped it and the swelling went away. The second doctor still insisted that these symptoms are placebo effects. I read through your blog and I am convinced that the statin does not agree with me. I will be interested in any take you may have on this situation.

    • Hi Prof. Krishnan – I’m a member of thincs ( – the growing group of scientists, researchers, academics and doctors who think that the cholesterol myth will go down in history as one of the greatest crimes committed against mankind. You’ve had the first hand experience. You’ve had the standard doctor dismissal of your experiences (of this, you are far from alone). I would recommend reading as much as you can on the topic and deciding your view on cholesterol and statins.

      If you put the word “cholesterol” in on the search box on my site, you’ll get lots of articles (
      Anything on here:
      Or here:

      Books highly recommended are: Dr Duane Graveline – The Statin Damage Crisis or Lipitor: Thief of Memory.
      Dr Malcolm Kendrick – The Great Cholesterol Con
      Uffe Ravnskov – Fat & Cholesterol are good for you or Ignore the Awkward
      Jonny Bowden, Jimmy Moore – there are many books on these topics when you start to question the drug industry line.

      Good luck!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      • No one should take statins, I have been prescribed them simvastatin, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin and all made me really ill feeling sick, muscle pains all the time. Simvasatatin caused so much muscle wastage in my back I had to have physiotherapy for a whole year to try and build it all back up. We are all brainwashed by doctors who themselves are brainwashed to prescribe statins. My father-in law is in his eighties and was prescribed a statin then he wondered why he felt so sick all the time and he had constant pain in his legs, why on earth would any reasonable doctor prescribe someone of his age a drug like that that made him so unwell!

    • Muscle pain, swelling…all “placebo effects”. I’m pretty sure that one could wish these symptoms up. Surrrrre, whatever.

      Seriously? Blowing these things off as “placebos”? Ridiculous. Yeah, I’m sure that people who report suicidal thoughts and paranoia are just having an “adverse reaction” or a “Placebo”. Scary that they dismiss such information. Just plain scary.

  • Surely this explanation could have been put in a more shorter form.

  • Does that mean in the entire blog? I posted a couple of comments within a short period of time, yes, but under different blog posts.

  • Taking your time with moderation when it comes to my comments, I see? :-)

    • Hi Mie,
      your comments were trapped by the spam filter. Probably as a result of the number of comments you posted in a short period of time.

  • “The Framingham quotation I’ve most often seen is about fat and cholesterol:”

    … and deals with the unadjusted observations. When adjusted for confounding factors, the consumption of safa wasn’t beneficial in terms of TC or LDL levels.

  • I had coronary bypass operation in december 2013. ever since then iave been taking rosastatin 10mg. everyday. bleeding from the small intestine which took the hemoglobin down to 4-6 g/percent. had to be given blood transfusion every time. although anticoagulants have stopped the bleeding still took place. Could this be due to statins? what will happen if I stop statins? any answers?

    • Hi Prof Agarwal – you need to take medical advice, as I’m sure you realise. The patient leaflet for rosuvastatin says to contact your doctor immediately if you develop any unusual bleeding. So, yes, this could be due to statins and it could stop if you stop taking statins – as could all the other horrors described in this blog post.

      I hope you find a doc who is open to the idea that statins are anything other than wonderful!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • Paul, If you think your dcotor or cardio is impartial try asking him or her some basic questions about diet and heart health and see how little they know. I have so far askd 3 doctors and 2 cardios there opinion on the new Swedish dietary guidelines. Given how radical they are I would expect some sort of opinion. Not one of them new what I was talking about. When I gave one doctor the overview he proudly stated that he was a doctor not a nutritionist !. I tried to get him to realise that the two were the same if not closely related but gave up.

  • I dont disagree with anything written here, I have being weaning my Mother off statins fro the last 6 months. She was put on a max dose for no good reason. You can see how we all get enamoured by the easy to check numbers however and the Framlingham study data that states no one with a total cholesterol below 3.9 and LDL below 3.0 had ever died of a heart attack within this very large study. If this is the case what are we to make of keeping LDL down. Should we pursue it but by more natural means. I have personally had lowered blood numbers by using Krill oil. Would value your opinion.

    • Hi Mark – please do you have a reference for this bit? “no one with a total cholesterol below 3.9 and LDL below 3.0 had ever died of a heart attack within this very large study”. The Framingham quotation I’ve most often seen is about fat and cholesterol:

      “In Framingham, (Massachusetts), the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol.” (original emphasis). (William Castelli, Archives of Internal Medicine, (July 1992), 152:7:1371-1372.) Castelli being the study director

      Many thanks – Zoe

  • This entire blog post was amusing, but I have to give special credit to your “explanation” of FH. You do not mention the fact that abnormally high levels of circulating LDL are a major causative risk factor for atherosclerosis but pretend this is somehow totally different from what you state to be the main problem of FH patients – cells not being able to take in the LDL-cholesterol due to decreased LDL-receptor activity (which, of course, leads to abnormally high levels of circulating LDL)??

    Congrats. This level is rarely reached, even in cholesterol denialist circles.

    BTW, people with homozygous FH do receive at least some benefits from aggressive statin therapy but of course not the same kind as people with heterozygous FH. And these people do not die because their cells don’t get the cholesterol needed: they die due to premature atherosclerosis leading (mostly) to premature CAD.

  • I came on this page as I was searching statins after accidentally taking my statin a second time instead of an anti heartburn drug this morning and was worried as it’s an overdose within 12 hours from correct statin dose.

    However I did read the article and it’s obviously made me VERY concerned about using statins at all.

    My point is this Zoe, nobody should alter their medication without prior expert medical consultation with a REAL LIFE doctor familiar with their case hands on. My previous doctor, a very experienced gentleman, told me specifically DO NOT MAKE CHANGES OR PANIC AFTER READING SCARE STORIES on the internet. (Like this page!)
    Zoe you SELL BOOKS do you not? Is this why you advise certain books, to make money? It’s worrying as you are NOT impartial, you have financial motive! Give away the information and we can take you as impartial, whist a financial driven motive to sell heath books credibiliy is much reduced. Just like the online financial services gurus and ‘take these 4 steps to health’ shysters, the final twist is PAY ME to save you!

    I’m going to bring this up with my new doctor, but as mentioned SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE before following ANY book or article where your own condition is unknown to the writer making blanket statements, even backed with data. You were NOT included in the data gathering!


    • Hi Paul – it should make you concerned. I doubt your doctor has ever heard of the things that the Yosephs have uncovered. I’m encouraging people to read their book – not mine. I have not written any books about statins, so there’s no conflict. I just think that my fellow humans should know what statins actually do to the human body.

      As for giving books away for free – we give a lot away but we do need to sell some or we would starve to death! I don’t know what your job is but why don’t you do it for free? It continually baffles me that people think that authors should do their job for free but all other jobs should get paid?!

      Seek medical advice by all means but the point of the statins/cholesterol hypothesis is that the conflict is enormous and runs deep. The conflict is not the Yosephs possibly making 70 cents per copy (not many people know royalty rates) but Lipitor, one statin alone, having made $125 BILLION for Pfizer. Your doc could deliberately or unwittingly be part of this huge crime- as per the conflicts of those setting cholesterol targets uncovered by the Yosephs. This blog post (kindly providing a summary of the book for free) is merely presenting the facts about what statins actually do in the human body. You need to read a lot, take charge of your own health, listen to your doc, ask him/her a lot of questions – don’t just take statins because you trust white coats. That’s the bottom line!

      Best wishes – Zoe

    • Zoe, I’m a convert after giving up statins and reversing my weight gain, lethargy, sleep problems, issues of mental clarity etc. The book Grain Brain is another to recommend that recaps so much of this science, which is at it’s core simple — cholesterol and most fats are good for you; grains and processed foods are inflammatory and bad over short and long term. Woe to Paul and most of us advised by doctors who believe the lies they’ve been told for decades about the presumed and false causal relationship between fat, cholesterol and heart disease. Good luck Paul and everyone about getting your doctor to say what science is really telling us.

    • Your comment is quite confusing. First you state ‘However I did read the article and it’s obviously made me VERY concerned about using statins at all.’ as if to say you agree, then later its turns into ‘My previous doctor, a very experienced gentleman, told me specifically DO NOT MAKE CHANGES OR PANIC AFTER READING SCARE STORIES on the internet. (Like this page!)’ and ‘Zoe you SELL BOOKS do you not? Is this why you advise certain books, to make money? It’s worrying as you are NOT impartial, you have financial motive!’ which makes it sound like you are dead against it and even attacking the person who wrote the article. It makes for one confusing argument the way it suddenly shifts from sounding like one with a legitimate concern about high doses of statins to brutish accusations and harsh criticism.

      By this mode of thinking, how do you know for sure what is a ‘scare story’ or an honest warning?? How can you be sure that it’s fake or hyped up especially after reading just HOW MANY PEOPLE have ALREADY stated that statins made them feel horrible, horrible enough to kill themselves?? Where do you draw the line in reality?

      I understand the concern but weigh your evidence with an unbiased perspective after looking at ALL of what users and doctors have to say! PLEASE!!

      It’s this mode of thinking that shakes me to my core.

      • The thinking was rational. What is non-rational is lay people attempting to interpret hard studies that are done with control groups, and then trying to apply study results to oneself because one’s physician(s) refuse to have an intelligent discussion. But also, when faced with a strong possibility of ‘premature’ death-by-cardiac involvement, and with additional studies showing fairly decent proof of the anti-inflammatory effects of, at least, the lipophilcs, then, the evidence is weighted in favor of attempting some short-term statin use – at least, that’s what I continue to weigh, while still refusing them.

  • Hi Zoe, Thanks for the great review of this book, It is exactly what I’ve been searching for to allow me to more fully understand this whole farce. I purchased the book immediately and can’t wait to read it. I have been sparring with my GP who at this stage still goes with the Australian College of GP’s writings which of course recommend the use of Statins. I have already bought him a copy of another very good book, also called “The Great Cholesterol Con” but written by Anthony Colpo who is an Australian fitness trainer and a very thorough researcher.
    My GP promised me he would read it, he is actually quite open minded so I’m sure he will.
    This book will give me the info I need to further discuss all of this with him and make him understand why I will not take statins any more & also why I want my wife to get off them.


    • Hi Steve – there’s another book called The Great Cholesterol Con by Dr Malcolm Kendrick – I much prefer that one. Funnier and less angry.
      Best wishes – Zoe

  • Dear Zoe,
    Thanks for the reply and info’. I will certainly be sharing my statin experience with others.

  • Was on Statins for 4 years. After approximately two years my legs became very weak with constant pins and needles and cramps. Some days I could hardly walk at all and I put this down to my degenerative spinal condition. In 2012, I began having abdominal discomfort, left side, under my ribs. The pain would come on after eating and could also be felt directly opposite in my back. I asked my doctor about the side effects of statins and he dismissed it and gave me a prescription for indigestion – My abdominal symptoms are like that of pancreatitis and I feel quite unwell. I have read that pancreatitis can be caused by statins – is this the case?
    I have felt so unwell this weekend I haven’t slept and will be making a GP’s appointment tomorrow.

    I stopped taking statins 5 months ago, my choice, and my leg weakness has improved. The pins and needles and abdominal pain persist.

    • Hi Neil – thanks so much for sharing this. There are web sites around where non conflicted doctors are trying to collate information on statin side effects. If you come across one – do share this again!

      Dr Duane Graveline, former astronaut, describes his terrible damage on statins in his book Statin Damage Crisis. He also found that some problems went away when statins were stopped and some didn’t. Some damage is for life – and this post explains why.

      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • I stopped taking atorvastatin about 10 days ago. I have been on them for a year. I have FH. My mother had a stroke and now has dementia. I started using plant sterols but after reading this info think that I shouldn’t use them either. I haven’t told my doctor, he is a very contentious doctor and obviously believed what he told me about my risk of stroke if I didn’t take them. I have been concerned that I was putting my health at risk not continuing with statins but had looked at debates on this drug and knew statins were big business, but still felt unsure. Your information has been a Godsend as I had not heard it explained this way, why LDL was in the bloodstream. I am going to print of this info and take it to my doctors as I have an appointment with him in a few weeks. Plus pass this onto to numerous relatives who are on statins. Thank you very much. Every blessing to you. Janice

    • Hi Janice – check out Uffe Ravnskov as well – he is one of the lead people with interesting views on FH. His Chapter 3 in Ignore the Awkward is all about the longevity of people with FH – and it’s good!

      This may be of interest too

      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • Even after all this good work it seems that Nice will shortly be recommending Statins for wider use. A GP interviewed on Radio 4 as the ‘against’ voice said that patients frequnetly complained of muscle pain when taking statins which stopped when they stopped the drug. I’m not a medical person but isn’t the heart one of the most vital muscles in the body ?

    • Hi Chris – yes – you’re spot on! Dr Malcolm Kendrick covers this in his Great Cholesterol Con. The CoQ10 impact on the heart is especially serious! What are we doing to our fellow humans?!
      They should put me or Malc on as the ‘against’ voice!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      • Zoe, not sure If that was my post above, as Chris W…but it sounds like something I would statin experience was a horror story. I was a 29 year old healthy and vibrant critical care RN since 1991. I was also like most other health care professionals a cholesterol choir boy. Singing the praises of Statins because, I was “educated” by pharma sales reps, who are paid very handsomely to sell drugs. 3.5 years after starting Lipitor, my world was rocked. I became very ill, hospitalized for 28 days at University of Wisconsin Madison hospital, brain biopsy revealed multiple holes(autophagic vacuoles) electron microscopy of the brain biopsy revealed Mitochondial DNA abnormalities consistent with Mitochondrial Encephalitis with lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes aka MELAS. Muscle biopsy corroborated these findings. I have several dozen lesions on my brain, with these findings. Dr Beatrice Golomb MD, Phd of the UCSD statin effects study, which I was a participant in, has told me based on the results of that study, Lipitor was the likely causal contributor of the Holes in my brain, the Mitochondrial DNA mutations, and my peripheral neuropathy…which has left me disabled since Oct 2002. If you like I can share with you the dozens of articles and physician experts who also are well aware of these effects…email me if interested [email protected]

        • Hi Chris – thanks so much for sharing this – this is absolutely shocking, but not surprising knowing what statins do and the brain’s requirement for cholesterol. The only good news looks to have been coming across Dr Golomb.
          Can you sue in the land of lawyers?!
          Very best wishes – Zoe

          • Unfortunately Zoe, even in the land of lawyers, pharma companies have lots more $$$ to drag the litigation for years, Ive been told by a few attorneys, that these companies pay their legal teams, to drag the case out as long as possible…well until after I am dead. I am happy to settle for educating the public as much as I can, to stop listening to drug commercials, stop listening to ANY rants about cholesterol….its ALL CHECKBOOK SCIENCE, manipulated statistics, and ALL ABOUT THE ALMIGHTY $$…
            Whats even more scary that the plethora of problems statins cause, are the permanently disabling or even the deadly effects, such as ALS. My fathers best man, his best friend from childhood, died about 6 years ago after being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease) something I recall seeing as an RN, maybe once in my 12 year career. I asked my dad, if his friend was on a statin, and he later found out that yes he was. He had the same Rx happy doctor I had. I remember several years back when I began to research this scam, I met a young man, from Lake Tahoe, Doug Peterson, who was a victim of Statins, he has since passed away from this LIE! As a former RN, I have devoted much of my life now, to trying to educate the public, as to the very real, and potentially deadly effects of these POISONS! Id like to offer to share the clinical information with you and ALL of your followers, if I may. Please email me at [email protected] if you would like me to send you the information.

  • Dr. Yoseph mentioned several times that cholesterol is related to thyroxin – in a molecular way. Do you know what that is about?

  • Huge Congratulations on your continuing excellent research, Zoe. The everyday ‘patient’ can feel frustrated by not being informed enough to convince the doctor that they have a valid point, though feeling pretty sure that in 10 years time their gut feeling will be received wisdom. So it’s great you are there, delving deep into the facts. So encouraging. Thank you.

    This morning I accompanied my 86 year old father to the doctor with my mother, and felt so patronised as I tried to explain why I don’t want him to take statins. My father has recently had aneurism, which has been fixed. He is mentally somewhat out to lunch, but in a happy way. Apart from that, he appears to have low risk factors: he hasn’t had a heart attack, or a stroke, he is very slim, he doesn’t have diabetes, he has low blood pressure, he doesn’t smoke, he has at least 5 portions of veg and fruit a day, he has oily fish and omega 3 supplements, he hardly drinks, and we are implementing an exercise programme. I want him to have a dignified, natural, end of life, not a pharmaceutical one, with toxic statins. I don’t expect or want him to live for ever, but the remaining years should be within our family’s ethos, of natural health. However, somehow, the doctor patronised me and dismissed my concerns about side effects, and numbers needed to treat, as ‘hype’ (as if I were a Daily Mail reader!). He managed to frighten my mother that without statins my father might die. I was so angry and helpless and upset. Altogether a disastrous morning!

    I now think perhaps I should let my mother give my father the statins for a week and write down all side effects day by day. If it is anything like the other grandparents’ experience, which was shocking, I would hope she will stop giving them to him under her own steam.

    What do you think of nicotinamide which the NICE Guideline recommends for those who don’t tolerate statins?

    • Hi Sherwood – many thanks for your kind comments.

      Check the patient leaflet for statins ( These have a caution for over 70 year olds. That’s the closest these companies will come to saying over 70s should NOT TAKE STATINS! (Not that any human should – but over 70s especially.) Low cholesterol = low longevity, as this post shows:

      Perhaps mum should bang the doc over the head with the patient leaflet until he reads it. Bring on the lawsuits.

      As for nicotinamide – it’s not just statins that is the problem – it’s any attempt to impair the body’s ability to make the cholesterol that it needs, which is the problem. The older we get, the more cells die and struggle to repair – that’s where cholesterol can help. Even if nicotinamide did lower cholesterol (and this would suggest otherwise this would be a bad thing.

      Leave the body alone! It has incredibly few design faults. Making money out of stopping it doing what it was designed to do is about as evil as humans have ever been.

      Good luck to dad
      Very best wishes – Zoe
      p.s. statin damage is not always reversible, so I wouldn’t use dad as a guinea pig!

      • My only concerns on the niacin bit are 1. Niacin IS a vitamin that we need.

        2. Does this mean we should eat foods without niacin?

        3. Niacin, A VITAMIN…is bad for us?!?

        Please do explain this to me.

      • In regards to my last reply, does this mean I need to stop taking my B vitamins? Our soils are so depleted now that I’m very worried I cannot get the b vitamins from the vegetables I eat (I try to reduce fruit as the sugar actually has a negative impact on cholesterol as well as kills my energy unless I take it with fat and animal protein).

        The b vitamin complex give me so much energy and really help me exercise. Is it a terrible thing if I take them with the flush niacin? I for one, like the flush so i do not use the non flushing kind or the “timed release” which is more harmful to the liver than the regular flush kind.

        • Hi again
          See the other note – I see no reason to stop taking B vits. There are way more B vits in animal foods than vegetables (I liked your other post about vegan B deficiencies) as this shows.

          So personally, I try to eat eggs/meat and fish daily and then there’s little room left for those (not so) healthy whole grains. It sounds like the B vits are working for you so why change?
          Best wishes – Zoe

      • Alright, last reply for a while.

        You said “it’s any attempt to impair the body’s ability to make the cholesterol that it needs, which is the problem”.

        So I’ve heard that eating fat reduces cholesterol. is that bad? Grains and sugar increase cholesterol. Is it good we eat them despite the other health risks?

        I’ve heard CoQ10 can reduce cholesterol. So…is that bad?

        My biggest question is this. If lowering cholesterol is such a horrible crime, what does that have to say about all of the healthy nutrients in our diet and that we need to take that also happen to lower cholesterol levels?? I’m REALLY confused now.

        • Hi ZzgOOgzz
          I’m surprised you’ve heard eating fat reduces cholesterol – it’s usually the other way round, but it’s nonsense either way. Carbs (grains/sugar) can increase cholesterol but don’t worry about diet – the body makes cholesterol; it makes what it needs – diet really is unimportant compared to the body making the cholesterol it is designed to make.

          I also don’t think you’ll have heard CoQ10 can reduce cholesterol. Check out the flow diagram in this blog post – CoQ10 shares the same pathway as cholesterol production. Statins can reduce both CoQ10 and cholesterol production but CoQ10 doesn’t reduce cholesterol.

          So – don’t be confused – you’re not hearing things right!
          Best wishes – Zoe

          • I was asking for clarification, as my doctor told me that. he also recommended coQ10 for the red yeast rice to help with muscle aches and such, but it didn’t seem to help with my moods.

            On the fat bit, I’ve also just heard that it doesn’t lower cholesterol, but if there is cholesterol in the fat, your body will use that cholesterol and less of it’s own, thus theoretically it would mean them ore cholesterol one ate, the less the body would produce.

            Also, it seems you didn’t answer the question I asked. If niacin lowers cholesterol and therefor is as harmful as I’ve heard some posts say, do we all need to stop taking b vitamin supplements or am I completely missing something?

          • Hi ZzgOOgzz
            Apart from the fact that statins should not be prescribed (in my view and others), if someone does take statins, CoQ10 should be taken alongside – because CoQ10 production is also impaired by statins as this blog shows.

            Dietary cholesterol is found in foods of animal origin (meat/fish/eggs/dairy) so it’s not fat per se but animal foods. If you eat more dietary cholesterol, the body is able to make less but that’s not why we should be eating meat/fish/eggs/dairy – as you know from your other posts! It’s because these foods are the best source of the essential fats, complete protein, vitamins and mineral that we need for optimal health.

            On the niacin – the dose given to (stupidly) lower cholesterol is about 2-3 grams daily! A high performance multi vit would typically have c. 36mg and the European RDA (although these probably have no evidence base) is c. 18mg so the dose is up to 166 times different.

            General principle – don’t think about cholesterol, don’t worry about it, don’t measure it, don’t lower it – the world would be so much healthier and health services richer if this whole cholesterol nonsense had never started.
            Best wishes – Zoe

          • To your last reply, that’s what I was concerned with. It’s the amount, not the vitamin itself. I was interpreting that way too literally (as what can happen with people who have autism, such as myself). So because it was not written to the effect of “do not take this much” instead of “niacin lowers cholesterol which is bad” it went well over my head. Thank you for clarifying!!!

            My doctor wants me to take 200 to 300 MG of niacin a day. however, he did want to start me off at a full blown 500 (or just 100 MG 5 times each day), which to me at he time sounded like way too much! Too much niacin can impair liver function and I’m a fairly small individual.

            Sorry if I am overstating myself. I’m just hoping to get as many resources as possible to come to a conclusion.

            Thanks for all of your hard work and help.

          • Pleasure! You seem very well informed already :-)

  • by the way i hear ubiquitone? is a good thing to take to improve coq10…how much a day is needed? and what are the good brands out there,cheers.

    • Hi Steve – I’m so sorry to hear about your dad. There is no evidence for statins and strokes anyway – see Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s book – that’s one of the great contradictions in the whole cholesterol/statin scam – how would they help blood supply to the heart (heart attacks) if they don’t help blood supply to the brain (strokes). You almost certainly saved your dad – as he needed cholesterol to repair himself and you gave him a chance of his body having access to the cholesterol it needed to make.

      Even the patients leaflets say that over 70s shouldn’t be on statins. It’s not quite put like that, but it’s listed as a caution/contraindication as they know that cholesterol is even more important in old age – protecting dying cells and mind performance. I wonder if docs have ever read a patient leaflet?!

      CoQ10 is a valuable supplement. Some people take it to give their body more energy even if they are not feeling. Amounts can vary from 30mg to 200mg per day. I would take advice from someone in a health store e.g. Holland & Barrett. I don’t know any brands as I don’t take supplements. Someone may want to start low and build up or just go for a higher dose to see if there’s an immediate difference. I think the only harm going high would be on one’s purse!

      Good luck with dad – his body will start to heal now if it can make cholesterol unimpaired!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • Hi, my dad 84 year old was on statins for a few years and i managed to persuade him to come off them last summer because i could see his memory and muscle tissue rapidly decreasing..his urine was dark sometimes bloody..however his doc realised he wasnt getting repeat statin prescriptions and pressurised him to take them again despite having a cholesterol reading of 5.5.
    ON NOVEMBER 7TH he had a bleeding on the brain stroke,went into hospital and first thing they did was take him off Avorstatin..then they drugged him up with codiene,paracetomol and Amlodipine,fell out of his chair and smashed his nose needing stitches…then was virtually bed bound for 4 weeks occasionally hallucinating…managed to get him home after 4 weeks but very weak…its been 3 weeks out of hospital and now recovering well,walking unaided,eating well but memory still badly all drugs except prostrate drug finasteride although i’m convinced he dont need that and it was the statins affecting his prostrate and urinary tract.
    One of the biggest battles i had was fighting my close relatives who accused me of causing my dads stroke because i had taken him off statins last summer…never felt so alone in all my life so thank god there are sites like this..i’d of probably given up without them so thank you!

    • Steve..I am so sorry to hear of your Statin dilemma! We have been so BRAINWASHED to believe Statins actually prevent stroke and heart disease, that we begin to believe it. The science simply is NOT there. NEVER has ANY statin study shown any benefit to a patient older than 65.

      “Statins don’t increase survival in the elderly
      The only statin study dealing exclusively with seniors, the PROSPER trial, found that pravastatin did reduce the incidence of coronary mortality (death from heart disease). However, this decrease was almost entirely negated by a corresponding increase in cancer deaths. As a result, overall mortality between the pravastatin and placebo groups after 3.2 years was nearly identical.

      This is a highly significant finding since the rate of heart disease in 65-year old men is ten times higher than it is in 45-year old men. The vast majority of people who die from heart disease are over 65, and there is no evidence that statins are effective in this population.” Im sorry to hear your family is as brainwashed as the majority of the medical community…

  • Zoe, this is an outstanding review, thank you for it. I have ordered the Yoseph book. However, I have been following the Cholesterol controversy for years and already know how terrible Statins are. The evidence has been out there — what in the world do we have to do to wake up physicians and even Congress? Hit them over the head with a 2×4? I have lost all
    respect for medicine, the AMA, the FDA, the USDA, etc. for the network of collusion they have perpetrated, all in the name of profit. To have all respected mdical journals in on the collusion makes it nearly impenetrable. Our ruling elites want to fix the health care system (i.e. via Obamacare) when they really need to clean the houses of their own troubled and corrupt buracracies from the top down. As for the United States Congress, are they sleeping or what??

    • Hi Dr Ellen – you’ve made my day! For every individual who knows of this nonsense, ever doctor who knows this is worth many of us put together. You can make an even bigger difference by not perpetuating this crime. Thank you!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

    • If they are sleeping, they need to understand what their dreams (and nightmares) are telling them: “STOP THE MEDICAL MADNESS!!!!”

  • Thanks, Zoe,

    Yes, I have been convinced for about a decade that the cholesterol scare was a myth. And I was really lucky to get a quadruple bypass without having a heart attack ever. I got severe angina, had an angiogram, and three different hospitals, actually in three different countries, gave me around 6 months to live, so surgery was inevitable. No fun, but the alternative was no fun either.

    I believe in what you preach, and believe in principle in the Paleo diet (a.k.a. the new evolution diet), although I try not to be fanatic about it. So now i just need to solve the “communication problem” about cholesterol with my highly regarded US-educated cardiologist. I am an expat living in the Philippines, which by the way, overall, has excellent doctors and hospitals that cost around 1/4 of the US rates. But almost all doctors are “mainstream” as to their background and education.

    Thanks, and please fight on! Why not team up with e.g. Arthur De Vany? Your basic messages are almost identical, although he is too much of an exercise freak for my taste :-).

  • I have had a heart bypass, which was naturally blamed on lifelong high cholesterol (around 300 since age 30+), and for the last 16 years I have been prescribed statins. I stopped on my own for two weeks just to check the effect, and the Cholesterol went back to around 300 again. My cardiologist ordered me back on Lipitor.

    So now the question: What else can I take to keep my cardiologist happy and keep the total cholesterol at present 200-level? Any doctor who will see a 300-level cholesterol will jump on me. I have a very experienced cardiologist, whom I would happily trust with doing a second bypass if and when needed. But if I do not take my statins he will effectively wash his hands of any responsibility. So what can I do to stay around 200 without statins? I already take 100mg Q10 since many years back, and of course un-coated 100mg Aspirin since 16 years back.

    • Hi Henrik – what if your cardiologist thought that cholesterol is one of the most vital substances in the body – so vital that you die without it – and he knew the stuff in this blog post above and could not conceive of blocking your mevalonate pathway? What if he saw a cholesterol level of 300 (7.8 in UK speak) as not even that high (because it isn’t – it’s about where the average was before we mass medicated the ‘developed’ world). What if he appreciated that your body makes the cholesterol that it needs and that, if yours is higher than (say) mine, it is so for a reason? If you had a heart attack? (or did they just do a bypass because they measured arterial narrowing?) – this would have been the result of damage to the arterial wall. This post may help explain what might damage arteries and how narrowing can occur (

      You may have a hereditary condition but cholesterol is still not the problem – it’s part of your tool kit. If you have full blown Familial Hypercholesterolemia (and I would doubt this with cholesterol levels of 300) – this would indicate that Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) were not able to get to all cells in the body (because FH indicates a malfunction of the LDL receptor) and this would harm cells – including cells in the arteries and the heart. Cholesterol is at best a marker – never a culprit.

      This may help too

      Your problem is not cholesterol – your problem is having a cardiologist (who sounds better than many) who won’t do the things you may want/need him to do if you don’t do the one thing that he has been led to believe you should do. No doc would ever get a statin to pass my lips so I’ll be in big trouble if I develop heart disease! All the more reason to avoid sugar and manage stress :-)

      I really feel for you – good luck in educating the people who need to know
      Very best wishes – Zoe

      • Thanks for this. I really appreciate. I saw the cardiologist yesterday. He scared the F out of me. I had a by pass three months ago.

        And my wife begged me to see this preventative cardiologist.

        According to him my cholesterol is too high. And from a scan he did my artery in my neck has some build up. The artery wall is just less than one mm but the area where there is a problem is 1.2 mm. Evidence that I am not doing well.

        He prescribed a statin which I have decided not to take.

        My question: how do I get rid of the narrowing of the arteries?

        I may get the answer from the links above where you answered Hendrik.

        So happy to have found your blog.

    • Give up carbs, eat more healthy fats and forget about your cholesterol. Your other vitals will all improve.

  • lucky that i read this article thanks.can you comment on the fact that most of the doctors prescribe these drugs but they donot inform their patients about the bad effects

  • Pingback: vBlog – What is it? Cholesterol and Why it is GOOD. | Super Naturally Healthy with Kezia Hall

  • So basically, instead of trying to block the melavonate pathway, we should look for a way to expand it?

    Because this is how I understood the article.

    In other words, I now believe the Illuminati are real, and that they are trying to decrease the global population, all because of this article…

    And this is coming from a guy who considered Illuminati believers to be total whackos and idiots…

    • Hi Jeff – lucky that one made it through the spam filter! Happy to have it for others to learn more
      Best wishes – Zoe

  • I am a practice nurse in the Uk and am expected to trot out the low fat fallacy to everyone I meet. Needless to say I don,t. But what amazes me is that doctors, supposedly highly educated and well trained, (plus presumably well paid) don’t have this anatomy and physiology information at their fingertips. When I take my car to be fixed I trust the mechanic knows exactly how the engine works!

    • Hi Claire – how lovely to hear there is someone like you out there – if only there were more :-)
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • I stopped taking simvastatine a couple of months ago, since I became aware of the negative “side effects”. Statines are POISON! Indeed, doctors and hospitals don’t know what they are doing. I suffered a mild stroke 2 years ago, which affected the left half of my entire body (reduced strength and sensitivity). During the years before my stroke, I had tias almost everyday. The hospital concluded I had a leaking artery (hemorraghic), but after my stroke MRI scans showed this was not the case, my stroke was ischemic, and so where the tias. In other words, the hospital robbed me from the change to PREVENT my stroke by NOT prescribing medicin in order to solve the blockage in my brain artery. Later on they prescribed SIMVASTATINE. After the impact of the stroke diminished during two years, I stayed very tired and had muscle cramps almost daily. I also noticed reduced strength in my entire body after two years of taking simvastatine. I am slowly recovering now, no more daily cramps! Still taking blood thinner carbasalate calcium.

  • My husband and I live now in Finland and here things are exactly the same as in UK. My husband has inhereditary kidney disease and his last blood test showed that his creatin (spelling?) levels were high and so were his cholesterol levels. He has now received a letter from a doctor (who hasn’t even seen my husband) that he should start taking statins. What about his kidneys? Are they not worried? I am! His kidney problem is already causing him physical discomfort in his legs so I would think taking Statins would make that even worse. I have ordered the book in this review and also two books by Uffe Ravnskov. But it seems that we are fighting a losing battle here.

  • @Ulf… Ingen kan tvinga dig att ta någon form av medicin. Vill du inte ta dem ska du inte göra det. Biverkningarna av dem kan potentiellt bli riktigt allvarliga och nyttan av dem är… tveksam.

  • Man har ju haft sina funderingar jag äter statiner 40 mg lipitor ,har ätit statiner i 20 år och är 58 år . Jag gjorde en byepass 2006 hade då 4 förträngningar som man hittade vid ett arbetsprov , det betyder att jag har aldrig haft en infarkt, men är väldigt överviktig. Jag är nykter alkoholist sedan 2006 , slutade även samtidigt att röka och snusa, men gick sakta men säkert upp 30 kg, till 125 kg , har nu med LCHF gått ner och upp 20 kg 2gånger på 3 år. Jag väger nu 115 kg och är på väg neråt . Jag har sådan värk i mina ben dygnet runt och tror att det är från statinerna , skulle vilja sluta med dessa piller . Det hör till saken att min mamma säger att hon har FH , eftersom hennes mamma ( min mormor )hade FH . Jag har ett par morbröder som alla dog i hjärtinfarkt innan de fyllde 60 år och min mamma har haft 2 infarkter och gjort en byepass. Jag hade även en syster som var väldigt överviktig ( 135 kg ) hon fick en infarkt och dog i sömnen när hon var 48 år.
    Min doktor säger att jag ska äta dessa statiner men jag vill inte .

  • Wow. I’ve seen it suggested heart disease could be the result of a newly mutated infectious agent. It was largely unknown until the early 20th century, became hugely wide-spread with a high morbidity, and now seems to have run its course. Given cervical cancer is now recognized to be the result of a viral infection, it’s a plausible theory.

    As I understand it, the one group for which statins have been shown to be efficacious in controlled trials is middle-aged men with a prior history of myocardial infraction, for instance commenter Benny above.

    If we assume myocardial infraction is test positive for “cardiac infection,” and statins are powerful antibiotics, then yes, statins should work very well for that population. Very interesting! Of course the side-effects make them some very strong medicine, and taking them prophylactically is absolutely malpractice.

    • Hi Allan – one view of the one small part of the population where statins seem to have ‘an effect’ is that they have anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed drug cos have started talking about statins and arthritis, so I suspect they know a plausible mechanism. There are other ways of dealing with inflammation (which is a marker as well as a healing process as well as a problem) e.g. aspirin/ibuprofen – but these are not lucrative. If statins do impact inflammation then the cholesterol lowering is a serious side effect.
      Sounds like we’re kindred spirits on this one!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • Hi Zoe

    I suffer from FH, but not the extreme version. Can you clarify if your article/ the book is saying that no-one with FH would benefit from statins, or only those with the extreme version.


    • Hi Werner – I know my view and I suspect the Yosephs are the same – is that a statin would never pass my lips. Professor Tim Noakes puts it as – I would never prescribe a statin to a loved one. I cannot see how they can ever do anything other than serious harm. Making cholesterol is a life vital human pathway and we mess with it at our peril. FH is a condition of LDL receptor impairment – whether ‘extreme’ or partial – it still means that the main issue is that every cell in the body can’t receive the LDL that it needs to a greater or lesser extent. How can stopping cells from making their own cholesterol then help?! If we saw the high LDL in the blood stream as a marker and not a condition or a cause of anything – we would see FH in a very different light.

      The Uffe Ravnskov “Ignore the Awkward” book has some great evidence and references on studies of FH people and longevity – you might be pleasantly surprised!
      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • Hi Zoe: I couldn’t even think of writing a comment after first reading your review of this book. I was totally blown away and could only think: “Wow!” And now, in light of the fact that all of the excellent comments have expressed what I would have, I can only say thank you so very much for this amazing review. Also, like you, I know that I will never, ever allow a statin to pass my lips (or the lips of my loved ones if I have anything to do with it!). Keep up the good fight and thanks again!

  • it took just three years for statins to reduce my mothers brain to mush – she now lives in a nursing home unable to speak or understand language.
    There were plenty of warning signs, she became forgetful, her muscles cramped and ached, but the doctors fixed that with more drugs and pain killers. finally she started to have seizures and i stepped in and reviewed all her drugs (12 in all) via google. What i discovered horrified me, she was on 60mg of lipitor plus three other drugs that lowered blood pressure, her brain was essentially being starved of oxygen and nourishment.
    but it was too late, the damage was done. Now i will personally make it my life mission to warn other people about the dangers of statin drugs.

  • Excellent write-up; thanks. I knew statins blocked Q10, but didn’t know the rest of it. I’m looking forward (in a stunned and shocked way) to now reading the book. I keep banging on to people about not taking statins; now I can be better informed in my arguments.

  • Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative article. It would be really interesting to know if anyone who was in this conspiracy does, or if any of their family members have ever taking these drugs.

  • These researchers synthesized the statin trials which resulted in these numbers:
    After Statins taken for 5 years
    1 in 83 were helped (life saved)
    1 in 39 were helped (preventing non-fatal heart attack)
    1 in 125 were helped (preventing stroke)

    1 in 167 were harmed (develop diabetes*)
    1 in 10 were harmed (muscle damage)
    After Statins taken for 5 years
    None were helped (life saved)
    1 in 60 were helped (preventing heart attack)
    1 in 268 were helped (preventing stroke)

    1 in 67 were harmed (develop diabetes*)
    1 in 10 were harmed (muscle damage)


    So much spinning of humanities’ wheels distracting from finding viable therapies…

  • Great article! It’s amazing how many people take statin drugs and are oblivious to its harmful effects. What’s even more sad is that often times the statins are over-prescribed and patients could find a much safer alternative. I have been taking coq10 supplements instead of statin drugs and have noticed a great difference in my overall health for the better.

  • And how disappointed I was to hear even Michael Mosly state that he had decided to take statins
    himself afterall and in spite of all the conflicting information. True it was on his personal
    note, yet many people will only have heard him condoning the stuff in last week`s BBC programme
    Trust me I am a doctor. Dear Zoe, thank you so much for your work. I prefer to trust you more.

  • I had my triple heart by-pass cause my arteries were so plugged. I have crestor ( statins drug) in the medicine cabinet. We were told taking Crestor was the fix, now learn we were being lied to. What is the fix So what is one to do? What is the best path.

  • I am not a medical person just someone who does her best to live a healthy lifestyle. The more I read about statins the more I feel I wouldn’t want to take them. Many friends have been prescribed and have dutifully followed their Doctors advice. But if “Cholesterol is utterly life vital” are we really doing the right thing in taking statins?

    All the best Jan

  • Zoe,
    Thank you so much for bringing this book to my attention. I’m appalled. Recently my doctor said my cholesterol was high but she wasn’t going to prescribe anything just yet. I told her it was just as well, as I wouldn’t take anything anyway.

    I was wondering if you thought a layman such as myself could adequately understand this book, seeing as how it is aimed at medical professionals and lawyers. I noticed they have a “Made easier” version of the book for layman.

    I have read Good Calories/Bad Calories twice, and found some of it tough going, but mostly managed it fine.

    Thank you again.

    • Hi Eric – thank you SO much for sharing this second link. I’ll add it in to the main article – whichever one people get, it could help enormously.
      There’s also a shorter/simpler partner to Good Calories/Bad Calories also –

      I think we all find these tough going on first read – not least because they turn your belief system upside down. I remember when I first read Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s brilliant Great Cholesterol Con and I hadn’t even thought that there can’t be 2 versions of one chemical formula – this whole daft notion of good and bad cholesterol. You bang yourself on the head and wonder why you didn’t question it – but at least the smart people are reading and questioning now

      Very best wishes – Zoe

  • This is one of the scariest things I’ve read! The perpetrators of the statin scam should be prosecuted, or just put in front of the firing squad. They are killing millions. I stopped taking stations about a year ago, hope my body has healed! I had only been taking them for a few years. Now I’m concerned for my husband, he was taking them way before me, and takes them still. (A retired nurse) I’m doing my best to re educate him.

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