Dr Dingle's Blog / statin drugs

Low Omega 3 oils not cholesterol is a risk for heart disease.

Low Omega 3 oils not cholesterol is a risk for heart disease.

A recent large study of 2500 participants (mean age 66 years, 54% women), a higher Omega-3 Index was associated with significantly lower risks for total mortality, for non-CVD and non-cancer mortality, and for total CVD events. Those in the highest omega 3 levels compared to those in the lowest had a 34% lower risk for death from any cause and 39% lower risk for incident CVD. These associations were generally stronger for docosahexaenoic acid than for eicosapentaenoic acid. When total cholesterol was compared it was not significantly related with the health outcomes.

Early studies in the 1980s investigating Greenland Eskimos began the research into the benefits of the omega 3 fatty acids. In Greenland, the fatty acid intake from seafood is high and there is a lower prevalence of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Omega 3 has been shown in many studies to help inhibit and even reverse inflammation. The omega 3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flaxseed, butternuts, and fish oils have anti-inflammatory properties, decreasing the amount of arachidonic acid in cell membranes.

Several recent studies have linked higher blood levels and/or dietary intakes of the long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) with greater longevity. Blood omega 3 levels were inversely associated with total mortality rates in the Cardiovascular Health Study, and similar results were seen in the Heart and Soul Study. Consistent with this, there is an inverse relationship between the Omega-3 Index and the rate of telomere attrition, a marker of cellular aging.

Omega 3 fatty acids work through a number of mechanisms, each having different effects, to reduce inflammation. As well recent studies suggest that some of the beneficial effects of fish oil are due, in part, to their antioxidant benefit.

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Corruption in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Corruption in the Pharmaceutical Industry

If I was ever to create a business that made a lot of money I would first of all create a product that did not solve the problem but treated the symptoms. So people would use it repeatedly, preferably for the rest of their lives. I would then educate all the important people in this industry with a huge marketing budget that this is the only way to fix the problem. I would also educate them with a massive campaign that anything else is useless maybe even dangerous, even if it’s not. We would effectively control all of the media and marketing with a huge budget. We would also ensure that people who work in this area are educated only by us and taught no other paradigm and if they started to learn on their own they would be criticised and chastised. In fact they would even be taught by us that any alternatives are dangerous, whether they are or not. As is any form of alternative thinking.

We would be in control of the information and research and would be the only ones allowed to provide this to government for registration so we would effectively have a monopoly. Finally I would get the government to support everything we do and we would ensure that we have very close ties with the government. We would be in control of the information and research and would be the only ones allowed to provide this for government registration even if it was very biased.  We would also not be required to show any negative results unless they were explicitly asked for.  Even then we would try and hide them.

This sounds a little bit like the pharmaceutical companies who research their own product to convince the government it is true so they have a very strong vested interest to make sure the results are positive. And of course many of these companies have been caught out, but not all of them yet.  But even the ones caught out and where thousands of people may have died as a result the company still goes on selling other pharmaceutical products. It seems to be the only industry that you can kill and not only get away with it but stay in business and friends with the government. The people who work in the government regulating them regularly cross between industry and the government so if anyone in government wants to change jobs they are likely to go into industry and visa versa, another strong vested interest.

The vast majority of pharmaceutical drugs treat the symptoms of illness and not the illness. Cholesterol lowering drugs, for example may lower cholesterol but only have a minimal impact on lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke. But they do lower the cholesterol which is an indicator that there is a nutritional imbalance in the body. Cholesterol is only the messenger. By contrast, the right nutrition can lower cholesterol and reduced the risk of heart attack and stroke for the rest of your life.  A much better indicator of heart attack and stroke is low levels of omega 3 fish oils in the blood and to solve the problem all you need to do is increase sure omega 3 oil consumption. Unfortunately, there is no money to be made in nutrition and according to modern medicine it may even be harmful. There are however thousands of scientific publications every single year published in reputable journals highlighting the benefits of nutrition for treating all forms of chronic illness. Unfortunately, this does not get out to the public.

The doctors who blatantly prescribed these drugs are educated by the pharmaceutical companies during their university years and after in practice. While their degree contains hundreds of hours of education on pharmaceuticals there is nothing or next to nothing on nutrition and lifestyle. Despite the fact that science, not medicine, shows the majority of chronic illness is caused by lifestyle and nutrition factors. How can the doctors know about nutrition if they are not taught it. The doctors, as well as the public are then informed that the only way to treat the illness is with pharmaceutical drugs. There is rarely ever a mention of nutrition to treat chronic illnesses.  Some of these doctors and many of the scientists doing the research for the pharmaceutical companies also derive some direct and indirect benefit from the pharmaceutical companies. Any wonder some doctors prescribe a lot more pharmaceuticals than others.

All of these tactics reek of the tactics developed by the tobacco industry in the 1970s. Hopefully many of these pharmaceutical drugs that are over prescribed and have deadly side-effects will also go the same way as tobacco. Don’t get me wrong, there is a role for pharmaceutical support, but it comes after we have trained and educated all our medical staff about nutrition and lifestyle and the public are informed of the need for good nutrition in every meal and that there is no silver bullet.

 

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Cholesterol research myths

Cholesterol research myths

An interesting dimension of pharmaceutical companies’ practices is that the same corrupt drug companies that reap money from drugs conduct the research, pay the researchers and control the research—including what is and is not published. Drug companies engage in censorship, bribery, corruption, fraud, suppression of negative studies and all varieties of unscrupulous tactics to sell their products; there are literally hundreds of studies that demonstrate this. At the simplest level, most medical research is financed by pharmaceutical companies seeking support for drugs that are either on the market or in development.

Recently, I wrote a couple of blogs that described the problems with the JUPITER study.  The independent analysis of the same date showed no benefit and more importantly it bought into question the strong vested interests sponsoring the study.  What was also neglected in the reports on the original JUPITER study was that it showed an increase in the risk of various side-effects including diabetes. But the biggest problem with the JUPITER study was the study itself. Most people assume  that science is pure and there is not going to be any research bias. This is not the case and certainly not the case with JUPITER trial. First of all the exclusion criteria was very lengthy and contained common conditions including postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy, past or current use of lipid lowering therapy, diabetes, liver disease, uncontrolled hypertension, cancer within five years, hypothyroidism, recent history of alcohol or drug abuse or other medical condition that might compromise the successful completion of the study, inflammatory conditions including severe arthritis lupus or inflammatory bowel disease and so on.  That means a lot of people, average people could not be included in the study and its selected specifically to achieve a specific outcome.

In an earlier study called the CORONA trial they looked the same drug over a period of 32.8 months and found while it significantly lowered LDL cholesterol, similar to those reported in the JUPITER trial, it performed no better than a placebo on the primary outcome, deaths from cardiovascular causes, non-fatal MI and non-fatal stroke. There was also no difference between the drug and placebo cardiovascular cause, or cause death, or any coronary events.

This was further compounded by the fact that the JUPITER study was supposed to go of 3-4 years however was terminated at 1.9 years while some of the results appeared positive.  You can’t change a study half way through it just because you might show some positive results.

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Lowering cholesterol is not the answer

Lowering cholesterol is not the answer

Of the last 50 years we have seen a decrease in saturated fat, salt and cholesterol levels yet we continue to see increases in cardiovascular disease. We are doing more than ever before but still the disease continues to increase. Fortunately there appears to be the decreases in deaths as a result of cardiovascular disease primarily due to the early intervention once someone has had a heart attack or stroke. Because we have been targeting at risk population we would expect to see a decrease in cardiovascular disease within a few years of any program yet more people have heart attacks and strokes than ever before.

Maybe the time has come to separate out all the vested interests and silver bullet solutions and deal with the problem. Already in previous articles I have described to you that cholesterol is not the killer it is just a messenger. It is like a warning light on the car. When the light comes on you can fix the problem before it gets any worse, or you can get some tape and cover it over. Unfortunately we have become very adept at covering our own personal health warning light.

The reason we have become so fixated with lowering cholesterol is that it is a multi-billion-dollar industry in Australia alone. The costs of the drugs to the public and individuals is estimated to be about $1.5 billion each year. Add on to that the cost of monitoring and all the blood checks, another billion dollars then you can understand why it is almost impossible to stop this juggernaut. There is just too much money invested in it. Then you also have two consider all the cholesterol lowering foods, the claims made and organisations involved and you realise that the total is probably closer to $10 billion each year.

The outcome we are after is the lowering of cardiovascular disease not cholesterol. If we have not succeeded at this then we need to go back to the drawing board and start again and not just reinvent another cholesterol theory or a new cholesterol-lowering drug. The last 30 years has been an abject failure that has cost a fortune in money and lives.

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More cholesterol deception

More cholesterol deception

An old but worthwhile article by Duff Wilson, March 30, 2010 in the The New York Times “Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use in Healthy People” highlights yet again the fatal flaws we have in promoting cholesterol lowering drugs.

The study Duff Wilson reports on found a 55 percent reduction in heart attacks, 48 percent reduction in stroke, and a 45 percent reduction in angioplasty bypass surgery. Sounds good doesn’t it? Unfortunately it is another example of statin statistics where they are not giving you all the real information and what they are giving you is designed to mislead everyone (especially doctors who don’t know how to read stats).

The actual rate of heart attacks was only 0.37 percent, or 68 patients out of 8,901 who took the placebo (a sugar pill). Those who took the statin (Crestor) dropped to 0.17 percent, or 31 patients. That is a 55 percent relative risk reduction but only 0.2 percentage real (or absolute) risk reduction — or 2 people out of 1,000. That is 500 people need to be treated with the statin for a year to avoid one usually survivable heart attack. Doesn’t sound so good any more does it? The stroke numbers were similar. This is considered statistically significant but nowhere near clinically significant and well below the real reduction of 50% people expect to get from a drug. In fact 2500 times less than what the public expect. The most ridiculous part of all this is that 7 grams of almonds will give 2-4 times the benefit of the drug. At $3.50 a pill, to prescribe the statin for 500 people for a year would be $638,000 to prevent one heart attack. At that price you could have free almonds for everyone, gym membership and personal coaching thrown in for a year. My option of course would not only reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke a lot more but also reduce all chronic illness and save hundreds of lives out of 500 people. Where has all the common sense gone.

 

If you want the full article go to http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/business/31statins.html

 

Please copy this blog and send it on to everyone you know

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Big studies are the first hint that statin drugs don’t work

Big studies are the first hint that statin drugs don’t work

The first hint that the statin drugs don’t save lives is the size of the studies. If the drugs were so effective and the “miracle drugs” they are made out to be, researchers could treat 100 or maybe even 20 patients and see a benefit. Yet these meta-analyses use thousands of people—10,000, 50,000 or even 90,000—treated to show a benefit. If it is so good why do they need such large samples?

 

As readers of the scientific journals we should not get confused between statistical significance and clinical significance. “Statistically significant” means that the outcome was likely (95% chance) a result of the treatment whether it was 100% effective or less than 0.1% effective. That is, if you treat 1,000 people to save one life (0.1%) it may be statistically significant but it is not clinically significant. Clinical significance is 20% to 30% or more. The best studies on statins by the drug companies report statistical significance, mostly 1% or less, and none at all have so far found any clinical significance. Obviously, they should not be used.

 

Unfortunately, busy medical professionals don’t have time to review the statistics and few of them are actually aware of the different ways the statistics can be manipulated.

 

 

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Statin drugs do not work

Statin drugs do not work

The statin drugs are effective at around 1%. That is you have to treat 100 people to prevent one heart attack. This is not very effective, in fact it is ridiculously ineffective. Other than what I have been writing over the last year to verify this all need to do is go to the Pfizer (who make Lipitor) website and look for a table in a document titled “Product Information Lipitor” which presented the following table.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

LIPITOR®(atorvastatin)

Endpoint

LIPITOR 10mg N(%)

Placebo N(%)

Absolute Risk Reductiona %(95%CI)

Number Needed to Treat Per Year

Relative Risk Reduction %(95%CI)

P value

Primary

Fatal CHD and Non-fatal MI

100 (1.9)

154 (3.0)

1.07

(0.47 to 1.67)

310.5

36 (17 to 50)

0.0005

Secondary

Total Cardiovascular Events Including Revascularisation Procedures

Total Coronary Events

Fatal and Non-fatal Stroke

Non-fatal MI (excludes Silent MI) and Fatal CHD

 

387 (7.6)

 

 

178 (3.5)

89 (1.7)

86 (1.7)

 

483 (9.5)

 

 

247 (4.8)

119 (2.3)

137 (2.7)

 

1.9 (0.08 to 2.96)

 

 

1.4 (0.06 to 2.14)

0.06 (0.05 to 1.14)

1.0 (0.42 to 1.56)

 

176.0

 

 

241.9

555.2

329.1

 

20 (9 to 30)

 

 

29 (14 to 41)

26 (2 to 44)

38 (19 to 53)

 

0.0008

 

 

0.0006

0.0332

0.0005

aBased on difference in crude events rate occurring over a medium follow-up of 3.3years.

Version : pfplipit10708                                                                        Commercial/Non-Commercial

 

The table is duplicated here exactly as it appears on the Pfizer website. It is the research on taking 10 mg of Lipitor. It shows in the fourth column the “Absolute Risk Reduction” of between 0.06% and 1.9%, that is, very low real risk reduction. In the sixth column it shows the relative risk reduction of between 20% and 38%, which looks so much better but is really misleading. This is where the doctors get confused. They think it is the absolute risk reduction. The fifth column, “Number Needed to Treat Per Year,” is the most telling as it shows to have a single effect you need to treat between 176 and 555.2 people, depending on the outcome desired. That is a lot of people have to be taking this drug to stop one heart attack or possibly save a single life. Levels like this are not clinically significant and do not warrant taking this drug. To be clinically significant it needs to be an absolute risk of 25-30%, not 1 or 2%. I know it sounds a bit repetitive but you can get a much greater effect with only a small change in your diet.

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Cholesterol is good for you

Cholesterol is good for you

Not only is cholesterol not the enemy, but also it is essential to good health and wellbeing. Every cell in the body needs cholesterol in its membrane, where cholesterol plays a critical role in cell communication. Without cholesterol, cell membranes are incomplete and, as a result, their functional role deteriorates. Cholesterol is also used in the mitochondria of the cell and plays a vital role in cell energy production—not to mention its essential role in the brain structure and function. Cholesterol is the starting material of many essential chemicals including vitamin D, steroid hormones and the bile acids necessary for digestion.

For major drug companies, convincing the public that lower cholesterol levels equal good health is a marketing scheme. The goal of these companies is not your good health; it’s their profits. This “marketing messaging” has gone too far, especially considering that recent studies show that cholesterol may have protective properties against cancer.

Cholesterol is the most abundant organic molecule in the brain which contains almost a quarter of the unesterified cholesterol present in the entire body. In 2001, in groundbreaking research and with media fanfare, cholesterol was identified as the synaptogenic factor that is responsible for the development of synapses, the connections in the brain. The glial cells of the central nervous system that perform the housekeeping functions in the brain produce their own cholesterol for the specific purpose of providing nerve cells with the vital component required for synapse function. Cholesterol is also required for the function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical in our brain that makes us feel happy. Low cholesterol level has been associated with mortality due to suicides and accidental deaths

A thirty-year study published in 1987 provides evidence that elevated cholesterol in people over the age of 50 does not increase the risk of heart attack. Cholesterol levels of people free of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer were measured; the study found that there was no increase in death rate in those with high cholesterol. Research on the effects of cholesterol levels and age shows that high cholesterol levels in people over the age of 75 are protective, not harmful. A separate study published in the European Heart Journal (1997) found that the risk of cardiac death was the same in groups of people with low or normal cholesterol levels as those with high cholesterol.

Maybe we need to rethink the billions of dollars we spend each year on drugs that lower cholesterol and spend the money on the real risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease: our lifestyles and choices, including nutritional and environmental factors that increase inflammation.

Stay tuned because there is more to come over the next weeks.

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Cholesterol: It’s Not the Killer

Cholesterol: It’s Not the Killer

Since the advent of cholesterol lowering drugs cholesterol has become “public enemy number one” and has taken nearly all the blame for the increase in CVD. Unfortunately this has led to a lot of misinformation and misdirection in treating the real illness of CVD and its causes.

The current ideology is far from the truth and can be dangerous—particularly since the overwhelming current evidence points to CVD as a result of poor lifestyle and dietary choices that lead to inflammation. In reality, CVD is now recognized as a disease of low-grade chronic inflammation of the vascular lining and an inappropriate wound healing of blood vessels. There is now extensive and growing evidence that inflammation is central to all stages of this disease, from the initial lesion to end-stage thrombotic complications. CVD is not a disease of cholesterol or even cholesterol accumulation.

Cholesterol is associated with the risk of CVD but it is not the disease. The cholesterol levels measured at the doctor’s office and in most studies are blood cholesterol levels and are representative of liver function . Cholesterol is a symptom of an underlying health problem. It predicts less than 35% of cardiovascular disease.  The only reason we try to get it down is because a drug company can make money selling drugs.

Along with other signalling molecules, insulin controls the packaging of cholesterol and triglycerides into LDL (low-density lipoproteins), VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins), HDL (high-density lipoproteins) and other lipoproteins. Glucagon (a hormone secreted by the pancreas) inhibits the enzyme and insulin activates the enzyme. To control cholesterol production, you want to increase glucagon and decrease insulin. That is, consume only low GI foods.

There is also strong evidence that stress increases a person’s inflammatory markers and cholesterol. One possibility may be that stress encourages the body to produce more energy in the form of metabolic fuels—fatty acids and glucose.

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