cholesterol as the villain in heart disease not only ignores the lack of
evidence for such a connection, but also ignores its importance in
the functioning of the human body. Certainly very high cholesterol is indicative
of problems in body balance, but choosing lower and lower levels to vilify is,
in my opinion, dangerous in the extreme.
The Health Ranger,
now at http://www.naturalnews.com/,
puts it well, in his Health Fictionary:
Spontaneous mass diagnosis - The process
of redefining health in order to instantly label as many consumers as possible
with a fictitious disease. Spontaneous mass diagnosis works by moving the
goalposts that define a disease state. A "normal" level of LDL
cholesterol used to be 130. Last year, a panel of corrupt medical decision
makers with under-the-table financial ties to drug companies spontaneously
decided that "normal" LDL cholesterol should be 100. Overnight, ten
million more Americans were suddenly afflicted with the fictitious disease of
high cholesterol. And the treatment for this spontaneous disease? Statin
drugs, of course. The aim of Big Pharma is to make sure everyone fits the
definition of at least one disease, because the prescription drug lords know
that once a person gets on one prescription drug, the inevitable side effects
will create other health problems that need to be treated with even more
drugs. Instant recurring revenue! Now that's a clever marketing plan!
Proper diet and correct exercise
will usually mean balanced cholesterol. Not only is that
true, but there is increasing controversy, even among main stream Doctors, as to
whether cholesterol is actually the villain it is made out to be: an
article in USA Today in July 2004 quoted Dr. C. Ballantyne, cardiologist
at Baylor School of Medicine as saying "The majority of people who end
up having heart attacks or stroke don't have high cholesterol."
It is also instructive to realize that most of the vocal experts recommending
the use of statins to bring about lower and even lower levels of cholesterol,
have very intimate financial ties to the companies making the drugs - I could
not put it better than Jenny Thompson from HSI - go
here for her report. http://www.hsibaltimore.com/ealerts/ea200307/ea20030717.html
in 2005 shed more light on other possible causes of heart
disease. Clay Semenkovich of the Washington University School of Medicine
in St. Louis, Mo., does not accept the cholesterol/heart disease connection, but
suggests that with age, the energy producing mechanisms in the mitochondria of
the cells become less efficient. This allows highly re-active oxygen
species to leak into the blood stream, causing damage to the walls of the blood
This makes cholesterol a conundrum. Good
cholesterol is essential to many body functions, including the very ability of
our cells to reproduce, to take in and eliminate nutrients, and yet at the same
time, a substance which, in excess, appears to lead to early disease and death.
The question is, how do we control the bad, without causing a deficiency of the
good, and evidence shows the answer is generally not medicinal drugs: my
feeling has always been that many of these drugs were put on the market before
we knew the full extent of the damage they might do at the cellular level.
We can only be grateful, however, that
we live in an age when tests are available that enable us to find out where we
stand: in years gone by, we would not have known to take evasive action. There
are also tests now to ascertain Homocysteine levels, perhaps an
even greater indicator of risk for cardiovascular problems - and possibly
Alzheimer's disease, too. C reactive protein, a marker of
inflammation, also needs to be considered. However, on the principle that
any imbalance in a body system requires adjustment, cholesterol and
triglycerides that are extremely high should be addressed.
One of our major
liver, is key to
the proper control of cholesterol,
and because of the many insults it suffers
from faulty diet, toxins, harmful (hepatotoxic) medications, it is often
functioning at less than optimal levels. I strongly recommend the use of milk
thistle or artichoke extracts, sometimes with other important liver protective
herbs, to enhance liver function in people suffering from faulty cholesterol
metabolism, particularly if they are on medication.
evidence linking success with diet,
a perfectly safe approach - is incontrovertible.
high in fruits, grains and
low in animal protein (or eliminating it
may by itself not lower blood
cholesterol levels all the way, but studies have been done that indicate this
step alone can add over 3 years to one's life-span. Additional steps which will
help you achieve total success are
to eliminate hydrogenated oils and
trans fatty acids from your menu (i.e. margarine and crisco)
eat fish once a week at least (or,
in view of reports of high mercury levels, use a supplement)
eat oat bran for breakfast
add apples, pears, grapefruit or
oranges daily (they are high in a miracle substance called pectin
: a study at the Clinic of Cardiology in 1988 found that 15 gms of citrus
pectin per day reduced cholesterol counts by 10%!)
lower your caffeine and alcohol
intake (in other words, using my favorite word, Moderation!)
eat more garlic and onions
season with cayenne pepper and
ginger (not necessarily both at once)
and add daily exercise to your
Make sure also that you are drinking an
adequate amount of water - put simply, this dilutes the constituents in the
Lowered cholesterol will not be your only
benefit under these changes, believe me.
Why is it important to limit
trans fatty acids?
A report released by the Institute of Medicine
on July 11th 2002 says it all: "It is recommended that trans
fatty acid consumption be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally
adequate diet," a panel of experts stated, noting that trans
fatty acids are known to increase blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, while
lowering levels of high-density lipoprotein.
There is increasingly strong evidence
suggesting that high cholesterol levels may be related to a fatty acid
deficiency/imbalance, and that taking moderate amounts of "good fats"
may actually help lower cholesterol. The oils usually mentioned are flax,
olive and fish oil, but perhaps we need to add
Nuts Lower Cholesterol in Men...Macadamia
nut consumption may help reduce cholesterol levels in men, according to a
study published in a recent Journal of Nutrition (2003,
vol.133:1060-1063). In the study, 17 men with high cholesterol incorporated
macadamia nuts into their diets for four weeks. The amount of nuts eaten was
between 1.5 and three ounces per day, which equaled roughly 15 percent of the
men's total daily calories. Total cholesterol levels decreased by three
percent and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was 5.3 percent lower by
the end of the trial than at the beginning. Researchers also observed that
high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol rose eight percent.
A handful of almonds a day, with their oils
rich in vitamin E, can also beneficially affect cholesterol levels.
Interestingly, Dr. D'Adamo
mentions in his book, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, that some blood
type O individuals can lower their cholesterol by adding meat protein
to their diet. This is an approach that obviously requires the
supervision of a knowledgeable health professional, but I append the
information here as an illustration of the extreme INDIVIDUALITY of health
problems! I also am appending some information on a recent study, which I
found on www.mercola.com
Most African populations are blood type O.
A study of
nomadic tribes in Africa suggests that people who combine a
diet rich in saturated fat but low in total calories with vigorous
exercise may not be damaging their hearts as much as previously
their fatty diets, the Fulani of
Nigeria had healthy cholesterol levels. The researchers suggest the
finding can be attributed to the population's high activity level,
low-calorie intake and lack of smoking. I would add that the type of
fat was also a factor. I doubt they had access to trans fatty
acids, for example!
Researchers took blood samples from 121
Fulani men and women aged 15 to 77 and measured total, LDL
("bad") and HDL ("good") cholesterol, as well as
several vitamins, and homocysteine -- a protein associated with heart
disease risk. They also assessed the population's nutrient intake.
Overall, men consumed about about 1,670
calories -- and women consumed about 1,485 calories -- of which nearly
one-half came from fat. And about half of total fat calories were
derived from saturated fat. In the US, individuals are advised to
consume no more than 30% of their calories from fat, of which no more
than 10% should come from saturated fat.
The dietary protein content of the
Fulani was also found to be higher than US-recommended levels. Women
derived about 16% and men derived about 20% of their calories from
protein. US dietary guidelines advise that no more than 15% of daily
calories come from protein.
What's more, the typical Fulani diet
contained only one third of the level of folate recommended in the US
and lower-than-recommended levels of vitamins C and B-6. These
vitamins have been linked to a protective effect on the heart.
Despite all of this, participants'
average levels of total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol fell within US
recommended levels, while average LDL fell below recommended levels.
The average body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight and height, was
about 20. A BMI of at least 25 is generally considered to be
Despite a diet high in saturated fat,
Fulani adults have a lipid profile indicative of a low risk of
cardiovascular disease. This finding is likely due to their high
activity level and their low total energy intake.
It is not clear why a diet rich
in fat and saturated fat was not associated with elevated cholesterol
and heart disease risk but the authors suggest that an overall
low intake of calories and a lifestyle marked by physical activity and
no tobacco use mitigates the effects of such a diet.
They also note that most of the current
recommendations regarding heart disease risk factors are based on
studies conducted in Western nations, where the majority of
individuals are relatively sedentary. Studies on populations such as
the Fulani are rare.
The researchers conclude that the
findings with the Fulani do not support the dogma of the past 50 years
that high-fat diets necessarily raise cholesterol concentrations.
Journal of Clinical Nutrition December 2001;74:730-736
study has some encouraging information
for post-menopausal women with high cholesterol.
Dr. Arjmandi, PhD of Oklahoma State
University conducted a double- blind crossover study, using 38 women with
extremely high cholesterol levels. For 6 weeks, they were fed either bread or
muffins with a 38 gram content of either sunflower seed or flaxseed meal(whole flaxseeds are not digestible). It turned out that flaxseed
lowered total cholesterol by 6.9%, and LDL by 14.7%. Perhaps even more
important, a marker for heart disease which increases after menopause, called
(a), or Lp(a), was also lowered: Until now, the only control for Lp(a),
which is implicated in increased clotting of the blood and atherosclerotic
deposits on artery walls , has been estrogen supplementation. This is the first
time a dietary factor has been uncovered. Researchers hypothesize that the lignans
in flax act on lipids as a phytoestrogen. Speaking of women and high
cholesterol, it is interesting to note that there is a high cholesterol/low
thyroid connection. Obviously not only women have low thyroid problems, but many
more do than men: there appears to be a hormone connection which I
theorize may be aggravated by birth control pills and HRT. If you do
suspect this may be a problem for you, have it checked and consider some natural
measures for thyroid support.
I have been concerned for years about the
effects of the Statin family of drugs - lovastatin being the most common - on
levels of CoQ10 in the body. Statins can deplete CoQ10
and low levels of CoQ10 can damage the heart. This article by Dr. Langsjoenlays it on the line:
CARDIOMYOPATHY -INTRODUCTION TO THE CITIZEN’S
PETITION ON STATINS By Peter H. Langsjoen, MD
The medical profession has, after more
than 30 years of excellent propaganda, successfully created the wholly
iatrogenic - "pseudo-disease" dubbed "hypercholesterolemia"
and the associated malady "cholesterol neurosis". After
decades of dismal failure to cure this "disease" of numbers
with low fat diets and a host of cholesterol lowering drugs, the
medical profession stumbled upon the magic bullet, the cure for this
dreaded artificial disease - statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors).
First released on the US market in 1987, statins have rapidly grown
into one of the most widely prescribed class of drugs in history.
Statins do three things:
1. They block the body's ability to make
cholesterol, thus lowering the blood level of cholesterol, thereby
curing cholesterol neurosis. Doctors and patients equally neurotic
have immediate gratification. The "evil" high cholesterol
has been dramatically lowered and the future is bright and promising.
So far...so good.
2. Unrelated to their cholesterol
lowering, statins have been found to have anti-inflammatory,
plaque-stabilizing properties which have a slight benefit in
coronary heart disease.
3. Statins kill people - lots of people
- and they wound many, many more. All patients taking statins become
depleted in Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), eventually - those patients who
start with a relatively low CoQ10 levels (the elderly and patients
with heart failure) begin to manifest signs/symptoms of CoQ10
deficiency relatively rapidly - in 6 to 12 months. Younger, healthier
people who's only "illness" is the non-illness "hypercholesterolemia"
can tolerate statins for several years before getting into trouble
with fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness (usually with normal muscle
enzyme CPK tests) and most ominously - heart failure.
In my practice of 17 years in Tyler,
Texas, I have seen a frightening increase in heart failure secondary
to statin usage, "statin cardiomyopathy". Over the past five
years, statins have become more potent, are being prescribed in higher
doses, and are being used with reckless abandon in the elderly and in
patients with "normal" cholesterol levels. We are in the
midst of a CHF epidemic in the US with a dramatic increase over the
past decade. Are we causing this epidemic through our zealous use of
statins? In large part I think the answer is yes. We are now in a
position to witness the unfolding of the greatest medical tragedy of
all time - never before in history has the medical establishment knowingly
(Merck & Co., Inc. has two 1990 patents combining CoQ10 with
statins to prevent CoQ10 depletion and attendant side effects) created
a life threatening nutrient deficiency in millions of otherwise
healthy people, only to then sit back with arrogance and horrific
irresponsibility and watch to see what happens - as I see two to three
new statin cardiomyopathies per week in my practice, I cannot help but
view my once great profession with a mixture of sorrow and contempt.
Statin-induced CoQ10 depletion is the
topic of a recent petition to the FDA requesting that this
drug/nutrient interaction be identified in a black box warning as part
of statin package insert information. A comprehensive review of animal
and human trials addressing this issue has been submitted to the FDA
as a supporting document. We, of course, do not expect any response
from the FDA, but 10 years from now when the full extent of statin
toxicity becomes painfully evident, at least we can, in good
conscience, know that we tried and who knows, sometimes small sparks
may spread in dry grass.
For the Citizen's petition to
the FDA he mentions, see RESOURCES.
For information on a possible connection between statins and Parkinson's
disease, see RESOURCES
Now it appears that statins
also INCREASE deposits of calcium in the arteries: this makes me wonder
whether perhaps they have a magnesium depleting effect as well: magnesium
is involved in many of the essential enzyme activities in the body. Time
will tell what the actual physiological pathway is, but in the meantime this is
another alarming danger for elderly people using statin drugs... excess calcium
is proposed as posing a 17 fold greater risk for heart attacks, and along with
LDL levels, is one of the two most definitive signs of a possible heart attack.
The most terrifying aspect
of the loosening of the regulations in the UK, where statins are now available
over the counter, and the increased prescribing of the drugs here, is that the
effect on women of child bearing age is not considered.
This is what Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
has to say about the threat:
We are sleep-walking into what could be a major
medical disaster. Most people, and most doctors, are unaware – or
don’t seem to care – that statins should never ever be taken by a
women of child-bearing age. The risk, it would seem, is greater than
that posed by thalidomide, and no-one seems to be the least bit
bothered. ‘Yeh, whatever.’
Yet, when statins go OTC it is absolutely certain that women of
childbearing age will take them, knowing nothing of this risk. It is
equally certain that a number of these women will become pregnant, and
many of these pregnancies will result in horribly deformed children.
How can this possibly be allowed to happen? I can only suppose that it
is because everyone believes statins to be utterly safe and cuddly.
‘Statins, why they can’t do any harm. They are safer than aspirin
Left arm: aplasia of radius and thumb, shortened ulna; additional
VACTERL (vertebral, anal, cardiac, tracheal, esophageal, renal and
limb defects): left arthrogryposis, thoracic scoliosis, fusion of ribs
on left, butterfly vertebra in thoracic and lumbar region, esophageal
stricture, anal atresia, renal dysplasia; additional findings:
hemihypertrophy of entire left side, craniofacial anomalies (including
asymmetric ears, ptosis of eyelids, high arched palate), torticollis.
I am quite certain that many of you won’t know what some of these
defects actually are; neither do I. Arthrogryposis….. isn’t that
the fabled winged beast in Harry Potter?
But these defects shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise. Cholesterol
is essential for the development of neural tissue, so we should expect
to find that if the mother is taking a drug that inhibits cholesterol
synthesis at a time when the fetus is developing – horrible
developmental abnormalities will occur. Such as failure of the brain
to develop in the right way, or duplication of the spinal cord.
For more complete details of the birth defects caused by statins
consider reading the New England Journal of Medicine, April 8, 2004:
pages 1579 – 1582. It’s a letter by Robin J Edison and Maximilian
Dr. Kendrick writes for http://www.redflagsweekly.com/index.html
Yeast Extractsare still
which contain naturally occurring Statins.
They are just not allowed to label the main
ingredient with its correct name! Studies in China have shown no toxic effects,
and a UCLA study showed no toxic effects on the liver (American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition 2/99) but it would still be wise, in my opinion, to take
extra CoQ10 when using them. Politics is playing a part in the availability of
Red Yeast Rice: the companies that make the statin drugs are fighting
mightily to make it unavailable to the public, since enormous profits are at
stake. Any company that made a formula containing Red Yeast Rice,
and used a name on the bottle that suggested a cholesterol connection, or any
Company which stated the percentage of statins in the product, has been enjoined
from selling Red Yeast Rice. Nature's Plus fortunately
did neither of these things, and I have (for the moment at least) Red
Yeast Rice available from that Company.
Speaking of the statin drugs, a new study
suggests that long-term use of them may increase the probability of developing
peripheral neuropathy - "of 166 cases of first-time idiopathic neuropathy,
35 were classified as definite, 54 as probable and 77 as possible cases. Nine of
those diagnosed with neuropathy had taken statins, with an average use duration
of 2.8 years. Compared with controls, the statin users had a 14.2-fold risk of
developing neuropathy classified as definite, and a 3.7-fold risk of developing
neuropathy of any classification. "(Neurology.
2002;58:1333-1337) Doctors feel that the benefits of using
statins still outweigh the risks, the study concludes. How do we feel??
Statins are not the only cholesterol lowering
drug with nutritional consequences: cholestyramine (brand names Questran®,
LoCholest®®, and Prevalite®) can reduce the absorption of
vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins. Recent research on Vitamin D ,
showing its importance in osteoporosis, cardiovascular health and anti-cancer
benefits, must lead us to conclude that this is significant.
can be very successful to clear existing cholesterol from the liver, and
Red Yeast Rice to prevent future high levels.
However, as is often the case, when one possibility becomes hard
to implement, another springs up. Much attention is now focused on POLICOSANOL
as a cholesterol inhibitor. This substance is derived (in its
most effective form) from sugar cane or rice, and also works by inhibiting the
HMG-CoA-reductase enzyme in the liver. A recent study compared the effects
of this new supplement with a statin drug called fluvastatin, and found that
after 4 weeks, it was as effective, while after 8 weeks, it was superior.
The drug lowered cholesterol readings by 16.7%, and the Policosanol
by 19.3. Not only that, but LDL was also lowered more by the latter, and HDL
raised. This study was published in Clinical Drug Investigations, 2001;21:103-13.
Similar studies have brought the same results with other satin drugs, such as
lovastatin and simstatin. As a bonus, it is also suggested that
Policosanol acts as an antioxidant, and can inhibit lipid oxidation , giving
extra cardiovascular protection by these means. Policosanol has been
studied extensively for safety, and the most note-worthy finding is that even at
aggressively high doses no changes have been seen in the liver. I feel,
however, that it might still be wise to accompany it with CoQ10!
If your numbers are really high, there are
some other supplements that can be of help: an Ayurvedic herb called Guggul
(which is actually Myrrh - maybe the Wise Men were really on to something),
lowers both cholesterol and triglycerides. And if you don't like to cook with
garlic and cayenne, these can be found in pill form. A good, high potency
multivitamin should be considered, with extra Vitamin E, and last but definitely
not least, a form of no-flush niacin called Inositol Hexaniacinate, which is
both inexpensive and non-toxic. This is what Dr. Whitaker calls "the best
single magic bullet for cholesterol." Combined with chromium, some studies
have found it even more effective. Recent research has found a substance called
"Chitin" to be extremely helpful for the control both
of high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. It is a fiber extracted from the
exoskeletons of shellfish which has many health benefits. Another big boy on the
block, recommended first by Dr. Atkins, is Pantethine. This is
the active form of pantothenic acid, and a component of Co-enzyme A (CoA).
900 mg of this supplement per day will promote proper fat and cholesterol
metabolism (Dr. Murray) , while also inhibiting manufacture of cholesterol in
the liver. It is virtually guaranteed to improve blood levels of cholesterol and
New studies (Am J Med
2002;112:343-347 have shown a correlation between Calcium
levels in post-menopausal women, and satisfactory levels of HDL - here's
another reason to make sure you are getting enough Calcium!
Doctors are finally becoming
aware of the danger in the elderly
of lowering cholesterol too far
A study in the Lancet
(2001; 358:351-355) states that their study confirms previous findings of
increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and shows that
long-term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases risk
of death. In fact, they suggest that the earlier the age at which low
cholesterol findings is shown, the greater the risk of premature mortality.
Because of this the authors suggest not lowering cholesterol below 4.65 mmol/L
in seniors, but taking a "more conservative approach". A recent (Epidemiology
2001 Mar;12:168-72) Note also that a study of elderly French women living
in a nursing home showed that those with the highest cholesterol levels lived
the longest (The Lancet, 4/22/89).
The death rate was more than five times higher for women with very low
I find, too, that there is distressingly an increasing
tendency to treat cholesterol that is above OPTIMAL, but still below normal -
see chart above right.
A Canadian study found that those in the
lowest quarter of total cholesterol concentration had more than six times the
risk of committing suicide as did those in the highest quarter. I would
suspect a link to depression also in those using cholesterol lowering drugs for
a long period of time. This effect persisted after the exclusion from the
analysis of the first 5 years of follow-up and after the removal of those who
were unemployed or who had been treated for depression.
These data indicate that low
serum total cholesterol level is associated with an increased risk of
There is also very little mention of the risk
of Global Temporary Amnesia. once a medical rarity, now an increasing
problem with the stronger Statin drugs. I quote from Dr. Graveline (see RESOURCES
for more text)
IS TRANSIENT GLOBAL AMNESIA?
The syndrome of transient global amnesia was first presented to the medical
literature by Bender in the Journal of the Hillside Hospital in 1956. Since
that time it has become a well-described condition whose etiology still
remains an enigma. Usually transient global amnesia occurs in otherwise
healthy, middle-aged or elderly people. The onset is abrupt, without the
slightest warning to the patient that a central nervous system catastrophe is
about to strike. Suddenly they are without the ability to formulate new
memories, a condition known as anterograde amnesia. Any sensory input during
this time will be preserved briefly, if at all, only to disappear completely
and forever, as if it never happened. Although consistently aware of their own
identities, patients are often perplexed as to their surroundings and the
identity of those around them. Characteristically these patients question
those present repetitively about where they are and what is happening but are
unable to remember any explanation. To the consternation and ultimate
frustration of doctors, nurses and well-meaning companions, they ask the same
question, over and over again, sometimes for hours. Disorientation is
profound. Language and social skills are preserved in these patients and their
ability to focus attention appears normal but, alas, despite their desperate
and almost pathetic desire to learn what is happening, nothing seems to
register. Fortunately they are mercifully spared awareness of their memory
impairment and preserve a remarkably calm demeanor, cooperating fully with
we now have Pfrieger’s (Science, November 9, 2001) astounding report that
yet another substance is vital to synaptic formation - cholesterol! This very
substance we have been taught to believe may be mankind’s worst enemy, this
indiscriminate blocker of arteries, the very substance that pharmaceutical
companies have devoted countless millions of research dollars to protect us
from, is also our key to learning and memory. (Lynn: My
emphasis) Could we have been wrong all these years about cholesterol?
Now, moderation is also the
rule here! Don't make sudden changes: ask your Doctor to work with you
towards eliminating your medication.
Tell him that what you want is to have
your own lifestyle changes make the drugs eventually unnecessary, that you want
Health, not Illness Control! He will help make sure you achieve this
Late at night, when things get quiet and just the sounds of crickets waft
through the open windows, if you ever hear an exasperated howling in the
distance, that's probably me as I browse through some of the day's latest
health news. My most recent howling was prompted by a report on some new
guidelines for the treatment of high-risk heart patients.
The updated guidelines come from the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP),
so without even reading the first word you already know what they're going to
say: Low LDL cholesterol has to be pushed even lower.
NCEP is part of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which is part of
the National Institutes of Health. And the guidelines have been endorsed by
the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. (The
guidelines were published in a recent issue of Circulation - an AHA
In other words: We're talking DEEP medical mainstream here. How deep? Way down
deep where the drug money flows.
----------------------------------------------------------- How low can you go?
In 2001 the NCEP panel of experts said that heart patients who are at very
high risk should do whatever it takes (that is: take statin drugs) to get
their LDL cholesterol down to 100. Now, after reviewing five studies conducted
since 2001, the panel has revised the ideal target for LDL. Now it needs to be
70! At this rate, by the year 2010 they'll be recommending an LDL of 10.
Think I'm joking? Just wait six years.
The new recommendations suggest that statin drugs should be used in nearly all
high-risk patients whose LDL is over 100. The lead author of the guidelines -
Dr. Scott Grundy - told the Associated Press that three years ago there were
about 36 million people "who could benefit from drugs to lower their
cholesterol." Dr. Grundy guesses that the new guidelines might increase
that number by "a few million."
So if you happen to be the executive of a large drug company that manufactures
statin drugs... well! These new recommendations are like Christmas in July!
But pharmaceutical execs know that there's no Santa Claus. And they know that
big, beautiful gifts don't just magically appear under the tree. Someone has
to put them there.
--------------------------------------------------------------- Visions of sugarplums
The release of the NCEP guidelines was not accompanied by a financial
disclosure statement for the panelists. But just days after the release,
Newsday (a Long Island, NY, newspaper) reported that some of the panelists had
ties to drug companies. In response to a call for disclosure, NCEP officials
posted a statement on their web site. And the details are eye-opening, to say
the least. Pfizer is the maker of the statin Lipitor, the world's best selling
drug. Seven of the nine NCEP panelists have financial connections to Pfizer.
And five of them have served as consultants to Pfizer. Nice, huh? But if you
think that smells fishy, it's just the tip of the day-old fish bin.
Merck is the maker of Zocor, another very popular statin. Seven of the nine
panelists have financial connections to Merck. Four of them have served as
consultants to Merck.
Only one of the panelists had no financial connections to any drug company.
The other eight have received research grants or honoraria for speaking
engagements from Bayer, Glaxo Smith Kline, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca,
Novartis, and more than half a dozen other drug companies. And most of these
companies manufacture statin drugs.
Hear that howling in the distance? That's me.
--------------------------------------------------------------- No quarrels
The acting director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Dr.
Barbara Alving, defended the panelists' drug company connections, telling
Newsday that the top experts would naturally have contact with companies that
develop drugs within their fields of expertise. She said that individuals who
don't have ties to drug companies, "are probably not the experts in the
Hmm. I wonder how Dr. James Cleeman felt when he read that?
Dr. Cleeman - coordinator of the NCEP - is the only panelist with no financial
ties to any drug companies. So in Dr. Alving's estimation, Dr. C. apparently
doesn't qualify as an expert. But in my opinion he's a stand-up guy for
resisting an all-expense-paid first-class ticket on the drug company gravy
But that doesn't mean that Dr. Cleeman is on the right track. Addressing the
initial lack of financial disclosure, Dr. Cleeman dismissed it as procedural
blip, a simple oversight that doesn't compromise the recommendations of the
panel. Dr. Cleeman told WebMD that the public shouldn't be diverted from the
importance of lowering LDL cholesterol, adding that, "Nobody is
quarreling with the substance of the message."
Nobody!? Does he mean nobody on the panel? Or nobody at the NCEP? Or nobody at
Pfizer? He certainly can't mean that nobody AT ALL quarrels with the message.
Because there are many who quarrel long and loud with the basic concept that
low cholesterol is the primary key to heart health. Because it isn't. It's not
even close. In fact, there is a lot of evidence that the real danger is
letting your cholesterol get too low.
*Product is shipping with 24 business hours on all in stock product. Back
ordered items generally ship with 5 to 7 business days. If your order will
not be shipped for longer than 10 business days, we will notify you by email.
**See our Shipping
Policy for heavy items.
Prices subject to change without notice.