This is where we can use the words malpractice and fraud relating to the prescribing of statin medication. This is one of Big Pharma’s bait and switches: they trumpet the horrors of “cholesterol” making you think that all LDL is bad while ignoring oxidized LDL as if they were the same species. They are not. They are as different as water and fire. However, statins cannot selectively lower oxLDL any more than I can wash my car with turkey gravy. Can you see how an unsuspecting patient will take a statin in the misguided attempt to prevent heart disease? Sure, perhaps some oxLDL will be reduced with statins as you are lowering all of your body’s vital cholesterol. But even that is debatable. However, the odds are very good that many habits you have are producing oxidative stress and free radicals rendering your harmless LDL into dangerous oxLDL. The odds are even better that you will never be informed as to what those habits are or what you can do about them because the argument isn’t framed that way. It says very clearly and as simply as possible to reach as broad of a patient volume as possible: cholesterol causes heart disease and statins are the cure.
Those same free radicals just happen to oxidize everything in sight not just LDL. As a consequence damage occurs systemically and we see its end result in cancers, dementia, heart attack, obesity, hypertension and stroke to name a few. This explains why half of the patients on statins with therapeutic LDL levels still have colossal heart attacks. It also tricks you into a complacency of bad lifestyle choices because you believe you are fully protected from heart disease (and stroke) by taking a statin when it is only lifestyle that will save you not a pill. Imagine the look of shock on someone’s face as he lies dying from a surprise heart attack thanks to the Commercial Sick Care System. This is the same system that knows fully well the facts as I have told you here. Statins, on their best day, cannot prevent the other 20 risk factors that are killing you softly every day. For that patients need to know about things (antioxidants) and good habits (like exercise) that arrest inflammation and reduce free radical formation which has nothing to do with statins. Reducing the debate to a sound bite that cholesterol is the cause and statins are the cure is malpractice and fraud my friend.
In summary, a typical American lifestyle is inflammatory. The standard American diet and lack of exercise preferentially generates high triglycerides (more on that later), low HDL and the small, dense LDL particle which easily oxidizes and contributes to endothelial injury and atherosclerosis. The CSCS treats heart disease as if it were a simple one cause one cure ailment with the use of statins which do nothing to change the course of the disease and may in fact make it worse, while we ignore the 300 adverse drug effects statins induce. Taking a statin and flouting the other proven causes of heart disease may be one of the worst things you could do.
LOWERING LDL WITH STATINS
Now let’s return to statins and the role they play with various forms of LDL cholesterol. Some trials have shown that there are some unanticipated effects from lowering cholesterol with statins. One such effect may help explain why patients still have heart attacks even with very low LDL. It is commonly accepted by many researchers that statins decrease both LDL and oxLDL in patients. However, it may not be that clear. In some trials when we lower a patient’s LDL with statins the un-oxidized form of LDL is lowered while any oxidized LDL remains in the system. Recall that it’s the oxidized form that does all of the damage to the endothelium and provides one way of initiating the atherosclerotic process. Furthermore, some patients on statins tend to increase their plasma levels of Lp(a) (another lipoprotein that is bad for your blood vessels) a known risk factor for heart disease. So statins do lower LDL but unfortunately it may be the wrong type of LDL while raising Lp(a) in some patients. Let’s not forget the newest findings that demonstrate statins behave as accelerants in calcification of coronary arteries. Calcification is pathognomonic for atherosclerosis-they go hand in hand. Whatever increases calcification, increases atherosclerosis. It’s that simple.
Perhaps the biggest shocker in all of this is the realization that during the twentieth century there has been a steady and substantial net decrease in cigarette smoking in America at least in spite of the fact that many women are starting to smoke. (If you go to Asia especially China they all smoke. In fact Chinese toddlers are already gambling and smoking by age 4 with special cherry flavored cigarettes.) Here’s the deal. This decrease in smoking along with ubiquitous statin prescribing should have significantly decreased the overall incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and further decreased CHD mortality but it has not. In addition to the weird effects of statins described in previous blogs another vital answer to this anomaly is the key to our salvation. Hint: it has to do with diet, both the USDA and AHA recommended diets.