Big Pharma and the doctors in their pocket are at it again…
In 2013 the guidelines regarding statin use for managing cholesterol in order to prevent heart disease were changed so that the number of adults “recommended” to take these drugs increased from 43.2 million to 56 million.
And they want to use it as a long-term (i.e., lifelong) “preventative” measure rather than as a secondary method for people who have already had a heart attack, as statins were originally intended.
Will they not be satisfied until the market has reached total saturation and we’re all dependent on Big Pharma’s self-interest for our health?
I surely hope not, but the trends are not inspiring…
And what’s worse, statins are not the magic bullet for preventing heart disease. Not by a long shot…
Read on to discover more about how statins negatively affect the … and put millions of Americans at risk…
Statin use is steadily increasing, but who does it really benefit?
Statins are a class of pharmaceutical drugs designed to reduce the level of fats in the blood, including triglycerides and cholesterol, in order to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD; aka heart disease), which is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.(6)
The most common statins available on the market today are atorvastatin (brand name Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor).
Regarding heart disease, there are usually several factors, both lifestyle and hereditary, that contribute to it, including (but not limited to) having a family history of early heart disease, an unhealthy diet, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, smoking and high cholesterol.(1)
Even though the majority of these risk factors are due to lifestyle, meaning the risks of developing heart disease can mitigated by adjusting to healthier choices, the number of doctors prescribing statins as a lifelong preventative measure to keep cholesterol low is steadily rising.
And while some previous research has shown them to reduce mortality and morbidity in adults with coronary heart disease (CHD; the most common kind),(2) they also come with a variety of side effects, including possible
- Liver damage
- Cognitive impairment including memory loss and confusion
- Increased risk of blood sugar levels and the development of Type II diabetes
- Muscle damage(5)
- Increased cancer risk
Regardless of the potential health hazards these drugs pose, more and more conventional medicine doctors are prescribing statins to patients over the age of 40 to manage cholesterol levels.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, between 2003 and 2012 the percentage of adults over 40 increased from 18% to 26%, and 93% of adults that were taking a cholesterol-lowering drug were using a statin.(3)
And in November 2013 the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology published the report 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults, which recommended moderate- or high-intensity statin therapy for
- Patients who have cardiovascular disease;
- Patients with an LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher;
- Patients with Type 2 diabetes who are between 40 and 75 years of age; and
- Patients with an estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease of 7.5 percent or higher who are between 40 and 75 years of age.(4)
These recommendations pretty much DOUBLED the number of people who “should” be on statin drugs…
And as I mentioned before, the guidelines recommend people take them to lower cholesterol to prevent heart disease, which means taking statins for 5, 10 or more YEARS.
This not only reeks of a Big Pharma ploy to get more customers for its drugs, but it’s also downright dangerous because long-term statin use has been linked to an increased cancer risk.
Long-term statin use raises cancer risk for men and women
There are several reasons why statin use raises the risk for a variety of cancers, not the least of which is that low cholesterol itself is linked with cancer development.
There have been numerous studies that concluded cancer development was linked to low cholesterol, including colon, lung, leukemia, bladder, pancreas, breast and prostate cancers.(7)
The obsession with getting cholesterol as low as possible is misguided. Your body NEEDS cholesterol for dozens of functions, such as
- Producing hormones including estrogen and testosterone
- Producing Vitamin D
- Producing bile to aid in digestion and liver functioning
- Aiding in the formation of memories and neurological functioning
So now it’s starting to make sense why, if your cholesterol is too low your body can’t function properly, inviting in breast cancer because it can’t produce enough estrogen… pancreatic cancer because the liver can’t make enough bile, and memory problems because your brain can’t make neurons.
But let’s look at the facts.
In 2013 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and & Prevention found that women who took statin drugs for 10 years or longer had a 1.83-fold increased risk of developing invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC; most common form of breast cancer) and a 1.97-fold increase of developing invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC; another common kind of breast cancer) compared to women who never used statins.(8)
A study published in 2014 in the journal Clinical Endocrinology found that long-term consistent statin use increased the incidence of thyroid cancer in women, but not in men.(9)
A survey of statin and cancer research published in Current Oncology found that statins increase the number of regulatory T cells (Tregs), which can impair the body’s natural anti-tumor response to cancer cells.
The researchers also noted a significant correlation between statin use and an increased risk of breast cancer, more aggressive tumor progression in existing bladder cancer and increased cancer incidence in the elderly.(10)
It’s safe to say that there is a large and growing body of research that implicates these statin drugs in the increased risk of several kinds of cancer.
Avoid statins and naturally decrease your risk of heart disease AND cancer
Heart disease (and to some extent, cancer) are the end result of years of unhealthy choices, and no Big Pharma drug will quickly and easily undo that.
Your best bet is to lower your risk of heart disease naturally by not taking statins and adjusting your lifestyle.
A few things you can do starting today that will lower your risk of heart disease are:
- Eat real, whole (preferably organic) foods instead of processed foods that are high in sugar, refined carbs and fructose, all of which contribute to heart disease. If the thought of eating a ton of veggies doesn’t excite you, consider juicing or drinking smoothies.
- When eating meat and animals products opt for organic, free range and humanely raised products rather than those raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs; aka factory farms) to avoid ingesting antibiotics, arsenic and other carcinogens.(11)
- Eliminate low-fat and no-fat “health” foods, which are often laden with sugar. Increase your intake of healthy saturated fats, such as from avocados, coconut oil, organic raw nuts and grass-fed meats.
- Be sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, especially EPA and DHA, in your diet. These are found in fish and other marine foods, as well as krill oil supplements.
- Get enough regular doses of Vitamin D from small amounts of sun exposure.
- Balance your gut flora by eating more fermented foods or taking probiotic supplements. Researchers are finding more evidence every day that your gut health directly impacts other areas of your body, including your heart.
- Exercise regularly. Get your heart rate up and your blood pumping to keep your heart muscle and veins supple and clear.
- Quit tobacco and minimize your alcohol intake.
You may recognize that many of these suggestions are also given when talking about reducing your risk of developing different kinds of cancer as well.
So by adjusting to a healthier lifestyle and avoid statins all together if you can, you’ll do your health a double favor…
All while keeping your distance from Big Pharma and their self-interests.
- Heart disease facts. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
- What are the risk factors for heart disease? http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/hearttruth/lower-risk/risk-factors.htm
- Effectiveness of statin therapy in adults with coronary heart disease. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=217193
- FDA expands advice on statin risks. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm293330.htm
- Prescription cholesterol-lowering medication use in adults aged 40 and over: United States, 2003–2012. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db177.pdf
- ACC/AHA publish new guideline for management of blood cholesterol. http://newsroom.heart.org/news/acc-aha-publish-new-guideline-for-management-of-blood-cholesterol
- The statin-low cholesterol-cancer conundrum. http://qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/105/4/383.full?ijkey=993862d513dda52c31f3f0766a8b9d83866823a4&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
- Long-term statin use and risk of ductal and lobular breast cancer among women 55 to 74 years of age. http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/22/9/1529.abstract?ijkey=a4d70a5e507ff68b8e26a6fcbd84cd7f508357d1&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha
- Statin use and thyroid cancer: A population-based case–control study. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cen.12570/full
- Do statins prevent or promote cancer? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2365486/
- The truth about factory farms infographic. http://www.mercola.com/infographics/truth-about-factory-farms.htm