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Statins: One of the Greatest Failures of Modern Medicine

Over the weekend, I travelled to Chicago to lecture my colleagues.  I was asked what I thought about evidence-based medicine.  In fact, I am frequently hammered by my conventional colleagues because they claim that I do not follow evidence-based medicine.  Of course, I disagree with that statement as I am always reading the medical literature and I am happy to point out the evidence that supports my use of holistic medicine.  My books and other articles have numerous citations supporting the medicine that I practice.

However, I take issue when conventional doctors claim that evidence-based medicine supports the use of statin drugs in treating/preventing heart disease.  In fact, evidence-based medicine, when studied objectively, would reveal that statin drugs should not be prescribed for either treating or preventing heart disease.

Let’s look at statin guidelines.  The new guidelines recommend nearly half of Americans over the age of 40—more than 50 million people—may qualify for taking a statin drug in order to lower their heart attack risk.  I have written in my blog posts, newsletter, and in my book, The Statin Disaster, that statin drugs fail nearly 99% who take them—they neither prevent heart attacks nor have they been shown to help people live longer.

On October 6, 2015, an article in the New York Times was headlined, “Heart Scan Can Fine-Tune Risk Estimate for Patients Considering Statins.”  The article stated that a new study on CT scans of the coronary arteries, which can identify calcium deposits in the arteries, can help guide health care providers whether or not to prescribe a statin drug.   If there is little calcium in the coronary arteries, the authors found a lowered risk of heart attacks.   A cardiologist profiled in the article states that he uses the coronary CT scans because “All the other biomarkers get blown away compared to the calcium score {of the coronary arteries}.”

So, is there evidence that increased calcium in coronary arteries is associated with an increased risk of heart disease?  The answer is yes.  Where is the evidence that statins help lower coronary calcium levels?  There isn’t any.  In fact, the opposite is true:  research has shown that statin use actually increases the deposition  of calcium in coronary arteries.  (1)  Yes, you read that right.  In fact, researchers reported, “…coronary artery calcium progression was fastest among participants using statins…”  This wasn’t the only study to report that fact.  Other researchers have concluded, “Independent of their plaque-regressive effects, statins promote coronary atheroma calcification.” (2)

I would venture a guess that you just read that last paragraph again.

To be fair, the authors of the second study claim that statins may stabilize coronary plaques.  However, that has never been proven and even if that is true, it is hard to make a positive argument for using statins at all when they fail nearly 99% who take them.   And, I am not even discussing the horrendous side effects and the tremendous cost of statin drugs.

Folks, evidence-based medicine should be used and embraced.  It is too bad that conventional medicine fails to use it when it comes to statins (as well as many other drug therapies).  The evidence behind the statin studies should expose statins as one of the greatest failures in modern medicine.

More information about statins can be found in my book, The Statin Disaster.

DrB

  1. J Am. Heart Assoc. 2015;4:e001726
  2. J. Am. College of Cardiol. 2015;65:1273-82
StatinDisaster-3T

 

 

 

Author Info

David Brownstein

Comments ( 22 )

  • Author Icon
    Debrah Roemisch

    What do you recommend to help someone who quit statins but is still suffering the damage caused by them? Specifically muscle and joint pain–she is taking extra magnesium and COQ 10. I am sure there are a lot of people who need this information!

    • Author Icon
      David Brownstein

      Debrah,
      Yes, I see these people. A complete hormonal, nutritional, and toxicity evaluation should be done. Then, correcting nutritional and hormonal imbalances and detoxification may help.
      DrB

    • Author Icon
      David Brownstein

      Debrah,
      Yes, I see these people. A complete hormonal, nutritional, and toxicity evaluation should be done. Then correcting nutritional and hormonal imbalances and detoxification may help.
      DrB

  • Author Icon
    Daniel

    If calcium can cause atherosclerosis and heart attacks, does this men that a low calcium diet is best? I’ve never understood why the RDA (Ridiculous Dietary Allowance) is so high. It should be 200-400 mg instead of 1200-1500mg. In many parts of the world, they have very low calcium intakes and have much better health.

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    Michael Wohltmann

    It is a shame, that most folks, even doctors, blindly follow the news and any slightly reputable advice without doing their own homework.

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    Ruth Ann Martin

    Dr. Brownstein: I was recently in the hospital due to arrythmia and dizziness and am on propafenone 150 3 times per day. Testing showed quite low potassium and I also had a CT Scan of brain and a heart echo which both came back normal. My cardiologist tried to talk me into taking coumadin or Zarelto. I refused them both after looking up at home the side effects. I don’t remember you writing anywhere about these blood thinning drugs. If statins are bad for you ( I don’t take them because of your information) I have to wonder about blood thinning drugs too, as I was told, they prevent strokes. What is your opinion on blood thinning drugs and is there a natural alternative. I am not aware of reading anything from you on this. I just don’t trust most drs anymore for the truth on pharmaceuticals. Also about a year ago I asked my dr to test my iodine level. He refused stating he has never done that and the local hospital doesn’t even run that test. Of course when I checked I found out that isn’t true they do run the test. Thank you.

    • Author Icon
      David Brownstein

      Ruth,
      Blood thinners are sometimes needed as they can prevent strokes. There are natural blood thinners such as natto. I would suggest working with a knowledgeable health care provider.
      DrB

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    Benjamin Lopez

    Dr. Brownstein, thank you for those references! I love when someone uses science based medicine to show that “science based medicine” is really ‘poorly based medicine.’ I have a question though, I understand statins work through synthetic pathways that cause more harm than good, hence why they fail 99% of those who take them. But what’s your opinion on taking (b complex + vitamin c + niacin 1000/or 500 mg)-3x per day to lower cholesterol? It’s incredibly effective at normalizing cholesterol levels, but without the side effects of say Lipitor, etc. Do you think that would be a safer alternative to normalizing cholesterol levels?

    • Author Icon
      David Brownstein

      Benjamin,
      When you take the supplements you list, there are a whole host of positive effects that go with it. The lowering cholesterol number may be secondary to a lowered inflammatory state due to the supplements. The safest way to optimize cholesterol levels is to eat healthy and maintain hydration.
      DrB

  • Author Icon

    In 2010 at age 61 my calcium score was 479. By 2015 at age 66 it increased to 949. I am a healthy male, non-smoker, eat whole foods, no grains, no added sugar, exercise regularly, good lifestyle, not much stress, etc. A cardiologist recommended I get on a statin in 2012 to help control my heart disease. But I refused the drug. I think he would tell me now that had I taken the statin my calcium score may have not gone up so fast. We’ll never know. The lady in the NY Times article had higher LDL than me and her calcium score was zero 5 years ago and it’s still zero. Her high LDL and low calcium score suggests the two factors are not related. Maybe my heart disease has another cause (yet to be determined). I still won’t take a statin because I’m not convinced it would help me.

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    Carol

    At least 15+ years ago My Brother and Sister were both independently put on Statins. Around that same time I found the Weston A Price page and the book Nourishing Traditions thu a Yahoo group I belonged to. I learned that Statins were dangerous. I told both my siblings about that. My Sister read the info I provided and got off soon. My Brother tho thought his Dr knew what was best for him.

    My Brother was an avid bike rider and kept in shape riding to work (over 10 miles each way) close to 200 days / year. But about 2.5 years ago first he had to have a couple of stints for blocked arteries. A couple of months later he needed open heart surgery to repair 1 of his tri-valves. The Dr later admitted the statin probably damaged it. Shortly after the heart surgery my Brother had weakness in his legs and eventually found out he had Guillian Barre Syndrome triggered by the heart surgery. As it turned out he has the worse recurring CIDP version. While not directly caused by the Statin, those other things shouldn’t have happened so neither should have the CIDP. He now admits Drs don’t know everything. But he went from a healthy bike rider to riding a wheelchair in less than 6 months and may never get out of it.

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    Marg

    Statins cause muscle weakness as a side effect. The heart is a big muscle. How can the heart benefit from being weakened?
    My husband was on Lipitor a few years ago and we had huge fights over it. Finally he acknowledged he felt as weak as a kitten. He told his dr he would not take them.
    Recently he had a TIA and the young dr thought the immediate and only solution was Lipitor. When he said he would not take it, she suggested Cresta as an alternative.
    She recited the many benefits of statins, including glueing plaque to artery walls. When he had all possible tests, it showed that he had very little plaque and nothing else wrong.
    We came to our own diagnosis that he had had an overdose of caffeine.

    • Author Icon
      David Brownstein

      Marg,
      You said, “Statins cause muscle weakness as a side effect. The heart is a big muscle. How can the heart benefit from being weakened?”
      You need to go lecture to the statinophiles out there.
      DrB

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    Eileen

    Dear Dr. Brownstein,
    Thank you for your extraordinary work! Dr. Matthias Rath comes to mind immediately upon hearing of the dangers of statins. Dr. Rath worked closely with Dr. Linus Pauling, studying Vitamin C and arriving at the conclusion that heart disease is related to scurvey. Lipoprotein (a) has been implicated in heart attacks, not high cholesterol as we have been led to believe. Dr. Rath has done lots of informative YouTube videos trying to educate the world as well. We owe you doctors many thanks!

    • Author Icon
      David Brownstein

      Eileen,
      Drs. Rath and Pauling are true pioneers.
      DrB

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    Karen

    @Mary: I also agree whole-heartedly (sorry for the pun) with Dr Brownstein and Dr Graveline! Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about Transient Global Amnesia (TGA) until I experienced a terrifying episode myself and learned about Dr Graveline’s experiences with multiple TGAs. Needless to say, I never took another Lipitor 10 mg after my hospitalization to rule out suspected stroke. I had 2 CAT scans and an MRI of my brain to show nothing was wrong, except probably too low cholesterol which is needed for proper memory function.

    When I followed up with my cardiologist, both he and his PA pooh-poohed my concerns about statin involvement! I could not convince them otherwise, and they are still probably pushing statins.

    PS I was also taking high quality CoQ10, and still am for muscle weakness support. The irony is that I am an RN and I believed that my doctors knew what they were doing!

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    Pat Leveling

    They will keep prescribing them as long as they make money….follow the money!
    I’m so glad there are some Drs that still work for the patients

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    Mary

    I had used Google to check out statins at least 10 years ago. I also read what Duane Graveline, MD, had to say about the side effects he, personally, had experienced on Lipitor along with reporting the many downsides he discovered.

    I decided I would not take any statin, ever. Fortunately, my physician listened to me when I asked him to NOT prescribe a statin drug and I explained why not.

    When will they be discredited by most physicians to the better health of the 99% of us who cannot benefit?

  • Author Icon
    SDenny

    Thanks for continuing to bring truth to this topic. I have many friends who won’t even read your blog because their Dr said they needed Statins to prevent heart attacks. It is fear that is being used to promote this drug not reason.

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