Statins: They still don't work
If your doc is pushing cholesterol meds, it's time to push back--because yet another new study finds they just don't work.
The researchers behind it even say their study proves that cholesterol isn't the best predictor of heart risk.
But since up to 75 percent of all heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol levels, the only surprise here is that this is somehow considered a groundbreaking discovery.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tracked 950 healthy men and women for five years. Half of the volunteers had the calcium buildup responsible for hardened arteries, while half did not.
And, wouldn't you know it, the calcium crowd suffered 95 percent of all heart attacks, strokes or heart-related deaths during the study period, according to research presented at a recent American Heart Association meeting.
The researchers conclude that only patients with high levels of calcium deposits in the arteries may benefit from statins...but I'd say even that's debatable since ordinary vitamin K has been shown to slow, stop and even reverse arterial calcification.
You'll find this extra special K in leafy greens--kale and spinach are loaded with the stuff--or in an inexpensive supplement.
But let's get back to statins and cholesterol levels, because another new study finds that while these meds may lower levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol, they fail to prevent the heart risks associated with the low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol.
And the researchers who conducted that study wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine that "the magnitude of that risk is quite large."
While statins won't do a thing to help raise your HDL cholesterol levels, fish oil will--so here's today's lesson: Vitamin K and fish oil can do a whole lot more for your heart health than a statin ever will, especially if you combine them with the healthy lifestyle changes that will bring your waistline under control.
And if you need any more reasons to avoid statins, consider the latest bit of bad news to come falling out of the side effect tree: Researchers have found that statins may put some people at risk for a rare but very serious autoimmune disease in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own proteins.
The condition, called necrotizing myopathy, often starts as muscle pain--which is a common enough side effect of statins already.
But then, it gets far worse--even if the patient stops taking the statins.
The researchers wrote in Arthritis & Rheumatism that some of the patients have ended up in wheelchairs--and they might be the lucky ones, because at least one of them has died.
It's a rare side effect, to be sure. But why take the chance when you don't have to?
About the author
Edward Martin writes House Calls, a daily letter chronicling the most cutting-edge alternative methods for beating diabetes and cancer, to the latest FDA foul-ups and Big Pharma conspiracies.
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