At my anti-aging clinic, I continue to wage war against what I call the “medical-industrial complex.”
And I do it for one reason only – I care more about my patients than I do about profits.
Big Pharma clearly takes the opposite view. And now it seems these pharmaceutical behemoths won’t be happy until every man, woman and child is popping anti-cholesterol pills.
Researchers at Duke University recently issued a report recommending that even children and people as young as 30 should be on statins, if they have just slightly elevated cholesterol levels.1
And why wouldn’t researchers at Duke recommend such a thing? Guess where great chunks of their funding comes from … yep, Big Pharma.
That research team at Duke University includes two doctors who have admitted to taking money from Big Pharma.2
And one of them reportedly even makes a small fortune as a consultant and guest speaker for pharmaceutical firms.3
This kind of “scientific research” is worth big bucks to Duke.
According to the latest figures available, Duke’s medical research institute in 2011 collected $215 million from corporations. Its closest competitor, MIT, collected $110 million in corporate cash.
These “research” reports are pushed out to the media as a matter of course. Then they are reported as Gospel, flooding the public domain and the healthcare establishment with bad science, propaganda and downright lies.
There are many winners in this game – but none of them are the patients.
I can tell you flat out: I refuse to prescribe statins. I believe they are dangerous and they do not prevent heart disease, despite what researchers at Duke and elsewhere claim.
If new patients come to my clinic and are taking statins already, my advice is firm.
I tell them: “Stop taking statins immediately. If you have any left, throw them in trash.”
Statins, in fact, have potentially fatal side effects, such as liver dysfunction and acute kidney failure.
If you take statins, you may also have to deal with cataracts, depression, suicidal thoughts, weight gain, sexual impotency and severe muscle weakness.4,5
Some of my patients say statins made them feel fatigued and mentally foggy.
One of my patients recently turned 70. He had grown to accept a few physical limitations. But when he found himself struggling to bend over and tie his shoelaces, he decided to come to my anti-aging clinic. He said he felt weak.
The first thing I did was advise him to stop taking the statins that his primary-care physician had told him to pop each night for the past three years.
Within just seven days his aches and muscle weakness had almost completely disappeared.
There is some very bad science behind the idea that people need to take statins to lower their cholesterol as a way of treating heart disease.
This idea began to gain enormous popularity in the late 1950s, and actually Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was one of its first victims… but that’s a story for another time.
But it’s worth noting that his famed warning about the growing power of the “military-industrial complex” becomes even more sinister when you throw in the modern, pervasive power of Big Pharma.
It’s also worth noting that before the late 1950s, heart disease was rare in America.
Yet, over the past 50 years, it has skyrocketed in America – and so has the use of the statins. Heart disease is now the nation’s Number One cause of death – even though millions of people are prescribed statins.
And these high-margin drugs generate a whopping $100 billion a year for the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies.
Recently, the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association all banded together to promote statins for diabetics – even though numerous studies show that statins cause diabetes.6,7,8,9
Now the medical establishment wants to give statins to children who have inherited high cholesterol levels from their parents.10,11
But cholesterol is bad marker of heart disease. As I explain in my new book, The Ageless Heart, cholesterol doesn’t cause heart attacks. Inflammation causes heart attacks.
The body uses inflammation to cleanse away bacteria, viruses, fungi, damaged cells, and other nasty stuff. But too much inflammation damages the walls of your blood vessels and heart.
When that happens, the body uses cholesterol to patch the damage, turning it into plaque. Over time, the plaque becomes thicker and thicker until it blocks the blood flow, which leads to a stroke or a heart attack.
But plaque isn’t the disease, it’s a symptom of a bigger problem. The healthiest way to avoid heart attacks is to avoid inflammation.
But Big Agra doesn’t make this easy. It’s makes billions selling products that promote inflammation. Like cheap low-fat foods, loaded with sugar syrups, vegetable oils, refined grains, and toxic chemicals.
Here are some simple recommendations to reduce inflammation:
- Take B vitamins. They will help reduce homocysteine levels in your blood. This amino acid can stop your blood vessels from dilating properly. When your blood vessels constrict, it increases your chances of having a stroke or heart attack.
- I tell my patients to exercise five times a week, if they can. But even moderate workouts can help lower C-reactive protein – a key indicator of inflammation – by 30 percent.12
- Keep your gums healthy. Diseased gums cause inflammation.13 So brush and floss at least twice a day.
- Reach for foods high in vitamin C: Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons all have high amounts of this inflammation fighter. Red peppers are another good source. Supplementing with extra vitamin C is also a good idea.
- Eat your greens: They contain loads of magnesium, a natural inflammation fighter. I also recommend heaping helpings of kale, Be sure to buy organic. if you can, because modern agricultural methods have reduced the nutritional value of many vegetables.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1. Navar-Boggan, A.M., et al. “Hyperlipidemia in Early Adulthood Increases
Long-Term Risk of Coronary Heart Disease.” Circulation. Jan. 2, 2015. pii: CIRCULATIONAHA.114.012477.
2. Adarsh, Dave. “Duke ranks as largest recipient of corporate research funding at more than $200M
Analysis: Pharma-funded medical research raises need for oversight.” The Duke Chronicle. February 1, 2013.
3. projects.propublica.org/docdollars. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
4. Hippisley-Cox J.L., and Coupland C. “Individualising the risks of statins in men and women in England and Wales:
Population-based cohort study.” Heart. 2010 Jun;96(12):939-47. doi: 10.1136/hrt.2010.199034.
5. Sergey A. Dzugan, Ph.D & R. “Arnold Smith, M.D.; Treating High Cholesterol by Replacing Hormones Lost to Aging.”LifeExtension Magazine, September 2003
6. Van de Woestijne A.P., et al. “Effect of Statin Therapy on Incident Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Patients With Clinically Manifest Vascular Disease.” Am J Cardiol. 2014 Nov 29. pii: S0002-9149(14)02162-6. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2014.11.021.
7. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Consumer Update. “FDA expands advice on statin risks.”fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm293330.htm#3
8. Dormuth, C.R., et al. Higher potency statins and the risk of new diabetes: Multicentre,
observational study of administrative databases.” BMJ 2014;348:g3244.
9. Sattar, N., et al. “Statins and risk of incident diabetes: A collaborative meta-analysis
of randomised statin trials.” The Lancet. 2010 Feb 27;375(9716):735-42. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61965-6.
10. Canas, J.A., et al. “A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial of the safety and efficacy of atorvastatin in children with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and type 1 diabetes.”Pediatr Diabetes. 2014 Nov 22. doi: 10.1111/pedi.12245.
11. Kusters, D.M., et al. “Ten-year follow-up after initiation of statin therapy in children
with familial hypercholesterolemia.” JAMA. 2014 Sep 10;312(10):1055-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.8892.
12. Church T, Barlow CE, Earnest CP, et al. “Association between cardiorespiratory fitness and C-reactive protein in men.”Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis.”Journal of Vascular Biology. 2002 Nov 1; 22(11):1869-1879.
13. Genco R. “Periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease: epidemiology and possible mechanisms.”Journal of American Dental Association. 2002 Jun; 133 Supple: 14S-22S.