Drug Report: More Muscle Melting Malarkey


What would you think of me as your personal physician if I told you that you had to take a certain prescription medication and insisted that your life depended on itbut I left out three minor details.

1) It melts away your muscle.

2) It makes you feel old and weak.

3) Oh yeah, it might just kill you.

And what would you think of me if I insisted you take this dangerous drug without saying a word about better, more effective, safer alternative choices that have no chance of any of these side effects?

Now imagine you discover that these drugs are the most profitable drugs in history and that I was getting a kickback every time I convinced someone to take them.

It ought to be illegal, right? Well, it’s happening all the time to the tune of tens of millions of prescriptions. The drug companies are very slick and have been getting away with pushing this terrible drug on people for almost 30 years.

They began to use clever marketing tactics long ago to promote broad use of these dangerous drugs to an increasing number of people so they could increase their profits at your expense. They also learned to cleverly downplay the dangers of their drugs so people would think they were safe.

Then, they took it a step further.

Big Pharma began to give millions in gifts, meals, money, and vacations to doctors and researchers so they would promote and prescribe their drugs.

And that’s just scratching the surface of their legal bribery.

Pharma developed sneaky ways to get around drug regulations aimed at reining in their marketing practices. For example, drug companies can’t promote off-label uses of drugs. But they can hire researchers, consultants and others to do it for them.

A 2008 Senate investigation revealed Harvard professor Joseph Biederman received more than $1.6 million from major drug companies.

According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, his studies led to a 400% increase in children being diagnosed with conditions that make them eligible for drug treatment. Yet some of his studies were published during the same time he was getting paid by Big Pharma.1

Pharma giants like Astra Zeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer have been doing this with doctors for years.2

So it wouldn’t surprise me if you went to a doctor who told you that the drug you must take as a matter of life and death – a cholesterol-lowering statin drug – can make your muscles melt.

This condition is called rhabdomyolysis. It’s when your muscle cells burst and break down. Drug and alcohol abuse, traumatic injury, electrical shock, and ruptured blood vessels used to be just about the only things that caused this.

Now, Big Pharma’s labs have invented another way to melt muscle. Statin drugs. One called Cerivastatin (Baycor) was pulled from the market after numerous reports of muscle weakness and other problems.

Statin users already suffer from fatigue, muscle cramping, and weakness. Almost ten percent of statin users report these symptoms. I bet the number who suffer them in silence is even higher.

But rhabdomyolysis is a lot worse.

Researchers out of the University of Alabama zeroed in on statins’ effect. They looked at a class of muscle cells called satellite cells.3 These are responsible for cell division and growth.

Normally, if you strain a muscle, they kick into gear, repairing and replacing damaged tissue.

But the most popular statin drugs slow down the restorative action of satellite cells by 50%. This is especially dangerous for your skeletal muscles, since satellite cells are active guardians and healers when it comes to ligaments and tendons.

The fact is your doctor shouldn’t be focusing on cholesterol levels anyway. It’s the great red herring of modern medicine. Seventy-five percent of heart attack sufferers have perfectly normal cholesterol levels.

Although a number of drug trials have been conducted, none of them have been able to support the cholesterol-heart disease connection, either.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute conducted the Lipid Research Clinics Coronary Primary Prevention Trial to test the effectiveness of cholestryramine, a drug thought to lower cholesterol.

Seven years later, researchers analyzed the data and found that the cholesterol levels decreased by 8 percent, but there were no statistically significant differences in heart attack rates.4

A “meta-study” came along and took a wrecking ball to the cholesterol myth. Published in the internationally prestigious Quarterly Journal of Medicine, it extensively surveyed results from decades of research on heart disease involving hundreds of thousands of individuals.

The conclusion? Absolutely no correlation exists between cholesterol and heart attack risk.5 Bottom line: steer clear of statins. Instead of worrying about cholesterol, if you want to avoid heart disease and heart attacks, lower inflammation instead. It’s the real culprit for poor heart health. Inflammation of the tissue that lines your arteries (the “endothelium”) is the main cause of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Endothelial damage leads to the build-up of arterial plaque—a substance made up of bad stuff that gets trapped in damaged tissue. This includes triglycerides, waste from cellular metabolism, and calcium.

One of the best ways I know of to beat inflammation and never worry about heart disease again is EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).

This essential fatty acid reduces inflammation and plaque build-up in your arteries, both of which are primary causes for chronic disease.

In fact, a new study from the Nippon Medical School looked at 139 people who already had heart failure and high inflammation. EPA is so good at lowering inflammation and healing the heart that simply having enough EPA lowers the risk of having any cardiac event by 79%.6

Show me a drug that does that.

EPA is from the family of healthy fats that you can’t make, so you must take in to keep inflammation low, maintain your heart rhythm, and raise HDL, the protective kind of cholesterol.

Nature gave us the two best sources of EPA, meat and fish. For thousands of years this worked perfectly. Until modern food production practices stripped EPA from our food.

Meat and fish are now farmed … and raised on an unnatural diet. As a consequence, they have little EPA.

I recommend only grass-fed, pasture-raised meat because it has a higher concentration of EPA, just like nature intended. I would also stay away from farmed fish like tilapia. Try wild, cold-water, high-fat fish like pollock, salmon, lake trout and herring.

Some people don’t like fish, and if you’re one of them, try krill oil. It’s more absorbable than fish oil, and will not turn rancid. It’s more absorbable because the EPA is in “phospholipid” form which penetrates directly into the cells of the heart and brain. This form is worth the little extra you’ll pay for it.

There are no direct plant sources of EPA. Your body must convert the ALA from plant foods like walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds into EPA.

Try to get at least 500 mg of EPA per day.

Don’t allow dangerous prescription drugs to ruin your health. There are natural and much safer ways to deal with high cholesterol. Learn more about ways to take charge of you and your family’s health with “Doctor’s House Call“.


To Your Good Health, Al Sears, MD Al Sears, MD

1. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007. 2. Shekelle P, et. al. “Efficacy and Comparative Effectiveness of Off-Label Use of Atypical Antipsychotics.” Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 6. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. January 2007. 3. Thalacker-Mercer et al. “Simvastatin Reduces Human Primary Satellite Cell Proliferation in Culture.” University of Alabama at Birmingham. For presentation at the American Physiological Society Conference The Integrative Biology of Exercise V. Hilton Head, SC. September 24-27, 2008. 4. The Lipid Research Clinic’s coronary primary prevention trial results 1. Reduction in incidence of coronary heart disease. Journal of the American Medical Association 251, 351-64, 1984. 5. Ravnskov, U. “High cholesterol may protect against infections and atherosclerosis.” Quarterly Journal of Medicine. 2003. 96:927-34. 6. Kohashi K, et. al. “Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid on the Levels of Inflammatory Markers, Cardiac Function and Long-Term Prognosis in Chronic Heart Failure Patients with Dyslipidemia.” J Atheroscler Thromb. 2014. Epub ahead of print.