Not content with sixteen billion dollars in yearly sales, the statin industry is aiming to rope in even more patients. According to a recent study (JAMA Internal Medicine, 2014; DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6288), 97 percent of women aged sixty-six to seventy-five and 100 percent of men “qualify” for statins. Healthy adults whose “risk” of heart attack or stroke is more than 7.5 percent should also be on statins. Mining the data from the West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Trial (which were collected and analyzed by the pharmaceutical industry alone, with no independent oversight), researchers suggest that taking a statin drug for five years in middle age can lower heart and death risks for “decades afterwards” (www.dailymail.co.uk, November 19, 2014). (The data from the Framingham Trial showed that lowering cholesterol in middle age increases heart disease and overall death risk as we grow older.) Meanwhile, evidence of serious side effects from statins continues to accumulate. A study published in Toxicology (2013 Sept 15;311(3):162-8) found evidence that statins degrade the extracellular matrix of the tendons, leading to tendon rupture. Another (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2013 July 5) found that statins cause disruptions leading to breast cancer. Low blood cholesterol levels are related to slow visuomotor speed in young and middle-aged men, and low serum cholesterol levels predict cognitive decline (Am J Clin Nutr 2004;80:291-8). And finally, patients with cancer and other terminal disease saw an overall improvement in the quality of life and lived longer when taken off statins (Proceedings of the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting). Of course, when a loved one is in the hospital or nursing home for whatever condition, they are automatically put on statins—and it often takes a fight to remove them from the drug regimen. The whole statin phenomenon is snake oil, snake oil that causes serious adverse effects.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2014