The journal Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology published an article in September, 2018 titled “LDL-Cholesterol (LDL-C) Does Not Cause Cardiovascular Disease: A Comprehensive Review of Current Literature”. This study had over 16 authors from 9 different universities around the world, including Harvard Medical School and Columbia University. This study cited 107 different references to support their conclusions.
These authors state the cholesterol hypothesis, that for half a century has told everyone that low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) has been considered to be the major cause of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD), is based on misleading statistics, exclusion of unsuccessful trials, and the ignoring of numerous contradictory observations. Additionally, there is an increasing understanding that the mechanisms are more complicated, and that statin treatment is of doubtful benefit.
The authors reviewed the current literature about cholesterol, statin drugs and health and reached the following conclusions:
- There is no association between total cholesterol (TC) and the degree of atherosclerosis. People with high TC do not have more atherosclerosis than people with low TC, unless cholesterol exceeded 350 mg/l.
- People with high TC do not have higher risk of dying from CVD. Numerous studies show that high TC is not associated with future CVD.
- People with high LDL-C do not have more atherosclerosis than people with low LDL-C. Elderly people with high LDL-C live the longest.
- Patients with lower LDL-C have a higher incidence of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). Microorganisms and their toxic products are linked to many cancers. LDL participates in the immune system and directly inactivates almost all types of microorganisms and their toxic products. Healthy individuals with low LDL-C have a significantly increased risk of both infectious diseases and cancer. Lowering LDL-C with statin drugs may therefore increase the risk of both cancer and infections.
- Cholesterol lowering treatment does not lower the risk of CVD.
- In a trial where 2 of 100 participants in the control group die but only 1 of 100 in the treatment group die, the absolute risk reduction is only a 1% benefit. However, if one reports the relative risk reduction, then a 50% benefit can be reported, because one is 50% of two. This is what is commonly done in statin drug research leading to the benefits of statin treatment to be exaggerated.
- The assertion that statin treatment is beneficial has been kept alive by individuals who have ignored the results from trials with negative outcomes and by using deceptive statistics. That statin treatment has many serious side effects has been minimized by individuals who have used misleading trial design and have ignored reports from independent researchers.
- One example of how they hide the true outcomes of a study: Most statin trials include a run-in period, where participants receive the drug for a few weeks, after which those who suffer adverse effects or who were unwilling to continue get excluded from the study. Therefore, hiding the true outcomes of the study, effectively eliminating the people who respond poorly to the treatment.
- The most important outcome - an increase in life expectancy- has never been mentioned in any cholesterol-lowering trial, but as calculated recently, statin treatment does not prolong lifespan by more than an average of a few days.
- Dr. J’s Comment: Each and everyone of these bullet points should be shocking to you! There is already a mountain of evidence against the use of statin drugs, this study adds another paper to the mountain. It seems astonishing that health insurance would pay for these drugs, or that doctors would continue to prescribe them! I would also like to point out that these statements are not just opinions of the authors, they are reporting what the evidence says! This information is out there, is your doctor up to date?