The Continuing Case Against the Statin/LDL Treatment Standard

Following up on Wednesday’s post, here’s an excerpt from the November Science Daily article, Three Killer Indicators Identified That Are Even Worse Than High Cholesterol”:

The main five health problems normally associated with metabolic syndrome are abnormal levels of blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels (the chemical form in which fat exists in the body), too much sugar in the blood and central obesity (excess of fat around the waistline).

In his study, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, Dr. Franco has identified the most dangerous combination of these conditions to be central obesity, high blood pressure and high blood sugar [ed. – emphasis mine]. People who have all three of these conditions are twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times more likely to die earlier than the general population.

In other words, optimizing blood sugar levels – which in turn manage central obesity and blood pressure levels – is far more important than optimizing cholesterol levels in preventing heart attacks.

And this makes sense. Both excessive glucose levels and excessive insulin levels are inflammatory to the body as a whole. Since statins have no direct effect on modulating blood sugar levels (and insulin levels by default), they really don’t have much of an impact on controlling overall systemic inflammation. Sure, they reduce the levels of C-reactive protein. But they also deplete the levels of coenzyme Q10 – a natural antioxidant that is critical to cell energy metabolism and is – ironically – very cardioprotective.

Nevertheless, statins are very often one of the first things to be prescribed to individuals with a “perceived risk” of developing metabolic syndrome. In fact, many physicians will recommend statins to patients with LDL cholesterol levels above 100 mg/dL since anything above this is considered “near optimal but still potentially at risk” according to the very same American Heart Association’s 2003 recommendations.

The key is, much of the current conventional wisdom regarding cholesterol and its relationship to heart disease is in the process of being turned on its head. And this is generating significant pushback from both small and large industry players who have significant “skin in the game.”

Remember, medicine isn’t an exact science. And it wasn’t that long ago that a number of doctors downplayed the health hazards of smoking.

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