A Bogus Study Makes False Claims About Statins Versus Supplements

Statins for Lowering Heart Disease: A Bogus Study Fuels False Claims

Do statins for lowering heart disease work? The headlines recently announced that low doses of statins reduce the risk of heart disease, while supplements do nothing. 

For instance, a CNN headline from November 7 reads: “Don’t bother with dietary supplements for heart health, study says.”

ScienceBasedMedicine.org crows: “Study – For Lowering Cholesterol, Statins Work, Supplements Don’t.”

This blanket mainstream praise of statins for lowering heart disease comes from a new study: “Comparative Effects of Low-Dose Rosuvastatin, Placebo and Dietary Supplements on Lipids and Inflammatory Biomarkers.” The study was conducted by an impressive team of researchers from several esteemed institutions, including the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Pennsylvania.

Let’s take a closer look.

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Why We Need to Reduce Medication Prescriptions for Older Adults

Pills coming out of a prescription bottle

It’s important to reduce medication prescriptions for older adults (and everyone else). Why do we want to reduce medication prescriptions? Because prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death in the United States and Europe. Only heart disease and cancer cause more death.

In 2014 Peter Gøtzsche, a medical doctor and internationally known researcher and book author, wrote an article, called “Our prescription drugs kill us in large numbers.” In some ways his work is more relevant today than when he first wrote it. As Dr. Gøtzsche points out:

  • 50% of those who die have taken their drugs correctly. The other half die because of human error, such as too high a dose or use of a drug despite contraindications.
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What can Centenarians teach us about cholesterol levels and longevity – It isn’t what you think

Medicine qua medicine comes into existence when it appropriates knowledge and skills, no matter what their origin, in order to further its healing purposes.” — Edmund Pellegrino

The world population is aging with a rapid increase in the very elderly aged 80 and up. Those who make it to 100 and beyond (centenarians) are considered an exceptional human model of healthy aging and extreme longevity.

In general, centenarians appear to escape—or at least significantly delay—the diseases of aging that normally cause mortality at earlier ages. In an attempt to understand why some people live well beyond what is currently considered to be the ‘normal’ lifespan, gerontologists have identified a variety of factors that centenarians share. These include not smoking, a healthy diet, regular exercise, avoidance of stress, family connectedness, and a positive attitude.

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Adaptogens – Essential Support for Restoration, Protection, Resilience, and Longevity

In my observation, far too many people today are merely surviving instead of thriving. I attribute most of the erosion of well being and resilience—including the growing prevalence of chronic, degenerative diseases—to the increased stressors of contemporary society. Although the role of stress in disease has long been recognized, it is now more fully understood through the advances of scientific research.

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in cancer has been the discovery of the relationship between the sympathetic nervous system and cancer growth and reoccurrence. This was first detected though observational research showing a strong association between cancer patients on beta-blockers and a reduction in reoccurrence rates, a slowing of cancer growth, and decreased angiogenesis. 1-6 Researchers studying the relationship of vagal nerve activity (measured through heart rate variability) and the neuro-modulation of tumors found improved overall survival rate in cancer patients when the parasympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for calming the body) is activated.7

These are exciting discoveries, and support my life’s work on the importance of using herbal adaptogens and nervines to help the body adapt to physical and emotional stressors. Neither disease nor treatment of disease, including natural approaches through health optimization, can be described in a linear reductionist model, which is what almost everyone attempts to do. It is the collective effect of the perturbations in multiple underlying networks that result in the symptoms of disease, thus effective treatment should be directed at strengthening and harmonizing all systems of the organism. Continue reading “Adaptogens – Essential Support for Restoration, Protection, Resilience, and Longevity”

Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny: The Science Of Epigenetics

The science of epigenetics is turning what we’ve long held true about biological destiny upside down. Although it remains true that our DNA—our genetic code—provides the blueprint for our physiological makeup, researchers have discovered that there’s something extra controlling our genes—and food and herbs may in fact be the most important factors in our genetic well-being.

That extra “something” controlling our genes is the epigenome, the cellular material that sits on top of the genome (the complete set of genetic material present in a cell or organism). While epigenomes do not alter the genetic code, they direct genes to switch on (becoming active) or off (becoming dormant) through a variety of biological mechanisms. This intriguing finding means that your genetic heritage is not the primary determinant of your health, disease risk, or longevity.

spices-and-herbs

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Optimizing Hormones Naturally Versus Hormone Replacement Therapies: Part I

Woman Meditating

Not so long ago, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was routinely prescribed for menopausal women to alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia, as well as to protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, dementia and aging. Even women who were content to age naturally were sometimes pushed into taking hormones. For example, my mother decided against hormones, and was told by her doctor, “All right then, you can just let your skin sag and watch your body age quickly.” Unfortunately for women, hormone replacement turned out to have unexpected negative consequences, as long-term clinical studies showed that HRT increased the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, blood clots, and hormone-related cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer—even with short-term use. HRT is also associated with a significant increase in lung cancer and death from lung cancer. It’s almost unthinkable, but HRT has even been prescribed for women with breast cancer, with the result being double the reoccurrence rate of cancer (J Natl Cancer Inst 2008; 100: 475-482).

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