Cholesterol Facts vs. Myths

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS and Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACN Authors of The Great Cholesterol Myth

Posted on | By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACN

Myth: Lowering cholesterol with statin drugs will prolong your life.

Fact: There is conflicting data on whether statins have any impact on longevity.

The majority of cholesterol-lowering studies don’t show any difference in death rates between patients who take statins and patients who don’t. In the PROSPER study, statin use in women with known heart disease resulted in a small reduction in mortality from heart disease; however, this was offset by additional deaths from cancer and other mortalities, so the overall net “gain” in terms of lives saved was a big fat zero.

Myth: Statin drugs are perfectly safe.

Fact: Statin drugs have significant side effects, including loss of memory and libido, muscle pain and fatigue.

University of California San Diego researchers found that the majority of doctors dismissed some important side effects that may have been caused by statins. Approximately 65% of doctors in their study missed some side effects or failed to connect some complaints with the medication. Meanwhile, side effects such as forgetfulness, loss of sex drive, fatigue, and muscle pain and worse continue to be reported.

Myth: Statin drugs are appropriate for men, women, children and the elderly.

Fact: The only group in which statins have been shown to have even a modest effect is in middle-aged men who’ve already had a heart attack.

A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association by Judith Walsh, MD (4) found that statin drug treatment to reduce cholesterol in women provided no mortality benefit. A 2007 study claims there is no evidence to show that giving statins to women keeps them free of heart disease, and statin drugs have never been tested long term on children.

Article written by Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS
Co-Author of The Great Cholesterol Myth

Article written by Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACN
Co-Author of The Great Cholesterol Myth