Justin Smith has performed a great service to all interested in learning the truth about cholesterol, heart disease and research of pharmaceutical drugs. This modest-sized book – about 200 pages - packed solidly with facts and extensively referenced – about 40 pages - to the published literature, reveals and cites data from learned mavericks including Dr Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD of The Cholesterol Myths, Paul Rosch MD, Zoë Harcombe PhD and Malcolm Kendrick MD Fat and Cholesterol Don’t Cause Heart Attacks, Carlos Monteiro and other renowned researchers.
Justin Smith, formerly a personal trainer, sports massage therapist, and nutrition coach, is the producer, director, and writer of Statin Nation I and II documentaries, which arose from a general-nutrition book. He originally hoped to only spend one chapter on cholesterol but rerouted the entire project once the overwhelming evidence disillusioned his notions of heart disease.
In his 2000 review of The Cholesterol Myths in Positive Health PH Online Stephen Byrne ND RNCP quoted Dr George Mann, formerly of Vanderbilt University, who once called "the greatest scam in the history of medicine": the Lipid Hypothesis of heart disease, the belief that dietary saturated fats and cholesterol clog arteries and cause atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Upon re-reading The Cholesterol Myths I recall my shock and disbelief in 2000 regarding how the research results regarding the lack of correlation between cholesterol and heart disease had been blatantly misrepresented, indeed subverted by the medical/pharmaceutical research organizations. Hence the fallacies continue to this day regarding high fat diets and cholesterol; indeed widespread prescription of statins to lower blood pressure and therefore prevent heart disease.
Statin Nation lucidly and thoroughly explains and refreshes our knowledge of perhaps this most myth-laden field of medicine, in reasonable sized, illustrated chapters: The Etiology of Heart Disease, the Importance of Cholesterol, The Business of Selling Drugs, The Trouble with Statins, The Real Causes of Heart Disease, CoQ10 and the Heart’s Energy Factory, Nutrition for the Heart and Conclusion: What to Do.
The author documents and exposes myths - the Diet Heart Hypothesis, Good and Bad Cholesterol Fallacy and imponderables we still don’t understand, including all the factors involved in the processes of heart disease. Justin Smith does a credible job of explaining cholesterol’s importance, including documenting the research findings of dietary studies exploring the Diet-Heart Hypothesis, which generally concluded that saturated fat is not related to LDL levels and that the greater saturated fat intake was associated with lower progression of heart disease, whereas polyunsaturated fat and carbohydrate intakes were associated with heart disease progression.
The Business of Selling Drugs chapter explores the relationship between Doctors and Drug Companies, Bias in Publishing Results, The Media and Medical Journals, including, authorship and the peer review process. The Trouble with Statins chapter lists and discusses various clinical trials with Statins: The AFCAPS/TexCAPS Trial, the ASCOT-LLA Trial, the CTT Trials, The MRC/BHF Heart Protection Study, the 4S Study, the TNT Study, the WOSCOPS Study and follow-up, including a concluding Overall Analysis, which summarized the findings for primary prevention, secondary prevention. A short extract:
“Estimates suggest that around 100 million people are currently taking a statin, and statins are intended to be taken for decades. For a medication that is so widely prescribed and used for such a long period of time, the question of their efficacy must be answered in terms of any improvement in life expectancy. And if statins do improve life expectancy, is it enough to offset the chance of side effects? A recent analysis published in the British Medical Journal could serve to answer this question. When researchers analyzed data from statin clinical trials that reported on deaths from all causes and estimated the average life extension that could be expected from taking a statin in both primary and secondary prevention,22 the results suggested that in primary prevention an average life extension of 3.2 days could be expected, and 4.1 days in secondary prevention.”
Statin’s side effects are discussed, including regarding increased cancer risk, psychological and nervous system problems, muscle pain, weakness and rhabdomyolysis, diabetes, eye problems and heart disease! - statins increase the calcification of the arteries.
In The Real Causes of Heart Disease the author discusses factors and contributors with an overview of the HPA axis – hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal cortex, also major actions of the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system and the effects of stress and the body’s stress response. He includes discussion of heart rate variability, acidosis, the immune system and a fairly comprehensive discussion about
environmental factors. A chapter is devoted to Coenzyme Q10 - CoQ10 – and its various co-factors. A further chapter entitled Nutrition for the Heart considers macronutrients in our diet including fish and essential fatty acids, fruits and vegetables, homocysteine and B-vitamins, L-Arginine, Vitamin C, Magnesium and Sodium and Potassium.
In the chapter Conclusion: What to Do various approaches are considered including Stress Management/Relaxation, Monitoring Waist Circumference, Exercise, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements and Environmental Influences.
With 40 pages of references to the published literature, Statin Nation provides a wealth of information, analysis and practical therapeutic suggestions that will prove to be of considerable value to physicians, practitioners and everyone seriously interested in their heart health, their physiological wellbeing, health and longevity. Definitely a must-have for your library”
Available from Chelsea Green Publishing