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Discover The Starting Lipitor And Statin Side Effects In This Episode
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Hey, Yuri Elkaim here. Welcome to this public service announcement. This is an episode of the Super Nutrition Academy Health Class, and we’re going to be dissecting—well, not really dissecting but kind of reminding you of the dangers of statin drugs.
Obviously, I’m not a medical doctor. I can’t tell you to go off or go on statins if you’re currently on them or not on them. Obviously, you have to consult with your medical doctor. This will never serve as medical advice. I have to put that disclaimer out there.
Having said that, though, it’s kind of a stupid disclaimer because we’re telling everyone to consult with their physicians knowing full well that that’s complete and utter nonsense, because physicians, in most cases, are just going to tell you to take drugs anyways. It’s kind of this weird disclaimer that we have to make, but there’s really no essence behind it.
This podcast has been prompted by a piece of news that I read on CBC as of late. They’re talking about how statin drugs like Lipitor, Crestor, and Zocor, which are amongst the most widely prescribed drugs across all drugs, have now been prescribed not only for people who have high cholesterol or who are looking to prevent a second heart attack or stroke, but they’re being prescribed now for healthy people as a “preventive” measure.
When I see this kind of stuff, it makes me sick to my stomach. How on earth do you…? “You’re healthy; just as a preventive mechanism, let’s just get you on a statin drug. Just in case, so you don’t have any cholesterol issues or heart-disease issues down the road.”
Well, that’s complete and utter nonsense, and it’s really, again, this stuff really infuriates me because you go to your doctor, you don’t know any better in a lot of cases, and they just say, “Hey, we should put you on this,” and you’re just like, “Sure, I guess.”
Man, it really gets me going because this stuff, it’s just so frustrating. Part of this news piece came out because there was a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association which suggests that statins may be associated with an increased in musculoskeletal conditions and pain, especially in physically active individuals. Well, that’s not rocket science; that’s not brand-new. We do know that statins have a lot of side effects. One of the big ones is actually they deplete CoQ10 in the body, which is an essential component of energy production, of heart health, just really not good to be depleted of that.
The very thing that’s supposed to be protecting our heart, these statin drugs, is actually making them worse off in a lot of cases. Other potential side effects include the risk of type 2 diabetes, reversible muscle damage, and short-term kidney damage. Again, this is coming out of this recent paper from the Journal of the American Medical Association.
There were some really, really cool stats here I wanted to show you. When they looked at what the recommendations were from the drug companies, the drug companies concluded that, I quote: “Statins are likely to be cost-effective in primary prevention.” Primary prevention. That means that without even having an issue, we’ll put you on statins because it’s the most cost-effective way at keeping you healthy.
It doesn’t really make a lot of sense because if you’re already healthy, then the best thing you can do is continue doing what you’re doing or just be more active, eat a clean diet. You won’t even need statin drugs.
Again, and this is debatable, the only people that really do need statin drugs, if at all, are those who have a genetic tendency to higher cholesterol, known as hypercholesterolemia. But even in those cases, there are very specific measures you can take to lower your cholesterol naturally; it’s really not that hard.
It’s the same thing. If we want to reduce blood pressure, reduce heart disease, reduce anything, it’s all pretty much the same approach. And it doesn’t have to be centered around pharmaceutical drugs. I want to give you a nice little quote here. James McCormack, who’s a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia said, I quote: “If you look at all the studies that have ever been done with statins for primary prevention”—so, for people who have never had a heart attack or a stroke—“if you give a statin to a patient for about five years, we can reduce the chance of a person having a heart attack or a stroke by about one percent.”
One percent! You’re healthy; let’s put you on statin drugs for five years, which we know will have brutal effects on your health, just so that you can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by one percent.
That’s ridiculous! What would be some better measures to reduce your chances of heart attack or stroke by more than one percent? Let’s say by ten percent. Well, you could exercise. You could eat more healthy fats like omega-3s and monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, for instance, fish oil, stuff like that.
I find this stuff so amusing. It’s crazy that this stuff is still being put out in the news and there’re still studies that are being done on this nonsense. Cholesterol is big business.
The reason why they lowered the cholesterol levels to a lower acceptable amount versus the higher acceptable amount in the past is because people on the board deciding these upper safe limits were the same people who are the CEOs, in a lot of cases, of Merck and a lot of these pharmaceutical companies. They figure if more people who had normally healthy levels and we can reduce the safe upper limit, now these people are above the old, which means that they need to be put on statin drugs, we make more money by selling more cholesterol-lowering medication.
This stuff is big business. It’s crazy how big the cholesterol business is. Cholesterol-lowering medication is the biggest, I think it’s even bigger than antidepressants in terms of number sold. It’s just absolutely crazy.
Do I have much more to share with you other than just to kind of bring this recent piece of news to you? I’m not too sure…but I’m trying to find through my notes here if I’ve got any other cool stuff to share with you.
I don’t know, it’s crazy. It’s a several-billion-dollar industry. The whole idea with this episode is really just to remind you, it’s just reminding you—again, we talk about, I don’t know if I’ve talked about this really. There are a lot of psychological biases that humans have that cause us to misjudge things. One of the biggest ones is self-interest and incentives.
What that means is that when we are intrinsically self-interested in some thing or there’s an incentive for us to recommend something—so, for instance, if you go to your doctor and they recommend a medication and they get some kind of payoff because of that, even if they’re trying to do what’s in the best interest for you, when incentives are in place, you really have to question: Why are you recommending this for me? And is there a better option? Can I get a more objective point of view?
When I recommend something to you, let’s say I recommend you go to the store and buy fish oil, is there an incentive for me to do that? The incentive for me is not financial, because I have no affiliation with any particular fish-oil company and not any particular store. My incentive is simply to empower you with better information so you don’t fall for this kind of nonsense.
So, the power of self-interest and incentives are really a huge, huge psychological bias that we have as human beings that cause us to act in ways that are not necessarily the most congruent or integral with what is best for the individual.
It’s like if you go to—I’ll give you a perfect example. I used to work in Future Shop. That was one of my first—Future Shop is the same company as Best Buy, pretty much, in Canada. That was one of my first jobs. I was selling appliances, when I was 17 years old, to families. Just imagine that.
I was selling appliances to families, and I knew that if I sold a certain appliance, I would make a certain commission. If I sold the fridge right beside that one, I would make less or more commission. There’s obviously this conversation going on in my mind saying, Let’s find the perfect fridge for this family. They need an ice dispenser, this, this many cubic feet. But there’s also this little voice in my mind saying, Hey, you know what? If I can get them to consider this fridge, I’ll make an extra 20 bucks.
That is incentive-based bias and that can lead us to misdirect people a lot of times into making the wrong decision. And in some cases it actually might be the better decision, but nonetheless, it’s based and it’s biased based on the fact that we have a self-interest in there.
If I can sell a family of five appliances, if I can get that whole bundle of appliances, not just a fridge, I know that I’m making more commission. Therefore, my goal is to get that family to buy more of those appliances. And we see this in everything.
We see this in car, you go to your car dealer, and they recommend one car versus another because this car might have a better commission that month or whatever it is. That’s kind of the nature of sales. It’s the nature of sales.
Actually, it’s the same thing online. There are some cases where I recommend somebody else’s program. In full disclosure, I do get a commission for that. But for the most part, I really only recommend stuff I that I truly believe in.
And, actually, moving forward as of July 1, I’m really, really limiting the number of other things that I recommend because we’ve had some really interesting conversations with our clients, and we just found that it just confused people more often. They’re asking, “Why are you even recommending other fitness and nutrition programs when your stuff is already awesome?”
It really got us to think about how we were doing business, and I know that now we’re getting completely off course here, but let’s just kind of take it back to cholesterol-lowering medication. If you think about why are drugs being so heavily promoted? We all know that there’s a huge financial gain for these companies to be made. That’s why we see so many commercials, we see so much advertising, we see so much push for these drugs.
Now it really gets you thinking, If I’m healthy, why on earth would I take a drug? Why? Again, this whole episode is about reminding you of what’s gong on and to provide you, again, that little kind of kick in the butt, that little reminder to really question why it is that doctors are recommending certain things. Why is it that my doctor continues to recommend this to me? Why is it do I continue to see commercials for this?
It’s like with food. I say, with anything that’s advertised on TV, do not eat it. The same things with medications. If you see medications advertised while watching Jeopardy! which is usually when you see these medications being advertised, avoid them.
They know exactly who’s watching Jeopardy! It’s people who are in their baby-boomer years, who are most likely to have cholesterol, blood pressure, heart-disease issues. These are the people that they’re trying to target with Crestor and Lipitor and all these other ridiculous medications. Because they know if they can get into their head, then obviously they’re going to go to their doctor.
The doctor’s going to talk to them about this stuff, and they’re going to say, “Yeah, yeah, I saw this on TV. Let’s go for it,” even though the list of side effects is longer than the Dead Sea Scrolls. Again, just be properly informed to talk with your doctor about this kind of stuff, because in a lot of cases, it’s not necessary. Through diet and exercise alone, you can dramatically reduce your cholesterol levels.
I’m going to say this again. Adopt more of a plant-based diet, eat healthy fats, cut out the processed garbage. I say this all the time; it’s the same thing. That’s why I always say how you heal anything is how you heal everything. The approach is very similar across the board for pretty much all disease.
That’s your reminder, your public-service announcement for today. I hope you take it to heart. Question, question, question. Ask why. Why am I being presented this information? Why is this being recommended to me? Is there an ulterior motive? Is there something else…? I don’t want you to become a conspiracy theorist, but just become a little bit more inquisitive.
That’s all for today. Again, you can join me back at the blog, SuperNutritionAcademy.com/blog. If you haven’t downloaded the free report, “Big, Fat Food Lies,” you can do so. It’s free and you’ll discover seven nutrition lies that are keeping you sick, fat, and frustrated…or at least people you may know.
That’s all for today. I’ll see you in the next episode. Thanks for joining me and have a great day.
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