Shocking Myths About Statins and Heart Disease!

by Steven Carney on May 29, 2012

It’s estimated that up to 30 million people in the U.S. are taking statin drugs. Even if you’re not taking a statin, you’ve probably heard of them. The underlying claim for these over-prescribed drugs (debunked by a growing number of health experts), is that high fat and cholesterol levels cause heart disease.

In truth, the origins of HD are more complex and are largely driven by the inflammatory process. Once inflamed, artery walls more easily accumulate fats, oxidized LDL, and immune cells (the lining of your arteries are only a single cell thick)!

Once into the lining, these invading cells continue to inflame the artery walls and the process continues, creating more of a lesion (like a scrape or wound), but the process is slow and often takes decades.

As for statins, they do far less than most doctors and patients believe, especially for more healthy individuals (moderately elevated cholesterol is not really a disease, although it’s treated like one. You’ve probably been mislead about that for years)!

Only by using manipulative math ratios do statin drugs appear to have a greater impact (see the first 2 links below for more details about how little benefit these drugs actually provide and the bias used in the research). In reality, they only lower risk of a heart attack by a few percent. Here is one quote from the first link below:

“A recent review by the esteemed Cochrane Collaboration concluded that statin drugs show no benefit for heart disease prevention among those without diagnosed heart disease.”

What does cause heart disease?

The most common type of HD is based on the gradual blockage of arteries called atherosclerosis. The inflammation that begins the process can be caused by an infection, smoking or other cause, and is also tied to the habitual consumption of sugars and refined carbohydrates. These include wheat and processed foods, which trigger weight gain and inflammation (high blood sugar is injurious to arteries and tissues). These foods also trigger smaller LDL particles that get into artery walls more easily.

Oxidized LDL (like rancid oil), is also a significant contributor to inflammation and athero, and is more prevalent in people who consume fried foods, processed foods and vegetable oils, along with too few fruits, vegetables, omega-3 oils and other antioxidants that can provide more balance.

How do foods and lifestyle contribute?

The American diet, along with other Western countries, includes many inflammatory, weight-gaining foods and lifestyle habits:

  • Sugars, including high-fructose corn syrup (candy, cookies, cakes, etc.).
  • Sodas and sweetened drinks (energy drinks, sugary fruit drinks, etc.).
  • Wheat and other refined foods (chips, crackers, cereals, etc.).
  • Fried foods (fries, chips, other fried foods).
  • Corn and vegetable oils (high-omega 6 oils used in processed foods, salad dressings, etc.).
  • Trans-fats (also called partially-hydrogenated oils, worse than saturated fats, also common in processed foods).
  • Red and processed/cured meats (beef, luncheon meats, hot dogs, bacon).
  • Full-fat dairy (whole milk, cream, butter, ice cream).
  • Alcohol (especially several drinks daily).
  • Excess weight (even a few pounds in the abdomen can contribute to inflammation and hormonal imbalances).
  • A lack of physical activity/sedentary living.

Cutting your intake of the unhealthy foods listed above is critical for many health problems, as is being more active. When I coach people, we find food alternatives so you can still feel satisfied, and I help you to become more active by building on things you already enjoy!

More insightful screening tests

In order to properly assess your actual risk for a heart attack, consider these key tests: 

  • A VAP or NMR lipid-profile blood test, which will give you more detailed info for your small, dense LDL plus other cholesterol and triglyceride values.
  • A hs-CRP blood test to find your systemic level of inflammation.
  • A heart scan (you don’t need any injections or dyes, just a CT scan) to see how much artery blockage/plaque you have (it’s possible to reverse plaque so ask me about it!).
  • A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test to assess your blood levels of vitamin D.

These tests will give you a much deeper understanding of your true risk for a heart attack, although many doctors don’t order them. I’ve studied atherosclerosis intensively for more than 5 years and I could give you lots of suggestions for how to improve your situation if you want to lower your risk or if you have test results that need addressing (atherosclerosis is reversible!). However, the standard lipid profile with calculated LDL doesn’t tell you enough, even though it is routinely used to put people on a statin!

There are also some good supplements that can help to lower your LDL/Ox LDL, triglycerides and inflammation, such as vitamin C and D, Sytrinol, fish oil, and more. And your thyroid plays a big role as well!

Always consult with a qualified health coach to learn more about these problems and your best options to lower risk and improve your health/longevity. And feel free to ask me a question about this or other post!

Here are some highly credible links (they will challenge your beliefs about cholesterol and statins). Also see my “Health News” page for many more links on heart health and stroke issues. (Sorry about the formatting, they changed their software and the original article formatting was lost). (Sorry about the typos in this article, not sure why they haven’t been corrected!)

On 2/27/13 I saw this additional study on cholesterol NOT causing heart disease:

On 5/15/13 I saw this study which shows some of the bad effects of statins and exercise:

© 2012 by Steve Carney/End Sickness Now


Jan June 15, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Hi Steve
The only thing that I don’t agree with on your list is the dairy foods. If we eat more cholesterol our body makes less so I wonder if there are some other dietary interactions there.

Also, I would love to know how to reduce plaque as I have been told by a doctor who conducts autopsies that you cannot reverse the process. My cholesterol has been going up and up over the past few years – I believe low fat dieting is the culprit and then menopause. My doctor is champing at the bit to put me on statins but the three people I know who take them have all had horrible side effects – extreme muscle fatigue and aches and general tiredness. My cholesterol is currently 7.9 and is supposed to be 5.5 so I am exercising twice a day, eating tons of fibre, eating no sugar at all, have to go back in 2 months to be tested. Also I eat no low fat foods and no processed foods.

Pedro Pinzon June 16, 2012 at 8:32 AM

excelente articulo gracias por compartir .
a mi me sucedió eso el colesterol alto, estuve a dieta estricta con nutricionista, por tres años , tomaba estatina, pero el colesterol me bajaba muy poco. Hace como dos años decidí probar con suplementos Alimenticios, y los resultados son sorprendentes ahora mi colesterol es normal

Steve June 16, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Hey Jan!

Thanks for your thoughts! I’ll compose some info and sent it to you.

And no worries! 🙂


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