Tuesday, July 21, 2009

3. Very Low LDL: Good or Bad?

In the following pages, I will first make a case for why very low values of LDL are dangerous. I will then tell two remarkable stories about how statin makers are trying to convince the media and the public that black is white: they argue that statins are actually protective against both cancer and sepsis (blood poisoning), whereas the evidence is the exact opposite, as I will now show.
I am going to start my story with a recent article that appeared in the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science in 2007 (Low LDL Bad) . This article involved a very simple study, inspired by the recent practice of cardiologists to recommend to their patients with known heart disease that they more aggressively lower their LDL cholesterol levels. The consequences of a very low LDL level, as evidenced by the outcome of the experiment described in the above article, can be dramatic and alarming. The authors examined 203 patients' charts in a hospital and divided them into two groups: those whose LDL was below 70 mg/dl, and those whose LDL was above 70 mg/dl. They found that the below 70 group had a fifteen fold increase in the incidence of cancer, and a five fold increase in the incidence of sepsis (more familiarly known as blood poisoning or septicemia), when compared with the above-70 group. Thus, nearly all of the patients who had cancer and most of the patients who had sepsis also had low LDL, strongly implying that people with low values of LDL are much more likely to suffer from cancer and dangerous infection than the general population.

Statin proponents are scrambling to come up with convoluted explanations that exonerate statin drugs, as evidenced in the way another article along similar lines is pitched [10] (Not Even Looking for Cancer) . Even though they weren't initially investigating cancer at all, but were rather concerned about liver and muscle damage, these authors found a highly significant (p=.009) inverse correlation between achieved LDL levels and cancer -- the lower the LDL level the higher the incidence of cancer. The review process for this article was very heated, and an argument was made that it should not be published because it might discourage people from taking their statin drugs. It starts to become humorous when you read the explanation developed here: (Statins aren't to Blame) . The argument goes like this: people who have natural low values of LDL (< 70 mg/dl) have increased cancer risk even if they aren't taking statin drugs. Statin drugs don't directly cause cancer, they just promote it indirectly by knocking down your LDL levels into the range where increased risk occurs. Guns don't kill you, they just release bullets that do.

7 comments:

westexas said...

Very interesting blog.

Are you aware of any work that specifically plots LDL levels versus Vitamin D levels?

Jeffrey J. Brown

My e-mail is westexas at aol.com

Jennifer Holstien said...

My LDL is 57 and I am not taking any statins to cause this. My HDL is 34.. while my triglycerides are at 139. According to your research, does this indicate I am at a very high cancer risk? What types of cancer seem most common among this group?

my email is rainstormtorrentia@gmail.com

JaneR said...

Ok, but you are making an assumption that the low LDL is causing disease. This may not be the case. Perhaps sepsis and cancer bring down the LDL level. Basic Science. Correlation does not equal causation.

Mikl Pop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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