Calcium and Osteoporosis

Earlier this year we got the news that Julie’s cancer had spread to her back, two golf ball size tumours had sprung up and one appeared in her liver. We are dealing with that as a separate issue, and all is going well so far.

Anyway, the knee jerk reaction to this was to book a cruise around the Mediterranean..!! Unfortunately, this is not available on the National Health, but we went private.

In order to increase my stress levels we also decided to take along my mother “I’m 82 you know” and her mate Sheila who is NOT 82 but much younger (mid 70’s I think!)

I have known Sheila for several years but never really had a proper conversation with her due to the fact that there was always something going on and the opportunity never really presented itself.

Midway through the cruise one lunch time my mother decided to have a “refreshing” Tequila Sunrise. She liked it so much that she had three more in quick succession. Needless to say she decided to have an afternoon nap and Julie took mother to retire to the cabin.

This gave Sheila and I a couple of hours to chit chat about nothing in particular. During the course of our quiet time she told me that a few years ago she had had a triple heart by pass. Of which I had no idea. Furthermore, she was currently being treated for osteoporosis. A condition which is not uncommon amongst women of a certain age.

She then told me that her Doctor was prescribing Calcium Supplements to strengthen her bones and to counteract the osteoporosis.

She volunteered this information because she knew that I was interested in bone health because of the history of cancer in Julie’s spine and that we were always looking into ways of improving her situation.

As it turned out this could be a conversation that would inadvertently help Sheila’s health more than Julie’s.

Over the last five years I have read up on the work, ideas and practical application of Pioneering Medics who have proposed radical solutions to cancer and disease in general in order to help Julie. Just a few, for example, below :

  • Dr Joanna Budwig – Diet Protocol for Cancer
  • Gerson Therapy – Diet Protocol for Cancer
  • Robert Young – The pH Diet
  • Dr Otto Warberg – Oxygen and Cancer
  • Dr Nicholas Gonzalez – Pancreatic Enzymes Treatment
  • Dr John Beard – The Enzyme treatment of Cancer
  • Linus Pauling – The effects of Vitamin C

But the one that sprung to mind when talking to Sheila was the recent work of Thomas Levy who had previously focused on Vitamin C, as had Linus Pauling, but more recently had concentrated on the effects of Calcium on the body and our bones, culminating in his recent publication in 2013 “Death by Calcium”.

Obviously, I have an interest in this work because of the relationship between cancer, calcium and bone strength. Sheila, equally, has an interest in the same relationship between Calcium and bone strength because of her osteoporosis.

In my opinion, all of the research published by Thomas Levy is quite remarkable. In his latest book he shows that while calcium is essential for health, you only need a certain amount. If you take more than that amount it is deposited in places where it can be harmful. Calcium deposits in the arteries, for example, are not a good thing and can result in arteriosclerosis. So, in Sheila’s case where she has already had a triple by pass this was alarming news.

Furthermore, ironically, excess calcium is one of the culprits in osteoporosis asserts Dr Levy. He effectively blows the whistle on the effects of excess calcium from dairy foods and calcium supplements.

As a cardiologist and one of the world’s leading experts on Vitamin C, he states that calcium is essential to our health, but outside of our bones, we only need a small amount. If we get beyond the small amount needed, excess calcium starts to deposit in our tissues and in our cells and this is how cells become malignant.

Calcium has long been regarded as something that is good for you, without question, and in the last five years his work and new studies have demonstrated that it is not as good for you as we have been led to believe.

We have been taught all our lives to drink milk and associate it with good health. His view is that we have been duped by the milk marketeers, in the same way that big pharmaceutical companies dupe the general public as to the benefit of their products and research methodology.

Always for the same reason MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

His advice is to enjoy a little cheese, sour cream, yoghurt, milk etc, but sparingly.

However, do NOT supplement with calcium.

A summary of his hard-line reasoning for this is that:

  • Regular excess dairy consumption and calcium supplements promote chronic degenerative disease
  • Excess calcium promotes heart disease
  • You are 30% more likely to have a heart attack and 20% more likely to have a stroke if you take an extra 500mg of calcium supplements per day.
  • 1/3 of the US population over 45 have arterial calcification.
  • Osteoporosis is a lack of calcium in the bones, it does not mean that there is a lack of calcium in the body or diet. Osteoporosis is a local scurvy of the bone, Vitamin C deficient, and not a general lack of calcium.
  • Virtually all osteoporosis patients have a magnesium deficiency.
  • Excess calcium increases oxidative stress on the body and can promote the development and spread of cancer.

Conversely he recommends:

  • Vitamin C – lowers mortality from all causes and is a classic antioxidant.
  • Magnesium – Nature’s calcium blocker dissolves calcium deposits.
  • Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D deficiency is one of the causes of osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin K2 – inhibits and reverses abnormal calcification and works with Vitamin D3

Sheila and I talked about all this in the time it took my mother “I’m 82 you know” to absorb four lunchtime tequila sunrises.

We both appreciated that her Doctor’s diagnosis of Calcium Supplements was misguided at best because:

  • She was probably getting enough calcium from her diet anyway.
  • The excess calcium, from the supplements, would float around and potentially calcify her arteries. Bearing in mind her triple bypass, this was not good news.
  • Any additional calcium is potentially dangerous without the balancing effects of magnesium.
  • Her Doctor had not mentioned the benefits of Vitamin D which helps to regulate calcium absorption and metabolism together with Vitamin K2 which works synergistically with Vitamin D.

Sheila wrote her notes about what she had to do when she got back home on the back of our crossword.

We then sat back enjoyed the sunshine awaiting mothers return.

Maybe the odd cruise should be on the NHS as you never know. They could be life savers.

End of Message.

Tiffany Writes:

Tiffany writes:

Stuart, I am just about to go to my evening Dance Class down here in Eastbourne. I have just read your Magnesium blog. I love that you go to Pilates. You must be very bendy !! Maybe you could come down to Eastbourne and teach me a trick or two. I would bend over backwards to help you get in the right position. Let me know. Soon.

Stuart writes:

I will NEVER ever be coming to Eastbourne. I don’t even believe that you are a Dancer.Go away.!!


Magnesium and General Health

I was at Pilates this morning and the subject of magnesium came up.

No one realised its importance. I recall posting a blog about magnesium and Cancer some months ago. So, here to remind myself and hopefully help someone out there is my rough take on Magnesium for general health.

Have a read….

Magnesium – For Better Health

Magnesium is perhaps one of the most overlooked minerals. This is especially important because, an estimated 80 percent of the western world is deficient in it. The health consequences of deficiency can be quite significant, and can be aggravated by many, if not most, prescription drugs.

Magnesium—One of Your Most Important Minerals

Magnesium is a crucially important mineral for good health, performing a wide variety of functions, including but not limited to:

  • Activating muscles and nerves
  • Creates energy in your body at a cellular level
  • Helps digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats
  • Acts as a building block for RNA and DNA synthesis
  • Assists neurotransmitters like serotonin (affecting your mood and behaviour)

Nowadays few people get enough magnesium in their diet. Meanwhile, calcium tends to be overused via excessive dairy consumption.

This can cause more harm than good, as it’s important to have a proper balance between the two minerals.

If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm, and this has consequences for your heart in particular.

“What happens is, the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm. Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract, and create their activity,”  (Dr Carolyn Dean)

Magnesium is thus critical for heart health, as excessive amounts of calcium without the counterbalance of magnesium can lead potential problems.

How much Calcium and Magnesium ?

Over the past 30 years, women have been told to take calcium to avoid osteoporosis.

Many foods have also been fortified with extra calcium to prevent calcium deficiency among the general population. Despite such measures, osteoporosis has continued to climb.

“I’ve heard statistics like a 700 percent rise in osteoporosis in a 10-year period, even while taking all this calcium,” Dr. Dean.

“The myth that’s been created about calcium is that we need twice as much calcium as we do magnesium. Most of the supplements reflect this. We’ve got a situation where people are taking 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams of calcium and maybe a few hundred milligrams of magnesium.” (Dr Dean

In actual fact the ratios need to be about the same. For example 400mg of Calcium and 400mg of Magnesium.

Also Address Your Vitamin K2 and D Ratios

Calcium and magnesium also needs to be balanced with vitamin D and K2.

These four nutrients balance together, with one supporting the other.

Lack of balance between them is why calcium supplements have become associated with increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Part of the explanation for these side effects is that vitamin K2 keeps calcium in its appropriate place. If you’re K2 deficient, added calcium can cause more problems than it solves, by accumulating in the wrong places.

Similarly, if you take vitamin D, you need to also take vitamin K2 and more magnesium. Taking mega doses of vitamin D supplements without sufficient amounts of K2 and magnesium can lead to vitamin D overload and magnesium deficiency symptoms, which include inappropriate calcification.

Magnesium and vitamin K2 complement each other, as magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which is an important component of heart disease. So anytime you’re taking any of the following: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, or vitamin K2, you need to take all the others into consideration as well, since these all work together with one another.

Dietary Sources of Calcium and Magnesium

Calcium. You can typically get enough calcium from your diet by eating nuts, seeds, deep green leafy vegetables, and dairy products. Homemade bone broth is another excellent source. Simply simmer leftover bones over low heat for an entire day to extract the calcium from the bones. (See my Blog Entry on Bone Broth)

Magnesium, on the other hand, tends to be a bit scarcer in our modern food supply.

Magnesium has been farmed out of the soil much more than calcium.  A hundred years ago, we would get maybe 500 mgs of magnesium in an ordinary diet. Now we’re lucky to get 200 mgs. So, you do need to supplement with magnesium

Industrial agriculture has massively depleted most soils of beneficial minerals like magnesium. If you find biologically-grown organic foods (grown on soil treated with mineral fertilizers), you may still be able to get a lot of your magnesium from your food.

Chlorophyll has a magnesium atom in its centre, allowing plants to use the suns energy. Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Avocados also contain magnesium.

Juicing your own vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough in your diet.

However, most foods grown today lack magnesium and other minerals. Herbicides and pesticides block the plant’s natural uptake and use of minerals.

As a result, I believe it would be unusual for anyone to have access to foods that are rich in magnesium, which is why I believe it is wise to consider a magnesium supplement.

This is my personal strategy even though I am lucky to have access to highly nutrient rich organic food.

Which Form of Magnesium Is Best?

Be aware that there are several different forms of magnesium.

The best sort is Magnesium glycinate a form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency.

The cheapest sources of magnesium are magnesium oxide supplements, which are poorly absorbed by your body. A mere four percent is absorbed when you take this kind. The remaining 96 percent goes through your intestines, which is why magnesium oxide tends to have a laxative effect, which can be useful if you are challenged with constipation.

Besides taking a supplement, another way to improve your magnesium status is to take regular Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt is a magnesium sulphate that can absorb into your body through your skin.


Magnesium oil (from magnesium chloride) can also be used for topical application and absorption.(Which I use – a lot !!)

The reason for the wide variety of magnesium supplements on the market is because the magnesium must be bound to another substance. There’s no such thing as a 100% magnesium compound supplement.

The substance used in any given supplement compound can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium, and may provide slightly different, or targeted, health benefits:

Magnesium glycinate is a form of magnesium that tends to provide the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability and is typically considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a deficiency Magnesium oxide is a type of magnesium, bound to an organic acid or a fatty acid. Contains 60 percent magnesium and has stool softening properties
Magnesium chloride / Magnesium lactate contain only 12 percent magnesium, but has better absorption than others, such as magnesium oxide, which contains five times more magnesium Magnesium sulphate / Magnesium hydroxide (milk of magnesia) are typically used as a laxative. Be aware that it’s easy to overdose on these, so ONLY take as directed
Magnesium carbonate, which has antacid properties, contains 45 percent magnesium Magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and taurine, an amino acid. Together, they tend to provide a calming effect on your body and mind
Magnesium citrate is magnesium with citric acid, which has laxative properties Magnesium threonate is a newer, type of magnesium supplement that appears promising, primarily due to its ability to penetrate cell membrane

Prescription Drugs may reduce your Magnesium

Two major lifestyle factors that deplete your body of magnesium are stress and prescription drugs.

Unfortunately, the conventional medical approach for dealing with stress often leads to prescription drugs, making your situation progressively worse.

  • The scenario is very basic.
  • You go to your doctor. You’re under massive stress.
  • Massive stress means you’re losing magnesium.
  • You’re burning magnesium out of your body, because it helps support your adrenal glands. It helps keep you away from anxiety and depression.
  • It helps relax your muscles.
  • If you’re all tight and stressed, your magnesium is being lost, which makes the muscles of your blood vessels tighten. That tightness is going to cause increased blood pressure.
  • Your doctor… will say, ‘Oh, your blood pressure is elevated. We’ll give you a diuretic.’
  • The diuretic will drop the fluid level in your body to take the pressure off your blood vessels, so your blood pressure will drop. But diuretics also drain off your magnesium… A month later you come back, and the doctor finds your blood pressure’s even more elevated. Yes—because you’ve just lost more magnesium! Your doctor then puts you on a calcium channel blocker.
  • Now, they have that part right. They know that without magnesium, your calcium is going to become elevated and will tighten up your blood vessels, so they try to block calcium. But they don’t know that magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker.
  • Your doctor may also put you on another blood pressure drug… So, you go away with three drugs now. After two or three months, you come back and have blood taken to make sure that drugs aren’t hurting your liver… All of a sudden, your cholesterol and blood sugar is elevated.
  • What does the doctor say? ‘Oh, we just caught your cholesterol and blood sugar in time. We can put you on medication for that.’

But they didn’t catch them; they caused them. And …So it goes…

The more you deplete your magnesium, the more out of control your cholesterol will get, because magnesium helps balance the enzyme that creates cholesterol in your body, helping your cholesterol levels. Interestingly, statins destroy the same enzyme that magnesium balances.

Magnesium deficiency is also a common symptom in diabetes, so drugs may inadvertently contribute to diabetes simply by depleting your body of magnesium.

In short.

Take 400mgs per day of Magnesium Glycinate for better health.

End of Message.

Tiffany Writes

Tiffany Writes: I have just finished Dance Class and read your article on Detoxing your WHOLE body. I was interested in the rebounding and dry brushing techniques. Stuart, I have a little trampoline set up in my apartment in Eastbourne. Perhaps you could come down and watch me jiggle up and down on it. I am very keen on getting it right.You could also show me first hand the all over brushing technique. I do hope that it is HANDS ON.!!

I would be so excited if you came.

Stuart Writes: Tiffany, you have got to stop this nonsense. Go to a Clinic if you want to Detox. Preferably a psychiatric one. Goodbye.

Detox your Body – A Rough Guide.

Toxins are the cause of a large number of illnesses. As well as toxins there are a number of other factors that can cause sickness: stress, troublesome glands, parasites, viruses, bacteria but also sugar, refined carbohydrates, processes foodstuffs, food preservatives, pesticide residue in food, heavy metals present in your body etc.

Your immune system naturally, instinctively, gets rid of toxins in your body through various methods that you will probably recognise although not be great fans of. The most famous and popular would be fever, sweating profusely at night, throwing up, and diarrhoea.

All of which you can bring up as a grim tale around the table at a particularly unpleasant dinner party, which you didn’t want to go to in the first place.

Most of the time these endearing methods of expulsion mean a few days in bed, then a couple of “feel  sorry for myself” days off work and then “back to normal”. However, there comes a tipping point where your body recognises that you are taking the piss. Your body at this point cannot get back to normal and gets its revenge by unleashing the equivalent of localised civil war.

The two opposing sides being you, and your lifestyle, against your body.

Your body then becomes a bit of a bastard and unleashes various weapons of mirth and merriment (from its point of view) such as …

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Eczema, Psoriasis
  • IBS
  • etc

If it gets really upset it can move on to use its big arsenal and play the Weapons of Mass Destruction Cards:

  • Cancers (Various)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • MS
  • Crohns Disease
  • Etc

Eat a Healthy Diet

Avoid food that contains wheat, gluten, soya and lactose. In general these will cause your body to produce mucosa and could lead to sinus, chest, and other problems – that “bunged up” feeling. It’s about three years since I cut these factors from my diet and no longer have any migraines, sinus issues coughs or colds. All of which used to plague me beforehand.

Also avoid processed food, fried food or GM foods (genetically modified) all of which can lead to health problems in the long term.

The rest of the “No-No” list would include refined sugar, ANY sweeteners which generally contain aspartame and/ or ace-K, trans-fats and hydrogenated oils such as Canola.

Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol will also help to feel better on a day to day basis.

Try, wherever possible, to eat organic so that you avoid taking in toxins from chemically manufactured pesticides. Increase your intake of healthy fats (Omega 3) such as Coconut Oil, avocado, olive oil and nuts and seeds.

Invest in some kind of water purifying system for drinking and cooking water. For example, we have a distiller which takes out toxins, heavy metals, fluoride etc from tap water. At least we can be confident that we are just using water (H2O) and not H2O plus this that and God knows what. You could consider water filtration or reverse osmosis systems, but this always boils down to effort and budget, unfortunately.

Beware, when deciding, of the “I can’t be bothered syndrome”, for which the only known cure is a kick up the backside.

Finally, you could opt for an alkaline diet which is very beneficial for your health because in general terms these types of foods are weak in sodium but strong in potassium.

Clean Your Liver

Your liver is the organ which is most sensitive to toxins because it filters and treats your blood. In order to clear the liver of toxins you could try taking:

  • Burdock Root
  • Dandelion Root
  • Milk Thistle
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Fermented Foods (act as a Probiotic)
  • Organic eggs, fish, nuts and seeds

During a liver detox you should really drink carrot juice (made in a juicer from organic carrots – not bought off the shelf) and green acidic apples for a week to help get rid of any gallstones.

You should also finish off your liver detox with a spoonful of olive oil and a spoonful of fresh lemon juice just before going to bed. This will continue your detox action through the night.

Cleanse your Kidneys

There are certain herbs, plants and fruits that are particularly effective at cleaning your kidneys. In particular:

  • Ginger, raw or more beneficially in a juice.
  • Black cherries, again raw or in a juice.
  • If you can get them horsetail and golden rod are really good kidney detoxers.

Easier routes to a kidney detox are:

  • Drinking water with lemon juice on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning.
  • Magnesium therapy (Epsom Salt baths etc.)
  • Organic cranberry juice.
  • Apple cider vinegar drinks.

Once again, avoid all foodstuffs treated with pesticides as in the long term some of the chemicals present could lead to renal failure.

Purify your Colon

I think that it is stating the obvious that to have a healthy colon you need to have regular movement. By that, I don’t mean continually flapping your arms about.

Without getting into the whole colonic irrigation / enema malarkey, there is a really good traditional Ayuvedic Herb called Triphala which is a very effective colon cleanser.

Other than that, try:

  • Distilled water drinks.
  • Aloe Vera Juice.
  • Coconut Water
  • Kefir Milk

Finally, eat lots of ginger, garlic and fennel to clear out toxins from your colon.

Eliminate Heavy Metals

There are certain heavy metals that can be present in your body such as mercury and lead, that are extremely toxic even in small amounts. They need to be removed quickly and efficiently on a regular basis.

From a food perspective the best foodstuffs rich in sulphur to do this job would include:

  • Coriander
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Brussel Sprouts

Look after your Lymphatic System.

Your lymphatic system is essentially a complex sewer system. Unfortunately, unlike the heart it doesn’t have a pump. This is a fundamental design flaw in the human body and someone really cocked up at the prototype stage. As a consequence, it is up to you to keep the lymph moving otherwise (like a sewer it gets all clogged up and the results are not only messy but seriously damaging to your health).

By far and away the best way to sort your lymphatic system out is rebounding. That is to say, two or three minutes a day on a small trampoline. Failing that, saunas (Infrared or steam) yoga, Pilates, skipping (with or without a rope) deep breathing or dry brushing of your skin in the lymph area and Epsom Salt Baths would be effective.

As a general rule, any form of regular exercise that works up a sweat will help to get the lymph draining and eliminate toxins.


Taking care of your body means taking care of all the key components.

Do this and have a hopefully happy and healthy life.

End of Message.



Tiffany Writes:

Tiffany Writes:

Stuart, I have just read your MARVELOUS  article “Statin the Obvious” and the headline reminded me of my life long struggle with Dyslexia. Why, only last night after Dance Class I popped into Eastbourne’s top Butchers Shop. It was sooooo embarrassing, with my Dyslexia. I got mixed up with Organic and Orgasmic. !!! Stuart, it was so easy to do with all those sausages in view.

Maybe you could come to Eastbourne and help me to learn the difference. I would so appreciate it.

Stuart writes:

No. I will not. Buy a Dictionary !!

Statin the Obvious

I have had a couple of conversations with people in the last month about Statins. Coincidentally, I came across this article today in the Magazine “What Doctors Don’t Tell You”.

As usual, the tale is one of drugs giving a benefit to the drug company, rather than to the patient.

The long term solution, once again, seemingly lies in diet rather than a “Quick fix pill”.

Hence, “Statin the Obvious”. Here is the article for anyone who is interested…..

Statins are the world’s best-selling drugs. Designed to lower our levels of ‘bad’ LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol—the stuff that blocks arteries and causes heart disease—they are the ultimate just-in-case drug given even to healthy people when they’ve reached the age of 50 or so.

Not surprisingly, they are seen as life-savers. The UK’s drugs assessor, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), reckons the drugs could save 50,000 lives a year if every British male over the age of 60 and female over 65 took them regularly. Because of this enormous benefit, doctors in the UK are encouraged to start every 60-year-old on statins, whether or not there are heart problems or any risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Yet the cost to the UK taxpayer is enormous. The bill for statins runs to around £450 million a year, which can be added to the drug’s worldwide revenues of around £20 billion . But if the drugs are saving that many lives every year, the cost is fully justified.

However, NICE estimates of lives saved seem to be wildly at odds with the evidence. Researchers from multiple centres across the UK reckon the drugs would save just 750 lives in the UK every year. They looked at death rates from  heart disease between 2000 and 2007, and noted that numbers had fallen by 38,000.

Just 1,800 could be directly attributable to statins; the vast majority were due to changes in lifestyle, such as improvements in diet and exercise.

But what does it even mean to save lives? Surprisingly, scientists seem to be vague about this; often a life is considered ‘saved’ when compared with someone else, usually a participant not given the drug being tested who died while the trial was being conducted. It’s a form of statistical juggling that has meaning within the tight logical framework of a scientific study.

Danish researchers decided to take a closer look at this  ill-defined area, and came up with a very surprising discovery. Rather than looking for lives saved, they instead used a more precise measure: the average postponement of death. With this definition, the scientists were able to see exactly how long people lived after their lives were considered ‘saved’—and the average was between just three and four days.

In other words, statins were extending life by an average of up to four days in people with a heart problem who were taking  statins. The greatest extension of life across the 11 studies they reanalyzed was 27 days in heart patients who took a statin for more than five years; at best, these statin patients were living nearly a month longer than someone not taking the drug.

This very modest benefit has been seen in other trials. In one review, patients with heart disease had their risk of death reduced by just 1.2 per cent if they took a statin for five years, but even that benefit disappears in people who don’t have heart disease. For those with a less than 20 per cent chance of developing heart disease over the next 10 years, there is absolutely no benefit in taking a statin.

If they’re not helping us live longer, do statins at least offer protection from a heart attack or stroke that might leave us debilitated or destroy our quality of life? Again, the benefits are hard to see: the drugs achieve a one in 140 risk reduction for a non-fatal heart attack or stroke in people who have a low risk—which means less than 10 per cent—of heart disease over the next 10 years.

Put another way, the drugs are no better than a placebo, or sugar pill, say the researchers from Cambridge University who reviewed 11 statin studies involving more than 65,000 people, half of whom were taking the drugs. Those not taking a statin had higher levels of LDL cholesterol, yet similar numbers from both groups had died during the four years of the study, suggesting there is more to heart disease than ‘bad’ cholesterol and statin therapy.

Two researchers from University College Hospital in Galway, Ireland, came to a similar conclusion when they took a fresh look at 55 studies that had previously been published. Instead of seeing benefits, they found that people taking statins weren’t living longer and were just as likely to develop heart disease as those not taking the drugs. Worse, women, diabetics and young people taking a statin were actually more likely to develop heart disease.

The possibility that statins actually increase the risk of heart disease and death was beginning to emerge in the Illuminate trial—later described by researchers as medicine’s best-kept secret—before it was hurriedly closed down after participants started dying suddenly or developed cancer.

How can this be when health regulators, like  NICE, are so positive about the enormous benefits of statins? The studies they rely on to shape public-health policy are invariably funded by drug manufacturers, which have a vested commercial interest in achieving a very positive outcome.

To put it starkly, drug companies use “statistical deception” to exaggerate the benefits and downplay the risks of statins, say two researchers, who reckon the drugs help just 1 per cent of the population.

Researchers David Diamond, of the Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, and independent researcher Dr Uffe Ravnskov ran the data again from some of the biggest statin trials and concluded that the drug-company funders had used statistical deception to create the illusion that statins are wonder drugs, when the reality is that their modest benefits are more than offset by “the numerous adverse effects of statin treatment”.

In the UK, NICE’s decision to expand the group being prescribed a statin was partly influenced by the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists Collaboration (CTT) which, it was  revealed, was receiving substantial funding from drug companies; for example, Merck, one of the biggest manufacturers of statins, had donated £217 million.

Side-effects and adverse reactions are common among statin patients. One population-based survey—USAGE (Understanding Statin use in America and Gaps in Education)—has revealed that up to half the people taking statins stop within the first year, with 62 per cent citing some side-effect—such as muscle weakness, joint pain, nausea or ‘brain fog’—as the reason.

At best, statins may have some marginal benefit in those who already have heart disease—but they would do just as well, if not better, by eating a healthier diet—while no independent evidence even suggests that the world’s most successful drugs do a thing to benefit the rest of us.

Cholesterol: What’s your score?

Just as many know their blood-pressure reading, so they are familiar with their cholesterol ‘number’. The ideal score is 5 mmol/L (millimoles per litre of blood), which is made up of 1.3 mmol/L of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the ‘good’ cholesterol, and 3.7 mmol/L of LDL cholesterol, although doctors like to see the HDL reading at 2 or higher.

The typical score in the UK is around 6.1, and any LDL reading above 4 will automatically trigger a prescription for a statin.

But your cholesterol score is more the stuff of fashion than health. Go back 20 years and the healthy score was around 7, and this was lowered to 6.5 10 years ago before reaching today’s .

It’s predicted to fall again soon to 4—currently the ideal score for anyone who has already suffered a heart attack—and cardiologists reckon it will then drop to just 2.5 over the next 10 years.

Just eat well

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can prevent six times the number of deaths from heart disease as can a statin.

If statin drugs save 750 lives every year in the UK, as UK researchers suggest, then healthier lifestyle choices could save 4,600 lives.

This makes sense because up to 80 per cent of cardiovascular disease is caused by lifestyle choices, such as an unhealthy diet of junk food, smoking, drinking too much alcohol and being physically inactive.

A bad diet seems to be the major cause of heart disease and, conversely, eating healthily has the greatest protective effect. In fact, eating just one apple a day has the same protective effect as a statin for preventing a heart attack in someone who is healthy. The Mediterranean diet, especially when supplemented with 30 g/day of nuts or 4 Tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil, can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke by a third.

Intriguingly, these risk reductions are seen even in people with high levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol

“Concentrating on LDL-lowering alone as an end in itself might be counterproductive. Indeed, insulin resistance may emerge as the single most important determinant of coronary artery disease,” says leading cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, of Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, UK.

Stressing the negative

A bad diet may be the major cause of heart disease, followed closely by smoking and inactivity. But is there another cause? Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con (John Blake, 2007), reckons that stress and isolation are unrecognized causes, and ones that are growing with the rise of the nuclear family.

Although stress may be a good thing to help us overcome a challenge, the persistent kind, when we feel powerless and there’s no end in sight, can lead to heart disease, he believes. This can include working for a bullying boss, having long-term money worries and suffering from constant racist abuse,etc. etc.

Some food for thought.

Tiffany Writes:

Tiffany Writes: Stuart, I have just come back from my Easter “Pelvic Floor Exercises” at the Dance Class Studio here in Eastbourne and to my HORROR and SHAME  !!! find that my Pussy is, at best, damp and, at worst, wet…….I am at my wit’s end.!!!

What should I do? I know you are very knowledgeable in these matters…..

Stuart Writes:

You are an IDIOT !! .. Move your cat’s bed nearer to the radiator when you go to Dance Class.This will prevent any dampness forming. It is not rocket science.

Do NOT contact me again….!!!

Tiffany Writes

Tiffany Writes:

Stuart: I have just come back from my Saturday afternoon Dance Class overlooking the Eastbourne Promenade.

Now that it is Spring, I had to walk past our gardener. As I walked past him he was spraying the flower beds, and his massive hose pointed in my direction and made me all moist.

Do you think I should sue ?

Stuart writes: Firstly, I am not a lawyer and so cannot legally advise you. Secondly, you live in a one room first floor apartment with your two cats. So… you do not have a GARDEN !!!

You are deluded and should really see your Doctor on Monday. Get a GRIP !!!

Tiffany Writes:

Tiffany Writes:

Stuart. I have just read your article on Mr Weetabix Head. I didn’t know that you had met all those Presidents and Secret Service. Do you have a gun in your pocket ?

I luurve Weetabix.

As you know, I DO like a bit of Roughage in the Mornings. Perhaps you could come to Eastbourne and surprise me by delivering some Roughage to my “Boudoir D’Amour” ?  That’s is French, you know. No one will guess my code !! Come Soon.

Stuart Writes:

You are Mental. Get Help.!!