The next day after I heard that the MRI results of a close, elderly family member showed her brain was shrinking I recalled she has been taking statin drugs for several years now.
Of course, science has shown us everyone's brain starts to shrink after age 50. Yet my thoughts turned immediately to the huge amount of cholesterol and saturated fats stored in and required by our brains and the necessity of those two building blocks for good brain function and all nerve function.
Naturally, I then began to wonder whether brain damage is a common side-effect of statin drugs, which are designed to lower cholesterol levels.
A bit of internet research quickly showed me that indeed all the statin drugs are known for this and have been seriously suspect since at least 2003.
In fact the FDA, which I believe is always loathe to cross the industry it regulates, has now required the makers of statin drugs label them as causing memory loss. You can find this information on its web site.
Doctor Al Sears, author of the very good book A Doctor's Heart Cure, recently penned this summary on cholesterol and statins as part of a larger article:
"The fact is, after muscle pain and weakness, brain fog and short term memory loss are the most common side effect of statin drugs. But most people don’t know this. I’ve never heard of a single case of a doctor warning a patient of this potential when they discuss the decision to begin the drug.
"From a medical point of view, it’s not at all surprising that they cause brain fog and other disorders. Cholesterol is crucial to brain function. It protects nerve cells and literally speeds up your brain’s operation in all areas, including your thought processes, recall, and speech. It’s also the building block for synapses, the areas between nerve cells that transmit messages.
"Statins sap your body of an important building block with cholesterol. For some folks, the loss is so great that their bodies – and minds – begin to break down.
"Bottom line: far from being the enemy that modern medicine claims, cholesterol is really an essential nutrient. Modern medicine’s obsession with it is misguided."
A March 2012 New York Times feature article crowed, "A heart helper may come at a price for the brain."
Another excellent article by Stephanie Seneff of MIT goes even further, with that author saying "nobody qualifies for statin therapy, and that statin drugs can best be described as toxins."
In a piece called How Statins Really Work Explains Why They Don't Really Work," she details many health problems problems, well documented by multiple scientific studies, which show many dangers from taking statin drugs.
Seneff is a senior research scientist in the computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory at MIT. Her bachelor's degree in was in biophysics from MIT in 1968 and she has recently moved her studies back toward human nutrition and health.
Ultimately, this is more evidence pointing toward the importance of human nutrition including animal protein and fat.
It says we need the compounds in animal products such as beef and we should not try to alter those compounds by taking drugs which move us toward a faulty set of parameters set by congress back in the 1970s and 1980s. All that was based on badly executed and poorly analyzed science. In this case I'm talking about Ancel Keyes's "six countries" study which he should actually have named "My 22 countries study which didn't fit my hypothesis so I threw out 16 of them."
You can read more about this in Gary Taubes's excellent book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, or in Al Sears book I mentioned earlier.