Is it prudent to increase the dose of cholesterol-lowering drugs?

Dr. Gifford-Jones tells you all you need to know

Do you remember the story about the straw that broke the camel’s back?

How the camel’s owner kept loading more and more straw on the animal’s back. Eventually one more straw broke the poor creature’s back. Pushing your luck too far is a poor idea. Now, a report in the British Medical Journal shows that doctors, like camel owners, should heed this advice.

Colin Dormut, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, participated in a study of excessive medication. He reports that during an 11 year period over two million patients’ charts were examined to see if kidneys were affected by the long-term use of cholesterol-lowering drugs (CLDs).

The researchers focused on high potency CLDs such as Lipitor, Crestor and Zocor.

They discovered that patients who were prescribed these higher strength drugs had a 34% higher risk of being hospitalized due to acute kidney injury.

This sounds like a high risk, but the individual batting odds of being injured is small. For instance, out of 1,700 patients taking high dose CLDs, only one patient would be hospitalized for acute kidney injury. However, when you consider the millions of people taking CLDs the numbers are not insignificant.

This is not the first study to show that the higher the dose of CLDs, the greater the risk of side-effects and I’m sure it will not be the last study to show this relationship. Most drugs become poisonous when taken in excessive amounts.

In 2008 I reported that Dr. Ikas Sukhame, professor of medicine at The Harvard Medical School, was taking CLDs to lower his own blood cholesterol. He noticed a dull pain in his back and legs when he was on this medication. He decided to stop it. The pain subsided after nine months.

Being an inquisitive physician, he joined a group of researchers in an effort to find the cause.

By studying the effects of CLDs on muscle tissue, they discovered a gene called atrogen-1 that triggered the breakdown of protein in muscles.

But equally important, they found that the higher the dose the greater the destruction of muscle tissue.

Why wouldn’t CLDs cause side-effects at high doses when they occur even in normal doses?

Moreover, you also have to ask the question, “Is it a good idea to have low blood cholesterol?”

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute reported several years ago in the Journal, Circulation, that low blood cholesterol in both sexes was associated with a 40% greater risk of death from non-cardiac causes such as violent death, lung disease and certain cancers.

It has also been shown that, for those over the age of 50, low cholesterol is associated with increased risk of death.

The fact is that CLDs, regardless of the dose, are linked to several medical complications while their benefits are minimal. This is why I’ve written for years that the use of CLDs is questionable.

A picture once caught my eye.

It showed a small plane flying near a volcano. A passenger says, “Let’s take a closer look at the crater.”

The pilot replies, “We can’t. It’s not worth the risk”.

Twenty years ago following a coronary attack, I refused to believe that CLDs were worth the risk.

I had previously interviewed Linus Pauling who convinced me it was a lack of Vitamin C that caused the human epidemic of coronary attack.

The science sounded logical. I bet my life on this natural remedy. So for 20 years I’ve used high doses of Vitamin C available in Health Food Stores. The powder also contains lysine which strengthens arteries decreasing the risk of stroke.

Remember, I’m not your doctor and most physicians are totally convinced of the benefits of CLDs.

So I’m not suggesting you toss away CLDs. But I believe history will prove me right.

Cholesterol is a part of every cell and if you tinker with nature, there’s always unintended consequences, particularly if you keep increasing the dose. What’s bad for camels is also bad for humans.

Look for cardiovascular disease on my web site and see photos of how Vitamin C affects arteries.

Check out online at For comments, email

Just Posted

Two arrested at Red Deer Rebels hockey game

Red Deer woman charged for allegedly striking police officer

WATCH: Helping those less fortunate at Christmas

Red Deer comes together to spread joy at Christmas Wish Breakfast

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

Klaus trial continues with cross-examination of undercover officers

The Castor-area triple homicide trial continued on Friday

WATCH: Red Deerians get a taste of robotics

Alberta students show off their skills in Red Deer

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Bank of Canada cautious of future rate hikes

The Bank of Canada remains cautious on future rate hikes due to low- inflation risk

Most Read