Originally posted September 14, 2010.
Free-range eggs (which are often not so free-range), commercial feedlot beef, load mutual funds, and statin drugs all have a lot in common when you give this rather odd group of cousins a little thought. Each is proffered by mostly well-intentioned folk with a little ax to grind.
I am not a fan of any of the above and, in recent installments of Lifesaver, have given you the inside scoop on free-range eggs and commercial feedlot beef. For decades, I have written in my monthly investment strategy reports about my considerable disdain for load mutual funds. Not surprisingly, I have received no end of unpleasant commentary from the ax-grinding crowd about how wrong I have been. I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t debate my various points of view. I do my homework, draw my conclusions, and act accordingly. One of a variety of actions I take is to report to you. I don’t have to be a farmer, a mutual fund family owner, or a doctor to be able to engage in rigorous research. It merely requires time, inclination, outstanding source material, and the ability to wade through often-complex material accurately and rapidly, all of which I embrace. With the proper effort, a lot can get done.
On to the subject of statin drugs. Statin drugs are medications commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, and it is almost certain that statins do lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The pivotal follow-up questions are these: Is LDL a bad guy requiring reduction? Does lowering LDL extend life? And are the side effects of statins enough to cause many potential drug candidates to stay clear of them? Those considering statins should also be concerned about undergoing invasive testing procedures, each of which has its own nasty suite of risks. And for a growing body of thoughtful citizens, the risk of hospital staph infection is not to be dismissed lightly.
So all in all, we have a pretty sticky wicket. I, for one, am wary of the potential risks—and doubtful about the benefits—of statin use. Well before the act of popping a statin drug comes a track full of high hurdles, each deserving of your careful investigative rigor. If you find yourself in a difficult medical situation, a comforting and beneficial strategy is to enlist the services of an advocate in the form of a diligent, informed Q&A front person who can bear down hard with a Joe Friday approach to getting answers that you, the medically disadvantaged, might find difficult or even distasteful to deal with.
I want you to give the above some thought and do some independent research prior to my moving on to some initial findings of my own next week. I think you will be surprised. And I am certain you will want to stay in touch throughout my statin research project. The project is but an initial effort that will require extensive ongoing supportive research. My goal in all of my health and welfare research is to ask probing questions, raise often-controversial points, and encourage you to engage in your own independent research. The actual course of action you choose to take on any issue is up to you. As always, I am happy to tell you what I am doing myself on any issue of mutual interest. But I am I, and you are you, so we need to end up there. Fair enough? Return next week for part two of my series on statin drugs.
Read Statin Drugs: Part 2
Read Statin Drugs: Part 3