Pharma Moved The Cholesterol Goalposts

Source: - By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter - March 13, 2011

Scientist challenges cholesterol treatment  - Alleges pharmaceutical industry has lowered safe levels

Dubai: A German medical scientist has alleged that pharmaceutical companies are striking fear into people about safe cholesterol levels and making money at the cost of the health of people.

Dr George Birkmayer

Dr George Birkmayer, a professor of medical chemistry, says that long-term use of cholesterol reducing drugs (statins) causes cancer and also affects a person’s sex life. “Nobody tells you that. It’s confidential [about the cancer effect],” he said.

The scientist claims he has succeeded in stabilising a substance found naturally in the human body and using it to boost energy levels. The co-enzyme is called NADH and is a biological form of hydrogen. It reacts with the oxygen in every living cell and produces energy, he says.

He warned that when cholesterol levels are lowered with the aid of drugs, the cell membrane becomes unstable and, over a period of time, causes cancer. It also tends to lower the level of sex hormones, he said. Men who find that they are impotent often become depressed and then have to take anti-depressants. (Read More )

An internal medicine specialist earlier told Gulf News that using cholesterol drugs reduces one’s libido. “But you have to weigh the risks [of not taking statins].”

Cholesterol is a wax-like substance in the body that is used for producing vitamin D and bile acids to digest fat. If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it gets deposited in arteries that supply blood to the heart, brain and legs. The arteries become narrow and the blood supply is blocked.

Dr Birkmayer alleges that pharma companies pay for luxurious vacations to professors to come to a consensus statement on the safe level of cholesterol. “It’s all manipulated. Nobody is thinking about prevention, which is the cheapest and best form of treatment,” he said.

Marketing trick alleged

He said pharmaceutical companies had hit on a brilliant marketing idea. When he managed a medical laboratory in Austria some 30 years ago, the upper normal range of cholesterol used to be 300 (mg/dl), he said. “That meant only five per cent of the population had elevated levels.”

He alleges that the industry decided on less than 200 mg/dl as a safe level, which meant that 60 per cent of the population was left with an elevated level.

Dr Birkmayer said simple lifestyle changes like diet changes could bring cholesterol levels to a normal range. He said NADH lowers cholesterol without the side-effects and has been proven by a study performed at Georgetown University in Washington DC. He added that the co-enzyme was also found to prevent diabetes.

The professor has teamed up with Peter Backwinkel, a biophysical medicine therapist to open the first Biophysical Medicine Institute at Dubai HealthCare City.

The therapist said the Institute will soon conduct a clinic trial study on 200 diabetic patients in the UAE to test the efficacy of their unique method of treatment. The treatment called the Biofield test involves eliminating the body’s chronic stress factors and improving energy.

Dr Birkmayer said more than 25 patients who were taking NADH earlier found their blood sugar level dropped after three months and have remained stable for the past three years.

The scientist said the medications available for diabetes did not represent a cure. “They are a stabilisation process.” He said that over the years the situation gets worse and worse, and finally a patient is forced to take insulin or have dialysis. “The cost will explode. Over the long-term it is a real threat,” he said.

He said people who are over-weight and show the first symptoms of diabetes like a feeling of acute thirst and the need to drink water, should seek treatment. He claimed the treatment at such a stage would prevent diabetes.

Blackwinkel said the mortality rate of those who get diabetes before 30 years of age is 20 years earlier then others. “Diabetes has a dramatic impact on the quality of life.” He said if the present diabetes trend continues in Germany, the health system will collapse within the next 20 years. One in four people in the UAE suffer from diabetes and the Emirates has the second-highest rate of the disease in the world.

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