My view ...

The private blog of Andy Prevost. My experiences, my words. On any topic ...
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The ugly side of statins

Type 2 Diabetes is the result of one of two issues (or a combination of the two). In the first case and most likely case, your body is resistant to the insulin your pancreas produces. In the second case, your pancreas may be producing insufficient insulin for your needs.

With me, my pancreas is pretty much non-functional and I am dependent on two types of insulin. I inject long-acting, or basal, insulin once in the morning. The brand I use is called Lantus. According to its action profile, Lantus has effect for about 24 hours. I also inject quick-acting, or bolus, insulin with each meal and often also need correction injections. Using a blood glucose meter, I test quite frequently to determine what my blood sugar levels are and I always do this before each meal. Bolus insulin injection doses are dependent on current blood sugar levels and what you plan to eat. Fortunately for me, I have a Insulinx meter that does some of those calculations for me. I sometimes adjust the Insulinx recommended dose, especially if my meal includes a bit more carbs than usual (or if I have dessert).

I have always been a well-maintained diabetic with very little in the way of spikes in my blood sugar levels. And, my HbA1C has been consistent coming down to manageable and acceptable levels.

That all changed with my heart attack in July 2016. The cardiologist prescribed five new medications. Thin out the blood and lower blood pressure, prevent platelets from sticking inside the arteries, lower cholesterol, block production of an enzyme that promotes relaxing artery walls, and block production of stomach acids. When I started taking these, I felt better in some respects and felt worse in others. The side effects of these reared their ugly heads with the first blood tests about one month after the heart attack. The blood tests showed significant liver disease and warned further tests were needed due to the possibility of cirrhosis of the liver. I always thought cirrhosis was a result of heavy drinking. While that is one of the causes, cirrhosis is scarring of the liver that starts with fibrosis of the liver. Left untreated, the fibrosis becomes permanent (meaning cirrhosis). Cirrhosis is irreversible. My doctor ordered monthly lab work to monitor this, but offered no treatment at this point. I decided on my own to immediately start natural supplements to try to reverse this. As a child my wife had Hep-C, and she has taken milk thistle since then on a regular basis to keep her liver in functional and in normal ranges. With her guidance, I started taking milk thistle too. Result was good, with the next lab tests my liver was back within normal ranges. Along with starting to take milk thistle, I decided on my own to stop taking three of the prescription medicines – and they were all in the class of drugs that tell your body to block production of either enzymes, amino acids, or digestive acids – and were known for damaging the liver as a side effect of their use.

Quite frankly, I find that specialists rarely consider the impact of the prescriptions they issue on other aspects of your health or life. My gastroenterologist is one of the best in our area and I dearly appreciate him. But I have to ask questions about the medicines he wants me to take to make sure they are not contra-indications for any endo or cardio aspects of my life. The worst one is the cardiologist. This guy has a god-complex that I find difficult to deal with. I always get the sense that questioning any aspect of his treatments or advice is a burden to him ... I am now at a total of five prescription medications that I refuse to take. All of them prescribed by the cardiologist. All of them nasty drugs with side effects that are intolerable.

The last one that I stopped taking is rosuvastatin. It's a "statin" and the brand name is Crestor. "Statins are a class of drugs often prescribed by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood. By lowering the levels, they help prevent heart attacks and stroke. Studies show that, in certain people, statins reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death from heart disease by about 25% to 35%." This description is from  WebMD . Note the careful wording of "in certain people" and the emphasis of benefits "by about 25% to 35%". This is what I find reprehensible and garbage science. Statins have boomed in recent years. It's a multi-billion industry. If you read the article at the link above, you'll note that the pharmaceutical industry is recommending that at least another 15 million people should be taking statins as a preventive measure.

Problem is that statins are as close to useless drugs as you can get. The numbers are fudged. They help less than 1% of those taking them – yet the side effects are severe. In the USA, the FDA have been aware of severe side effects (since at least 2014) related to the use of statins. Yet, the FDA refuse to add warning requirements.

In my case, Crestor increased insulin resistance. My basal insulin went up by six units daily and my bolus insulin increased dramatically. My blood sugar levels were elevated throughout the day, but particularly in the evenings. It's almost like the insulin was having less and less effect. I even reached over 23 mmol/l (414 mg/dl) on a regular basis. Totally unacceptable. So, rather than fine tune the insulin and continue on increased injection levels, I decided to stop buying into the garbage science. This is my life, and I prefer quality over quantity. I want the side effects to stop now. Those include: brain fog, lethargy and low energy, difficulty sleeping, dangerous blood sugar levels, liver pain, kidney pain, pains in tendons (knee, hip, elbow), and fibrosis (and the fibrosis has started). The day after I stopped taking Crestor, most of the side effects were already going away. My blood sugar levels have returned to normal. Brain fog completely lifted. I no longer feel listless and energy (and stamina) is returning. The fibrosis I will have to deal with separately, once that starts it cannot be reversed. I have an appointment with my GP on Dec 22 for this.

Here's a few articles that may help you understand why statins are junk:

The Ugly Side of Statins

How Statins Degenerate Your Brain Health
Do You Take Any of These 11 Dangerous Statins or Cholesterol Drugs?
5 Great Reasons Why You Should Not Take Statins
Statin Use Inhibits Vitamin K2

And, the answer to those that believe statins are absolutely necessary: Please continue following your doctor's advice, that is what you should be doing. My take on this is that my health is within my authority and I decide, in collaboration with doctors, what should be done to keep me functioning and on the top side of the grass. I have decided that I want my brain and body to function as close to "normal" as possible, that is what I call quality. I want awareness, not a cloudy view of life. I personally believe that blocking my liver from producing enzymes and acids is not necessarily the right thing to do – you are exposing your liver to disease in exchange for a questionable benefit to another part of your body. What the hell kind of trade off is that? My time will come when my time will come. I don't need to extend it and be a vegetable.

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Yiganerjing, caution

My seborrheic dermatitis dates back well over 40 years. Throughout all that time, the only treatment offered by any of the dermatologists is a corticosteroid cream. 

It is effective and I hate using it. The side effects are as bad (or worse) than the seborrhea. 

The side effects that I ended up with include small pimples and raised bumps (puss). They are not only itchy, but sore as well. I also ended up with some redness in and around the area of the small growths as well as more generally around the hairline.

Acne and rosacea are two known side effects of steroid creams . Other side effects include:

  • burning (or stinging) when applied
  • worsening of pre-existing skin infection
  • inflammed hair follicles
  • unwanted hair growth where the steroid is applied
  • thinning of the skin
  • stretch marks and visible blood veins
  • changes in hair growth
  • and, contact dermatitis

There may be more side effects, but these are the main ones. 

Since the steroid cream I was prescribed is the only treatment that works, I use it sparingly when I absolutely have to. That means when my skin is bright red like a neon sign and the scaling/flaking is at its worst. Then, and only then, do I use the steroid cream.

I've long looked for alternatives and found several. You can read about those in other articles in my blog ... this particular article is about one of those alternatives: Yiganerjing cream. 

I ordered a bunch of these Chinese treatments. It works as well as the steroid cream, and just as fast (perhaps even faster). Countless others declare it as effective too. Many with psoriasis see this as one of the few natural treatments that works. It reduces the redness, scaling, and flaking – quickly. For some folks, it completely clears the skin and restores a natural look. For others, the symptoms are reduced significantly.

If you follow the posts on social media and forums, though, there are a lot of questions about the ingredients. The batch that I ordered came with an information sheet that listed the ingredients: cortex pseudolaricis, sophora, common cnidium fruit, belvedere fruit, white moss skin, cortex phellodendri, honeylocust thorn, unicorn lotus, radix stemonae, glabrous greenbrier rhizome, seven swords, iron Holly, white petroleum jelly, menthol, purified water, chlohexidine acetate, etc. Note at the end "etc" ... along with trying to figure out what some of these ingredients "mean", this "etc" adds to the concerns.

I've been using Yiganerjing now for about two months. Since I started using it, my symptoms have all gone away. That is mainly to my face, though. The symptoms of seborrhea are not usually in my scalp usually (in the hairline a bit). When I started to get the scaling and flaking in my scalp, I used a bit of the Yiganerjing cream and spread it through to my scalp using my finger tips. And, it worked. So, every time I wash my hair I use a bit of the Yiganerjing cream on my scalp.

Since I have started to apply this to my scalp, the same acne started up ... identical to when I was using the steroid cream. Same locations, same look and feel to the acne. That leads me to believe that the "etc" in the Yiganerjing ingredient list is a mild to moderate amount of steroids. The acne happens only when I am using steroids to control the seborrheic dermatitis. Unlike the steroid cream, though, the acne only manifests when I apply the Yiganerjing cream to my scalp. (PS. I will not be applying this to my scalp again).

Seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis are horrible diseases. The symptoms often keep sufferers house-bound and introverted. It may well be a reasonable trade off to accept moderate acne in exchange for relief from the itching, scaling, and flaking ... but it is up to the sufferer to make that call – either on their own or in consultation with their medical providers. 

It is completely unacceptable that the side effects are caused by an unlisted or undefined ingredient – completely unacceptable. 

Why? 

There are many people choosing Yiganerjing because it is a natural supplement. All of the ingredients that I read on the info sheet that came with my shipment are natural ingredients – except one. "White Petroleum Jelly" is listed, and is not a natural ingredient. Although I view it as innocuous, it is still a by-product of the oil production process. One commercial product all will recognize, Vaseline, is refined petroleum jelly. There are some that claim petroleum jelly is cancer causing, the Environmental Working Group rates it as a "1" on the toxicity scale.

The greater concern is for those that purchase Yiganerjing with the intent of using it on children and youth. I would suggest using it with the same concern as any steroid cream ... sparingly and only if absolutely necessary. 

I will be more cautious when I use Yiganerjing. I will not be using it on my scalp again unless absolutely necessary (the same critereia I used when deciding to apply steroid cream). 

And, a postscript. I have read many posts where users have no idea how to apply Yiganerjing. Even if this is a natural product, use sparingly. I use about 0.5 gram on my face, and 0.5 gram on my scalp. I will continue to use 0.5 g on my face. If  you are using this as a psoriasis, use as little as possible – after you remove the scales and flakes with warm water and sea salt (or epsom salt). If you want to dilute the Yiganerjing a bit, you can do what I do. Put a dab in one hand, wet the other and shake the water off – just enough moisture on one hand to "cut" the Yiganerjing a bit. 

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SLS scare tactics

There are postings on Facebook regarding SLS ... from individuals using scare tactics to solicit sign-ups for newsletters (and presumably, paid services).

Any warnings or alerts about SLS are preying on fear – and nothing else. There's no science behind the scare tactics.

Along with SLS, there are two other ingredients used in soaps and shampoos that are also part of the scare tactics. So, let's unmask the acronyms and discuss all of these. SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. There's another similarly named compound, Sodium Laureth Sulfare (acronym: SLES), and a third compound Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALS). All three are widely used and help create the suds or foaming action while washing. These three compounds are usually referred to jointly as "sulfates".

The scare tactics claim these products are cancer causing and damaging to your body. This has been de-bunked by several organizations and de-bunked by science. It's a myth traced back to 1998 and documented on http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/shampoo.asp. And, to use a portion of that report, you can tell when this is a scare tactic when the bright light bulb writing about it confuses SLS and SLES.

If you get shampoo or soap with any of these three compounds in your eyes, it will irritate. To a small percentage of users, it will also irritate when left un-rinsed on your hair or skin. When used properly and rinsed off as it should be, any product with these compounds is safe.

What is interesting is that the exact same irritation will occur, in the exact same circumstances, if you use sulfate-free soaps and shampoos. With sulfate-free soaps and shampoos you get exactly the same drying out effect. About the only difference is that you pay more for sulfate-free and use more of it.

Those of us that suffer from SD need to wash away the scaling, flakes, and excess oils produces on our skin. The most effective are products discussed on Facebook. The three most effective (as I've found) are Nizoral, Davis Miconazole Shampoo, and Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength. I use these to eliminate the redness and itching. They also effectively remove the scales and flakes ... and I use a cream afterwards to keep the scales and flakes away.

There are many on the SD Facebook page that shout out the benefits of Coconut Oil – to the bright bulbs writing scare tactics: SLS is most often derived from Coconut Oil.

But, don't take just my word for it. I'm not selling anything and I do not derive any income or revenue from discussing SD, products, or strategies to be itch-free and flake-free. Read a chemist's report: http://www.xovain.com/hair/do-you-need-to-worry-about-sulfates-in-your-shampoo

Categories: Health

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