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Old 09-12-2007, 09:12 AM   #41
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All I am saying is that with a little effort you can find a load of information conflicting what Western doctors are promoting. The case study of myself is only one, but for me, it’s the most important one.
I disagree. A case study of ONE does NOT conflict with trad med. A case study of thousands is required for that.

And I did look at the links you provided. Thanks, but they don't make much of a case that I can see. They are filled with flawed logic.

A) Just because a DEFICIENCY of Vit C results in heart disease, it does not follow that above 'normal' doses will provide more protection than 'normal' doses. 'More' is not always 'better' than 'enough'. Try adding 5 extra quarts of oil to your car's crankcase.

B) They draw conclusions from small samples - 'USAF flight surgeon Duane Graveline, MD, believes that the statin drug Lipitor caused his own case of transient global amnesia'

Do I think there is a conflict of interest between Doctors and the Pharma industry? Yes (although I certainly will not accuse all doctors of abusing this). There are conflicts of interest everywhere we turn (I think I said this on another thread), we need to try to deal with them., but not throw the baby out with the bath water.

And I don't buy the conspiracy theories of suppression of data on Vit C. You talked about how expensive 12 G of Vit C is. Seems to me there is plenty of economic incentive for the Vit C group to go out and fund a study and take all that money away from the mainstream Pharma industry. Good old capitalism at work.

If I were to believe this train of thought, I would also believe that Polio vaccine studies, for just one example, would have been suppressed. After all, the medical community could make so much more money treating polio than vaccinating against it. etc, etc, etc.

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We all must take responsibility for our own decisions and health. Again, I would not have believed my results except that I am seeing them.


Agreed, but I am curious about something. How do you know the Vitamin C and
L-lysine are really responsible for a 25% decrease in your LDL? Those numbers vary reading-to-reading. There could be many things responsible for it, unknown to you. Have you tried eliminating the Vitamin C and L-lysine to see if your LDL goes back up?

NOTE: I just looked at my records. I have had changes of -18% and increases of 26% between sequential readings (every 6 months), with no known lifestyle changes. What to make of that? Some larger changes when I did changes lifestyle (diet, exercise).


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I didn’t retire at 38 following what everyone else was doing. In fact when everyone goes one way it scares the heck out of me, and I tend to look for alternatives.
Sure, but we need to be careful how we apply that. Silly analogy to make a point: Every living person I know breathes. So is that a bad thing? IMO, you are painting with very broad brushes.

Again, I have NO problem with seeking alternatives. What I don't understand is why those alternatives are not held to the same standard of scrutiny for efficacy/risk as the mainstream approaches. If I am going to follow an alternative investment approach, I want some data to back my decision. Buying one penny stock and seeing it double does not mean buying penny stocks is a good plan.


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A cardiologist I know swears by the niacin route, and tells me he would never take a statin. He’s retired and sailing around the world. So, what do we make of this?
Nothing. Again, a very small sample.

I hope it does not seem as if I'm trying to do battle with you here, Billy. Do as you see fit. I just have a tendency to question (and seek input) on claims that appear to go against my understanding of science, logic and statistics.

-ERD50
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:29 AM   #42
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Excellent post ERD50,

The idea of suppressing Vitamin C data by a vast conspiracy made me think of asprin. Every time I turn around another study has found another benefit of asprin. Since it's OTC and really, really, cheap, would there be an incentive for this conspiracy to focus on it to pump up sales of their pescription heart medicine?
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:47 AM   #43
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As somebody else mentioned, Niacin is cheap and effective. Here's a simple comparison of Niacin and statins:



Ask your doctor first of course. I assume docs don't recommend Niacin more because compliance is low due to "flushing." But that's a harmless side effect.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:11 PM   #44
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As somebody else mentioned, Niacin is cheap and effective. Ask your doctor first of course. I assume docs don't recommend Niacin more because compliance is low due to "flushing." But that's a harmless side effect.
Niacin is effective in selected cases. It is part of standard-based care. I prescribe it occasionally.

You are incorrect about flushing being a harmless side-effect, at least for many. It is very uncomfortable, can make you turn beet red, itchy, lightheaded and can be briefly disabling. Most patients who experience it will not use the drug again. The pricier long-acting versions cause this less often compared to the short acting but it still occurs.

Niacin causes liver disease much like statins. It raises blood sugar in many patients. It can precipitate gout in susceptible people. It is not a totally benign drug.

Cost aside, if I had to choose between niacin and a statin for comparable reasons and efficacy I would probably choose a statin. But for certain people (e.g. low HDL and high triglycerides with normal LDL, no contraindications, and aware of the side-effects) niacin can be a reasonable alternative.

But it is interesting that since niacin is over-the-counter, has been deemed a "vitamin" and has a long, traditional history it is touted as a "natural" alternative to statins (statins occur naturally in certain plants).

Bottom line is that all medications including "natural" remedies need to be treated with respect and need to be carefully tested for safety and efficacy. Don't get suckered into assuming an agent is either safe or effective because it is marketed as organic-natural-complementary-alternative or whatever.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:29 PM   #45
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Niacin causes liver disease much like statins.
Is there evidence that the immediate release formulation causes liver damage? I thought that only the extended release forms were implicated. The immediate release form will cause more flushing, but it is also removed from your system fairly quickly.
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:02 PM   #46
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Both do it, long-acting less than short-acting. One brand claims not to cause it but that claim is questionable. Then again, short-acting versions need to be taken at least twice daily, and flushing is present in up to 80%.

No free lunch here. Statins start to sound not so bad if you need treatment.
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:06 PM   #47
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Btw, you need to take more than 6 grams of C per day.) Whether it would work for you is anyone’s guess, but if one’s not willing to think out of the box then they would never know, right?
Pauling mentioned once that of his 10,000 milligrams of daily vitamin C he was flushing at least 8000 mg through his kidneys. (I remember his interview quote: "I thought to myself: No one else had studied this and I wanted to find out. After all, I'm a biochemist and I know how to measure these things!") No word on where the other 2000 mg ended up... sure hope they didn't find it during his autopsy.

I'd happily OD on the entire vitamin alphabet if not for the nagging concern that someday there'll be negative side effects from the massive filtering load on livers & kidneys. This isn't like adding fiber to a diet-- this is forcing the body to work twice as hard at filtering out what it perceives to be "waste" and "poison". I've already felt betrayed by the cumulative effects of decades of pain-free blissfully-ignorant damage to my knees and I'm less sanguine about megadoses.

This reminds me of the glucosamine/chondroiton paradox. I've watched those substances make aging polo ponies cavort like foals, and old dogs act like puppies. I have yet to see a reputable double-blind controlled study concluding the same for humans. I've tried it myself for a couple months and haven't seen a significant difference, let alone a placebo effect or a difference that could be accredited to their effect. So until the evidence piles up in favor, I'll sit on the sidelines and try other methods.
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:09 PM   #48
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Both do it, long-acting less than short-acting.
I need help with parsing that sentence. Long-acting niacin has *less* negative effects on the liver than short-acting immediate release niacin? That is opposite from my understanding:

Long-acting niacin has a higher risk of liver problems than other types of niacin
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:21 PM   #49
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This reminds me of the glucosamine/chondroiton paradox...I have yet to see a reputable double-blind controlled study concluding the same for humans. I've tried it myself for a couple months and haven't seen a significant difference, let alone a placebo effect or a difference that could be accredited to their effect. So until the evidence piles up in favor, I'll sit on the sidelines and try other methods.
You didn't get the memo:

Clegg DO et al. N Eng J Med. 2006:354: in patients with osteroarthritis of the knee, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, or both did not differ from placebo for pain relief.

Randomized, placebo controlled, high quality, 6 month trial, 1583 patients over age 40. Used a well validated pain score (WOMAC) and success was determined by a 20% improvement. 60 to 67% of patients had successful outcomes -- whether in the placebo group or the experimental group (neither knew which they were taking).

It's often these waxing and waning conditions which attract invalid drug success claims, and this is why placebo control and blinding are so important. So in this study if you took vitamin C you could also have claimed a 65% success rate. Or for string beans.

Previous studies showing mild benefit were flawed by patient size, publication bias and design flaws.
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:30 PM   #50
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60 to 67% of patients had successful outcomes -- whether in the placebo group or the experimental group (neither knew which they were taking).
It's often these waxing and waning conditions which attract invalid drug success claims, and this is why placebo control and blinding are so important. So in this study if you took vitamin C you could also have claimed a 65% success rate. Or for string beans.
Previous studies showing mild benefit were flawed by patient size, publication bias and design flaws.
I think the key to improving my health and reducing my pain is to participate in medical research studies!
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:37 PM   #51
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I think the key to improving my health and reducing my pain is to participate in medical research studies!
Sign up twice. If you get the 60% improvement both times, you will be at 120% capacity! Better knees than ever!

-ERD50
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:45 PM   #52
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I think the key to improving my health and reducing my pain is to participate in medical research studies!
You could become a pony or a dog.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:49 PM   #53
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You could become a pony or a dog.
I'm a little late to this thread, but...Rich, are you saying the memory loss from taking statins may cause you to forget you're human?
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Old 09-12-2007, 05:44 PM   #54
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I'm a little late to this thread, but...Rich, are you saying the memory loss from taking statins may cause you to forget you're human?
Do I know you?
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Old 09-12-2007, 05:51 PM   #55
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Do I know you?
I'm not sure. Why do you ask?
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:18 AM   #56
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ERD50,
I base my health decisions on results not statistics or studies. If xyz works for me, and doesn’t work for you then so be it. I, too, am a skeptic, of all things. If I try something and have a positive result, then continue to have a positive result, I say, “wait maybe there’s something to this”. So, why not continue? If there are no positive results, I change.

I am an informed consumer and am not afraid of trying something out of the norm. Again, geeze, I feel like a broken record here, I take responsibility for my own health, and am not dependent on a doctor. I am more informed about my body and how it feels than they are, and that’s just common sense.

It would not matter what I do nor the results that have been produced, you would still discount them. What confuses me is why you are so concerned about what it is I have chosen to do. I am not trying to convince you to do this, nor anyone else.

I do get tested once a month, same clinic, same lab to keep things consistent, and have marked improvement. Is it the vitamins, the massages, or the bacon and eggs at breakfast? I really do not care, my LDL levels are down significantly.

Instead of me changing what is working for me, perhaps you should sacrifice your body and do your own study. Then we would have two.

As we say in Thailand, “up to you”.

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Old 09-13-2007, 08:04 AM   #57
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Billy, I don't interpret ERD's comments quite as harshly as you did ("geeze, I feel like a broken record here," and "It would not matter what I do... you would still discount them," and "What confuses me is why you are so concerned about what it is I have chosen to do," and "Instead of me changing what is working for me, perhaps you should sacrifice your body and do your own study. Then we would have two.").

Not sure where your "heat" is coming from here, but to me, ERD is reasonably expressing an alternative (perhaps conventional) perspective where he chooses to rely on the large, collective, quantified experience predominantly to make his decisions, rather than solely on individual anecdote. If you choose otherwise, "up to you" as you say, but the topic was offered up for discussion here in good faith by all parties.

We know that for the things we are talking about here (cholesterol levels in otherwise healthy individuals, etc.) even the best compared to the worst outcomes only vary by a couple of percent per year. So a person could do anything or nothing and 98% of the time it wouldn't make any difference in a given year; over 10 or 15 years it starts to get my attention, at least.

So I know you'll continue to feel comfortable with your approach, and I suspect ERD will do the same. FWIW, I tend to pay very close attention to the collective experience myself, but have been known to deviate when idiosyncratic factors stare me in the face.

Just a third party perspective.

Cheers,
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Old 09-13-2007, 10:41 AM   #58
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ERD50,
As we say in Thailand, “up to you”.

Billy
What Rich said.

BTW, I'm assuming that Thai phrase "up to you" is not loosely translated as "up your's"?) - I AM just kidding, I hope you are laughing


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It would not matter what I do nor the results that have been produced, you would still discount them.
I'm not sure why you say that. I did question the results, as I have seen near the change you mentioned, with no known changes in lifestyle/dosages, etc. You claim to be a skeptic, it seems like a reasonably skeptical question to me. That's all.

What I will discount though, is that anecdotal 'evidence' should mean much of anything to anyone. It may indicate that a large scale study is in order, so that we can better understand the efficacy/risk on the general population.

For example, someone mentioned statins and ED. The first few studies I found indicated that some people had improvements with their ED while on statins. Clearly, individual results can vary. I put more weight on measured results based on thousands of people, under somewhat controlled conditions, over what a few people report under uncontrolled conditions. Just seems reasonable to me.

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What confuses me is why you are so concerned about what it is I have chosen to do. I am not trying to convince you to do this, nor anyone else.
I don't recall saying you shouldn't be doing this. It is your choice, you are an adult. And I didn't get the impression you were trying to 'sell' anyone on the idea, you were just communicating your story. Fair enough.

As Rich pointed out, this is public forum. We discuss viewpoints and observations.

My observation, based on this discussion, is still that you (and some others) set a low threshold of proof for 'alternative' treatments, and a high threshold of proof for 'conventional' treatments. That is your prerogative, and it is my prerogative to point out that there may be some dangers to that approach. People will choose to do what they want, but I just like to get both sides of the story out there.

You accused me of not being open-minded towards alternate treatments. I just don't see that, as I am totally willing to accept an 'alternative' treatment if there is data to back it up. Perhaps you are close-minded towards conventional treatments?

-ERD50
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:29 AM   #59
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The first few studies I found indicated that some people had improvements with their ED while on statins. Clearly, individual results can vary.



-ERD50
Boy is this an opportunity to hijack a thread?
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:58 AM   #60
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Boy is this an opportunity to hijack a thread?
Since so few of us can remember what the original topic was, I'm not sure it can be called a 'hi-jacking'!

Can you loose something you forgot you owned?

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