Nutrispec Logo


Volume 14 Number 7

Guy R. Schenker, D.C.
July, 2003

Dear Doctor,

Money makes the world go around.

To illustrate what I mean, I'll make you a wager. I'll bet that in 15 years you won't find a doctor anywhere who prescribes SSRI's to treat depression.

Your reaction to that statement is probably, "Are you kidding? If the current trend continues, the medical-pharmaceutical establishment will have every man, woman, and child on SSRI's within 15 years!"

You're appraisal of the situation is certainly accurate. Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Paxil, and the rest of the family are dispensed so haphazardly by the medical profession, and promoted so aggressively by the pharmaceutical industry, they have become as much a part of the modern American lifestyle as McDonalds. But growth industries eventually reach their peak. While both McDonalds and Prozac increased their market exponentially in the beginning, that growth eventually leveled off to a linear up-trend, and now is reaching the point at which growth is increasing, but at a decreasing rate. What the deceleration of growth means for McDonalds, I don't know, but what it means for the pharmaceutical industry is that they will one day soon convince us ...


After all, SSRI's are the 4th generation of anti-depressant medications. What happened to the first three generations? Were they found to be ineffective? Dangerous? Prohibitively expensive? No, they just didn't make money anymore. Markets become saturated and drugs go off patent. How many people do you know that are on Libirum, or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors? These were once as ubiquitous as Prozac is today. One day SSRI's will also be considered old fashioned drugs. They will have been replaced by a 5th generation of anti-depressants that research will show (of course) is far more effective than any of the old drugs. Big money will be spent on, and made from, these new drugs.

Yes, money makes the world go around. SSRI's will not be abandoned because anyone woke up to the truth that you know. The medical-pharmaceutical establishment will continue to ignore the several dozen references that you have been given on the damaging effects of serotonin. There are very few of us who care about the truth, and even fewer that care enough to seek it out.

Witness what happened with calcium channel blockers. When it was publicized in mainstream medical journals that despite the fact that they lower blood pressure, CCBs increase a person's chance of heart attacks, and increase a person's chance of having a stroke (while at the same time increasing depression to the point of suicide, and destroying a person's cognitive ability). The medical-pharmaceutical establishment first made a mad scramble to defend its drug, and then reversed tactic, simply ignoring the truth until it went away --- and business continued as usual. There are still countless thousands of doctors that routinely prescribe calcium channel blockers to hypertensive patients.

So --- truth does not make the world go around; safety and efficacy certainly don't make the world go around. Such is life, except for the small group of individuals who create their own world where truth reigns supreme. If you promote the truth as aggressively as the establishment promotes falsehood, your corner of the world will be as happy and prosperous as you can imagine. I'm telling you from my own experience -- there are so many people out there who are eager to pay money for the truth, if they can only find it. Help them find it, and you, as well as they, will be rich beyond your greatest expectations.

Understanding the essence of the medical-pharmaceutical establishment, I was taken by surprise at how swiftly and how easily the establishment turned on one of its own sacred cows --- estrogen. You know the story of estrogen: for years it was touted as a protector of women against cancer, against aging, against cardiovascular disease, and against osteoporosis. The estrogen industry is every bit as big and every bit as lucrative as the SSRI industry. The drug companies have been fighting tooth and nail for decades to refute and suppress all the research that proves that estrogen actually causes the very conditions it is supposed to prevent. Now, so very suddenly, the establishment freely admits the harmful effects of estrogen. Just last July, no less than the Journal of the American Association announced the discontinuation of a long term research study on estrogen when it became undeniable that the women in this study developed an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer. It's not surprising that they discontinued the study when the results were opposite the researcher's intended findings, but what is noteworthy is that instead of hushing it up, they actually published it for all the world to see. Now, as an extension of that admission of estrogen danger, the Food and Drug Administration is actually requiring labels on all hormone replacement therapy products warning of the risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer.

What is going on here? I had always assumed that the pharmaceutical industry would fight to the death to protect its estrogen-related profits. What I think is happening is that the drug companies have decided to burn this candle from both ends. The estrogen bandwagon has so much momentum, (with so many doctors conditioned to prescribe estrogen to every woman who experiences her first hot flash or who has any concerns about osteoporosis) that nothing will push this gravy train off course for years and years to come.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry has developed a couple of different lines of anti-estrogen medications, designed to protect against the pathological effects of estrogen that we NUTRI-SPEC practitioners know all about. A thriving anti-estrogen industry has the potential to be even more profitable on a per patient basis than the estrogen industry (which is profitable only because of its sheer size). I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the medical-pharmaceutical establishment would never have admitted there are any problems from taking estrogen if it didn't have an alternative industry waiting in the wings to guarantee even more profits (just as they came on strong with the SSRI's, abandoning monoamine oxidase inhibitors, only when they had SSRI's already in the pipeline).

I can understand an industry being two-faced to make a profit. What I can't understand is how time after time, for decades and decades and decades, the majority of people fall head over heels for whatever song the pharmaceutical industry is singing this year. Another good example to illustrate how people fall for propaganda, and how drug companies change their tune for profit, is the cholesterol farce.

I can remember back in the 1960's when only a few mavericks in the medical profession and some people in the fledgling natural health foods movement were claiming that cholesterol was a problem. The average medical doctor totally ignored cholesterolemia unless it exceeded 300. Before long, the anti-cholesterol uproar became impossible to ignore, and so the establishment condescended to acknowledge the problem of high cholesterol. Now, anything above 250 was considered a problem, and it was generally recommended that people should avoid eating too many eggs or too much meat because of the risk of heart disease from cholesterol intake.

Interestingly, it wasn't the medical profession that was spearheading this anti-cholesterol movement; it was the processed food industry, lead in particular by the seed oil industry. Archer Daniels Midland wanted to sell an ocean of soybean oil, and thus lead the charge against cholesterol in particular and saturated fat in general. Coconut and palm oils were banned from importation, and everyone "knew" that margerine was going to save our nation from what was sure to have been an epidemic of cardiovascular disease from eating dreaded saturated fat. The billions of dollars worth of propaganda from the processed food industry was enough to sway the minds and change the lifestyles of millions of Americans, but the medical-pharmaceutical establishment continued to largely ignore the perceived cholesterol threat.

Then what happened? The Statin drugs were invented, (predictably) accompanied by a paradigm shift in the establishment. Now, cholesterol was the demon of the century, and our doctors and pharmacists were going to exorcise the evil that lurked within us all from our ill-advised intake of meat and eggs.

The all-out war against cholesterol has been waged for over 25 years. The intensity of that war has not waned in the least despite the fact that for at least 5 years now it has been known that cholesterol is not (never has been, and never will be) a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

That brings me to a critical point of information that I don't know how I omitted before. We have been talking in these Letters off and on for several months about your Red Flag medications --- those that are certain to be dragging down your patients, and that will limit the benefits your patients receive from your NUTRI-SPEC care. You already have been shown irrefutable evidence of why you must help your patients discontinue:

- estrogen - calcium channel blockers - Tylenol - SSRI's - (usually) Synthroid

I don't know how I omitted the Statin drugs, but I did. I just got to thinking several weeks ago that the cholesterol-lowering family of drugs is another one that I routinely have my patients stop, stop immediately, and stop forever. A simple cost-benefit analysis shows that there are virtually no benefits to be obtained from these drugs, while the dangers are far greater than people are lead to believe. There are two critical reasons why these drugs are unacceptably dangerous.

The first danger is liver damage. Statin drugs work by blocking the enzyme HMG CoA reductase so that the liver can no longer synthesize its own cholesterol. Sounds quite simple and perfectly harmless until you realize that the drug does not act locally on one single enzyme in one particular metabolic pathway. Rather, the drug puts a tremendous load on overall liver function. That is why it is generally recommended that once beginning Statin drugs, the patient should have his liver enzymes checked every six months.

If you have been victimized by the same propaganda campaign as most of your patients, this idea of the liver producing a "deadly demon" like cholesterol may come as a shock to you. The truth is, your liver produces 2000 milligrams of cholesterol every day. Is your liver trying to destroy you with cardiovascular disease? Of course not, cholesterol (contrary to the case fabricated against it, first by Archer Daniels Midland, then by the pharmaceutical industry) is an absolutely essential substance, with many critical functions in the body.

So --- the Statin drugs interfere with normal liver metabolism, inhibit the liver's production of many substances essential for health, and damage the liver in the process. Liver damage is quite a high price to pay for the illusion of exorcising a mythological demon. And though the cholesterolemia to cardiovascular disease connection is a myth, high serum cholesterol does indicate a metabolic problem --- yet the cause of that problem is never addressed by the Statin drug.

The second danger from taking Statin drugs is musculoskeletal pain that can be severe, and is very frequently misdiagnosed. Since most doctors are not aware that myalgia is a common side effect of the Statins, people that suffer this side effect are often given diagnoses of tendinitis, tendinosis, tenosynovitis, tendinopothy, bursitis, rotator cuff syndrome, and so forth. There are many cases reported in the literature of patients undergoing surgery for musculoskeletal pathologies that did not really exist.

The myopathy caused by Statin drugs involves elevated serum creatinine-phosphokinase (CPK), indicative of muscle breakdown. In severe cases, muscular necrosis will occur, which can overload the kidney with CPK, and with myoglobin (with its associated toxic iron) and other products of necrosis, leading to kidney failure and even death. A number of these patients have experienced kidney failure and even death; others have had such severe muscular pain and weakness that they are eventually unable to stand or breath on their own.

My chiropractic practice has seen many patients whose musculoskeletal pain was completely unresponsive to chiropractic correction, yet cleared when the patient was taken off Statin drugs. Unfortunately, for those that have been on these drugs for a long time the myalgia can persist for two months following discontinuation of the drug. Many of you reading this letter are chiropractors, and I wouldn't be surprised if you have in your practice right now patients whose pain has pushed you past the point of frustration because of your inability to help, when actually that pain is completely the result of drug induced myopathy.

Liver damage? Myopothy? Not for me and my patients! Add these drugs to your RED FLAG list immediately and begin getting your patients off these agents of destruction tomorrow!


Guy R. Schenker


Nutri-Spec Letters