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$tatin Nation
A film exposing the over-prescription of cholesterol-lowering medications and the misrepresentation of medical evidence.
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Price: $9.99 USD

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We are told that cholesterol is a major cause of heart disease. At least 40 million people are currently taking cholesterol-lowering medications, known as statins, and millions more people are avoiding foods that contain saturated fat and cholesterol.

The basic idea is that dietary saturated fat raises cholesterol levels, and these two substances somehow clog-up our arteries, causing a heart attack. This idea is often referred to as the diet-heart hypothesis.

However, a number of doctors and researchers have been challenging this hypothesis for decades, and the latest heart disease statistics reveal some alarming facts, such as:
  • People with high cholesterol tend to live longer
  • People with heart disease tend to have low levels of cholesterol
  • Cholesterol-lowering on a population level does not reduce the rate of heart disease

About Justin Smith, Producer/Director

For 4 years, Justin was based at the BBC in West London as a personal trainer, sports massage therapist and nutrition coach.

In 2007, Justin set out to write a book about common nutritional myths. At this time, he was already aware of the issues surrounding cholesterol and planned to devote one chapter of his book to this subject. However, after looking into the subject in more detail, he was shocked to find just how much evidence, contrary to the diet-heart hypothesis, existed. The natural progression was to base his whole book on this subject.

Justin's book $29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol was published in 2009, and the following year, he started the preliminary work on the documentary film "$tatin Nation."

Before his career as a health practitioner, Justin obtained a degree in engineering. He believes that this scientific background has provided him with the ability to evaluate published research and the conclusions that are drawn from it.

Justin was also a competitive cyclist for nine years

Q&A with Justin Smith

Why did you make this film?
I have made this film out of sheer frustration with the current situation. To date, most of the information that people receive about this subject is provided directly or indirectly by the pharmaceutical companies. This information is heavily biased, of course, toward increasing company profits, with a disregard for peoples’ health.

In the film, you raise some important issues concerning statin medications. How would you like people to react to this?
My approach, with this film, is to provide people with information to make better informed decisions about their own health. Each person should make a personal decision about the issues raised. I hope that the film will prompt more people to ask their doctor important questions like: if I take this cholesterol medication, how much longer might I live? This question is important because most people will not receive any life extension from statins. While statins may, in some cases, slightly reduce the risk of heart problems, at the same time statins also increase the risk for other serious diseases. So, overall there is usually no net benefit.

There is some evidence that cholesterol medications can be beneficial for middle-aged men who have already had at least one heart attack. However, the benefit here has got nothing to do with cholesterol lowering. It relates to the positive effects that statins can have on inflammation and plaque stabilization. In this situation, there is some life extension, but it is difficult to say how much. The life extension even here may still only be a few days or weeks and this, of course, has to be balanced against the adverse effects of statins.

In addition, there is a well established connection between low cholesterol levels and a shorter life span. So, even if the statin was beneficial during middle-age, the adverse effects are likely to drastically outweigh any positive effects as the person reaches old age.

Was the film commissioned/How was the film funded?
I desperately wanted to make this film and I knew that getting it commissioned would be difficult and time consuming. Therefore. I invested some money myself and managed to raise around £7,000 from crowd funding.

In addition, I managed to build a crew of people who are also passionate about this subject and would be willing to work on a deferred payment basis. The crew have all been willing to defer their payment until the film is released.

Originally, I planned to go through the traditional route (festivals and commissioning editors etc.) once the film was finished. However, I am concerned that this might take several months to a year, possibly longer, and I have a burning desire to expose this issue as soon as possible.

Personally, I feel that the timing is right to present this information to people. I hope to gain the interest of a major broadcaster in the UK, in the United States, or elsewhere but in the meantime I plan to release the film online via video on demand.

Do you think that people can freely consume cholesterol-rich foods?
Well, the idea that saturated fats and cholesterol simply clog-up the arteries has never been proven scientifically. It was just an idea.

In addition, there are many fascinating facts, such as the foods that contain cholesterol also contain large amounts of the nutrients that we know protect the heart. We have been told to avoid cholesterol-rich foods, but these foods often contain antioxidants and high levels of vitamins that keep our arteries healthy.

Despite statins' widespread use, and description as “wonder drugs,” statin medications do not extend life for the majority of people who take them.

Cholesterol-lowering has become a huge global industry, generating around $29 billion each year. Have the facts about heart disease, cholesterol and cholesterol medications been distorted by pharmaceutical companies and food manufacturers keen to increase their profits?

$tatin Nation is the first film to investigate the scientific basis for the mass prescription of cholesterol-lowering medications.

The film was made on location in England, the United States, Denmark and Sweden.

In addition to the feature documentary, this program also includes for free the "Statin and Cholesterol Factsheet" with 7 informative graphs and tables, 9 pages, and over 20 peer-reviewed article references.
This is a pill mass-production factory; $tatin Nation goes
inside the pharmaceutical corporations' tactics.

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Presenter: Justin Smith
Includes: 1 Online Streamed Video(s) (63 mins total)
2 Downloadable Documents
Price: $9.99 USD
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Interviewees:

  • Dr. Peter Langsjoen, private cardiology practitioner, Fellow of the American College of Cardiology

  • Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, author, The Great Cholesterol Con

  • Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, author, Fat and Cholesterol Are Good For You and How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive, Winner of the Leo-Huss-Walin Prize for Independent Thinking in Natural Sciences and Medicine

  • Dr. John Abramson, author, Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine, and family medical practitioner (ret)

  • Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, medical doctor with a Master's of Medical Sciences in Neurology and Master's of Medical Sciences in Human Nutrition

  • Dr. Katherine Farady, Internal Medicine Officer in the US Navy for 11 years, was prescribed a statin medication and suffered a range of adverse effects which resulted in her having to take several other medications.

  • Dr. Rajendra Sharma, practitioner of Integrated Medicine in India, Europe, and the USA for 20 years, and former Medical Director of The Hale Clinic, Europe’s largest center for complimentary and alternative medicine.

  • Dr. Paul J. Rosch, President of The American Institute of Stress, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College

  • Barry Groves, PhD, author of Trick and Treat: How Healthy Eating is Making Us Ill and winner of the Oxford Symposium Sophie Coe Prize in Food History

  • Professor Kausik Ray, clinical cardiologist and cardio-vascular epidemiologist; professor of cardiovascular disease prevention at St George’s Hospital NHS Trust

  • Tony Wood, experienced a range of health problems he strongly feels were caused by statins.

  • Pamela Sharp, took a statin for more than two years and experienced severe memory loss, pain and a general feeling of being very unwell. She says that the statin has left her with permanent memory and cognitive problems.

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