Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Statin Drugs and Diabetes

This won’t be the first time I’ve written about statins, and sadly, I very much doubt it will be the last, as more and more evidence continues to reveal the negative health effects they have. You may already be familiar with some of their more notorious side effects—including memory loss, muscle weakness, and liver damage. But as one new study reinforces, the threat these cholesterol-lowering pharmaceuticals pose to your health actually runs far deeper than you can imagine.

In a recently published analysis of data, pooled from six trials involving more than 57,000 adults, researchers examined the influence that long term statin use has on the risk of acquiring Type II diabetes. As it turns out, 2,082 of the study participants developed diabetes over an average follow-up period of 3.9 years, accounting for a small but statistically significant increase in risk ranging from 6 to 13 percent.

Apparently, these results were contrary to the investigators’ expectations. They are not, however, contrary to mine. Researchers have been aware of the link between statins and increased diabetes risk for some time now. And yet they are still considered a first-line solution for cholesterol control. Another recent study took this one step further in proposing that statins be prescribed for the prevention of chronic inflammation. This recommendation was despite the fact that this trial’s results revealed the exact same negative developments.

Needless to say, I find such recommendations to be irresponsible—a sentiment widely shared by my colleagues in the integrative medical community.

Let me be clear: There is no question as to the benefit of many pharmaceutical drugs. I don’t think anyone would argue that the invention of penicillin, for example, was anything short of revolutionary for the practice of medicine as we know it today. But it’s also inappropriate to prescribe a potentially dangerous drug without integrating more natural and effective methods first.

There are far more effective ways for you to reduce your cholesterol, curb inflammation, and ensure lasting heart health without the use of drugs. I feel that the benefits of statins in particular are questionable at best. The improvements these drugs offer most certainly do not outweigh the risks, especially given the wide variety of natural alternatives available—to say nothing of the benefits that even simple lifestyle changes are clinically proven to deliver.

Before you consider taking statins to lower your cholesterol, I’d like to encourage you to read my free report on safe, natural strategies for overcoming cardiovascular disease. I urge you to share this important information with anyone you know who is looking for an effective, drug-free way to combat this widespread health concern.

Source: Diabetes Care, October 2009.

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