Why You Should Be Very Wary Of Statins

Statins are prescribed to nearly one-fourth of all American adults based on the outdated notion that lowering cholesterol levels is the way to prevent cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, for the overwhelming majority of statin users, the drugs don’t even cut heart disease risk — but instead can actually boost risk for a variety of other diseases, many of which will then need additional drugs to “control,” bringing with them their own set of risks and side effects. To say the least, statins are anything but a cure.

So what to do when your doc wants to put you on a statin? If your numbers are borderline or you don’t have any major cardiac risk factors, your first response should be “not so fast, partner.” Unless you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, have had a heart attack or stroke, or have a family history of early heart attack or death, you probably don’t need a statin at all. So, don’t let the doc put you on one simply to cover their arse, ‘cus statins won’t cover yours.

Always remember, you are the client, the boss, the owner of your body and although your doctor’s heart might be in the right place, don’t immediately sign on for a drug that may be an unnecessary, ineffective and potentially dangerous treatment for a problem you don’t have — and here’s why:

Statins Make You Feel Old and Tired Before Your Time

Muscle pain, inability to concentrate, memory problems and general brain fog are common side effects, which many doctors will brush off as ‘normal’ consequences of statin use. Easy for them to say! If the muscular and cognitive issues weren’t enough, statins also increase diabetes risk, so any of these three chronic problems that we commonly attribute to aging — aches and pains, mental decline and diabetes — may actually be the statins doing a number on you! What other ‘normal’ side-effects might you be expected to tolerate? How about:

  • Reduced energy
  • Lack of interest in activity
  • Increased fatigue after exercise
  • Erectile dysfunction and reduced ability to achieve orgasm
  • Memory loss and/or confusion, Alzheimer’s-like symptoms
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Digestive problems: nausea, gas, diarrhea, constipation
  • Rash or flushing
  • Hunger
  • Increased risk of cataracts

Statins Don’t Meaningfully Cut the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Life-threatening Illness or Death

As if cognitive problems, increased diabetes risk and muscle pain weren’t enough, keep in mind that statins aren’t even an effective approach to reducing cardiovascular disease. True, they do lower LDL cholesterol. But cholesterol by itself is not a major risk factor for heart disease or stroke. Since your brain, and every part of your body depends on cholesterol to function, drastically reducing it may actually be counterproductive to health.

Statins May Offer Minimal Benefits to Just 1 Out of 140 Patients

In most cases, there is no good reason to take statins. When they reviewed the studies, researchers found that for every 140 patients treated with statins, only one would benefit — and even so, there was no overall reduction in death or life-threatening illness. However, for men over 50 who have had a heart attack, statins show some ability to lower the chances of a second heart attack. However, this effect may not be about lowering cholesterol but instead about reducing inflammation, which can be lowered more effectively with diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes.

Statins: Fantastic for Corporate Profits; You, Not So Much

If nothing else, statins are a cash cow for the pharmaceutical companies, and as long as they can continue to put out the way-off-base message that everybody should be popping them like candy, they will continue to reap the financial benefits. But from a sustainable wellness perspective, I believe there is simply no reason for most people to take statins — and far too many reasons not to, including:

  • There is no evidence that statins reduce the incidence of first-time heart attack, or that they reduce mortality (the chances of dying).
  • Three-quarters of first-time heart attacks occur in people whose cholesterol measures low or “normal.”
  • Some tests do give a more nuanced and specific portrait of LDL particles — but there is no research showing that these tests have any greater ability to predict heart attacks than the standard measures.
  • In a database study of nearly 26,000 beneficiaries of Tricare, the military health system, those taking statins were 87 percent more likely to develop diabetes.
  • 1 in 10 people on statins develop muscle pains.
  • A growing body of research links statins to violent death, for instance, suicide and homicide probably because lowering cholesterol affects our neurotransmitters, which affect thought and emotion.

Bottom Line

So if your doctor presses the issue, remind them of these disturbing facts about statins, and get a second opinion. Discuss your preference for a less potentially debilitating, drug-free option. If your primary care physician won’t work with you to take charge of your health in a supportive way, it may be time to consider adding an integrative physician to your team to help get your health on track.

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

Frank Lipman, M.D.

Pioneer in Functional Medicine
For Dr. Frank Lipman, health is more than just the absence of disease: it is a total state of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing. Dr. Lipman is a widely recognized trailblazer and leader in functional and integrative medicine, and he is a New York Times best-selling author of five books, How to Be Well, The New Health Rules, Young and Slim for Life, Revive and Total Renewal. After his initial medical training in his native South Africa, Dr. Lipman spent 18 months working at clinics in the bush. He became familiar with the local traditional healers, called sangomas, which kindled his interest in non-Western healing modalities In 1984, Dr. Lipman immigrated to the United States, where he became the chief medical resident at Lincoln Hospital in Bronx, NY. While there, he became fascinated by the hospital’s addiction clinic, which used acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat people suffering from heroin and crack addiction. Seeing the way these patients responded so positively to acupuncture made him even more aware of the potential of implementing non-Western medicine to promote holistic wellbeing. As a medical student, he was taught to focus on the disease rather than the patient, and now as a doctor he found himself treating symptoms rather than the root causes of illness. Frustrated by the constraints of his training, and the limitations in helping his patients regain true health, he began a journey of discovery to search for the path to meaningful long-term health and wellness. He began studying nutrition, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, functional medicine, biofeedback, meditation, and yoga. Dr. Lipman founded the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in 1992, where he combines the best of Western medicine and cutting edge nutritional science with age-old healing techniques from the East. As his patient chef Seamus Mullen told The New York Times, “If antibiotics are right, he’ll try it. If it’s an anti-inflammatory diet, he’ll do that. He’s looking at the body as a system rather than looking at isolated things.” In addition to his practice, he is also an instructor in mbg's Functional Nutrition Program.
View the class
Frank Lipman, M.D.

Related Posts

Popular Stories

Sites We Love

Functional Nutrition Webinar

Food is Medicine

Food has the power to create a happier and healthier world. Celebrity Nutritionist Kelly LeVeque will show you how.

Get Free Access Now Loading next article...
Sign up for mbg's FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar

Your article and new folder have been saved!