To Fight Heart Disease, Diet Is Often Better Than Statin Drugs
Skip to first unread message
Aug 14, 2012, 9:23:34 AM8/14/12
Reply to author
Sign in to reply to author
Sign in to forward
You do not have permission to delete messages in this group
Report message as abuse
Sign in to report message as abuse
Show original message
Either email addresses are anonymous for this group or you need the view member email addresses permission to view the original message
By Makini Brice | August 09, 2012 Medical Daily
While cholesterol-lowering statins are undeniably life-saving
treatments for people with menacing cardiovascular illnesses, statins
are often prescribed to healthy people as a precaution. In fact, one in
four Americans take statins regularly and one editorial published
earlier this year in The Lancet said that all people should take them.
Research is starting to pile up in the other direction and one
researcher in the United Kingdom has announced that, for healthy people
or with minimal cardiovascular issues, diet is better for controlling
heart disease than statins are.
Professor Kausik Ray, from St.
George's Healthcare Trust in London, has publicly come out against
statins as a preventative measure. He says that statins are
indispensable for people with serious heart problems, particularly those
who have had heart attacks. That group makes up only a small percentage
of people prescribed statins. Many people are given statins because
they are 'at risk,' but the way to qualify 'at-risk' patients is very
difficult. Ray is one of many experts interviewed by documentarian
Justin Smith for his upcoming film "Statin Nation". Before directing the
movie, Smith was a personal trainer and nutritional coach before
writing the book $29 Billion Reasons to Lie About Cholesterol, in 2009.
His book found that the increase of statin use has not decreased heart
disease rates at all.
The use of statins has indeed been
controversial. While some claim that statins have helped ward off
illness for hundreds of thousands of people, still others claim that the
negative side effects of statins are not given enough weight. One large
clinical trial of the medication rosuvastatin, Crestor, found in 2008
that the statin lowered the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 44
percent in healthy subjects. Despite the seemingly positive numbers,
critics charge that, because the trial was ended early, benefits could
Furthermore, meta-analyses of statins have been
shaky. The Lancet editorial, for example, analyzed 27 clinical trials
involving 165,149 people, and found that side effects were minimal at
worst. But, in one of the studies analyzed by The Lancet, potential
participants were given statins for a few weeks to see how they
tolerated them. If they suffered side effects, they were excluded from
the trial. A majority of the studies were funded by pharmaceutical
companies as well.
Statins can increase the risk of hemorrhagic
strokes, muscle pain and severe but rare liver and kidney
complications. The United States Department of Agriculture found that
statins could also increase the risk of diabetes and memory loss.
Still, it is unlikely that the issue of statins will be solved anytime
soon. A large chunk of heart attacks occur in people who are considered
low-risk. Still, Rita Redberg, a cardiologist at the University of
California, San Francisco, and chief editor of the Archives of Internal
Medicine, said to Scientific American that they are a lot of people who
are on statins right now who see a minimal benefit from the drug.