Long-time statin users are jumping ship, and some doctors disagree with their use, which leads us to the most obvious question of all: Are statin drugs even worth taking?
A STATIN A DAY WON’T KEEP THE DOCTOR AWAY
Many doctors continue to recommend statins as regular protocol for treating high cholesterol, which has been triggered by or made worse by several lifestyle factors that are within our control. Yet a growing number of doctors have begun to question this class of drugs that is considered the most widely prescribed medication of all time, including simvastatin (Zocor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor), among others. Doctors who are doing their due diligence by digging deeper have learned that these ‘wonder drugs” are anything but.
In 2015, a study conducted on over 26,000 Tricare beneficiaries, within the US military healthcare system, found that patients taking statins were 87 percent more likely to develop diabetes. 1. This study was one of the first to find a direct connection between statin-related diabetes risk and a group of overall healthy people.
“The risk of diabetes with statins has been known, but up until now, it was thought that this might be due to the fact that people who were prescribed statins had greater medical risks to begin with,’ lead study author Dr Ishak Mansi said. Mansi added that statin use in the study came with a “very high risk of diabetes complications” that scientists had never seen before. In a subset of 3,351 patient pairs within the larger study group, patients using statins were 250 percent more likely to develop diabetes with complications than patients who did not use statins. Those who took statins in the study were also 14 percent more likely to become overweight or obese.
This study, unfortunately, isn’t a one-off In a contemporary population-based case-control study in 2013, long-term statin use was associated with increased risks of ductal and lobular breast cancer among women aged between 55 and 74. 2. In 2011, a case-control study published in the journal Prostate found that statins may significantly increase the risk of prostate cancer, after examining 388 cases of prostate cancer and 1,552 controls. 3 .When Scottish researchers studied colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer and a leading cause of cancer death, in 2012, the results were similar. Statin use had a statistically significant association with the risk of colorectal cancer, though it did not increase mortality. 4 Research has also suggested a link between long-term statin use and kidney cancer risk. 5.
For the many patients who have been “sold” on statins by their doctors and pharmaceutical companies, this growing body of research has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine researchers discovered in 2016 that a period of intense media debate about statins led to an 11 to 12 percent increase in patients who stopped using the drug. While many users went back to taking the controversial meds within six months, older patients and people who had been on statins for longer were more likely to quit use completely. 6.
STATINS ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
Statins aren’t entirely pointless. But they are mis- and over-prescribed to patients with alarming regularity. Considering the very real risk factors we have already covered from the misuse of this drug, the actual need for statins is worth examining again. The only people who “possibly” need to be taking statins are those with raised calcium levels in their arteries, who are at a higher risk for heart attack or stroke and are not making the lifestyle changes to clear this problem. For the •rest of the population being prescribed potentially dangerous statin drugs as a “just in case,’ there are many more options to consider before you get your prescription filled. Namely, we know with concrete evidence that high blood pressure and cholesterol are often the result of lifestyle choices, especially related to a lack of exercise and a poor diet. Sensible changes, lil
THE MISSING NUTRIENTS
There are two missing nutrients, coupled with a healthy diet and exercise plan, that have the potential to “jumpstart” an unhealthy heart. As a powerhouse enhancer and antioxidant in the body, coenzyme Q10 is a protective vitamin-like enzyme that can be found in almost all plant, animal and human cells. It can also be found in large quantities in the heart.
Many foods contain CoQ10 in small amounts but, for the most part, it is difficult for the body to assimilate and produce adequate amounts of this enzyme on its own. Taking ubiquinol as a supplement—a form of coenzyme Q10 that is eight times better absorbed than ordinary CoQ10 has shown great heart-protective benefits, with advanced congestive heart failure. 7. Statins can also cause a coenzyme Q10 deficiency in the body, while taking a CoQ10 supplement could buffer the statin side effect of diabetes. Used in the vast majority of clinical trials over the past 30 years, Kaneka Q10 Ubiquinol is free from the impurities found in processed CoQ10 as the only yeast-fermented CoQ10 available.
ARE HIGH HOMOCYSTEINE LEVELS THE REAL THREAT?
Along with CoQIO, B vitamins may prove to be another heart-healthy, cholesterol balancing “fix” and potential alternative to statins. B vitamins, which may be taken along with coenzyme QIO, vitamins C, D, E, folic acid, magnesium, selenium, taurine, ribose, and more, can help to regulate homocysteine levels in the body. High levels of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid, have been directly linked to a higher risk of heart and vessel disease yet there is no direct link for cholesterol. In fact it is quite clear just as many people with low cholesterol are at risk of a heart attack as those with high cholesterol.
More often than not, statins are not the cholesterol “cure all” they have been made out to be. One fascinating Swedish study puts this all in perspective. In 2016, Swedish researchers observed that the most common risk factor for heart attacks — high cholesterol — had decreased in northern Sweden over the past two decades. The researchers said that it was not drugs but lifestyle factors that were responsible for this major shift. Lifestyle changes were credited for having the biggest impact on lowering cholesterol to date. 8
A coenzyme Q10 that is eight times better absorbed compared to ordinary CoQ10. Each 50mg softgel is the equivalent of taking 400mg of ordinary CoQ10. Derived from Kaneka Q10, the world’s most researched and recognised CoQ10.
1 Mansi, 19 Freid C R, Wang, C-P. and Mortensen, E M. 2015. Statins and newonset diabetes mellitus and diabetic complications: a retrospective cohort study of US healthy adults. Journal of General Internal Medicine DOI: 10.1007/511606-015-3335-1.
2. McDougall J A. Malone, K. E, Doling, J. R.. Cushing-Haugen K L, Porter L and [i, C i. 2013. Sep. longterm statin use and risk ofductal and lobular breast cancer among women 55 to 74 years ofage. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 22(9) pp. 1529-37 doi: 101158/1055-9965.EPl-130414. Epub 2013 Jul 5.
3. Chang C C, Ho, S, C Chiu, H. F and Yang, C Y. 2011. Dec Statins increase the risk of prostate cancer
4 Lakha, F.. Theodoratou. Farrington, S Teneso, A, Cetnarskyj Din, F. 1/9 Porteous, M. E, Dunlop. M. G. and Campbel( H. 2012. Oct Statin use and association with colorectal cancer survival and risk: case control study with prescription data linkage BMCCancer 22;12 p, 487. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-12-487.
5. Chiu, H. E Kuo, C C, Kuo, H. W.. lee, l. M. Lee, C and Yang. C Y 2012. Jul. Statin use and the risk ofkidney cancer. a population-based case-control study Expert Opin Drug Saf. 11(4) p 543-9. doc 101517/14740338.2012678831.
6. Matthews A, Herrett E, Gasparrini, Ao Tjeerd van Staat A, Goldacre, 8, Smeeth, Lt Bhaskaran, K 2016.
7. Langsjoen. P H. and Langsjoen. A. M. 2008 Supplemental ubiquinol in patients with advanced congestive heartfailure, Biofactors 32(1-4) pp. 119-28
8 Eriksson, M, Forslund A S, Jonsson, J-H„ Söderberq S. Wennberg M. and EOasson Mor 2016. Greater decreases in cholesterol levels among individuals With huh cardiovascular risk than among the general population: the northern Sweden MONICA study 1994 to 2014 European Heat Journal, DOI 101093/eurheartj/ehw052