Statins for High Cholesterol: Big Drugs, Little Benefit?
Is previous research on the benefits of the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins, biased by industry-funded studies? In this article, Dr. Mark Stengler comments on the latest study on statins indicating that the risks and costs of statin therapy likely outweighs any potential benefit. Dr. Stengler also suggests natural ways to counteract high cholesterol without drugs.
Big pharma and cholesterol lowering statin loving doctors are enraged over a new study concluding that there is limited evidence showing that primary prevention of heart disease with statins is cost-effective and improves patient quality of life. In a press release, the authors questioned the benefit of statins in primary prevention and suggested that the previous data showing benefit may have been biased by industry-funded studies.
The Study Findings
The study was a meta-analysis that included data from 14 trials involving over 34,000 people. The outcomes in patients given statins were compared with outcomes in patients given placebos or usual care. The authors noted that the results suggested that deaths were reduced on statins but were not significant enough to justify the risk of side effects and cost. Remember that statins may cause muscle weakness and pain, poor memory, liver and kidney damage, and increased cancer risk. They also deplete the body of the important cardiovascular antioxidant, coenzyme Q10.
I commonly switch patients from statin drugs to nutritional approaches to balance lipid levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. The fact is that these drugs are not as effective or even remotely safe as compared to natural therapies. For instance, a Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve the prognosis of those with coronary artery disease.
The supplement, red yeast rice extract has been shown to safely lower elevated lipid levels and significantly reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke without adverse effects. And remember that research is showing that total cholesterol levels are not as important as the LDL particle size.
If this study was not enough, a recent study published in the Archives of Neurology found that the risk of statin therapy likely outweighs any potential benefit in patients with hemorrhagic stroke, and may increase the risk of recurrent hemorrhage!
Dr. Mark Stengler is a leading natural health advocate and the author of 17 books on natural approaches to health.
Check out his 30-Day Healthy Living Coaching course with Dr. Mark Stengler.