I told you last August about a group of researchers that conducted a study to analyze the effects of statins on the health damage done by downing a daily cheeseburger and milk shake.
That team reached the straight-faced yet laughable conclusion that you ought to be able to pick up a statin drug right along with your condiments at your local McDonald’s.
Boy, I bet that “news” had the pharmaceutical companies dancing in the streets to the sounds of cash-register bells. Cha ching! But now a systematic review of 14 trials involving over 34,700 patients is… thankfully…bringing that celebration to an end.
Researchers from the Cochrane Heart Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say that the practice of giving statin drugs to low-risk people in the hope that they might somehow prevent future heart disease is questionable at best.
After analyzing the data from the 14 trials the Cochrane scientists found that statins reduced the risk of dying from nine deaths to eight for every 1,000 people treated with the drugs each year—not exactly what you would call impressive results, I’d say, especially when you factor in the fact that statin drugs can cause permanent muscle damage, cataracts, and, ironically, sometimes even death from a heart attack.
The researchers pointed out that it should also be understood that the conclusions of their review are limited by the “unclear, selective, and potentially biased reporting” of the industry-sponsored trials they analyzed. So, in other words, the reported drop from nine to eight deaths per 1,000 statin-treated patients may not even be anything more than drug-company puffery and propaganda.
The team concluded that the drugs should be prescribed with caution for those with a low risk of cardiovascular disease. So sorry to burst your bubble, Big Pharma, but it looks like that’s a “no” to including a bin of statins beside the ketchup packets at the local fast-food joint.
The bottom line is that if you’re in the low-risk category and your doc proposes you start taking a “just-in-case” statin, you should back slowly out of his office and then run as if your life depends on it…because it very well may.
Instead, skip the statins and try eating a small handful of walnuts or almonds every day. Both have been shown to be natural cholesterol reducers. And for heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and ALA, a nutrient that plays an important role in regulating cholesterol in the body, give walnuts, flax and chia seeds a try.
And don’t forget to include fish…like salmon and tuna…in your regular diet. Fish contains EPA and DHA, both powerful heart-protecting fatty acids.