treating cholesterol with statins increases the risk of diabetes progression

Statins are a leading class of drugs for treating cholesterol. But, for many people their effectiveness is questionable. And they bring many health risks with them. The questions may loom especially large for diabetics. A new study makes it loom even larger.

Though people with a history of heart attack or stroke or who currently have symptoms of cardiovascular disease may derive some benefit from statins, for over 75% of people who are prescribed them, statins demonstrate no ability to extend their lives. In large studies, when people with no history of heart attack or stroke are given statins, their LDL cholesterol may go down, but they don’t live any longer than people given a placebo.

A large and authoritative review of statins, which included 11 studies (Arch Intern Med 2010;170(12):1024-31), found that statins do not reduce all-cause mortality in people at high-risk of cardiovascular disease. For women, there is no evidence that they increase life expectancy even in the presence of cardiovascular disease. For the majority of people given statins, the pharmaceutical promise has been a false promise.

Though the benefits are exaggerated, the risks of statins are not. Statins can cause liver problems, CoQ10 deficiency, muscle and nerve damage, memory loss, confusion, obesity and even possible increase of cancer and heart failure with long-term use.

The question of increased risk of diabetes has been an especially troubling one. One study found a 74% increase in the risk of diabetes in postmenopausal women (US Pharm 2012;37(2):10); another found a 46% increased risk of diabetes in men (BMJ 2015;350:h1222). More recently, statins were shown to increase the risk of diabetes by 36% in people who were at high risk of diabetes (BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care 2017;5:e000438).

Now a new study adds even more cause for concern. This large study looked at the practical implications of diabetes control in diabetics given statins.

The study matched 83,022 pairs of diabetics. In each pair, one was on statins and one was not. 94.9% of the people in the study were male. The disturbing finding was that diabetes progressed in significantly more statin users. Diabetes progression occurred in 55.9% of statin users versus 48% of diabetics not taking statins.

Every component measured was worse in the statin users: they were 41% more likely to increase the number of glucose lowering drugs they were on, 16% more likely to start needing insulin, 13% more likely to have persistently high glucose levels and 24% more likely to experience uncontrolled diabetes or acute glycemic complications.

To see 20 natural ways to safely treat cholesterol problems, see Vol.22, No.10 of The Natural Path.  


JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 04, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.5714


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For much more on preventing and treating cholesterol and diabets naturally, see our books The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia and, surprisingly, Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods.


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The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.


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