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Believing that having a low LDL is the best way to prevent heart disease, doctors often prescribe medications like statins to keep those levels low.
Yet these drugs can introduce a whole host of problems including muscle damage, memory issues, Parkinson’s-like symptoms, and muscle aches and pains. We now know that statins can increase risk of diabetes by about 50 percent.
They also prevent your muscles from working properly so when you exercise, you can’t get as fit. One 12-week study found that people who took statins showed a 4.5 percent reduction in fitness after a vigorous exercise program. The statins blocked the benefits of exercise.
Even more concerning is that statins don’t even work that well for preventing heart attacks, despite all the media hype and your doctor’s advice. You have to treat 77 people with statins to prevent one coronary event and treat 167 individuals for 4.1 years to prevent 1 death. That means 166 people are taking statins with no benefit.
When the statins do work, it often has nothing to do with their effect on cholesterol. Some of the touted benefits of statins are that they lower inflammation and perform like antioxidants in the body. Overall, however, the drawbacks outweigh these and other potential benefits for most people. They may have a little more benefit for those who already have had a heart attack but not much for those who have never had one (which is when most statins are prescribed – before an incident has occurred).
If your doctor is concerned about your cholesterol, you will want to use these six strategies to optimize lipid levels and your overall health:
Mark HymanMark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality - and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. Dr. Hyman and his team work every day to empower people, organizations, and communities to heal their bodies and minds, and improve our social and economic resilience.