Fast food chains handing out free statins in order to, er, reduce their customers’ risk of developing heart problems? Doesn’t that sound like something out of a Tarantino horror movie? Here is a vicious circle scenario: you eat some extremely unhealthy, fatty food, then take a pill to reduce your chances of having a heart attack as a result of having eaten that extremely unhealthy, fatty food…I mean, does that make any sense? Well, amazingly, it could soon become reality.
What I just wrote is based on a recent Science Daily report (see: http://tinyurl.com/3all28p) on a new Imperial College London study* asserting that taking a statin can lower one’s risk of developing heart disease after wolfing down a cheeseburger and a milkshake. (*Uhm…my suspicious nature leads me to think that this study must have been financed by a statin-producing pharmaceutical company…!) Go have a look…
Well, at least one of the study authors admits that a statin won’t cut out all of the unhealthy effects of burgers and fries. It’s better to avoid fatty food altogether. Hah. No kidding.
I was stunned, however, to read that you can buy a low-dose statin in a drugstore without a doctor’s prescription. I had no idea. I mean, statins are not completely harmless drugs. And, in fact, the statin mentioned in the SD article has a very long list of “common side effects,” including dizziness, chest pain, difficulty sleeping, hair loss and so on. See: http://tinyurl.com/38l79es And what happens if you forget that you just swallowed a statin and decide to have a grapefruit juice with your meal? (See under: “Getting the most from your treatment.”) Mamma mia. For more info on statins and their harmful side effects, have a look at this May 2010 BBC report: http://tinyurl.com/3926squ
Before publishing their outrageous suggestions, perhaps the study authors should have interviewed my father, who has had high cholesterol for ages. About five years ago, his doctor decided to put him on statins (no brand names, but it was a very popular one) for three weeks. Well, Dad’s total cholesterol did in fact go down a bit, but so did his HDL, = his “good,” cholesterol (quite a lot, he told me), which meant that his risk factor for heart disease actually went UP instead of down. In complete agreement with his GP, he stopped taking it.
Incidentally, my father has been taking curcumin, 3-4 grams a day, for at least a couple of years now. His total cholesterol has gone down 60 points (!). Oh, and, unlike that statin drug, curcumin has increased his good cholesterol levels AND reduced his pesky triglycerides. I say “curcumin,” because there is no other plausible explanation for this improvement in Dad’s cholesterol levels.
Besides, what happened to my father has happened to me, too: my high (=inherited, probably) cholesterol has dropped more than 30% since I began taking curcumin, my HDL levels have gone up quite a bit AND my triglycerides have decreased (from 99 to 70…!).
Coincidence? Perhaps…then again, perhaps not…