On his blog, Mecola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains the evidence that statins may double diabetes risk. He writes:
Statins are a type of medication prescribed to lower cholesterol levels. They work by blocking an enzyme in the liver your body uses to make cholesterol.1 Although vilified for many years as causing heart attacks and stroke,2 your body makes cholesterol as it is needed to produce hormones, build cell membranes and produce substances used to digest food.3
Cholesterol is found in foods from animals, such as dairy products and meats.4 Your body makes the fatty substance cholesterol, but it cannot travel in the bloodstream alone.5 The body encases small particles of cholesterol inside protein particles that are able to mix easily with the blood. These are called lipoproteins and they’re responsible for transporting cholesterol.6
One of the main types of lipoproteins is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), sometimes called the “good” cholesterol as its job is to collect cholesterol and deliver it to your liver where it’s removed.7
Low density lipoprotein (LDL) and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) are often referred to as “bad.”8 It’s important to remember that only 20% of the cholesterol in your body is acquired from the food you eat, while the rest is made by your body.9
Prescriptions for statins are written to reduce the levels of cholesterol made by the body.10 However, since your body is so complex, changing one factor often results in unintended events, sometimes called side effects or adverse reactions.11 As suggested by one study, one adverse reaction from statin drugs may be doubling your risk of Type 2 diabetes.12
Risk of Diabetes Doubles With Cholesterol Medication
Past studies have demonstrated that statins increase the risk of diabetes.13 A new study led by a graduate researcher at The Ohio State University14 explored this link in research published in Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews. The study was a retrospective evaluation of medical records using employees and spouses from a private insurance plan.
Yearly biometric screening, health surveys, medical claims and pharmacy data were gathered from 2011 through 2014.15 Individuals who had indications for statin use, or who had a previous cardiovascular event, were enrolled. Adults who had Type 2 diabetes before the study or who acquired it in the first 90 days were excluded.
Records were classified as belonging to a statin user if they had two or more prescriptions filled, but individuals using statins before January 2011 or within the first 90 days of enrollment in the insurance were excluded. Data were collected from 755 individuals using statins and 3,928 who were not.16
After accounting for factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, education and body mass index, the researchers found those who used statins during the study were two times as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those who did not take statin medications.17
Interestingly, individuals who used statin drugs longer than two years experienced an increased risk of more than three times as likely to get the disease.18 The data also indicated that individuals taking statin medications had a 6.5% increased risk of high blood sugar as measured by hemoglobin A1c values.
The hemoglobin A1c blood test is an average level of blood sugar measuring the past 60 to 90 days.19 The test measures how much sugar is bound to hemoglobin on red blood cells. Since red blood cells live for up to 90 days, the test is an average of your blood glucose level during this time.
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for my free weekly email.