Statins & Type 2 Diabetes:  The Straw that Breaks the Camel’s Back

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Two recent studies have shown that high-dose statin therapy can induce the onset of type 2 diabetes, worsening the health of those who are already in poor health.  These studies lend further credence to the FDA’s recent warning for patients across the country to get off high-dose statin therapy due to concerns of muscle damage. Let’s not forget that the heart is a muscle.

The new study takes into account all statins that are commonly used, and was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association1.  It found that high-dose statin therapy increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 12% compared to low-dose statin therapy. Of course, these studies never compare the risk of a drug to someone actually becoming more fit and healthy through natural means, as the increased risk would be so dramatic the drug would have to be pulled from the market. In this case the researchers are comparing a high dose of poison to a lower dose of poison. The new study is extremely embarrassing to the statin industry, as it was picked up by news outlets around the world and ran as a headline. 

Performing statistical mumbo-jumbo the researchers concluded that the benefits still outweigh the risks, as they implied that more cardiovascular deaths were prevented than diabetes caused. It is always fascinating to watch a Big Pharma calculator in action – no matter what data is put in a positive spin on taking the drug is always the answer. 

A second study published in April in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology2 found similar results, while focusing only on the statin Lipitor. However, this study analyzed more details of the health status of those before they went on high-dose statin therapy.  It found that those in the worst metabolic condition (higher fasting glucose, more overweight, higher blood pressure, and higher triglycerides) were the most likely to develop new onset type 2 diabetes. This means that high-dose statin therapy was more likely to push a person into type 2 diabetes if they were already knocking at the door.  And in direct conflict with the risk/benefit conclusion of the above study, this study found that those with new onset type 2 diabetes had a higher risk for major cardiovascular events.

These studies highlight the extreme difficulty physicians have in titrating poisons to be “appropriate” for any person, especially as their health worsens.  Unfortunately, the majority of statin-prescribing physicians don’t think about actual risks of what they are doing.  To the contrary, the worse off the metabolic health of the patient, the greater the number of toxic substances are prescribed, typically in the highest amount possible.

The most valuable asset you have is your health. Protect it and preserve it. If you get off track make a diligent effort to fix your issues. The failure to do so on your part will land you in front of a pill-pushing Big Pharma advocate, a supposed health professional who will now titrate poisons on your behalf, a person who typically has no clue how those poisons will actually behave in your body. It is a shame that the subject of medicine has been reduced to such a barbaric approach to managing the health of millions. It is little wonder that our health care costs skyrocket while the life expectancy of Americans dramatically lags behind other developed nations and is actually headed in the wrong direction.


Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Statins and Type 2 Diabetes Risk - Meta Analysis  JAMA.   David Preiss, MRCP; Sreenivasa Rao Kondapally Seshasai, MD; Paul Welsh, PhD; Sabina A. Murphy, MPH; Jennifer E. Ho, MD; David D. Waters, MD; David A. DeMicco, DPharm; Philip Barter, MD, PhD; Christopher P. Cannon, MD; Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH; Eugene Brau
  2. ^ The Statin Lipitor Increases Onset of Type 2 Diabetes  Journal of the American College of Cardiology  David D. Waters, Jennifer E. Ho, David A. DeMicco, Andrei Breazna, Benoit J. Arsenault, Chuan-Chuan Wun, John J. Kastelein, Helen Colhoun, Philip Barter

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