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6. The Myth of Cholesterol - Part III: Side Effects of Statins

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Currently, medical doctors are recommending statin to almost all patients whose have elevated LDL-C. This is a shot gun approach in hoping to catch most of the 1% of people in high CHD risk. This strategy would work if the side effects of statin is minuscule. Is this the case? Dr. Diamond presented multiple papers on this topic. Here they are. Statins increase the risk of T2 diabetes, rhabdomyolysis, cognitive disorders, cataracts, acute renal failure, cancer and liver dysfunction. What are the risk factors of getting these side effects if you take statins?

In the following studies, statin treatment increased the risk of T2 diabetes in six years by 5% of absolute risk or 46% of relative risk; and it increased breast cancer risk by 2x if taking it for over 10 years. The longer duration of statin use is, the higher the risk is. Usually, the clinical trial of statins only last for less than three years. There is no way to catch these side effects.

Here is another important study on statin and memory. Those elderly people in trial showed symptom of dementia and were taking statins. They stopped taking statins for six weeks, and their memory function was improved. Then they resumed taking statins, and their cognitive impairment came back. Our brains need a lot of cholesterol to build neurons and synapses for memory. When there is a deficiency, they make their own cholesterol. Statin interfered with this process and that is why it caused memory lose. No all statins are created equal though. Some stains do better than the others. For example, Crestor (rosuvastation) is better than Lipitor (atorvastatin).

For more detailed information, please refer to the paper below from Dr. Diamond summarizing the benefits and harms statins can make to people.


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