Can Drugs Save Me from Heart Disease?

The short answer is “no”. If you or someone you care about is taking Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor or other cholesterol-lowering medication, you need to read this.

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in this country. It would certainly be great if a medicine existed that could stop this killer in its tracks. The pharmaceutical companies have certainly tried hard.

A number of cholesterol-lowering medications, known as statins, are on the market today including atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), lovastatin (Mevacor and Altocor), fluvastatin (Lescol), and pravastatin (Pravachol). These medications were initially prescribed for patients who had suffered heart attacks, and were found to slightly reduce the recurrence of heart attacks in this group of patients. Then doctors began prescribing statin drugs to patients who had not yet suffered a heart attack under the assumption that the drugs would prevent heart attacks and extend these patients lives. (Bad assumption.) Now tens of millions of Americans are taking these medications as a preventative.

My friend was one of these people. I had been trying to convince him to lower his risk of heart disease through a healthy NuSci diet, but he said that he used to have high cholesterol levels and his doctor prescribed a statin medication which had lowered his cholesterol. My friend asked, “With my low cholesterol due to medication, why do I have to change my diet?” A very good question, and one that I’m sure many have asked.

There are two parts to the answer to that question:

  1. Statins don't actually help those who haven't had a heart attack.
  2. Statins are harmful.

First, a study (link below) was published in June 2010, but many doctors won't even be aware of it. This study concludes that although statins reduce the measured cholesterol levels in the blood, for patients who have not yet had a heart attack, these lower levels do not correlate with a reduction in death. Thus I'm sorry to say, that if you are taking statins and have not yet had a heart attack, the statin medicine is not helping you, but through better blood test numbers, it is fooling you into thinking it is helping.

Second, this next study (link below) is an ongoing examination of the negative side effects of statins. The risk factors generally increase with age, dose, and duration. If you fix your heart disease through diet and get off statins soon, you can minimize the damage from the drugs. But don't wait. (Please note that if you were on statins, it was because you were at risk for a heart attack. You still need to address this root problem, but must do so through a healthy diet – not through a dangerous and ineffective medication. Read on.)

If you scroll down on the page of the above link, you will see that one of the serious side effects of statins is problems with memory, thinking and concentration. For those of us who want to maintain a healthy mind, this side effect is one of the scariest. Some statin patients are even thought to have Alzheimer’s, when it is the medication causing the cognition problems.

So, what can you do with this information?

If your doctor prescribed statin medication, that means that you are at risk for heart disease. Not a surprise given that nearly all Americans eat an unhealthy diet and therefore have heart disease. But because the medication does not decrease your risk, you need to do something else instead. What your doctor should have done is prescribe for you a diet that includes whole plants, with no meat, no dairy products, and no oils. This diet has been shown to eliminate your risk of heart disease and reduce your chance of getting cancer (the number two killer), stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and dozens of other diseases.

Cleaning up your diet will go against many traditions. So making a change is hard. But getting sick and dying isn't so great either. I for one want to live a long and healthy life and am willing to make changes to do so. I hope you are too.

The books and DVDs recommended on this website give the best scientific reporting that I have found on the relationship between nutrition and health. They should give you a good basis for understanding how to live a long and healthy life. We've listed recipes of healthy and tasty foods and we've identified healthy food products and restaurants to help you eat healthy food. Track our home page for our upcoming workshops and for other educational events. If there is anything else we can do to help you and your family to transition to a life-saving diet, please let us know.


John Tanner, Updated 02-15-2013

(626) 872-4050

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