April 19, 2008

Statins make you fat and insulin resistant?

Among the studies you did not see highlighted in the media recently was this study published in the journal Diabetes Care:

Simvastatin Improves Flow-Mediated Dilation but Reduces Adiponectin Levels and Insulin Sensitivity in Hypercholesterolemic Patients

The reason is that the big drug companies do not put their publicity machine behind studies that call into question the safety or healthfulness of their blockbuster drugs. And that is exactly what this study did.

Simvastatin is Zocor. What this small but interesting study found was that "Simvastatin significantly improved endothelium-dependent dilation, but reduced adiponectin levels and insulin sensitivity in hypercholesterolemic patients independent of dose and the extent of apolipoprotein B reduction."

Translated into English this means that Zocor reduced cholesterol and improved the elasticity of arteries, but did this at the cost of increasing insulin resistance and decreasing the hormone, adiponectin, that keeps people from gaining weight.

Can this be yet another reason for the so-called "Diabetes Epidemic?" It would be ironic if the overprescribing of statins to people with mildly elevated cholesterol turns out to be a major factor in worsening blood sugars.

We know that giving statins to people who don't already have heart disease does very little to improve health. But we also know that raising blood sugar by the amount needed to raise A1c by as little as 1% (i.e. from 4.7% to 5.7%) is enough to create a very significant increase in heart attack risk.

Hmmmmm. . . . .

9 comments:

Scott said...

More evidence that the value of statins should not be taken at face value alone. Perhaps a few years from now, we'll look back at this and ask ourselves "what were we thinking when we said statins should be prescribed to everyone -- especially those with diabetes?".

Until then, I think there needs to be more solid evidence of their value, and that, too, seems to be in short supply.

Anonymous said...

Do I have this right: Statins increase 'elasticity' of the arteries; insulin use (or more aptly, increased insulin use) 'hardens' the arteries. Statins (may) promote increased insulin use by inducing insulin resistance. Looks like a pretty profitable situation for BigPharma. They profit by selling statins; they profit by increasing insulin usage. And perhaps the best a diabetic can hope for, in the end, is "a wash" . . .

Improved elasticity + increased 'hardening' = (hopefully) no further impairment or complications.

Don't diabetics ever feel outraged that they pay ever-increasing costs to merely maintain the status quo. On the advice of highly-trained, highly-skilled physicians who, in turn, depend on 'unbiased' science (or pharma reps) for treatment recommendations, diabetics become mere consumer-units in BigPharma's profitability projections.

Jenny, thanks for your efforts against 'sheeple-hood.' We ARE our own best doctors; now let's be our own best advocates.

--Melody

TMK said...

My doctor recently insisted that I start taking statins immediately simply because I have diabetes. I refused. I had made some big changes in my diet and management plan with the goal of increasing my insulin sensitivity and she hadn't even seen my current lab results. And as it turns out my cholesterol levels had dropped nearly 100 points and there was no need for the medication. She's no longer my doctor.

I get very tired of arguing with doctors about what drugs I'm willing to put in my body--and which ones I'm absolutely not.

roaminghermit said...

another reason I stopped Lipitor...so far lost 8 lbs and getting stronger again at almost 65

Stephan said...

I'm starting to think flow-mediated dilation is not a very good surrogate of CVD risk. I've seen other studies where FMD is going in the opposite direction of the other markers.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm a T2 on meds, including Lipitor. I was asked to go from 20 mg to 40 mg of this statin, due to elevated levels of CRP. And I have gained 15 lbs. My insulin resistance is such that I am now to begin Byetta at my next appt (June '08). I have a reknowned endocrinologist (Nathan Becker of UCSF), so I will certainly be asking him about the relationship between my statin and my FAT ***!

Anonymous said...

Statins also leach co-enzyme Q-10 out of the system-- leading to possible heart complications, i.e., congestive failure. That's something else the Diabetic doesn't need.

Anonymous said...

Big News! (NBC Nightly News, July 7, 2008): Big Pharma is now targeting our kids for "Preventative" statin therapy--they suggest statin therapy for children as young as two years old.What a bonanza for Big Pharma! Imagine the consequences of all that potential for increased insulin resistance, congestive heart problems, worsening sugar levels, muscular weakness etc. Why is out major news media so unwilling to do some investigative reporting and challenge all this nonsense?

Anonymous said...

I found a way around the "Fat" problem with statins. Of course, what works for me may not work for you. Ask your doctor. The secret? Breakfast: 2 ounces of whole grain bread dipped into ione tablespoon cold pressed olive oil-- about twenty fresh grapes-- four figs--and one other fruit and a one ounce serving of cheese. This combo depresses appetite for almost the entire day and at noon, have a salad with another TBSPN olive oil. I lost six pounds the first week on this. (Include one regular moderate-sized meal of about 400 to 500 calories. It has been a miracle for me.