Many healthy people don’t benefit from cholesterol-lowering statins, study finds

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A recent study from the University of South Florida found many healthy people don’t benefit from statins.

About 40 million adults in the United States regularly take statins to lower their cholesterol levels and reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke。

However, many of them don’t stand to benefit from these drugs based on new research.

In the study, the team reviewed literature from medical trials involving patients taking either a statin or placebo.

They then narrowed their review to look at study participants with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL), the so-called “bad cholesterol,” which can be reduced with a statin.

Some people with high LDL also had high triglycerides (fat in the blood) and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good cholesterol,” which put them at the highest risk of having a heart attack.

But others with high LDL were very different. They had low triglycerides and high HDL, which meant they were healthier.

People with optimal triglycerides and HDL levels typically exercise, have low blood pressure and low blood sugar, and are at low risk of a heart attack.

Diamond and his co-authors asked two questions: If people are at a low risk of a heart attack based on having optimal triglycerides and HDL, but they also have high LDL, does that raise their risk?

Further, would these people benefit from lowering their LDL with a statin?

Their findings showed LDL alone has “a very weak association” with heart disease and stroke.

Their review went further, showing that when people with high LDL and optimal triglycerides and HDL were given a statin, there was no benefit.

The researchers put the findings into a diet and lifestyle context.

People who are not overweight, have low blood sugar, exercise and are on a low-carb diet typically have optimal triglycerides and HDL, and sometimes they have high LDL.

The findings show that the people who have this healthy combination of diet and lifestyle, as well as high LDL, showed no benefit from taking a statin.

The authors say their review also challenges the long-held contention that low-carb diets, which are often high in saturated (animal) fat, contribute to heart disease.

They say high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and high blood sugar are the primary drivers of heart disease. Cholesterol is an innocent bystander, and saturated fat in the diet has been undeservedly demonized.

The study was conducted by David Diamond et al and published in Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about how drinking milk affects risks of heart disease and cancer, and herbal supplements could harm your heart rhythm.

If you care about stroke, please read studies that diets high in flavonoids could help reduce stroke risk, and MIND diet could slow down cognitive decline after stroke.

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