Statins aren’t even the best way to accomplish the main thing they’re approved for, and that’s lower cholesterol levels — so I certainly wouldn’t trust them with anything even more important.
Yet these meds are touted for everything from heart protection to cancer prevention, and some people even take them because they believe the drugs will lower the risk of a blood clot.
But if you’re at risk for this potentially deadly condition, the last thing you want to do is put your faith in a statin.
One new look at data on some 100,000 patients who took part in one of 29 published and unpublished trials finds absolutely no difference in clot risk between those who took the meds and those who didn’t.
The only “study” to find a clot benefit was the one that isn’t worth anything despite all the attention it gets — the 2009 JUPITER trial, which had more conflicts than I can list here and found that statins can increase the risk of diabetes.
The study was funded by a statin maker and cut off years too early, pretty much as soon as they got the positive results they were looking for.
What’s more, the study used healthy patients — patients who by definition aren’t even at risk of a clot in the first place, which is why just 94 of the 17,800 patients in the trial developed one.
That’s simply not enough people to draw any conclusions from, and I’d question any doctor who uses the JUPITER trial to push statins for any reason at all.
But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless to prevent clots.
The condition is often caused by high blood levels of the protein fibrinogen. Lower those levels, and you can lower your risk — and if you’re taking one of the most popular supplements in the world today, you’re already one step ahead on this.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can cut fibrinogen levels by as much as 10 percent. The enzyme nattokinase can also help here. And if you want to add a little zip to your meals and boost your heart health at the same time, eat more garlic.
Garlic can slash fibrinogen, prevent platelets from clumping, and improve overall circulation. The only downside is you might want to stock up on breath mints.
Also make sure you drink enough water during the day and get regular exercise so your blood doesn’t thicken and increase your risk of clots.
But let me get back to statins here. Like I said earlier, they’re not even the best way to lower cholesterol levels. In fact, you’re better off with a simple piece of fruit.
Keep reading to find out more!
Thirty days to better cholesterol
You don’t need to swallow a single pill to lower your cholesterol levels — but you might have to watch for seeds.
Apples are nature’s own cure for high cholesterol, with new research showing that eating one every day can cut LDL levels by up to 40 percent in a single month.
In other words… an apple a day really might keep the doctor away, not to mention the cardiologist and even the pharmacist.
But wait, because this gets sweeter. Ever hear of someone suffering from serious muscle pain after biting into an apple? Know anyone who suffers from apple-induced kidney or liver damage?
Me neither — but those are some of the real risks of cholesterol drugs. Apples, on the other hand, come with virtually no risks at all. And while statins can cause diabetes, people who eat apples actually have a lower risk of the disease.
Just make sure you don’t take any shortcuts here and stick to real, fresh apples. In the new study, one set of patients was given the polyphenols found in apples, but in supplement form — and while they also saw a dip in LDL levels, it was nothing like the 40 percent plunge enjoyed by the apple-eaters.
It’s not the first time apples have been shown to lower cholesterol levels — there’s a whole orchard of research on this, including a recent study that found that a daily serving of dried apples cut LDL levels by 24 percent over six months.
The only caution here is that conventional apples contain more pesticides than just about anything else in the produce aisle, even after they’ve been washed and peeled. As a result, they’ve topped the Environmental Working Group’s list of “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables for two years running now.
I know organics cost more… but here’s a case where you can see what that extra money buys you, and I say it’s worth every penny.
Dr. Mark Stengler