Some cholesterol lowering drugs raise the risk of diabetes

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Statins are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in the world. A high percentage of people over the age of 60 is either taking one or it has been recommended by their doctor. These drugs can have undesirable side effects; a heightened risk of type 2 diabetes is just one of them. Fortunately there are safer ways to lower cholesterol that won’t put you at risk of other serious diseases like diabetes.

Statins work by inhibiting the action of the enzyme inside the liver that’s responsible for cholesterol production. Your liver manufactures cholesterol primarily out of carbohydrate, sugar, alcohol and any excess calories you’ve consumed. People with insulin resistance (hyperinsulinemia) are most prone to developing elevated cholesterol and triglycerides because they do not metabolize carbohydrate well. If you take a cholesterol lowering drug and those carbohydrates can no longer be converted into cholesterol, what happens to them? They are more likely to remain in your bloodstream and give you an elevated blood sugar reading.

Postmenopausal women are most prone to developing type 2 diabetes while taking statins. This is according to data obtained from the Women’s Health Initiative study and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Postmenopausal women who took a statin for at least 3 years were 47 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Menopause causes metabolic changes. The loss of sex hormones can create or worsen insulin resistance. Visceral fat levels typically rise in postmenopausal women. This raises the risk of fatty liver, heart attacks and strokes. It can be very difficult to lose weight after menopause because the insulin resistance causes poor metabolism of carbohydrate. That raises the risk of type 2 diabetes. Adding a statin into the mix heightens the risk further.

High cholesterol often occurs together with high blood pressure, abdominal obesity and elevated blood sugar. This combination is called metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, pre-diabetes or syndrome X. For most patients, there are safer ways to lower cholesterol. Dr Cabot and I have written about them in our book called Cholesterol: The Real Truth.

You can reduce your risk of both type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol by reducing alcohol, sugar, carbohydrate and industrial seed oils in your diet.  These foods can elevate both cholesterol and blood sugar. The liver is very proficient at converting these foods into fat.  The other food that promotes the development of metabolic syndrome is omega 6 rich seed oil.  Fried foods and packaged foods like crisps, chips, crackers and biscuits are usually full of the wrong fats. Most are fried in sunflower oil. The linoleic acid is highly unstable and promotes inflammation in your body. Inflammation promotes insulin resistance and fatty liver.

Try to base your diet on animal protein and good fats, along with vegetables. These foods will keep you feeling full and will keep your blood sugar level stable throughout the day.  This is very important in order to prevent hypoglycaemia, sugar cravings, foggy head and fatigue. Many people trying to improve their health actually don’t eat enough protein and fat. Dinner is the only meal a lot of people eat sufficient protein and fat.  This is not ideal because if you don’t eat enough protein and fat earlier in the day, you will be at far greater risk of bingeing on all the wrong foods once you get tired and hungry enough. When eating protein rich foods like fish, poultry or red meat, please eat a palm and a half sized portion. Whey protein powder is an excellent source of protein that’s highly satiating. It will help to keep you feeling full for many hours and reduces the risk of sugar cravings. Please include good fats in your diet like olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and oily fish such as salmon.  People who don’t eat enough protein and fat usually crave sugar and carbohydrate. For more information see the book Diabetes Type 2: You Can Reverse it

If you have a sweet tooth and are finding it hard to go without sweets, you can make your own healthy sugar free snacks and desserts using our Nature Sweet Natural Sweetener. It can be used in replacement of sugar in baking and beverages.

 Livatone Shots contains ingredients traditionally used in European herbal medicine to relieve symptoms of occasional overindulgence.

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