A few weeks ago I blogged about lowering your cholesterol naturally. Today I read in USA Today (not that I normally recommend getting your research from the newspaper, but sometimes they post the good stuff) that a 4th study has revealed that statins increase your risk of Diabetes (Statins are your typical cholesterol reducing drugs). Whats really interesting is that this isn’t the 4th of 10 studies, it’s the 4th of 4. In addition, it’s not a 10% increase in risk of getting diabetes…It’s a 50% increase. So thus far, 100% of studies have reported a 50% increase in the risk diabetes with statin use.
As a note, having diabetes substantially increases your risk of getting Heart disease (also about 50%). But, statin use does seem to decrease the risk of heart disease. So, if you have a very high risk of heart disease, stay on the statin for now.
But if you are 15, and have high cholesterol and high triglycerides (not uncommon in children now, in fact many age related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol are being seen in adolescence now), rather than allowing your Doc to put you on a statin, choose to put the bacon cheeseburger down and go for a run. Or, you can go the easy route, get diabetes, and probably die before your parents do. You think that’s a joke? This is the first generation in history that is expected to die before their parents, and it’s because of “age related” diseases. Thank you video games and McDonald’s!
My favorite part of this article was “Scientists don’t know why statins increase the risk for diabetes”….
I don’t normally do this to you guys but it’s time for a little science. (well maybe I do a little)
There about 5 basic forms of metabolism, all yield one product called ATP. 2 pathways are anaerobic utilizing either creatine or glucose, and 3 pathways are aerobic utilizing glucose, fat or protein as the initial fuel source (substrate). Why so many sources for the same end product? Well it gives your body options for energy sources based on availability and rate of demand. The pathway with the fastest yield (explosive work demands this one) also has the lowest yield per unit of substrate and the lowest availability for substrate (so the shortest burn time, think cherry bomb). On the other end of the spectrum is the slowest yield, but the highest yield per unit of substrate (think hardwood fire).
So how does a statin fit into this and how does this affect diabetes? Statins inhibit Co-enzyme Q10 (one has been shown to reduce levels of CoQ10 by 56%). CoQ10 is an enzyme that is required for kreb cycle (the last pathway which is aerobic fat metabolism and aerobic glycolisis combined). To put this profound effect on energy into view, it is important to know how much ATP you get from each pathway. Aerobic glycolisis (glucose) has the 2nd highest yield per unit of substrate (does not require CoQ10) at 36 ATP. Aerobic Lipolysis (fat) which does require CoQ10, has the highest yield per unit of substrate at 463 ATP.
THAT IS ALMOST 13 TIMES MORE ENERGY! It is also your number 1 supplier of energy for basic function. In fact, you really only utilize the other systems substantially (you always use them all a little) when doing things like jumping, sprinting and lifting heavier weights.
Ok, so now take a drug that cuts your ability to use that energy source in half….What do you think will happen…
I know, this is difficult right. Your energy will suck, your workouts will go to the pooper (if you even have enough energy to do them), your ability to use fat for energy plummets (so you get fat), there is a fair chance that you will hurt all over (muscles and joint pain), and….then you get diabetic.