Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Low Cholesterol, High Blood Sugar

According to this FYI Living article, lipitor can lead to diabetes.

Is this really a surprise?  Consider this: one of the major known side effects of lipitor is muscle pain/muscle "wasting."  Lipitor activates a gene that seems to be present when significant muscle atrophy occurs.  Sugar is stored in two preferred locations in the body: the liver and the muscles.  The muscles are the major storage location though, holding about three times the amount of sugar that the liver can.  When your muscles and liver are full, then sugar is either taken to adipose tissue and converted to stored fat, or insulin (the "taxi" for sugar in the body) basically becomes less effective at doing its job and sugar is left in the blood.  If you lose muscle, your overall storage space is decreased and it's more likely that you will have excess sugar left in the blood.

More unstored sugar = Elevated blood sugar = Diabetes

Of course, a higher risk of diabetes isn't the only reason to avoid lipitor.  As the FYI article states at the end:

What are the side effects of Lipitor? According to their website: “Muscle problems. Lipitor can cause serious muscle problems that can lead to kidney problems, including kidney failure.” My bad, did they say kidney failure? Perfect. Before we forget “Lipitor can cause liver problems. The site recommends that your doctor check you for liver problems while you take Lipitor.”

Now, some of you are reading this and thinking that if your total lipid (A.K.A. "total cholesterol") number is over 200, then you are unhealthy and in need of help.  However, your total cholesterol is NOT a valid marker of cardiovascular health.  Your total lipid number is not a true indication of much at all.  LDLs aren't always negative forces that end up in arterial plaque.  LDLs are sometimes larger, and in that case they are perfectly desirable in your body, regardless of how many there are.  When LDLs are smaller, they are harmful, no matter if your total cholesterol is 160 or 300.  Also, high lipid numbers can be due to a high amount of HDLs, which is a positive.

If you are concerned about your cardiovascular health, look at the research on diets!  Studies show (here, here, and here, for example) that if you eat less carbohydrates, your blood sugar, triglycerides, HDLs, and blood pressure will all improve.  As far as side effects are concerned with lipitor vs. low carb diets, one will help you lose muscle while the other will help you lose some fat.  Which sounds better to you?

For more information, check out the following links:


Floriana said...

I am always in favor of dietary solutions over medication, so I don't need convincing. Unfortunately, a lot of people just want an easy way out. Take a pill and hope for the best. It doesn't help that there's big money in cholesterol drugs for pharmaceutical companies and that they don't shy away from influencing doctors. It's good we have people like you who care enough to tell the truth. I hope there will be more and more people who will be ready to listen and believe you.

Dr. Sean Preuss said...

Floriana - Thank you. I agree completely: people want a magic pill. I heard a low carb-supporting doctor recently say that diabetes isn't caused by a lack of a blood sugar pill, high blood pressure isn't due to a deficiency of a blood pressure pill, etc. However, people act as if that's the case. They would rather take meds or whatever supplement they read about rather than make dietary improvements or work out. It's sad.