Cholesterol-lowering drugs get more risky: link to kidney injury

Statin drugs inhibit an enzyme that is crucial for the production of cholesterol; they are the most widely taken drugs among adults in the U.S, and their use has expanded dramatically in recent years.  About 20% of Americans age 45-64 and 45% of those 65 and older take statin drugs.1 Between 1988 and 2006 the use of statin drugs in U.S. adults over 45 increased by a factor of 10.2

Pill bottle. Flickr: melloveschallah

The benefit-to-risk ratio of giving statins to individuals with elevated cholesterol but no prior history of coronary heart disease remains controversial among many scientists and physicians.3-6 It is especially worth questioning the risk of side effects when there is a safe, effective alternative to these medications – excellent nutrition and exercise – that carries only health benefits along with its cholesterol-reducing efficacy.

Of course, dropping elevated cholesterol back into the favorable range is beneficial, but we know that medication is not required to achieve this result. Furthermore, we now have evidence that statins expose people to unnecessary risks. A 2010 analysis of medical records in the U.K. found increased likelihood of liver dysfunction, impaired muscle function, acute kidney injury and cataracts during the first five years of statin use. Moreover, two meta-analyses in 2009 and 2010 reported a moderately increased risk of diabetes in statin users.

Now, new data has confirmed the connection between statin use and acute kidney injury. Acute kidney injury is a sudden loss of the kidneys’ filtering capability; the normal functions of removing waste products from the blood and balancing fluid and electrolytes cannot be carried out. Acute kidney injury is a serious condition that can lead to permanent damage or loss of kidney function or even death.  In the current study, high-potency vs. low-potency statin doses were compared (high potency was defined as minimum 10 mg rosuvastatin, 20 mg atorvastatin, or 40 mg simvastatin).  The study examined Canadian healthcare records to investigate a total of 2 million patients who had been newly prescribed a statin, and the incidence of hospitalization for acute kidney injury during early statin use.  Those who began taking high potency statins had a 34% increased risk of being hospitalized for acute kidney injury within the first six months of statin therapy compared to those on lower doses.  Although this study did not evaluate the risk associated with low-potency statin use vs. no statin use, the data does establish that statin drugs may have harmful effects on the kidney.7

The reason for the link between statins and acute kidney injury remains unclear, but there are preliminary theories. Some scientists have hypothesized that muscle breakdown associated with statin use may be responsible, since this leads to the release of kidney-toxic muscle components into the bloodstream. Another hypothesis centers on oxidative stress due to statin-associated diminished production of coenzyme Q10, one of the body’s most powerful natural antioxidants.7

Never forget: all medications have side effects, many of them serious; we must exercise appropriate caution before taking medications. Statin drugs are a ubiquitous treatment for a preventable condition; elevated cholesterol can be easily reduced with lifestyle measures in almost all cases.

If you have elevated cholesterol levels, you have a choice. You can take a statin drug that will expose you to increased risk for diabetes and the potential for damage to your liver, kidneys and muscles; or, you can make dietary changes that will not only reduce cholesterol but blood pressure as well, and at the same time reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes and dementia. Which will you choose?

To learn more about the preventive and therapeutic potential of a Nutritarian diet, read my book Eat For Health.

 

References:

1. Health, United States, 2011: With Special Feature on Socioeconomic Status and Health. In. Hyattsville (MD); 2012: Health, United States].
2. Latest Report on the Nation's Health Shows Growing Medical Technology Use. 2010. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/10newreleases/hus09.htm. Accessed May 2, 2013.
3. Cholesterol Treatment Trialists C, Mihaylova B, Emberson J, et al: The effects of lowering LDL cholesterol with statin therapy in people at low risk of vascular disease: meta-analysis of individual data from 27 randomised trials. Lancet 2012;380:581-590.
4. Ray KK, Seshasai SR, Erqou S, et al: Statins and all-cause mortality in high-risk primary prevention: a meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials involving 65,229 participants. Arch Intern Med 2010;170:1024-1031.
5. Moyer MW: The Stats on Statins: Should Healthy Adults Over 50 Take Them? 2012. Sci Am. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=statins-should-healthy-adults-over-50-take-them. Accessed
6. Green LA: Cholesterol-lowering therapy for primary prevention: still much we don't know. Arch Intern Med 2010;170:1007-1008.
7. Dormuth CR, Hemmelgarn BR, Paterson JM, et al: Use of high potency statins and rates of admission for acute kidney injury: multicenter, retrospective observational analysis of administrative databases. BMJ 2013;346:f880.

Interview with a Nutritarian: Carolyn

Carolyn was never obese, but she still suffered from middle-age weight gain, sluggishness, and declining health issues. It doesn’t matter whether one has fifteen or one hundred and fifty pounds of unhealthy weight to lose, everyone feels vibrant and well when a lifestyle of eating nutrient-rich foods has been embraced! Welcome to Disease Proof, Carolyn.

 

 

 

What was your life like before discovering nutritarian eating?

I was slender as a teenager, but as I moved into my 40s, I was always about 20 pounds overweight; size 12 at my worst. I felt sluggish, although I exercised often. I ate the Standard American Diet and excelled at making lasagna, bread, cakes, and cookies for my family and friends. I relied on caffeine too much and was drinking 5-6 cups of coffee a day. Plus I drank 2 cups of caffeinated tea with sweetened condensed milk; a habit that I picked up from five years of living in Sri Lanka. I had allergies, frequent headaches, and the beginning twinges of arthritis.

 

How did you find out about Eat to Live?

During Easter dinner in 2007, I asked my sister-in-law how she had so much success staying trim and fit. She told me about Dr. Fuhrman and how she’d make fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies using a Vitamix blender. I purchased Eat to Live and started following the 6-week eating plan, and continued my exercise program at the gym. Within 4 months my total cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 155, and I slimmed down to a size 8. I bought a Vitamix at the Indiana State Fair that summer and started using it every day for smoothies/blended salads, soups, and frozen desserts.

I had difficulty at first giving up coffee, but weaned myself off over time and gave up meat. I stuck to the plan, and by avoiding all sugar over the holiday season in 2009, I dropped to 128 pounds. (I'm 5'4".) After that success, stress increased at work and my weight crept back up to 135 pounds. I was generally eating nutritarian foods, but eating too much. 

I attended Dr. Fuhrman's Health Getaway in San Diego in 2010, and after listening to the lectures, I decided to give up dairy products; especially cheese so that my weight and cholesterol would return to lower levels. However, I wasn’t able to put this resolution into effect until 2011, because it was an extremely stressful time at work. I lost my job in September 2010 due to restructuring and outsourcing, but was lucky to find a new job within a few months. I moved to another state at the end of December 2010.

 

 

How do you feel now?

I no longer have allergies, headaches, or arthritis, and I have a lot of energy to do my daily activities. Plus, my husband and I get up at 5 o’clock every morning to work out at the gym before we go to work. 

I live in the “Midwest Land of Meat”, hot dish casseroles, and bar cookies; but I’ve become almost a vegan, avoid processed foods, caffeinated teas, and all milk products. The sweetened condensed milk that I used to love in black tea now hurts my stomach. In January 2011 my total cholesterol was 210, HDL was 101, and LDL 99. This past month my total cholesterol was 170, HDL 89, and LDL 73. When I started I weighed 145 lbs, and I now weigh 130 lbs and wear a size 6. 

 

What success tips do you have to share with others?

  • My typical daily diet is a blended salad for breakfast; a very large mixed salad with beans, nut based dressing, and fruit for lunch; and cooked greens or cruciferous vegetables, and a nutritarian entrée or bean patty for dinner. 

  • Experiment with cooking and eating different vegetables to acquire new tastes and preferences. Increase vegetable intake by putting a bean patty, stew, or casserole over cooked kale or other green vegetable instead of rice or potatoes. 

  • I prefer to use spices and flavors from other parts of the world (India, Thailand, Vietnam) to keep meals interesting. 

  • I try to locate vegan restaurants and/or health food stores in a city ahead of time on the internet if I have to travel for a conference or vacation. I recently went to San Diego for a week long conference, and I brought along a small bullet-type blender in my checked luggage so I could continue making blended salads for breakfast in our hotel room. I went to the grocery store and bought fruits, vegetables, and soy milk as well as a disposable, foam cooler to keep them fresh, and was reasonably successful.

  • Although my husband and I are isolated from other people who follow Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations, we have found friends who prefer to eat healthy. I maintain my resolution to keep the nutritarian lifestyle by listening to Dr. Fuhrman’s podcasts, follow the discussion threads on the Member Center, and read the blogs on Disease Proof.

     

 

Keep up the great job Carolyn!

HDL: is higher really better?

We usually refer to LDL (low-density lipoprotein) as “bad cholesterol”, and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) as “good cholesterol”.  Observational studies, such as the Framingham Heart Study, have shown that low HDL is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.1  Thus it is thought that raising HDL may reduce risk, but it’s not that simple.  

Cholesterol is packaged into lipoproteins when circulated in the blood – LDL transports cholesterol to the cells, and HDL picks up excess cholesterol and delivers it back to the liver where it can be broken down.  Theorectically, having more HDL would mean that more cholesterol would be disposed of, and as a result LDL would decrease, and therefore cardiovascular risk would decrease.  So raising HDL when LDL is high would make sense, but what about raising HDL when LDL is not high?  Would there be any benefit?

Pills. Flickr: melloveschallah

High-dose niacin (vitamin B3), is one substance that can raise HDL, and a government funded clinical trial (the AIM-HIGH trial) was undertaken in 2006 evaluating the use of niacin together with an LDL-lowering drug (a statin) for preventing heart attacks and strokes. The individuals selected for the trial had favorable LDL levels (below 80 mg/dl; due to the statin drugs), but were considered to be at risk for heart attack and stroke based on low HDL levels, high triglyceride levels, and a history of cardiovascular disease.   This study sought to determine whether raising HDL would decrease their risk.

The subjects that took niacin in addition to a statin drug indeed did experience an increase in HDL and decrease in triglycerides.  However, the clinical trial was stopped early because the subjects taking niacin plus the statin were just as likely to have a cardiovascular event as those taking a statin plus placebo.  Furthermore, the subjects who were taking niacin had a small increase in the rate of strokes.2 Niacin is not the first drug that has raised HDL levels and failed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. A few years ago, an HDL-elevating drug called torcetrapib was found to increase the risk of cardiovascular events, presumably because it raised blood pressure and impaired endothelial function.3 Pfizer’s development of the drug was halted during clinical trials.

This is yet another study showing that raising HDL does not reduce risk in patients with already favorable LDL levels.  Often, adopting a healthful diet reduces both HDL and LDL, and this is often a source of concern.  But the truth is that it is not harmful – there is simply less need for HDL when LDL decreases, and the body adapts to this change by producing less HDL.

LDL and HDL numbers on a blood test are simply markers that indicate the development of cardiovascular disease.  They are not necessarily an accurate depiction of the extent of the disease, and they are not the only factors that take part in the disease process. The development of atherosclerotic plaque is complex, involving elements of inflammation and oxidative stress in addition to cholesterol.  Manipulating cholesterol levels with drugs is simply not enough to resolve cardiovascular disease and prevent future heart attacks and strokes.  This 52 million dollar study has confirmed what we already know: drugs don’t restore cardiovascular health.  Only healthy living can restore health.

 

References:

1. Castelli WP, Garrison RJ, Wilson PW, et al: Incidence of coronary heart disease and lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The Framingham Study. JAMA 1986;256:2835-2838.

2. NIH stops clinical trial on combination cholesterol treatment. 2011. NIH News. http://www.nih.gov/news/health/may2011/nhlbi-26.htm. Accessed June 14, 2011.

3. Connelly MA, Parry TJ, Giardino EC, et al: Torcetrapib produces endothelial dysfunction independent of cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibition. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2010;55:459-468.


 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Susan

The most wonderful benefit of nutritarian eating is that it helps all ages and body sizes, from normal weight to morbidly obese get optimal health restored. Susan, a mother of seven, grandmother of 47, and great-grandmother of eight (and two more on the way!) is no exception. To meet her in person is a real treat, because she’s the epitome of youthful vitality even though she’s in her elderly years. Welcome to Disease Proof, Susan.

   

female nutritarianWhat was your life like before discovering Eat to Live?

I'm 77-years-old, and my cholesterol was over 250 in October 2008 so I decided I must do something to bring it down. I was never overweight, but I was starting to have shortness of breath after climbing steps.  One of my son-in-laws was also having difficulty with his cholesterol so in December of that year, he and I started following Eat to LIve. [We had both learned about Eat to Live from my daughter-in-law who forwarded an email from you about the fantastic results you were experiencing from following it.]

 

How do you feel now?

After just a couple of months following Dr. Fuhrman's recommendations I no longer had the shortness of breath, and I started losing weight.  I am 5' 6" and weighed about 135 lbs when I started so I didn't anticipate that I would lose much weight. However, within five months I was down to 118 lbs. and have stayed about that weight ever since.  I’d never had a pair of jeans before, because I didn't think I would like the way I'd look in them; but after losing the weight from my hips I bought my first pair at the age of 75!

 

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

I have a smoothie that includes spinach nearly every morning, and at least five days a week I have vegetable soup for one of my meals.  I make large batches of soup and always have at least a half dozen containers of soup in the freezer at all times.

 

In a nutshell what has nutritarian eating done for you? 

When I had my cholesterol checked this past October it was down to 175.  My HDL was fairly high at 71, and my TC/HDL ratio was 2.5; which is very good.   Previously I had some problems with aches and pains, but they are totally gone now.

 I feel better now than I did ten or even fifteen years ago!

family field day

The picture above is Susan's family (minus ten members plus several new babies that have been born since it was taken.)  What an awesome clan!  We are so happy that she's feeling her best to fully enjoy many more quality years ahead with all of them! 

 

[Susan's son-in-law, Rod, was interviewed last year on Disease Proof.  Click here to read his story.]

Drugs used to treat preventable diseases carry serious risks (Part 1 - statins)

Never forget, you don’t get something for nothing when it comes to medications. All medications have side effects, most of them potentially serious.Typically a drug has to be on the market for many years to discern all the long-term risks. Recently, news has come out exposing serious adverse effects of two types of drugs that are used to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure – statins and angiotensin receptor blockers.  The pharmaceutical industry performing their own “research” has a long and consistent record of covering up discovered dangers of their products and embellishing the advantages. Of course, physicians also give the impression that drugs are necessary, when in fact they are not. 

Pill bottle

 

1. Statins – cholesterol-lowering drugs

Researchers examined medical records of over 2 million statin users in England and Wales in order to quantify side effects during the first 5 years of statin use.

The conditions that were found to be associated with statin use were:

  • Moderate to serious liver dysfunction
  • Acute renal failure
  • Moderate to serious myopathy (impaired muscle function)
  • Cataracts1

Statins have also been linked to increased diabetes risk in another recent study.

Statins, which block a key enzyme in the body’s production of cholesterol, are the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. Statin use is growing, and will soon be expanding even to those who do not have elevated LDL levels, based on the recent (drug-company funded) JUPITER study.2 More widespread statin use will continue to give Americans a false sense of security, that they are protected from cardiovascular disease when they are only treating a single symptom. Only excellent nutrition, not drugs, can provide complete protection against heart disease. With widespread use of statins, the nutritional causes of heart disease are not addressed, and a significant number of liver dysfunction, renal failure, myopathy, and cataract cases will be produced. The authors of the statin adverse effect study stressed that physicians should weigh the possible risks and benefits before placing someone on a statin. But since it is rare that a person (on a nutritarian diet) would actually require a statin, realistically the benefits do not weigh heavily. These adverse effects are simply unacceptable when the alternative to these drugs is a nutrient-dense diet and exercise, treatments with only positive side effects.

 

References:

1. Hippisley-Cox J, Coupland C. Unintended effects of statins in men and women in England and Wales: population based cohort study using the QResearch database. BMJ 2010 May 20;340:c2197.

2. Spatz ES et al. From here to JUPITER: identifying new patients for statin therapy using data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2009 Jan;2(1):41-8.

Interview with a Nutritarian: Mike

Recently Mike posted a thread titled, “Down 10 pant sizes!” on the member center of DrFuhrman.com.  I asked him if he’d be willing to be interviewed on Disease Proof to inspire others to get their health back also, and he graciously obliged to share his story.  Not only did he drop pants sizes, but also his bottles of medications.  Welcome to Disease Proof, Mike!   

before after pics of male nutritarian

What was your life like before discovering Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian eating-style?

Due to unhealthy eating habits, including eating out too much, I had been getting heavier and slowing down with each passing birthday. At age forty I weighed 165 lbs; at fifty I weighed 195 lbs; and at sixty I weighed 215 lbs.  I’d always been active at playing golf, surf fishing and cycling.  However, the extra weight made a walk around the golf course an adventure, surf fish very tiring, and small hills on bike rides seemed like pedaling the Alps.  I was also getting tired at work and needed stimulants to make it through the second part of each day. I was a fixture at the local chocolate shop as I needed a shot of chocolate to get me through the afternoons.
 
I was scared because I started having chest pains while climbing stairs, hiking hills on the golf course, and in stressful situations. One day I encountered difficulty swallowing, followed by chest pains which landed me in the hospital. I ducked a heart attack, but tests revealed that my left descending lower artery was 50% blocked so they started me on aspirin, blood pressure meds and statins.


How did you find out about ETL?

I’d given up smoking in the mid 80’s and tried Pritkin, McDougall, and a few others to get healthy, but they required a lot of food preparation so I eventually quit following them.  When I got home from the hospital, I wanted to see if there was anything “new” on the market for healthy eating so I scoured the book section of the local health food store and discovered The China Study and Eat to LiveEat to Live was just what I was looking for: simple to shop for and prepare, with very little clean up.  This was perfect for me as I worked and wanted to be able to do most of the shopping, prep and cleaning myself. 

I visited Dr. Fuhrman for the first time in January 2009.  After I was weighed and measured (including my waist size and level of nutrients in my body), he clearly explained to me that I needed to follow the “straight and narrow” and lose a lot of weight pronto, or else suffer the consequences.  He told me that the extra fat on my mid section was probably as much responsible for my artery blockage as my cholesterol, because that fat produces plaque; an important reason not to be overweight!  I decided to listen to Dr. Fuhrman as he made a lot more sense to me than the cardiologist who was only interested in my cholesterol and blood pressure. 

 

How do you feel now?

ETL has given me 10 to 15 years of my life back!  I’m now off of all meds (statins and blood pressure lowering meds), and I feel better, look better, and think better than ever before; plus, I have the additional confidence that I’ll live a long and healthy life devoid of needing to see a cardiologist again!  I also don’t have to worry about developing diabetes (it runs in my family) or having a stroke, and eating lots of cruciferous vegetables, fruits and beans greatly reduces my risk of getting cancer. From a mental perspective this is huge as I’m a big believer that actively doing something is akin to moving forward under fire, and increases confidence and outlook on life. 

[At age 63, Mike recently finished a 102 mile bike ride in 6:10; and over Memorial Day weekend he completed a sixty mile ride with an “A” team of cyclists, and was able to hang with the group for the entire time.  He finds this to be unbelievable, because two years ago he was afraid to ride to with “C” cyclists, because he didn’t think that he could keep up with them.  Now he’s approached by some of the top riders and asked, “What’s the name of that book you told me about?”!]

 

 

before

now

Weight

216 lbs

158 lbs

Waist measurement

  43”

  33”

Blood pressure

145/90 (with meds)

115/70 (no meds)

Cholesterol

165 (105/35 ratio)

125 (60/45 ratio)

 

Do you have any success tip(s) to share with others?

Nutritarian eating is a simple and healthful way to eat that combats all major and chronic diseases killing modern man . . . so go for it!  You won’t be sorry!
 
Also, when I first read Dr. Fuhrman’s claims, and even after I’d met him, I wasn’t so sure if I was being taken as it seemed too simple: Greens to the rescue? No meds? No fancy formulas?  All these things sounded too good to be true, but I found everything to be true! 

Don’t wait for fear of a heart attack to be motivated to change!

 

Congratulations Mike ~ we applaud you for getting your health back!

New findings on nuts and cholesterol

Nuts have been consistently associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease in epidemiological studies.1 Evidence of nuts’ cardioprotective effects were originally recognized in the early 1990s2, and since then, several human trials have documented improvements in lipid levels in response to including nuts in the diet.3 Beneficial cardiovascular effects beyond cholesterol lowering have also been identified, particularly for walnuts and almonds.

Walnuts

A review published recently in Archives of Internal Medicine pooled the data from 25 different clinical studies that ran for a minimum of three weeks, comparing a nut eating group to a control group. Most of the studies were done on walnuts or almonds, but studies on macadamias, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, and peanuts were also included in the analysis.4,5

This review confirmed that nut consumption has beneficial effects on lipid levels,  and it also reached two interesting new conclusions: 

1. Dose dependent effect

First, the different studies were on different quantities of nuts, and the review concluded that the cholesterol-lowering effects of nuts are dose-dependent – this means that more nuts consumed translated into greater decreases in LDL and total cholesterol:

Quantity of nuts consumed

Decrease in total cholesterol

Decrease in LDL

1 oz.

2.8%

4.2%

1.5 oz.

3.2%

4.9%

2.4 oz.

5.1%

7.4%

For healthy weight individuals, these results suggest that 2.4 ounces may be better than 1 ounce for cardiovascular health.4,5

2. Effects were greater in individuals with lower BMI

The researchers found that body mass index (BMI) modified the association between nut consumption and cholesterol lowering. The effects of nuts were greater in individuals with lower BMI, meaning that those who were overweight or obese saw less cholesterol-lowering benefit than healthy weight individuals.4,5

Nuts and seeds are critical components of a disease-preventing diet, and I recommend eating them daily. However, I also recommend a limit of 1 ounce of nuts and seeds per day for individuals who are overweight. The results of this study support my recommendations. For those that are overweight, nuts are beneficial, but weight loss is even more important. The primary means of decreasing cardiovascular risk in overweight individuals should be eating lots of high micronutrient, low calorie foods. For people significantly overweight, nuts should still be included, but their caloric density suggests a limit such as 1 ounce per day for women and 1.5 ounces a day for men.

Wondering how many nuts are in a 1 ounce serving? The International Tree Nut Council’s website provides a guide to 1 ounce serving sizes of several different nuts.


References:

1. Sabaté J, Ang Y. Nuts and health outcomes: new epidemiologic evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1643S-1648S.

2. Fraser GE, Sabate J, BeesonWL, Strahan TM. A Possible Protective Effect of Nut Consumption on Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Adventist Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(7):1416-1424.

3. Griel AE, Kris-Etherton PM. Tree nuts and the lipid profile: a review of clinical studies. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S68-78.

4. Sabaté J, Oda K, Ros E. Nut consumption and blood lipid levels: a pooled analysis of 25 intervention trials. Arch Intern Med. 2010 May 10;170(9):821-7.

Eurekalert! Eating nuts associated with improvements in cholesterol levels: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-05/jaaj-ena050610.php

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may raise diabetes risk

Statins are a class of drugs used to treat elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Recently, researchers carried out a meta-analysis of 13 statin vs. placebo trials. Collectively, these researchers included over 90,000 subjects in their analysis, and came to the conclusion that taking statin drugs to lower cholesterol increases the likelihood of being diagnosed with diabetes by 9% over the following four years.1

This is in fact the second meta-analysis performed in the past few months to come to this conclusion – an analysis published in October 2009 determined that statins increased diabetes risk by 13%. 2

Nine percent (or even 13%) may seem like a small risk, but let’s think about how many people take statin drugs. Today, cholesterol-lowering medications are the 2nd most prescribed drug class in the U.S. (behind only pain relievers).3 Between 1988 and 2006 the use of statin drugs in U.S. adults over 45 increased 10-fold.4 

Currently, over 30 million Americans take statin drugs, and this number may increase further. Statins may soon be recommended to older Americans who have normal LDL levels but elevated C-reactive protein.5 

Each one of these millions of people will have a 9% increased risk of diabetes – when they could have used a high nutrient diet to lower their LDL and reduce their cardiovascular risk. A high nutrient diet rich in unrefined plant foods can reduce cholesterol to the same extent as statin drugs.6 Since reducing cholesterol with diet and exercise addresses the cause of the high cholesterol (the typical American diet), there will be no risk involved – in fact, it will also lead to weight loss, which will then reduce diabetes risk.

Statins are not benign substances – they are powerful drugs with side effects that include muscle pain and liver damage. Which would you choose to lower your LDL – statin drugs plus increased diabetes risk and potential liver and muscle damage, or dietary changes that reduce blood pressure, reverse and prevent diabetes and protect against dementia? My view is that drugs also have the psychological effects to inhibit the necessity of lifestyle and dietary changes that are the root cause of almost all our nation’s medical problems. Any way you look at it drugs kill millions of people and drug-centered health care is the problem, not the solution to our heath crisis and tremendous medical suffering.

 

References:

1. Sattar N et al. Statins and risk of incident diabetes: a collaborative meta-analysis of randomised statin trials. Lancet. 2010 Feb 16. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Rajpathak SN et al. Statin therapy and risk of developing type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis. Diabetes Care. 2009 Oct;32(10):1924-9.

3. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/FASTATS/drugs.htm

4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/10newreleases/hus09.htm

5. Spatz ES et al.  From here to JUPITER: identifying new patients for statin therapy using data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2009 Jan;2(1):41-8. Epub 2009 Jan 13.

6. Jenkins DJ et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit, and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism. 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.

 

Interview with a Nutritarian: Ronnie

 

 

obese and unhealthy male transforms into fit and healthy athlete

Tell us about yourself and the events that led up to getting your health back?

In 2005 I had open heart bypass surgery, and two years later I had three stents put into an artery.  Soon after being released from the second hospitalization, I was still experiencing chest pain; so I typed “reverse heart disease” into an on-line search engine and discovered the web site of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD.

At that time I weighed 300 lbs. and couldn’t perform the simplest of tasks without shortness of breath and chest pain. 

I was getting affairs in order for my impending death, including preparing my wife to take over our business.  

  

How did you feel before committing to nutritarian eating?

I was always hungry and I felt lethargic all the time.  My brain seemed to be in a continual cloud of confusion, and every joint in my body ached.

    

What’s happened to your body and how do you feel now?

After a couple weeks of nutritarian eating I had renewed energy and hope.  I gradually lost all aches and pains, and toxic hunger completely disappeared.  Each morning I woke up with vitality for the day.

Over a period of one year, I lost 140 lbs! 

My chest pains have completely ceased.  High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides have all been reversed to a healthy range.  With Dr. Fuhrman’s careful oversight through Ask the Doctor on the members’ center of drfuhrman.com, I’ve been able to completely stop all medications.  (Medications for blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood thinners and more.)  As a result I’ve been able to save over $600.00 a month in out-of-pocket pharmaceutical costs!    

Now I can

  • do heavy weight strength training 4 x week
  • do interval cardio training
  • play tennis
  • ride a bike 

These are all activities I couldn’t dream of doing two years ago! 

I’m no longer a patient that needs medications; I’m fit, healthy and well!

 after picture of fit and healthy male

Success tips you’d like to share with others in the journey to health?

I highly recommend joining the members’ center of drfuhrman.com.  I couldn’t have done it without the lifesaving and valuable support from Dr. Fuhrman.  He personally answered every question that I had along the way, and his continual guidance and oversight was always reassuring.

Also, don’t just read Dr. Fuhrman’s books, put them into practice!

 

Ronnie, is there a final thought that you would like to share with anyone who is discouraged or has given up hope?

It’s always the darkest before the dawn.  There is life in all of us if we will make the choice to live it!  Nutritarian eating works!  Don’t live your life always looking in the rearview mirror.  Let the past be just that; the past. 

Our journey to optimal health is always in front of our eyes, and we sit at that intersection every new day.  Go forward to freedom!  Forget past failures and always keep your eyes on the prize of great health and vitality through excellent nutrition. 

 

I asked Ronnie’s wife, Peggy, if she had anything to add. She responded with the following note written directly to Dr. Fuhrman:

Dr. Fuhrman,

I want to add my note of appreciation to you for your hard work and devotion.  I now have a new husband! 

Who can ever know how life can change?  One year ago I was sure that Ronnie would not be with me much longer.  Through his own doing, he was a prime candidate for a stroke or heart attack.  Now, through his dedication and hard work, and the knowledge that you have given to him, he is not only (hopefully) going to live a long life, but he is living it to its fullest!  His commitment to nutritarian eating is an inspiration to all of us.

None of this could have been possible without you.

Peggy 

Ha Ha Ha! Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets Damage Arteries.

Oh, those silly low-carb diets. Will they ever learn! Here’s more bad news for low-carb. A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found low-carb, high-protein diets damage arties:

Diets based on eating lots of meat, fish and cheese, while restricting carbohydrates have grown in popularity in recent years.

But the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US found such habits caused artery damage in tests on mice.

The researchers and independent experts both agreed a balanced diet was the best option…

…Lead researcher Anthony Rosenzweig said the findings were so concerning to him that he decided to come off the low-carb diet he was following.

He added: "Our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects.

"It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people."

And in 2007, a study found low-carb diets, like Atkins, cause long-term damage to blood vessels. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of high-protein diets, all that saturated fat and insufficient plant nutrients increases risk of heart disease and cancer:

The Atkins diet (and other diets rich in animal products and low in fruits and unrefined carbohydrates) is likely to significantly increase a person's risk of colon cancer. Scientific studies show a clear and strong relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, and prostate with low fruit consumption. What good is a diet that lowers your weight but also dramatically increases your chances of developing cancer?

A meat-based, low-fiber diet, like the one Atkins advocates, includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables, and no whole grains. Following Atkin's recommendations could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract.1 For example, a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute looked at lung cancer in nonsmoking women so that smoking would not be a major variable. Researchers found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six times greater in women in the highest fifth of saturated-fat consumption than those in the lowest fifth.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman to comment on this study. He chuckled at the news, saying, “This study definitely proves once and for all that mice should not be eating the Atkins diet. They should get Jenny Craig. Furthermore, vegetables make pigs fat, so maybe we shouldn't eat them either.”

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