Most of us want a medicine that can be a 'magic bullet' to lower our cholesterol. And 24 million Americans now think they've found such a magic cure in statins -- a medicine that lowers cholesterol. But is taking a statin pill every day really the answer? Besides the known side effects and long-term consequences, (muscle pain, liver damage, type 2 diabetes, memory loss, ugh), statins aren't shown to be any more effective at regulating cholesterol than eating a healthy diet. An example: a study published in 2003 by the American Medical Association compared a diet made up of foods that can lower cholesterol to statin medicines. They separated the patients into one of three groups.
- Group 1 ate a diet very low in saturated fat.
- Group 2 ate a diet very low in saturated fat and took a statin once a day.
- Group 3 ate a diet made up of foods that can lower cholesterol.
The researchers found that about the same amount of cholesterol was lowered in Group 2 and Group 3. This means that a diet made up foods that can lower cholesterol is almost as well as a statin. If you eat a low-cholesterol diet, you may not need to take a medicine.
So remember, a pill is not the magic cure to your cholesterol problem. A statin can work best only when YOU decide to make healthy choices in your diet and lifestyle. In other words, the 'magic bullet' is YOU!