More Evidence of Link Between Statins and Diabetes


The use of statin drugs has already been associated with over 300 adverse health effects, and now, a new study has found that long-term statin use may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 30 percent in high-risk individuals. The discovery is the latest in the body of research that raises doubt about the safety of the popular cholesterol drugs.

In the new study, scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, NY, examined data on more than 3,200 participants in the Diabetes Prevention Program. The individuals had a weight problem and were at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Blood fats and blood pressure were measured yearly, and blood glucose was tested every six months. Statin use was monitored.

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At the onset, 4 percent of the participants took statins, but the percentage rose to 33 percent after 10 years. Most of the individuals were on a regimen of atorvastatin or simvastatin.

Statins Increased Diabetes Risk 30 Percent in High Risk People

Statin use was linked to a 36-percent higher risk of receiving a type-2 diabetes diagnosis. The percentage dropped to 30 percent after adjustments were made for baseline risk factors and clinical criteria used to identify the need for statins.

To evaluate the medications’ effect further, the team compared data on participants who took a high-potency statin with participants who took a low-potency statin. They noted no significant difference in the diabetes risk between the two groups.

While the authors urged caution in prescribing statins for high-risk patients, they seemed to downplay the risk in general. Could this reticence to discourage the use of the drugs stem from the fact that a statin manufacturer contributed to the study’s funding? The authors claimed the funders had no influence over the design and data analysis; however, it’s impossible to trust research that is partly funded by an entity that has much to gain by the results.

The study was published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care.

How Statins Raise the Risk of Diabetes

Statins increase the likelihood of diabetes through several mechanisms. They increase insulin resistance and hinder the ability of the pancreas to secrete insulin. The drugs also deplete the body of vitamin D and CoQ10, nutrients needed to regulate blood glucose levels. In addition, because they prevent the liver from making cholesterol, more sugar is returned to the blood stream. A 2011 meta-analysis showed yet more incriminating findings — the higher the dosage of statins used, the greater the risk of diabetes.

Earlier Research Has Shown the Statin Link to Diabetes May Be Substantial

Medical experts disagree on the severity of the diabetes threat posed by statins. Nonetheless, something to keep in mind is that certain studies show the increased risk may be quite substantial. In a 2017 study published in the journal Drugs and Aging, researchers found the likelihood of elderly statin users developing diabetes was as high as 51 percent among those taking the highest dose. A 2015 study on white men published in the journal Diabetologia revealed statin use increased the risk of diabetes almost 50 percent.

Do the Benefits of Statins Outweigh the Risks?

Noted natural health practitioner Dr. Joseph Mercola reports that beside diabetes, statins are also tied to a higher risk of cancer and musculoskeletal disease, as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s due to the nerve-damaging properties of statin drugs. Do the purported benefits of statins outweigh all these serious side effects? According to Mercola, the answer is a resounding no. He cites a report published in the Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology that determined statins only provide a cardiovascular health benefit for one out of every hundred people who take them.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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