Should You Take Cholesterol Lowering Drugs?


I frequently get asked the question, should I continue to take cholesterol lowering drugs, known as Statins?


My first answer is to ask your Medical Doctor. It is not in the scope of Chiropractic to prescribe or “anti-prescribe” any medications. However, you and I can quickly do a search of what the literature says regarding this and other topics. Therefore I will be clear that this article is not giving medical advice. It will quote information from reputable sources that you can verify.


“The prevalent wisdom that a low-fat diet and cholesterol reduction are essential to good cardiovascular health is coming under increased scrutiny. An examination of the foundations of this view suggests that in many respects it was ill-conceived from the outset and, with the accumulation of new evidence, it is becoming progressively less tenable. Cross-sectional, longitudinal and cross-cultural investigations have variously suggested that the relationship between dietary fat intake and death from heart disease is positive, negative and random. These data are incompatible with the view that dietary fat intake has any causal role in cardiovascular health, These cautions are borne out by numerous studies which have shown that multi-factorial primary intervention to lower cholesterol levels is as likely to increase death from cardiovascular causes as to decrease it. Importantly, the only significant overall effect of cholesterol-lowering intervention that has ever been shown is increased mortality.”1


“A generally held belief is that cholesterol concentrations should be kept low to lessen the risk of CVD. However, studies of the relation between serum cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people have shown contrasting results. To investigate these discrepancies, we did a longitudinal assessment of changes in both lipid and serum cholesterol concentrations over 20 years, and compared them with mortality. Only the group with low cholesterol concentration at both examinations had a significant association with mortality risk (risk ratio 1.64, 95% CI 1. 13-2.36). INTERPRETATION: We have been unable to explain our results. These data cast doubt on the scientific justification for lowering cholesterol to very low concentrations in elderly people.”2


“Our data accord with previous findings of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and show that long term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases the risk of death. Thus, the earlier that patients start to have lower cholesterol concentrations, the greater the risk of death.”2


“There is a direct association between falling cholesterol levels over the first 14 years and mortality over the following 18 years (11% overall and 14% CVD death rate increase per 1 mg/dl per year drop in cholesterol levels). In Framingham therefore, as LDL/cholesterol levels fell, CHD rates went up.”3


So if you are asking the question, should you take cholesterol lowering drugs, that is the first best step. The next step is to ask your doctor and if they give you conflicting information ask them where did they read that and can you have a copy. They should be able to show you evidence, not marketing from the pharmaceutical company.


  1. Atrens DM. The questionable wisdom of a low-fat diet and cholesterol reduction. Soc Sci Med. 1994 August; 39(3):433-47
  2. Schatz IJ, Masaki K, Yano K, Chen R, Rodriguez BL, Curb JD. Cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people from the Honolulu Heart Program: a cohort study. Lancet. 2001 Aug 4; 358 (9279):351-5
  3. Anderson KM JAMA 1987