Statins May Cause Diabetes


Cholesterol-lowering drugs, so called statins, may decrease the risk for heart disease somewhat. But they may also lead to side effects, such as: muscle pain, muscle fatigue, disorientation and a lower IQ, fatigue, impotence and so on.

One side effect that has long been known is that statins increase the risk of developing diabetes. You could, for example, have read about this on my Swedish blog three years ago and in my Swedish book The Food rEvolution, 2011. Now, a few years later, it’s been added as a “very important” update of the text in the Swedish catalogue of approved drugs, FASS: Diabetes is a possible side effect.

Hence another reason not to spread statins far and wide to heart-healthy individuals with “high cholesterol” – which is often defined as 200 mg/dl and above. Most of the healthy population has a total cholesterol number above 200 mg/dl, so this is one of the more obvious cases of disease mongering (the “selling of sickness”) you can imagine.

When it comes to heart disease (angina, previous heart attack) the benefit of statin treatment might be worth the risk. But if you treat your normal cholesterol number with statins you risk getting diabetes for no good reason. Does this sound like a good idea? Hardly, but it happens many times every day.


Top comment

  1. Galina L.
    Yesterday a lady who goes to the same yoga class as me approached me to thank me for my effort to convince her to get off statine medications. She is slightly over 50, very fit and good looking . She stopped having tingling in her extremities and hypoglycemic episodes after she stopped taking her statine med.
    Read more →

All comments

  1. Orla
    I'm sitting in my granny's house, she's been on statins for years. She no longer goes outside she has panic attacks, which is related to blood sugar. Her quality of life has gone very much down hill and she has just about every side effect. Don't get me started on the calcium tablets they put her on.
    I'd urge anyone with high cholesterol not to take them and to find out why it's high instead. For me my thyroid wasn't up to much.
  2. Doctor Barbara H. Roberts has written a book called “The Truth About Statins” that was released in April last year. Dr. Roberts is a cardiologist, associate clinical professor at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University as well as director of the Women´s Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island. In her book Dr. Roberts discusses the benefits and health risks of statin therapy in a very professional way. She discusses the role of cholesterol in the body and explains the role of cardiovascular risk factors. She explains the “cholesterol hypothesis” and the evidence supporting it.
    I recommend everyone interested in cardiovascular disease and modern-day health care to read Dr Roberts´s book. It is a strong reminder of our lack of knowledge of the long-term effects of drugs that are being prescribed to millions of people worldwide.
    see also:
  3. Stacie
    I would like to know where the proof is for a "benefit" of statin treatment. Every statin trial since 2005 has been a failure (primary and secondary treatment) For the trials prior to 2005, here is the bottom line: for men between the ages 45-65 with CAD, a reduction of mortality over a five year period: a whopping ( get ready for it!!) less than 2%. It is pretty much a joke. Also consider that these trials,except one, were funded by, run by, results analyzed by, etc. the Pharmaceutical Industry. They have a known history, regarding statin trials, for falsifying and misrepresenting the data. So, really, that <2% benefit is probably an exaggeration. In any case, the supposed "benefit is trivial. One would be much better off taking Omega-3s. I believe the statin reign is nearing its end, simply for economic reasons. I believe Crestor is the only one left still under patent. When that expires, Big Pharma will come up with the new cause and cure for heart disease. And on and on we go.
  4. Stacie
    An excellent book about statins: "How Statins Really lower Cholesterol and Kill You One Cell at a Time", by Dr. Hannah Yoseph and James Yoseph.
  5. Nan C
    For years, my previous primary care doctors have pushed statins on me because my cholesterol was borderline high. While my LGLs were on the high side, my HGLs (good cholesterol) was high as well, so I knew I was doing something right.

    But these doctors and big pharma commericals scare the daylights out of you with predictions of strokes and heart attacks.

    My sister was on generic statins, and felt just awful the whole time. She's on Lipator now (not generics) because her cholesterol was over 300. Fine, that makes sense. But it doesn't make sense if the cholesterol is in the low 200s, with high HGLs and below.

  6. Galina L.
    Yesterday a lady who goes to the same yoga class as me approached me to thank me for my effort to convince her to get off statine medications. She is slightly over 50, very fit and good looking . She stopped having tingling in her extremities and hypoglycemic episodes after she stopped taking her statine med.
  7. Stacie

    How does it make sense for your sister to be on statins? Where/What is the benefit??

  8. I was on hateastatin for several years and gradually the side effects started creeping up on me.
    Here they are.

    1. Severe leg cramps.
    2. Weakness.
    3. Unsteadiness,fear of falling.
    4. Memory problems,brain fog.
    5. Problems concentrating.
    6. Irritability.
    7. Dizziness when leaning over and standing back up.
    8. Disorientation. The scariest episode of this occurred in a grocery store. I could see where I was but could no longer tell which direction I was facing. This only lasted a few seconds,but it happened several other times out in the yard.

    Needless to say I've stopped statins against Dr's orders and refuse to take them again.
    Someone from the Dr.'s office even called to tell me it was a little high (251) and said in a very threatening voice:"Do NOT stop taking them" twice...And this was after I gave the MD the above list of side effects.
    Needless to say,I was not pleased.
    I've been on the hflc diet since July and have returned to normal.

  9. FrankG
    Unfortunately Statins have been an easy sell to the many family Doctors who are too swamped to read beyond the flashy pharmaceutical advertising (oops sorry, selected positive results from "research") and the simple fact that they demonstrably produce measurable (but questionable) results...

    You go in for a blood test and are found to have "High Cholesterol" -- a meaningless term in isolation; as total cholesterol includes HDL-C, which even die-hard statinators would call the "good" cholesterol.. even though it isn't even really cholesterol -- they prescribe a statin and a few months later a second blood test shows that they have "lowered your cholesterol!" Hooray!!! And once you are on them, is there ever any talk of stopping them?


    I mean no disrespect to the Family Doctors, they seriously *are* swamped and the idea (which too many of us seem to carry around) that they can possibly be "experts" and up to date in everything medical is unreasonable.

  10. John
    Dr. Eenfeldt,
    When will "The Food rEvolution" be translated into English?



  11. rita
    This makes me very worried because my father is a diabetic and takes statins. What can the general public do in these situations?
  12. shabbir
    STATINS: The double edged weapon.... Dr. Shabbir Baldiwala explains why.

  13. Maria
    Statins May Cause Diabetes... and what can be done if you think this has happened?
  14. Maria
    If you stop taking Statins can you reverse the damage that may have been done?

    Started taking Statin few years ago with only borderline high cholesterol due to thyroid... now have just been diagnosed diabetic. I am totally fit, eat great, and thin.

    I am outraged that I had not been warned of the risk!

  15. Carol
    I took Crestor for two years, until it stopped helping reduce cholesterol. The tinnitus that started within days of the first dose still has not resolved. I since have read that this is a side effect.
  16. Ginnie
    I,ve been on Atorvastatin since 1995.In Jan 2010 I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2. I have Fibromyalgia, Peripheral and Autonomic Neuropathy and have been Registered Disabled since 91.My Muscle Cramps in my Legs and feet,back, neck and hands, are getting worse.I started following the HFLC a month ago and for the first time in years I'm losing weight and my IBS has all but disappeared. I would love to stop my statin ( one less med to take!) but keep being told I need to take it !! Oh and I had a stroke in 2000,had to learn to to everything eg: speech,writing and walking again,so the statin I had been taking, for 5 years then,didn't do much good in stopping that did ?! Really worried now and confused as to what to do.
  17. C Garcia
    Please don't be so hard on your family doctor. I have been working in my doctor's office for about six months now, and I have seen how the insurance companies bombard him with their broad-brush advice. Almost every day the mail or fax machine brings recommendations for their patients, and statins are recommended for every patient with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Since this physician knows what he is doing, most of that junk mail just gets shredded, but I am amazed at how the insurance companies seem to want all of their patients on statins, regardless of their cholesterol numbers and the side effects of the drugs. It's in their cookbook, so it must be true!
  18. winona
    Three of my family members had diabetes, so when I was diagnosed with type 2, I thought it had just caught up to me. Up until last spring my a1c numbers had always been around 5. as high as 5.2. Then I was put on statins for my around 200 cholesterol and 5 months later my a1c is 7.2.
    Is the problems reversible at this point? I have been taking statins for about 7 months now. I am ready to quit the statins. My cholesterol wasn't that bad. With the changes I made when I was diagnosed with diabetes, i have lost 25 pounds and improved my diet.
  19. Amy
    Looks like plenty of people understand that there's a connection between statin drug use and developing type-2 diabetes, but very few people are aware of *why.* I discussed the physiological/biochemical mechanism in a blog post I wrote just the other day:

  20. deb
    how do u get off statins with dr approval then?? Mine always says that the statins lowered the numbers and if I go off them the numbers will climb again and ill probably have a heart attack
    Reply: #23
  21. Howie
    In 2001 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, went on a Vegan diet and ended up in the hospital in 2009 needing a quadruple bypass. They said I had several silent heart attacks.

    Since then I have been on statins... first simvastatin and then atorvastatin. I have been on 80 mg for the past few years.

    A few months ago my Dr. made a mistake on my rx and prescribed 40 mg so I just went with it (-:

    I've lost roughly 45 lbs on LCHF over the past 4 months and will continue. My Endo Dr. took me off of Metformin - she said I didn't need it and has been amazed with my progress.

    I asked my Family Dr. (who seems very closed minded) about getting off of the statins (didn't tell him about his mistake) but his answer was "Oh no... you have to take these for the rest of your life."

    That is not going to happen!!

    Will it be dangerous to just stop taking them?
    Should I break them in half and take 20 mg for a while before stopping?

    Can anyone give me some advice?
    There has to be a safe way to get off of them.

    I feel as if I am taking them for no reason and after reading everything here I am sure I am getting some of the side effects??

    Any help would be appreciated.


    Reply: #24
  22. Ronald

    Simply tell your doctor to stuff them.

    I had a stand up row with my Doc when I told him I didn't want a new prescription for them as I didn't take them any more. He went apoplectic when he saw my Cholesterol numbers (TGL through the floor, HDL up, LDL up double). I explained to him that I was on a Ketogenic diet and losing weight quite quickly (which he acknowledged) which was the reason for my very high numbers. I also told him that Cholestrol was meaningless but if it pleased him, he could take another blood sample on Friday and get vastly better results (see the Dave Feldman experiments).

    He wasn't pleased, asked if I had a medical degree and said I should listen to someone who had and wrote me a prescription for Crestor. I tore the prescription in front of him and have not seen him since.

  23. Ronald
    I was on Crestor, highest allowable dose and I just stopped taking them with no ill effects whatsoever.

    I think that staying on them even at half strength is more dangerous than not taking them for people who have no history of heart disease. The only exception to this is with people (like yourself ?) that has had any form of Cardio Vascular problem. I strongly advise you to discuss with your Doc before stopping them.

  24. 1 comment removed
  25. Melisa
    After being on LC HF for a couple of years, I had my cholesterol numbers back today. 390 HDL and 280 LDL. The doc has scared me, he says 30% reduced rate of heart attack in people on statins. I was on them for 5 years, about 9 years ago I had a stiff back the whole time, sore joints and muscles and pulled muscles a lot. My cholesterol was low in my late 30s and 40s. It started to go up during menopause. I am 63 now, and I am so afraid I may have heart problems. I am very trim, and don't eat most grains(except for occasional corn tortilla) , almost no fruit except for berries on occasion. No soda, no sugary food at all! I use stevia to sweeten coffee. Drink NO alcohol at all.
    I lost that last 10 lbs I wanted to , now down to 126 at 5'5eating butter and lots of grass fed meats, eggs, cheeses, cream in my coffee.
    The doctor insists I am in danger. What I read on Diet Doctor is the opposite..Any comments are appreciated. I bought the statin today at the pharmacy.
  26. 1 comment removed
  27. Judy
    Melisa, you may like to read this authoritative report on Coronary Heart Disease and cholesterol, and indirectly the use/uselessness of statins:

    Important take-home points:
    * no association between saturated fat consumption and all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease
    * chronically elevated serum insulin at the root of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity
    * there is no benefit from reduced fat, including saturated fat, on myocardial infarction
    * Preventing the development of atherosclerosis is important but it is atherothrombosis that is the real killer
    * LDL cholesterol risk has been exaggerated
    * Decades of emphasis on the primacy of lowering plasma cholesterol, as if this was an end in itself and driving a market of ‘proven to lower cholesterol’ and ‘low-fat’ foods and medications, has been misguided.
    * chronic inflammatory disease and it can be reduced effectively by walking 22 min a day and eating real food.

  28. Fiveleaf Clover
    If statin drugs cause diabetes what good is using them at all? Diabetes is a much bigger risk factor for heart disease than bad numbers on a standard lipid panel.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts