LCHF and Cholesterol: Taking statins on the Banting Diet

On this episode of The Ask Prof Noakes Podcast we chat to Prof. Tim Noakes about cholesterol levels causing heart attacks and discuss the use of statins. We find out here whether it is advisable to stop the medication whilst following the LCHF Diet and the effect this could have on your health.

Taking statins on the Banting Diet

Today’s question was submitted by Sheena. The last thing we want to be doing is dishing out medical advice on whether or not people should be going off their cholesterol medication when they are following the LCHF or Banting Diet, but we can point them in the right direction and get them to ask the right questions of their medical practitioner.

She wants to know should her husband be on statins? He is 51 years old, he has had two heart attacks, he has been on statins and he has also been taking Disprin as well. He has been on the Banting diet for the last six months and has lost 10 kilograms which is fantastic. He is now down to 80kgs.

He stopped Lipitor for the last few months; his cholesterol was 4, now it is 5.

Prof Tim Noakes: That is an easy one. There is no need to treat a cholesterol of 5 because how can a cholesterol of 5 be causing a heart attack? That is the question.
Sheena is bringing up a really interesting point. In the United States of America, the majority of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol even before they take statins, so therefore, how can cholesterol and normal cholesterol be causing a problem?

Statins and Banting: Are you really benefiting?

However, the best answer to that is that if Sheena’s husband takes his statins for the next ten years, the benefit to him is that it will only benefit 1 in 80 people taking those drugs, 1 in 80! Understand, that means 79 people who have had a heart attack and who are on statins, get no benefits whatsoever and the benefit to him will not be that he will live another fifteen years as these patients are told. That is what they are told in Cape Town, that if you take a statin, you will add fifteen years to your life which is nonsense.

If you have had a heart attack and you take statins, your life expectancy increases about three months, that is it and those three months is at the end of your life when you are probably incontinent, demented living in a care facility at great expense.

So you have to decide and then you will have to decide well if I am that 80th person who actually does get benefit, what are the risks? The risks are huge because your muscles ache and your exercise performance goes down, the risk that your brain will be affected.

I have a lovely quote here from Zoe Harcombe who is a nutritionist in Britain and she is coming out to Cape Town for the Low Carb experts conference in February.

She said your liver makes cholesterol, not because your liver wants you dead but because life is not possible without cholesterol and we just do not know what the long term consequences are of giving millions and millions and millions of people drugs that affect the production of one of the most important chemicals in the body.

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