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5 Reasons Why Statins Aren't the Answer for Cholesterol Management.

5 Reasons Why Statins Aren't the Answer for Cholesterol Management.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in our blood, playing a surprising double agent role.

  • On one hand, cholesterol is essential for building healthy cells and producing sex hormones.
  • But on the other hand, high levels of cholesterol can wreak havoc, turning from a helpful building block into a dangerous roadblock.

In recent times, raised cholesterol levels have become very common. In this epidemiological study, the researchers found that 25-30% of the urban population in India has high cholesterol. 

High cholesterol is dangerous for everybody. Especially for people with diabetes or other chronic diseases. An article I wrote in the past has gained quite a lot of popularity and helped many people reverse hih cholesterol levels. Here is the link:

Cholesterol can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries, narrowing the pathways for vital blood flow. The consequence? An increased risk of heart attacks and strokes – two leading causes of death.

can i lower cholesterol without medication

What is the solution? The pharmaceutical industry suggests the use of statins. A cholesterol lowering drug, to be used indefinitely. 

Statins are a group of drugs that inhibit the pathway in the body that makes cholesterol. This might sound like a dream - the perfect way of managing cholesterol, but it is? 

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5 Reasons Why Statins Aren't Always the Answer.

Like all drugs, statins do come with known side- effects. Working with clients globally, I have also seen instances where statin use given one an excuse away from working on making lifestyle and nutritional changes. 

Think about it, if taking a drug gives you a green light on your blood reports, would you be motivated to make healthy lifestyle changes? But keeping the emotional aspect aside, lets just look at some of the reasons Statins might not be the answer for you. 

Reason 1: Addressing the Root Cause.

High cholesterol in the blood is definitely a major risk factor. It indicates that the patient is prone to developing hypertension and heart disease. But it is just one symptom.

Increased cholesterol in the blood must have a reason. Also, high blood cholesterol cannot happen alone. There must be coexisting chronic inflammation in the body.

If you start taking statins, it is possible that your blood LDL report will start getting better. But that will not improve the underlying inflammation in the body. Elevated cholesterol level's can also lead to fatty liver disease. Should you address only the cholesterol value through statins, you will stiff be at the risk for liver and heart diseases.

are statins safe

Focusing solely on lowering LDL cholesterol with statins can overshadow the importance of identifying the root cause. This could be:

  • Unhealthy Diet: A diet high in saturated and trans fats, processed foods, and added sugars can contribute to high LDL levels. The same diet is also a risk factor for cancer, dementia and even auto- immune disorders. 

  • Lack of Exercise: Physical inactivity can worsen cholesterol profiles by lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol and increasing LDL. Inactivity leads to obesity and obesity alone is a risk factor for early mortality.

  • Genetic Predisposition: Some people are genetically predisposed to having higher cholesterol levels. In this case, exploratory tests for health health are necessary. But you might never know of the same if you are on statins for a considerable amount of time. 

  • Other Health Conditions: Conditions like diabetes, obesity, and hypothyroidism can also influence cholesterol levels.

The most sustainable method of keeping cholesterol in check is lifestyle change. Taking statins and not fixing the root cause is the shortcut method. 

If you are wondering what nutritional changes can help you with cholesterol management, here is another video I made:

Reason 2: Limited Effectiveness.

Statins are good at lowering LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol. Doctors prescribe them all the time and in many people, they are quite effective.

However, their impact on overall cardiovascular health can be more nuanced.

are statins good for heart

There is no single scale on which a doctor can predict the effectiveness of statin therapy.

Here's why relying solely on statins might not be the most effective strategy, especially for people with diabetes:

  1. Beyond LDL: While lowering LDL is important, it's not the only factor contributing to heart disease risk. Statins may not significantly impact HDL ("good") cholesterol levels, which helps remove LDL from the arteries. Statins would also not impact other cardia markers like Lp(A), Apo- Lipo (A and B).

  2. Variable Risk Reduction: The effectiveness of statins in reducing cardiovascular risk can vary. In some cases, statins can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, in others, the impact might be less pronounced.

This ncbi study looks at this point closely. On a large clinical sample, researchers found that statins reduced the risk only to a certain extent. Beyond that, other factors like blood pressure, sugar level, age, and family history became more important. 

Focus on the Big Picture: For people with diabetes, who are already at a higher risk of heart disease, it is very important to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event. This might require addressing not just LDL cholesterol but also other factors like:

  • improve HDL levels
  • blood sugar control
  • blood pressure
  • inflammation

Only a holistic approach with lifestyle changes can cover all these facets. 

In this ncbi research, a meta analysis of 37 randomized controlled trials revealed very useful results. The effect of statins was tested on a group of thousands of patients, and it was very variable.

In some individuals, statins increased the HDL levels to some extent, while in others, they did not. In some patients, statins decreased the LDL cholesterol but not consistently. 

Reason 3: Potential Side Effects.

Medication should be making your life easier. The whole point of taking treatment for a condition is to improve the quality and standard of life.

It might be inevitable to take statins in some patients. But that should not overshadow the importance of lifestyle changes. 

The side effects of statin therapy are such that they cannot be ignored. If the patient on stains has also been dealing with diabetes, these side effects become worse:

Muscle Woes:

Muscle aches, cramping, and weakness are the most common side effects of statins. These can range from mild discomfort to a significant hindrance to daily activities. 

Imagine wanting to go for a walk to improve your health, but statin-related muscle pain makes it difficult to even climb the stairs. This can be particularly discouraging for people with obesity who might already be struggling with managing their condition.

In this ncbi review, the researchers have summed up the whole scenario. Taking statins can cause mild discomfort, which can even reach up to full blown muscle cramps.  

Feeling Fatigued: 

Fatigue is another potential side effect of statins. This can leave you feeling drained and unmotivated, making it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fatigue happens because statins break down the skeletal muscle of the body, and also strains the digestive system. 

A Foggy Mind:

Some users report cognitive issues like memory problems and difficulty concentrating while taking statins. This can be concerning, especially for older patients who might already be dealing with similar symptoms.

Reason 4: Over-reliance on Medication.

Diet, exercise, and stress management are the cornerstones of long-term heart health. These lifestyle modifications not only help lower LDL cholesterol but also

  1. improve HDL ("good") cholesterol levels
  2. manage blood sugar control
  3. reduce inflammation 

– all key factors in preventing heart disease. 

Imagine your arteries as a complex ecosystem. While statins might target one aspect (lowering LDL), a healthy lifestyle addresses the entire system, promoting overall health and resilience.

Taking medication can sometimes create a mindset of "taking a pill takes care of the problem." This can lead to a decrease in motivation to make the necessary lifestyle changes. However, for people with diabetes who need to manage their health on a continuous basis, a proactive approach that combines medication with healthy habits is crucial for long-term success.

are statins bad

Statins can be a valuable tool in some cases, but they shouldn't be a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. The most effective approach hence, is a combination of medication, when necessary, alongside sustainable lifestyle changes.

Reason 5: Individual Variations: Statins may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions.

Certain pre-existing health conditions can make statins less suitable or even risky for some individuals. These might include liver or kidney disease, active muscle problems, and certain medications that can interact with statins.

For people with diabetes, managing cholesterol is just one piece of the puzzle. A comprehensive approach that incorporates diet, exercise, stress management, and potentially statins, when appropriate, is crucial for long-term health.

In this study, Dr. Agam has discussed that statins should not be used in liver failure and cirrhosis
. Statins are metabolized by the liver enzymes. In any kind of liver disease, where the breakdown of statins delays due to inefficiency of that enzyme group, adverse effects of statins become extremely pronounced.

How Do I Naturally Reduce Cholesterol.

Cholesterol management is easier than you might think. Watch one of our clients transformation story here:

Switch to eating more whole- foods. Nutrition is the first step in reversing chronic diseases. Here are some basic food groups to eat more of:

  • Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains: These powerhouses are loaded with fiber, which helps reduce LDL cholesterol absorption. Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables, and swap refined grains for brown rice, quinoa, or whole-wheat bread.

  • Legumes and Nuts: These protein-rich superstars are packed with soluble fiber, which helps bind cholesterol in the digestive tract and eliminate it from the body. Enjoy lentils, chickpeas, beans, almonds, walnuts, and other nuts as snacks or incorporated into meals.

Dr. Neal Barnard, a pioneer in lifestyle modification for disease management, and his research team compared a conventional diet with a plant-based diet and their effects on diabetes management. 

  • The conventional diet approach focused on reducing calories, controlling the carbs intake, and limiting the bad fats. 

  • The plant-based diet, on the other hand, avoided animal products completely and focused on plant-based foods.

The results showed chronic disease parameters improving on a plant- based diet, without calorie restriction or portion control. 

Move Your Body:

Regular exercise is a fantastic ally in the fight against high cholesterol. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. 

best statin for cholesterol

You can break it down into smaller chunks, like a brisk walk in the morning and an evening yoga session. Exercise not only helps manage weight, a contributing factor to high cholesterol, but also improves HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.

Dr. Kim Williams, in her book "SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain", highlights the revolutionary impact of exercise on the overall health. It is almost magical how multi faceted the effect of exercise is.

Work on Managing Your Stress:

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your cholesterol levels. Explore stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga to help you relax and unwind.

When you're stressed, your body goes into "fight-or-flight" mode. This survival response triggers the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. While these hormones are helpful in short bursts, chronically elevated levels can have a detrimental effect on your cholesterol:

Stress hormones stimulate the liver to release more LDL and also suppress the levels of HDL. In this study, 208 students were studied for the relationship between cardiac risk factors and stress hormones.

Researchers found out that the triglycerides and LDL levels increase and HDL decrease in the conditions of stress. 

statins benefits

Stress can also contribute to inflammation in the body. This chronic inflammation can damage the inner lining of your arteries, making them more susceptible to the buildup of LDL cholesterol. 

Imagine the artery walls as smooth highways. Chronic inflammation is like tiny pebbles on the road, creating rough patches where LDL can more easily accumulate.

Address Underlying Conditions:

Certain health conditions like diabetes can contribute to high cholesterol. Managing these conditions with your doctor is crucial for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

If you are hypothyroid, keeping the thyroid levels within the normal range will help more than taking statins only. If unhealthy eating and sleeping habits is the issue, then lifestyle modification will be a more sustainable solution to high cholesterol. 


  • Sign up with a wellness coach: A huge part of our treatment protocol is working with a team of doctors, nutrition coaches and lifestyle modification experts. Lifestyle modification experts are truly the once driving sustainable long- term changes. Working on aspects like circadian health, gut health and stress is crucial. 

  • Start small: Don't overwhelm yourself. Make gradual changes to your diet and lifestyle that you can maintain long-term.

  • Celebrate progress: Acknowledge your efforts, no matter how small. Focus on the positive changes you're making for your health.

Statins: A Last Resort, Not the First Line.

The first line of approach towards high cholesterol levels should be lifestyle modification. When you put your diet, sleep, and stress levels on the right track, all the rest will be back in order. Here is another clients transformation story to motivate you:

If you do choose to use statins, use them as a last resort, not first. 

We cannot deny the importance of statins in reducing cardiovascular risks in high-risk patients, but lifestyle changes must always be your first line of action. There can be circumstances in which the patient must be put on statins, despite the lifestyle modifications.

Here are some examples:

  1. Familial hypercholesterolemia
  2. High risk factors combined
  3. Documented history of Cardiovascular disease
  4. Very high LDL levels

Remember, the decision to use statins should be a collaborative one between your doctor and you. They can assess your individual risk factors, potential side effects, and overall health profile to determine if statins are the right approach for you.

Book A Free Consultation With Our Disease Reversal Expert


Cholesterol management is a journey, not a destination. While statins can be a valuable tool in some cases, a holistic approach that prioritizes lifestyle modifications is the most effective strategy.

Share this blog to spread the information. You can always hit me up for a one-on-one consultation!

Let's Just Talk. No Obligations.

I do free consultations every Tuesday's and Thursday's. Either way you will get some actionable tips to reach your fitness goals faster.

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About Roshni Sanghvi

Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada.

She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.

Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.