TopicAre There Alternatives to Taking Statin Drugs?
The polypill isn't new. This "magic bullet" was the brainchild PhysioTru Review of two British professors at University of London in 2003. They theorized that combining a statin drug to lower cholesterol, three different drugs to control blood pressure, and a low dose of aspirin into one pill would help reduce heart disease. And they thought that In the first trial, researchers from McMaster University in Canada and St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, tested a version of the polypill on 2,000 people in 50 medical centers in India. The average age was 54, and all of the participants had at least one risk factor for heart disease - high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, or cigarette smoking. Four hundred of the participants were given the polypill. The rest were placed in eight groups of 200 and given either individual components of the pill or various combinations. compared to groups given no blood pressure medicines, those who got the polypill lowered their systolic blood pressure (the top number) by more than seven units and their diastolic (the bottom number) by about six - comparable to levels for people who were given the three drugs without aspirin and the cholesterol drug. LDL (bad) cholesterol dropped 23 percent on the polypill versus 28 percent in those taking the statin drug separately. Triglycerides dropped 10 percent on the combo pill compared to 20 percent with individual statin use. Neither pill affected levels of HDL, the good cholesterol. Anti-clotting effects seemed the same with the polypill as with aspirin alone.
Even though medical experts across TV are giddy with excitement over the prospect of a polypill, the study results were really pretty modest. The truth is, the doses used in this study were low, and most of the participants had only moderately high blood pressure to start with. But what about those who really are at high risk? Would these low doses even make a dent in their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke? And what about side effects? According to the researchers, the side effects of taking the polypill aren't any worse than if the participants had taken each drug individually. But does that mean it's safe just because it doesn't increase side effects? Not on your life! Statins have been linked to muscle pain and muscle weakness. While muscle pain and muscle weakness might sound ordinary enough, because of the way statins can act in the body, they're potentially dangerous side effects of statin use. Another is memory loss. Anyone who is taking statin drugs for any reason - even at low doses - should be aware of these side effects. Oh, and lest I forget, statin drugs also deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10.
Two of the blood pressure medications used in the polypill can trigger cold fingers or toes, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, a lack of energy, and nausea. More serious side effects include a slow heartbeat or the symptoms of asthma. You might also experience impotence. The diuretic used can significantly lower your potassium levels. But it can also boost your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as homocysteine, a toxic amino acid byproduct that has been associated with atherosclerosis. Fortunately, you don't have to buy into the polypill. Researchers at the University of Arizona recently found a supplement that does everything the polypill does, plus some! In a double-blind clinical trial of 48 patients with both Type II diabetes and high blood pressure, pycnogenol lowered blood pressure and reduced LDL cholesterol. Earlier research suggests that this pine bark extract may also boost HDL cholesterol levels, improve circulation, and prevent platelet aggregation. And, unlike the polypill, pycnogenol has a high flavonoid content that makes it an exceptional antioxidant.