A compelling case against statins

If you’re a regular reader of my Reality Health Check (or my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives) then you probably already know a little bit about C-reactive protein, or CRP.

Namely, any good visit to your doctor should include a test for it. In fact, when I treat my patients, the CRP blood test is one that I follow quite closely.

Why? Because elevated levels point to excess inflammation in your body. And inflammation is a well known factor in cancer, heart disease, and many other diseases.

Yet conventional medicine doesn’t really address this issue at all.

So it’s a good thing that integrative medicine does. In fact, one recent study showed that smart supplementation can cut CRP levels by nearly a quarter.

That’s very significant…and something drug can simply and safely do.

In this study, researchers compared the CRP levels of subjects who consistently took glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil with those who did not. After adjustments for factors like age, race, BMI, and smoking history, the results revealed a clear benefit.

Compared to controls, glucosamine supplementation slashed CRP by roughly 17 percent. Chondroitin offered 22 percent reductions, and fish oil cut CRP by 16 percent.

Interestingly, these effects were especially profound among women. They enjoyed CRP reductions of 27 percent and 33 percent with glucosamine and chondroitin, respectively. Men, meanwhile, benefited from much less significant results.

These findings appeared in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Of course, the conventional medical community took this with their typical ho-hum attitude and called the data “interesting but not compelling.”

I wish I could tell you I was joking. Especially because, if they found a drug that did this, they would probably want to add it to the drinking supply.

Oh wait! There are drugs like this. They’re called statin drugs. And they’re some of the best-selling (and deadliest) drugs in the world.

Not surprisingly, manufacturers have also been pushing their wider use among healthy adults in recent years. Why? Because research shows that statins can lower CRP. (And raise your risk of diabetes…but that’s another story.)

Now new research suggests that glucosamine and chondroitin–two popular and readily available natural supplements–can do the same thing just as effectively. But somehow, it’s not compelling?


The study authors’ conclusion says it all. As they write themselves, the benefit of natural supplementation is “comparable to what we and others have observed for the association between statin use and CRP. Our results suggest a biologic mechanism to substantiate the epidemiologic observation of an association between glucosamine and chondroitin use and reduced risk of chronic diseases.”

Translation: You don’t need to risk your health with statins to slash inflammation and fight disease. Because clinical evidence shows that safe, readily available, natural supplements do the job just as well.

Now that’s something I find both interesting and compelling.

“Association Between Use of Specialty Dietary Supplements and C-Reactive Protein Concentrations.” Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Dec 1;176(11):1002-13.