Improving Your Health, the Natural Way

March 16, 2012 in Health, Weight Management, Whole Grains by Mary Ireland

In my blog, My Choice for All-Natural, Zero Calorie Sweetener, I talked about the FDA requiring new safety warning labels on statins to warn of the rare risk of liver damage, memory loss/other cognitive problems and increases in blood sugar that can lead to Type 2 diabetes. In that blog, I didn't mention that muscle aches and fatigue are also a commonly known side effect of statins, especially in those who exercise.

A study released in November 2011, focused on the effect that statins have on muscles. The study used rodents and found that those given statins:

  • Couldn’t run as far and became exhausted much earlier than the rodents that had not been given statins.
  • Had a 60% increase in oxidative stress in muscle tissue if they were sedentary.
  • Had a 226% increase in oxidative stress in muscle tissue if they were runners.
  • Had mitochondrial respiratory ratesapproximately 25 percent lower than those not given statins.
  • Had less glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in their muscles.

In essence, statins made exercising more difficult and more damaging to muscle tissue. A study of healthy young people in 2005 found genes associated with muscle building and repair were not "expressed as robustly" in the group using statins compared with a group not using statins. “It seems possible that statins increase muscle damage” during and after exercise “and also interfere somewhat with the body’s ability to repair that damage,” says Dr. Paul Thompson, the chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and senior author of the study.

Statins are the most prescribed drugs in the world, and there there is evidence that for people at high risk of cardiovascular problems, the drugs lower cholesterol and also the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, exercise is very important too. We have written many blog posts about the importance of exercise and how it can contribute to health. I wonder how many people feel that taking statins gives them carte blanche to eat an unhealthy diets and not exercise? I know a few. Given all of the detrimental effects of statins, it seems everyone would want to do as much as they can in the way of exercise and eating properly in order to reduce their need for statins.

For example, the results of a European study released just last week show that eating foods made with whole grains may aid weight loss, lead to less body fat, and improve cholesterol levels. In the study, 79 overweight/obese women substituted whole wheat products for refined wheat products. Refined wheat products were shown to increase serum total and LDL cholesterol, while whole grain products did not, leading researchers to suggest a cardioprotective role for whole grains.

If you are a frequent reader of this blog post, you know that eating whole grains is mainstay of Dr. Grandma's philosophy for good health. She wanted to help Dr. Grandpa overcome diabetes and regain his health. Dr. Grandma has an extensive array of really yummy recipes that feature wheat berries. You may be surprised to find out that wheat berries sprinkled with a little sweetener are a great, low-calorie, highly nutritious way to satisfy your hunger and add a little sweetness. Try a new recipe today. You will be happy you did.