The most widely consumed class of prescription drugs in the world are “statins”. Statins block the enzyme that makes cholesterol, the well-known fat molecule at the centre of heart disease. Undoubtedly, statins work. Since the first clinical trials in the 1980s, they have been found to dramatically reduce the incidence of heart disease wherever they are introduced. As heart disease comes from lumps of cholesterol in the walls of arteries, the explanation for their success seemed obvious. But overtime, further research has suggested there could be more to it. In particular, statins appear to reduce inflammation. New research from Denmark has just been published: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30594900. Inflammatory status (levels of blood borne white calls and inflammatory proteins) was analysed in over three thousand subjects. In addition, assays were run on their urine samples to detect breakdown fragments of damaged DNA, which is an important aspect of the “inflammage”, or age-related inflammatory damage. On both measures, levels were significantly lower in people taking statins.
Half of heart attacks happen in people with normal cholesterol levels. So cholesterol is not enough; the inflammation that goes with it is ultimately what drives the disease process. If the world’s most successful heart disease drugs exert at least some of their power by blocking inflammation, then all the more reason to adopt a lifestyle that blocks inflammation by all the natural means available.