Every year, the British Medical Journal publishes a light-hearted Christmas issue. While the science in the issue is real, the editors of the journal like to give the issue a fun twist with headlines and story lines. I love it! It's not often the medical industry laughs at itself.
Well, this year, the laugh is at the expense of the drug industry. In this issue, the journal wanted to know if the 150-year-old adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" had any bearing on heart attack and stroke risk. So they published a study that compared apple consumption with statin use.
In this study, researchers from the University of Oxford used mathematical models to test the effectiveness of apples and statins on the people of the United Kingdom. They compared taking one statin a day to eating one apple a day.
According to their mathematical model, "offering a daily statin to 17.6 million more adults would reduce the annual number of vascular deaths by 9,400, while offering a daily apple to 70% of the total UK population aged over 50 years (22 million people) would avert 8,500 vascular deaths." The first number is highly debatable, as most studies suggest that statins don't prevent many heart attacks. But, since it's the giving season, we'll give this study the benefit of the doubt (for argument's sake).
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The researchers went on to say that "side-effects from statins mean that prescribing statins to everyone over the age of 50 is predicted to lead to over a thousand extra cases of muscle disease (myopathy) and over ten thousand extra diagnoses of diabetes." I would say that's a conservative estimate.
The journal article goes on to suggest that the benefits could be even better if you give these treatments to everybody over the age of 30. However, they did admit that the number of adverse events from the statins would likely double (or more).
Of course, the researchers wouldn't change their call for more drug use in favor of eating more apples. This study convinced them that statins are a viable option for preventing vascular events. The researchers said, "While no-one currently prescribed statins should replace them for apples, we could all benefit from simply eating more fruit." Given the number of side effects from statins, though, apples are a much better way to go for most of us.
One thing this study didn't evaluate was the use of a highly concentrated apple peel extract. Other studies, which I've told you about in the past, showed that apple peel extract is even more effective at preventing vascular events.
So go ahead and eat an apple a day. That alone could prevent a heart attack or stroke. But if you want to really protect yourself, add an apple peel extract like AppleBoost to your supplement regimen. And forget about the statins.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
A. D. M. Briggs, A. Mizdrak, P. Scarborough. A statin a day keeps the doctor away: comparative proverb assessment modelling study. BMJ, 2013; 347 (dec17 2): f7267 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f7267.