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Statins Linked to Muscle/Joint Injuries and Diabetes

Statin drugs, widely used to lower cholesterol, have been associated with increased risk for muscle and joint injuries in non-exercisers, exercisers and athletes (Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine, published online June 3, 2013).

The current recommendation is that everyone who has a bad LDL cholesterol above 100 be treated, usually with statin drugs. This study shows that treatment with statins is associated with a:

Stronger statins and higher doses increased the risks. Simvastatin (73.5 percent) was the most common offender and higher doses increased risk (simvastatin 80 mg, atorvastatin 80 mg, or rosuvastatin (Crestor, AstraZeneca) 40 mg). Simvastatin 80 mg is currently restricted on the US market because of concerns about muscle damage.

Some Statins Increase Risk for Diabetes
Researchers checked the health records of 500,000 patients who were older than 65, took statins for five years, and did not have diabetes. They found that high-potency statins can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 22 percent (British Medical Journal, published online May 23, 2013). It is established that statin drugs help to lower cholesterol and to prevent heart attacks, but they can also raise blood sugar levels.

Some statins appear to increase risk for diabetes, while others lower it. Patients who take Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin) or Zocor (simvastatin) are at increased risk for diabetes. Statins that lowered diabetes risk were Pravachol (pravastatin), Lescol (fluvastatin) and Mevacor (lovastatin).


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Upper and Lower Limits for Vitamin D

The safe upper limit of vitamin D has been identified for the first time. A study of more than a million people older than 45 shows that having blood levels of calcidiol (hydroxyl vitamin D) below 20ng/mL (50 nmol/L) or above 36 ng/mL (90 nmol/L) increases risk for heart attacks and premature death (J Clin Endocrinol Metab, published online March 26, 2013). An overdose, as well as a deficiency, of vitamin D markedly increases heart attack risk.

A major function of vitamin D is to increase absorption of calcium from the intestines. Some people who take vitamin D supplements raise their blood levels of calcium as well as vitamin D above normal. These people are at increased risk for heart attacks and premature death.

The only dependable blood test for vitamin D deficiency is called calcidiol or hydroxy-vitamin D. If you have a calcidiol level below 20 ng/mL, you can raise it to 32 ng/mL by taking 30 µg (1200 IU) per day. If your blood level of calcidiol is 30 ng/mL, you need to take 5 µg (200 IU) per day, to raise blood levels to 32 ng/mL. If your blood calcidiol level is too high (above 90 nmol/L), check with your doctor about reducing your dose of vitamin D pills.


Ketogenic Diet And Oxygen Cure Cancer in Mice

Mice with potentially fatal, very aggressive cancer that has spread through their bodies live 78 percent longer on a combination of a ketogenic diet (severely restricting carbohydrate foods) and breathing very highly-oxygenated air (PLOS One, published online June 6, 2013).

Last year, Philipp Mergenthaler and Andreas Meisel, of Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and McMaster University, Canada showed that depriving a cancer cell of sugar, while giving it plenty of oxygen can stop cancer cells from growing and spreading through the body (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, January 2012). See my report in the January 15, 2012 issue

Ketogenic Diet

In 1922 Otto Warburg showed that cancer cells are different from normal cells because they depend primarily on sugar as their main source of energy, and suggested that preventing sugar from getting into cancer cells could cure cancer. A ketogenic diet is one that severely restricts carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are single sugars or sugars grouped together as doubles, triples, or chains up to millions. A diet that restricts all carbohydrates is very difficult to follow and will prevent you from exercising at full capacity as muscles require sugars to contract efficiently.

Normal Cells Have Two Sources of Energy, while Cancer Cells Have Only One
Every cell in your body except red blood cells have little tiny compartments in them called mitochondria. Normal cells in your body get their energy primarily from two sources:

Cancer cells have defective mitochondria, so their energy comes primarily from the use of sugar.

What Are Mitochondria?

In the 1970s, Lynn Margulis proposed that mitochondria were originally bacteria that invaded living cells billions of years ago and set up a symbiotic relationship. The bacteria could supply the most efficient source of energy for cells, and the cells would give these bacteria a place to live and multiply. We know this because mitochondria have genetic material, DNA, which is similar to that of bacteria and is much different from the DNA of other parts of cells in the human body (Trends Microbiol, 2011 Feb;19(2):58-64).

What Happens When Normal Cells Are Deprived of Sugar?

Your brain gets more than 98 percent of its energy from sugar. If your body is deprived of sugar, you can still protect your brain from starving to death by having mitochondria in normal cells burn fat for energy. When fat is used for energy, large amounts of ketones are produced and flow into the bloodstream. The brain then uses these ketones as its energy source. Normal healthy cells readily adapt to using ketone bodies for fuel, but cancer cells can only use sugar and can even become normal cells when deprived of sugar.

How Restricting Carbohydrates May Cure Cancer

Normal cells have a programmed cell death called apoptosis, which means that cells divide so many times and then they die. Cancer cells are different because they do not have apoptosis and try to live forever. They kill by invading other tissues. For example, breast cancer cells can invade your brain cells, and kill you by destroying your brain. Cancer cells lack apoptosis because they have defective mitochondria, so they are forced to use glycolysis (sugar) for energy.

Since cancer cells require sugar as their main energy source, depriving cancer cells of sugar forces them to seek other sources of energy. Cancer cells then try to use fat for energy and this revives their mitochondria. Once a cancer cell revives its mitochondria, it acts like a normal cell that can live only for a limited number of doublings and then dies.

How Oxygen May Help to Treat Cancer

Solid cancers grow and spread faster when they are deprived of oxygen. Breathing 100 percent oxygen saturates cancer cells with oxygen and makes them more susceptible to the effects of a low-carbohydrate diet. Thus cancer may be cured by depriving cancer cells of sugar while providing them with oxygen, reviving mitochondria and regaining the ability to use the Krebs Cycle.

My Recommendations

I believe that eventually we will find a way to cure cancer using this information. Meanwhile, the best we can do is avoid the high blood sugar levels that increase risk for cancer:

At this time, EXERCISE is the best way we have to increase the number and efficiency of mitochondria in our cells.


This week's medical history:
The Heat Stroke Death of Korey Stringer

For a complete list of my medical history biographies go to Histories and Mysteries


Recipe of the Week:

Trail Mix Bars

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book
- it's FREE

June 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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