Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

How Might Statins Cause Type 2 Diabetes?

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

How Might Statins Cause Type 2 Diabetes?

Article excerpt

It is recognized that the chronic use of statins, which are used to lower serum cholesterol levels, increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 9 percent.

Dutch researchers wished to learn the biological basis behind this mechanism and reasoned that the answer might involve the differential production of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol receptor. LDL cholesterol is considered "bad," in contrast to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is considered "good."

Statin therapy results in increased production of the LDL cholesterol receptor. Patients with familial (inherited) hypercholesterolemia (FH) have a low incidence of type 2 diabetes. The central problem in FH is a low production of the LDL cholesterol receptor.

The investigators reasoned that if low production of the LDL cholesterol receptor in FH confers a low risk for diabetes, and if statins increase production of the LDL cholesterol receptor, then this increase might explain the excess risk for diabetes in patients who take statins. …

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