Sometimes the old adages contain much deeper wisdom than many given them credit for. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may prove more accurate than previously thought.
Apples are a rich source of polyphenols; plant based protective compounds that have been shown to be very protective for your blood vessels. Protect your blood vessels and you lower your risk of having a heart attack, stroke or developing dementia. Quite a bit of bang for your buck. And this protection is outside of whatever level of cholesterol you may or may not have.
This particular study takes an interesting look at what would happen if we through statins in the garbage (if you ask me, is where they belong) and replaced the drug with the adage’s “apple a day.” The results are really not that surprising. Here are the details:
- The study assumed treatment of 17.6 million people over the age of 50 with either statins or an apple / day.
- Statins would prevent 9400 vascular deaths.
- An apple a day would prevent 8500 deaths.
- Statins would lead to 1200 excess cases of myopathy (muscle pain).
- Statins would lead to 200 cases of rhabdomyolysis (a frequently fatal destruction of all muscles, leading to kidney failure).
- Statins would lead to 12,300 diagnoses of diabetes (yes—this number is correct).
- All of this was at 70% compliance. With 90% compliance, all of these numbers (benefits and side effects) would increase.
There were no estimates for side effects of apple consumption, for obvious reasons (in other words–there weren’t any).
The bottom line is that we have put statins on a pedestal, but they are barely more effective than even the most basic lifestyle recommendations (an apple a day) and with far, far, far more dangerous and common side effects.