Which Is Better, Apples Or Statins Or Both?

Which are more healthful? Apples or Statins ?

A recent article in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) states.

If I had to choose between apples or statins then I know what I'd choose!


"Prescribing an apple a day to all adults aged 50 and over would prevent or delay around 8,500 vascular deaths such as heart attacks and strokes every year in the UK".

A statin is a medicine that lowers blood cholesterol levels by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase.

The researchers concluded that the 150 year old public health message:

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away",

is able to match more widespread use of modern medicine, and is likely to have less side effects.

The research recommends however that people who are already prescribed statins should continue taking them, but says that eating more apples would also be an excellent idea.

The Research

Using mathematical models a team of researchers at the University of Oxford set out to test how a 150 year old proverb might compare with the more widespread use of statins in the UK population.

They analyzed the effect on the most common causes of vascular mortality of prescribing either a statin a day to those not already taking one or an apple a day to everyone aged over 50 years in the UK.

The researchers assumed a 70% compliance rate and that overall calorie intake remained constant.

The Pros And Cons Of Statins

It’s estimated that 5.2 million people are currently eligible for statin treatment in the UK and that 17.6 million people who are not currently taking statins would be offered them if they became recommended as a primary prevention measure for everyone over 50.

They calculate that 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.

However, the 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.

And If You’re Thirty Years Old?

Additional modeling showed a further 3% reduction in the annual number of vascular deaths when either apples or statins were prescribed to everybody aged over 30.

The number of adverse events is predicted to double.

Calls For An Increase In Statins

“This research adds weight to calls for the increased use of drugs for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, as well as for persevering with policies aimed at improving the nutritional quality of UK diets".

The report concluded.

And maybe check out the article, “Do You Believe Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease?”.

If I had to choose between apples or statins I know what I’d choose!

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5 comments on “Which Is Better, Apples Or Statins Or Both?

  1. Thanks!

    It’s being very well received and I will learn a lot because of the necessary research, after which I will pass on what I learn.


  2. Around 30 years ago I had to have a medical in order to get a green card.

    The doctor told me that I had high cholesterol and gave me a diet sheet.

    He didn’t did me medication because it probably didn’t exist then.

    I didn’t eat any of my favorite foods for a year and had a second test.

    My LDL cholesterol count had only gone down one point!

    But there was good news!

    The doctor explained that since my first test that it had been discovered that what was important was the ratio between good and bad cholesterol.

    My HDL was extremely high.


    He said that it was likely that I would ever have to worry about cholesterol regardless of what I ate.

    I was polite and didn’t say, “Thanks that I went a year without eating my favorite foods!”.

  3. Statins are worse for women but may be less bad for men although among my brothers a number of them decided to stop taking them when I went on about my symptoms regressing once I stopped, they too feel better now.

    Apparently test results for new medicines fluctuate too much in women because of hormone fluctuations so they tend to use mostly men in drug trials so test results are not right for women…

    I took them for more than 12 years and blame them for excruciating leg pains at night, memory loss, brain power loss etc.

    Great to be able to sleep without imaginary hot knives being hurled at them throughout the night but very difficult to work on memory, happy about progress made though.

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