Researchers are eager to look at the link between Lipitor and gallstones. Your doctor does not prescribe Lipitor to reduce your risk of developing gallstones - he or she prescribes it for cholesterol reduction.
However, when you understand how the cholesterol lowering effects of lipitor and gallstones, which contain cholesterol, are connected you understand their eagerness.
Gallstones are very small, hardened pieces of biological materials that can form within your gallbladder. Your gallbladder stores digestive fluid called bile, which helps your body break dietary fats into small globules.
Bile contains many components including cholesterol, water, fat, salts, and protein. In some individuals, the cholesterol that is found in bile hardens and this results in the small pebbles known as gallstones. (1)
The drug manufacturer Pfizer developed Lipitor to lower cholesterol in people with high serum cholesterol levels. Researchers took interest in Lipitor and gallstones prevention because of the cholesterol found in gallstones.
The companies that promote cholesterol lowering drugs consider gallstone prevention a positive side effect of the medications. It does seem logical that a drug prescribed to lower cholesterol would have some effect in decreasing your risk of developing cholesterol based gallstones. However, studies do not show a high rate of protection.
Researchers share that even though Lipitor and similar medications can decrease the amount of cholesterol your body produces, a complete understanding of the connection between Lipitor and gallstones does not exist.
Experts agree that more studies are needed to prove a direct relationship between Lipitor and gallstones prevention.
If you have concerns about gallstones, you have many options available that do not involve medication.
What you eat plays a significant role in the prevention of gallstone formation. The following recommendations will help you reduce your risk of developing gallstones and help you naturally lower your cholesterol level.
1. You should consume monounsaturated fats found in foods such as olive oil and canola oil. You should also increase your consumption of foods such as flaxseeds and fish so you can benefit from their heart healthy omega-3 fats.
2. You should eat more fiber and aim for 25 grams or more per day.
3. You should decrease your consumption of sugar.
4. Allow yourself one or two alcoholic drinks per day with your doctors consent.
5. Allow yourself two or more cups of coffee per day. Your consumption of coffee may lower your risk of gallstones.
Studies reveal that rapid weight reduction may lead to a higher risk of gallstones. If you are on a weight reduction diet, work to maintain a slow, consistent weight loss over time and consult with your doctor.
You can benefit in many ways from regular physical activity. You can lower your risk or gallstones and high cholesterol through regular exercise. Begin slowly with 10 to 15 minutes of activity a day and work up to six exercise sessions a week lasting for 30 minutes or more.
The drug companies would love to show a strong relationship between Lipitor and gallstones prevention. However, most evidence reveals small benefits from taking Lipitor for the prevention of gallstones.
Or go to the homepage of All About Lowering Cholesterol.
(1) National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (2007) Gallstones. Retrieved from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gallstones/
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