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Statins have a mixed press but overall they reduce all-cause mortality by the order of 30%. There is growing evidence that this may apply to wide range of Gastrointestinal conditions. Statins are likely to be reducing the damage caused by environmental agents by limiting the inflammatory response. This mechanism underlies most chronic diseases from disease of the arteries to cancer and other benign conditions from which modern man suffers.

An analysis of many studies published last year shows protective effects against the development of liver cancer and colorectal cancer. Furthermore even if you get cancer your survival is improved.

Other gastrointestinal conditions are being added to this list:

A large study recently reported in the journal Gastroenterology demonstrated that patients with oesophageal cancer were only half as likely to have received treatment with statins in the past compared with patients with Barrett’s who did not have cancer. Hence, oesophageal cancer seems likely to be added to the growing list of conditions prevented by statin use.

Another recent study has shown a protection against developing severe liver damage in patients with fatty liver which may be caused by alcohol or obesity or both and prolonged survival in patients with cirrhosis. Preliminary evidence also suggests a positive benefit in Crohn’s disease.

All of these effects are dose dependent ie the higher the dose you take the more the protection. Perhaps it is time for them to be considered for treatment of a wide range of GI diseases from which modern man suffers.

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