A 2012 Oxford University study, published in The Lancet medical journal, showed that even very low-risk patients benefited from taking cholesterol-lowering statins.
Rory Collins, professor of medicine at Oxford University, worked on the research and said the number of people who could begin taking statins as a result of the new Nice guidance "would be in the the order" of around five million.
He added: "The evidence is very strong that the treatment is cost-effective at these lower levels. Doctors are now in a position to offer statins on this basis."
He said it was up to individual patients to decide whether they wanted to take statins, based on their risk assessment, but Nice's strategy would "reduce the burden on the health service".
The NHS estimates that statins save 7,000 lives a year in the UK.
More top news
Labour is facing a disastrous election night in Scotland, with the party in danger of finishing third behind the SNP and the Conservatives.
A Labour councillor who thought he had lost his seat was re-elected after a bundle of votes was found "under a Tory pile".
A sailor has been rescued after two months lost at sea, during which he was forced to eat seagulls for survival.