Statins to lower cholesterol are some of the most frequently taken drugs in our society. If you are taking statins and supplements you may not be absorbing certain vitamins and minerals and further affect blood cholesterol levels.
Some commonly taken supplements that can interact with statins are:
- John’s wort, may decrease blood levels of some statin drugs, and may also increase cholesterol levels when used with Lipitor. Chinese Skullcap contains the substance baicalin as one of its presumed major active ingredients. One study found evidence that consumption of baicalin might lower blood levels of statin drugs.
- Magnesium, some form only, may decrease the blood levels of statins, in particular Crestor.
- Red Yeast Rice contains naturally occurring statins and should not be combined with cholesterol medication unless discussed with your health provider.
- Berberine is currently a very popular supplement for gut health, but should be taken with caution with Lipitor, Crestor and Mervacor.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) in high dose may reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL’s), raise ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL’s), but when taking statins, high-dose niacin does not appear to provide additional benefit and may carry serious risks.
- Some fruit juices, especially grapefruit juice impairs the body’s normal breakdown of certain statins, allowing them to build up to potentially excessive levels in the blood. The effects of grapefruit juice may last up to three days. Crestor does not seem to be affected by grapefruit juice.
- Green tea can help with cholesterol levels, but can also decrease the absorption of some statins. Ideally try to leave a couple of hours between taking your cholesterol medication and drinking green tea.
There are, however, some supplements that you might want to consider taking if you are on statins.
- Vitamin D seems to be lower in those on statins, so consider taking 1000iu daily. Vitamin D may help your mood and the muscle aches that are often associated with taking statins.
- Fish oil. Indeed, three double-blind, placebo-controlled studies suggest that combining adding fish oil (or its constituent DHA) with statin drugs may result in additional improvement in lipid profile.
Statin drugs affect the body’s ability to make both cholesterol and CoQ 10, and therefore, reduce CoQ 10 levels in the body. Since these drugs are used to protect the heart, and since CoQ 10 deficiency could in theory impair heart function, it could be useful to supplement with CoQ 10. A quick tip is to take CoQ 10 with fish oils, and it is better absorbed with fats.