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Which Supplements Should Be Avoided When Taking Statins?
Question: When taking a statin drug like Lipitor or Crestor, are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking?
Answer: Atorvastatin (Lipitor), rosuvastatin (Crestor), and other cholesterol-lowering statin drugs can be affected by taking supplements and can affect your ability to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. Certain herbal supplements, such as St. John's wort, may decrease blood levels of some statin drugs, and when taken with atorvastatin, may actually result in increased cholesterol levels. Certain forms of magnesium may also decrease blood levels of statin drugs -- particularly Crestor. Red yeast rice, which contains a naturally occurring statin, should not be combined with prescription statin drugs without medical supervision.
Berberine should be avoided or used with caution when taking certain statin drugs, such as atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor) and rosuvastatin (Crestor).
Some fruit juices can also be a problem, particularly grapefruit juice, which impairs the body's normal breakdown of certain statins, allowing them to build up to potentially excessive levels in the blood. Since the effects of grapefruit juice may last as long as 3 days, it should be avoided if you are taking atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin (Mevacor, Altoprev) or simvastatin (Zocor). However, some other statins do not seem to be affected by grapefruit juice, including pravastatin (Pravachol), fluvastatin (Lescol) and rosuvastatin (Crestor).
On the other hand, CoQ10 and fish oil may offer particular benefits to people on statin drugs.
These interactions are explained in the Statin Drugs article, which is part of the extensive Drug Interactions section of our website (where you can look up interaction for other drugs you may be taking), and in other reports (linked to above) on ConsumerLab.com.
Learn More About Supplement Interactions With Drugs and Other Supplements for Heart Health: