To Your Health
March, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 03)
Fish Oil: Omega-3 fatty acids may improve lipid profiles when combined with statins. Fish oil contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). These fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and help to reduce overall triglyceride levels.
May enhance the cholesterol-lowering effect of Lipitor. Low selenium levels have been linked to hypercholesterolemia; increasing your selenium levels could therefore reduce your risk of high cholesterol.
How Supplements Can Interfere With Lipitor's Performance
Magnesium: May Interfere with Lipitor's absorption. For this reason, it's important to take the drug and supplement at different times during the day (at least two hours apart). Talk to your doctor for additional information.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): This is a tricky one, as niacin may also increase high-density lipoprotein ("good") cholesterol and is often beneficial for patients taking Lipitor. However, too much niacin may lead to an increased risk of rhabdomyolysis (rapid breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents into the bloodstream) when taken with Lipitor.
Better Safe Than Sorry: Talk to Your Doctor First
The findings above are not inclusive of the potential drug-nutrient interactions involving Lipitor; they are just a sample of the information that has been researched. It is important to analyze all of the medications and nutritional supplements that we consume for possible beneficial and negative interactions. Of course, if you're not taking medication, these interactions aren't going to be a problem, which emphasizes that you should do a few things anytime your primary care physician prescribes a medication for any condition: 1) Ask about nondrug alternatives (in the case of Lipitor, evidence suggests good nutrition and consistent exercise can both improve cholesterol levels); and 2) If you must take medication, always inquire about potential side effects and tell your doctor about any nutritional supplements you may be taking. As you can see, if you have to take medication, certain supplements may actually help the drug's performance, while some may hurt. Either way, it's worth talking about with your doctor first.
Todd Mexico, DC is a practicing chiropractor and co-owner of eMedFX.com, a Web-based search tool designed to analyze prescription medications and nutritional supplements for potential interactions.
Brandon Blood, DC is a practicing chiropractor and co-owner of eMedFX.com, a Web-based search tool designed to analyze prescription medications and nutritional supplements for potential interactions.