To Your Health
March, 2010 (Vol. 04, Issue 03)
7 Supplements That Interact With Lipitor
And Why You Should Be Talking to Your Doctor About Any Drugs and Supplements You're Taking
By Drs. Todd Mexico and Brandon Blood
According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nearly 50 percent of Americans are currently taking prescription drugs. This number is likely not a surprise to anyone reading this article; just consider how many drug commercials you see on TV every night. Despite the growth of alternative medicine, particularly in the past several decades, the "a pill for every ill" concept is alive and well in our society.
Medications by their very nature impact the delicate biochemical orchestra that takes place in our bodies. These medications obviously are intended to improve the function of a given system, but we all know that medications have negative side effects as well. Since many people also take one or more nutritional supplements (particularly multivitamins), it's also important to recognize that many medications interact both positively and negatively with supplements. Whether you're taking medication, nutritional supplements, both, or neither, it's of vital importance to understand this relationship and ensure that you, your family, your friends and everyone you know understands it. Let's take a look at one of the most widely prescribed prescription drugs, Lipitor, as an example:
Lipitor, a stain drug, led all pharmaceutical sales in 2008, grossing $7.8 billion in sales. Lipitor is the most commonly prescribed medication for high cholesterol levels. The purpose of this article is not to call into question the effectiveness of Lipitor - although clearly it and all medications have potential safety issues, as evidenced by the extensive list of warnings/side effects listed on every bottle; rather, it is to highlight the fact that this medication is very commonly prescribed and carries various biochemical side effects, and that several nutritional supplements may affect the intended action of Lipitor when taken in combination with it. Please be sure to check with your health care provider prior to taking these or any other nutritional supplements.
How Supplements Can Improve Lipitor's Performance
CoQ10: CoQ10 synthesis is impaired by Lipitor. This side effect is common, as Lipitor reduces the production of CoQ10 , which is an important enzyme involved in energy production. Lipitor is also known to cause reduced energy levels, so supplementation with CoQ10 may be recommended for patients taking Lipitor to help restore enzyme depletion caused by this drug and to help combat decreased energy levels.
Carnitine: This amino acid may provide a synergistic lipid-lowering property when combined with statin drugs. Some research has shown that L-carnitine helps to break down low-density lipoprotein ("bad") cholesterol.
Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic may increase Lipitor's effectiveness, in that it is thought to reduce cholesterol levels because it contains certain compounds [s-allyl-cysteine (SAC), s-ethyll-cysteine (SEC), and s-propyl-cysteine (SPC)] that inhibit the production of cholesterol in the liver.