statins: Dairy products and citrus fruits can exacerbate side effects

The uptake of statins has been greatly encouraged by health institutions since the drug was shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But many remain apprehensive about the side effects of the pills, which usually include muscle aches, trouble sleeping, and feeling unusually weak. Research suggests that certain foods may emphasize these side effects by triggering a drug interaction. Dr. Laura Freeman, GP and medical director at Plant-Based Health Online details foods to avoid.

It has been strongly proven that grapefruit juice interacts with statins.

This is because certain classes of drugs are metabolized in the intestine by enzymes that reduce the amount of drug that enters the bloodstream.

However, grapefruit contains compounds called furanocoumarins that prevent the enzyme from doing its job.

Dr. Freeman explained: “It’s best to avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice if you are taking statins in particular, simvastatin, lovastatin, and atorvastatin.

Other citrus fruits such as pomelo, limes, and Seville organs may produce a similar effect and can also interfere with how the body processes the drug.

“This could lead to more medication being in the bloodstream which makes side effects more likely.”

Of all the side effects involved in a statin, myopathy is the most dangerous because it involves muscle tissue damage.

In severe cases, this can lead to kidney damage.

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One beverage that can increase the risk of this side effect is alcohol, especially when consumed in large quantities.

“Alcohol should also be kept to a minimum, and while most guidelines recommend 14 units or less per week, recent evidence states that the safest limit for health is zero,” added Dr. Freeman.

Those who exceed the recommended amount of alcohol may expect fatigue, muscle aches, muscle tenderness or weakness, night cramping and tendon pain.

Furthermore, drinking certain types of alcohol such as wine, beer or alcoholic beverages can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health, by raising cholesterol levels in the blood.

Studies have previously demonstrated that statins can reduce the risk of heart attack to some extent to the same extent that fast food increases.

But a cholesterol-lowering drug doesn’t prevent all the unhealthy effects of junk food or alcohol, both of which increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

“If you are taking any type of statin medication, it is also helpful to consider other foods that can be reduced or eliminated,” Dr. Freeman added.

“For example, foods high in dietary cholesterol – eg liver, squid, shrimp, eggs, chicken breasts or steak.

Foods that are high in saturated fats (milk, butter, cheese, cream, and margarine) and trans fats (fast foods, processed meats, snacks, and baked goods such as pies, baked goods and biscuits) should also be reduced as much as possible. “

As effective as statins are, it is important to stick to a cholesterol-friendly diet to optimize the drug’s effects.

Dr Freeman concluded: “While dietary choices are key to improving cholesterol levels, it is also important to pay attention to other pillars of health.

“Regular physical activity, restorative sleep, and effective stress management are also important factors for cholesterol and heart health in general.”

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