Antioxidants and Statins: A Flawed Partnership?

In 2001 the media filled with headlines warning that taking antioxidant vitamins E and C could reduce statins’ effectiveness. They were referring toa study published that year in Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. In that study 153 heart patients with especially low HDL levels were broken into four groups. The first group received a statin and niacin; the second got a combination of the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium; the third received placebos; and the fourth got both the drugs and the antioxidants.

After a year the group taking the drugs and the niacin had a 34 percent drop in LDL and a 25 percent rise in HDL. Those receiving antioxidants and the drugs had the same LDL drop but only an 18 percent increase in HDL. And their piaque increasedpercent, compared with a 4 percent decrease in the drug-only group. (In case you’re wondering, the vitaminonly group and the placebo group showed almost no change.)

So should you avoid taking antioxidant vitamins and minerals while also taking a statin or other cholesterol drug? While there’s no definitive answer based on the research, here’s what we recommend; If you take a statin, also take coenzyme Q10, which is an antioxidant, since statins deplete this important substance. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drink green tea—all sources of antioxidants. And take a daily multivitamin (a Live /t Down Pian staple), most of which contain moderate amounts of vitamins E and C. There appears to be no clear benefit to taking additional supplements of E or C for people on statins.

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