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What supplements should I avoid if I am taking statins?

Leopold D. Galland, MD
Internal Medicine
If you are taking statins, avoid taking vitamin E. Vitamin E supplements can deplete your body of coenzyme Q10 by increasing its rate of breakdown. The depletion of coenzyme Q10 by statins and vitamin E is likely to be additive. This interaction may explain the scientific data that vitamin E supplements can interfere with the life-saving benefits of statins and increase the severity of heart failure in people with heart disease. High doses of vitamin E (more than 100 international units a day) should not be mixed with statins.

Other supplements that should not be mixed with statins include:

St. John's wort. This herb, used to treat depression, can reduce statin blood levels, impairing effectiveness of treatment. The exception is pravastatin (Pravachol), which is not affected by St. John's wort.

Red yeast rice. The active ingredient in red yeast rice is a natural substance similar to the drug lovastatin. Red yeast rice has the same potential toxicity as statins, including muscle damage and depletion of coenzyme Q10.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.