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Statins side effects: Best and worst foods which may aggravate symptoms of drug use

This Morning: Dr Chris reveals grapefruit can affect statins

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Doctors prescribe statins to those they fear would otherwise develop cardiovascular disease. Such a condition is life-threatening, increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. In fact, the NHS stated cardiovascular disease is “the most common cause of death in the UK”. People who already have cardiovascular disease are also likely to be prescribed statins. How can your diet help with statin use? Roxane Bakker, Dietician at Vitl spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to discuss the best and worst types of food to consume which could be aggravating your side effects caused by statin use.

“Statins are prescribed to individuals who are diagnosed with high blood lipids and those who are at higher risk of developing heart (cardiovascular) disease.

“There is limited research to suggest a direct link between foods and the functioning of statins except for grapefruit (including grapefruit juice).

“However, certain foods and nutrients should be limited when diagnosed with high cholesterol, so that you can support your body in reducing your blood lipids to healthy levels.”

When asked how food could interfere with statin use, Mrs Bakker said: “Certain foods and nutrients in our diet may exacerbate symptoms associated with statin use.

“These include sugar, alcohol, caffeine and the fatty acid omega 6.

“Numerous studies suggest that processed sugar releases proinflammatory substances in the body, causing inflammation which could lead to greater pain.

“If you experience muscle aches and pains, take a look at the amount of sugar you are consuming (beware of those pesky hidden sugars in dressings, sauces and tinned foods) and look for healthier alternatives.”

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When it comes to a person’s lifestyle and how that could directly interfere with statin use, Mrs Bakker warns: “Alcohol and caffeine are two substances that have a bad reputation.

“Research reveals they stimulate our inflammatory response which could lead to further discomfort.”

For the foods which will help with any side effects from statin use, Mrs Bakker suggests meat, legumes and broccoli.

“They contain a co-enzyme known as Q10 and has been shown to decrease muscle pain and discomfort in those taking the drug.”

Another well-known food type to stay away from is grapefruits, the juice can block the action of CYP3A4, which means more of the medication enters the bloodstream and stays in the body for longer.

As people have differing amounts of the enzyme in their small intestine, grapefruit juice can affect people differently, even if they’re taking the same medication.

The FDA confirmed that mixing grapefruit and statins could lead to an increased risk for liver and muscle damage.

These two side effects may even lead to kidney failure, which is a serious complication.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explained statins “lower the level of cholesterol in the blood”.

Otherwise, too much cholesterol can deposit in the artery walls, causing them to narrow and stiffen.

This would make it harder for blood to flow through to reach important organs.

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