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If you live with high cholesterol or heart disease, chances are that your doctor has prescribed statins for you.
That’s because statins are drugs that work to lower your cholesterol by lowering the amount produced by your liver – the theory being that since a buildup of bad cholesterol in your arteries is associated with a higher risk of heart problems, the statins will protect you and possibly save your life.
In fact, people who have had a heart attack or stroke will be told to take a statin to prevent another event in the future.
Unfortunately, for many people statins are not as effective as they should be depending on how certain enzymes in their body function, leaving them at risk.
Luckily, a new study has the answer to boosting statin effectiveness…
Eat like an Italian
According to an Italian study conducted at the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed, in Pozzilli, Italy, for those who have already had a heart attack or a stroke, the combination of statins and Mediterranean Diet appears to be the most effective choice to reduce the risk of mortality, especially from cardiovascular causes.
The researchers studied over 1,000 adults recruited in the Moli-sani Study, published in the International Journal of Cardiology to analyze statin effectiveness.
“We found that statins and Mediterranean Diet together were more effective, as compared to one or the other considered separately, in reducing the risk of cardiovascular mortality. Likely, a Mediterranean diet facilitated the beneficial effect of statins, that in our real-life study were generally used at low doses,” said Marialaura Bonaccio, epidemiologist at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and first author of the study.
Researchers also analyzed the potential underlying mechanisms of this positive interaction, between drugs and eating habits and came to this conclusion:
“The favorable combination of statins and Mediterranean Diet appeared to act, rather than on cholesterol levels, by reducing subclinical inflammation, a condition that predisposes to a higher risk of illness and mortality. This finding is of particular interest especially in the light of our observation that a high level of subclinical inflammation doubled the risk of mortality in patients who already had a heart attack or stroke,” explained Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology of the same Department and Professor of Hygiene at the University of Insubria.
In other words, when you combine a Mediterranean Diet with your statins, you can lower inflammation levels and halve your risk of heart attack and stroke. Who knows, maybe you can improve your health enough that you could ditch these worrisome drugs all together, eventually.
Protect against this statin side effect
So, if you’re taking statins, you should be eating like an Italian.
That means that your diet needs to be rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals, olive oil and fish, include wine in moderation and be low in meat and dairy products.
In addition to eating a Mediterranean Diet, if you’re taking statins, there’s one more thing you must do to protect your heart health — take a CoQ10 supplement.
That’s because your body requires CoQ10 to produce the energy it needs to maintain cell health — especially when it comes to your heart cells. Unfortunately, the older you get, the less CoQ10 your body produces and it only gets worse when you take statins.
If you take statin drugs for cholesterol, you hinder your body’s ability to produce CoQ10, increasing your chances of becoming deficient.
What you want is a CoQ10 like Peak CoQSol10 CF™, which is clinically proven to provide superior bioavailability.
Statins may help reduce your chances of heart attack and stroke but only if they’re effective and not without the very real problems they cause for energy production in your heart cells. So, if you’re taking statins, eat a Mediterranean diet to boost their effectiveness and take a CoQ10 supplement to compensate for any deficiencies they cause.
- Statins: Common questions answered — British Heart Foundation
- Statins are more effective for those who follow the Mediterranean diet — Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed I.R.C.C.S