Can You Take Vitamin D With Statins?

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

Can you take vitamin D with statins?

Can you take vitamin D with statins? The answer should be YES, but it requires more research and study to reach a conclusive statement regarding this combination.

There has been a debate going on regarding the possible interactions between cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) and Vitamin D. Several studies have been performed to date to assess the nature of these interactions. Studies have shown mixed results and no proper conclusion has been drawn regarding the positive or negative effects of this combination therapy. However, most of the studies suggest that combining vitamin D with statins could yield positive outcomes in some ways. Therefore, scientists are still researching how combining vitamin D and statins can be beneficial for consumers. This is why the question of whether vitamin D can be taken with statins arose in the first place.

Let's discuss the potential positive effects of statins and Vitamin D combination:

HOW VITAMIN D MAY BENEFIT STATINS INTAKE

Vitamin D plays an essential role in the body's long term health. There are many ways in which vitamin d is important to keep us healthy:

  • Its main and foremost function is that it helps calcium and phosphorus absorption from our diet, which keeps our teeth, bones and muscles strong.
  • It helps keep our lungs and airways healthy.
  • It helps the body fight infections.
  • It may protect against cancer.
  • It also plays an important role in our immune system as well as cardiovascular health.

With that being said, as vitamin D is related to cardiovascular health, it could be used with statins to enhance its benefits further. Studies have suggested the following benefits of vitamin D with respect to statins:

May lower bad cholesterol levels 

Statins are primarily cholesterol-lowering drugs. So if vitamin D also helps lower cholesterol, using it with statins would help achieve the drug's pronounced effect.

To clearly understand what this means, we first need to grasp that cholesterol itself isn't a bad thing for the body. In fact, it's important for a number of the body's physiological processes. However, there's this category of cholesterol called Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), also known as Bad Cholesterol, which is what's unhealthy for the body. It keeps you at a high risk of developing coronary heart disease and heart stroke.

The LDL cholesterol levels should be kept below the range of 100miligrams/dL for the body's healthy functioning. So, how can this be achieved? Statins are the first-line therapy used for lowering LDL cholesterol levels recommended by doctors, but apart from statins, Vitamin D has also been linked to this function. Therefore, the potential benefits of using Vitamin D along with statins has been a hot topic.

However, the link between vitamin D and low cholesterol levels hasn't been proven yet. It's because the studies carried regarding this relationship have shown ambiguous results.

Relevant research:

One study was conducted in 2014 on obese and post-menopausal women to assess the effects of Vitamin D on their LDL levels, which showed that Vitamin D and calcium supplements together showed a decrease in cholesterol levels in those women.

There is a lack of evidence to conclude that vitamin D decreases cholesterol, but keeping in mind the benefits that it provides to its consumers, it's no harm in using Vitamin D in your routine.

Can vitamin D levels influence statin effectiveness?

Since vitamin D shares the similar lipid-lowering effects as statins and may also be used in combination with statins to get better results, it's important to know if vitamin D affects statins' function as a whole.

The answer is: It may increase the effectiveness of a particular statin called Atorvastatin.

Relevant research:

A study showed that vitamin D levels of about >30 nmol/day might be required by Atorvastatin to produce its lipid-lowering effects. One research also showed that supplementing with vitamin D increased the effectiveness of Atorvastatin therapy on cholesterol levels.

May improve heart health.

Since statins help lower cholesterol, they also have protective effects against cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Similarly, Vitamin D's potential to lower cholesterol also hints at its ability to reduce the risk of CVDs. This ability of Vitamin D could help elevate heart health if used in combination with statins.

The relationship between vitamin D and heart health has been studied and researched for years. According to several observational studies, people with a low level of vitamin D have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). This, again, doesn't prove a cause and effect relationship between vitamin D and CVDs. However, this puts Vitamin D as a potential factor for improving heart diseases.

Relevant research:

A research report from Italy shows that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood have a higher risk of heart strokes. Therefore, consuming Vitamin D may produce beneficial effects with respect to stroke by improving blood vessel's linings so that blood would flow freely.  

Another report from Ohio showed that vitamin D3 could lessen the damage done on the heart and the blood vessels due to high blood pressure.

Low vitamin D levels could also lead to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure, all of which are hazardous to heart health. Therefore, vitamin D consumption may be beneficial to reduce the risk of these heart complications.

Vitamin D and statins-induced myalgia

One of the most common side effects of statins is myalgia, which is muscle pain caused by muscle toxicity due to statins. This is one of the common reasons why people stop using statins as a treatment option. There have been speculations regarding the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and statin-induced myalgia.

Relevant research:

A study was conducted on vitamin D deficient patients who were also on statin therapy and experienced statin-induced myopathy. The correction of vitamin D levels in those patients led to the resolution of myopathy up to 92%. Therefore, it may be beneficial to use vitamin D combined with statins to lower the risk of statin-induced myalgia.

HOW STATINS MAY BENEFIT VITAMIN D INTAKE

Just like Vitamin D levels affect statins' functions in various ways, it is suspected that Statins may also affect vitamin D levels. More specifically, the role of statins in increasing vitamin D levels is suspected. Therefore, some studies have been carried out to assess this relationship. However, no concrete conclusion has been developed yet.

Relevant research:

A research was done to compare the effects of two types of stains, namely Rosuvastatin and Fluvastatin, on Vitamin D metabolism. In this study, a total of 134 hyperlipidemic patients were divided into two groups. Patients in one group were made to consume Rosuvastatin and those in the other group were treated with Fluvastatin for eight weeks. Vitamin D levels were recorded before and after the treatment in each group. The study showed a significant increase in Vitamin D levels in patients who administered Rosuvastatin. However, there was no effect of Fluvastatin on vitamin D levels.

The effect of other statins on vitamin D levels remains unclear, and it's highly dependent on each statin's bioavailability and metabolic pathway. However, the possible positive effect of statins on Vitamin D levels still makes the combination of these two a beneficial one.

Sources of vitamin D

The text mentioned above shows how vitamin D deficiency is related to different health problems such as increased risk of heart diseases, higher cholesterol levels, weak bones and muscle pains, etc. Therefore, getting adequate amounts of vitamin D should be ensured to keep your body functioning properly.

There are several different sources of obtaining vitamin D. One of the most natural sources of getting it is by basking in the sun. Because the sun's ultraviolet B radiations penetrate through our skin and react with chemicals underneath, which in turn converts those chemicals into active metabolites of Vitamin D. The dietary sources of vitamin D are:

  • Fish (Salmon and Tuna)
  • Beef
  • Egg yolks
  • Milk and milk products

Apart from these dietary and natural sources, vitamin D supplements can make up for your deficiencies. However, proper consultation from your doctor is needed to rule out the safety of using supplements.

Side effects of statins 

Just like every drug, statins come with their fair share of side effects. Although statins are generally safe to use, some people may experience side effects that could lead to discomfort and sometimes discontinuation of the drug.

Some of the common side effects of statins are:

  • Muscle pain (statin-induced myalgia)
  • Digestive problems.

Some rare side effects of statins include:

  • Memory loss
  • Elevation in blood sugar levels
  • Liver or kidney damage

Final word:

The debate of whether the combination of vitamin D and statins yield positive outcomes for the patients is still ongoing. However, several studies point out that this combination may be a useful one.

References 

 

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