Friday, April 06, 2007

Supplements and statins

I ask a lot of people about their use of vitamins. There's hardly a soul, it seems, who doesn't take a little bit of something or other from the vitamin section in search of better health.

Vitamins E and C continue as favorites despite evidence of possible harm from E and a lackluster track record for supplemental C. In fact, one study published in 2001 in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the use of C and E along with Zocor and niacin for elevated cholesterol canceled out some of the benefits of the prescription meds.

18,000 JELIS Japanese (as in participants with the Japan EPA Lipid Intervention Study) proved, however, that fish oil is a worthy partner with medications such as Zocor (now sold generically as simvastatin) and Lipitor. When eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) was added to statin therapy over the course of 5 years, investigators found a significant drop in the incidence of bad heart outcomes.

The other major component of fish oil--DHA-- is known to decrease the incidence of Alzheimer's disease. My fish oil capsules are moving to the front of the vitamin shelf. They were briefly shelved when a particularly fishy batch made me gag just opening the bottle.

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