High cholesterol: Woman lands in a hospital after drinking cranberry juice with statins, doctors explain how
Heart diseases, chronic and acute, are the most common cause of death globally claiming millions of lives every year. Heart diseases are often a consequence of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and lifestyle choices and habits such as smoking, alcohol intake, stress, sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Among these, cholesterol is one of the most serious factors as it does not have any early signs and symptoms and usually causes wreckage only after it aggravates beyond repair. Doctors recommend statins to manage high LDL levels – but according to experts, this drug cannot go well with all foods.
Statins, when it comes to the side effects, can cause spontaneous leaks of calcium within muscle cells and the outcome can be potentially fatal. In one such case, a woman landed in the hospital after intake of cranberry juice when she was prescribed a course of statins.
Cranberry juice has for long been relied upon to treat and prevent urinary tract infections (UTI). And studies also back the positive effects of it on the heart – but caution must be warranted when the juice is consumed with other drugs.
In the intestine, statins are metabolised by CYP3A which limits the amount of the drug that enters the blood. Cranberries can decrease how fast the body breaks down atorvastatin thereby increasing side effects. In 2012, Clinical Geriatrics reported the case of an elderly woman with comorbidities who was admitted to a hospital with hepatitis and rhabdomyolysis.
Authors soon suspected that her condition was caused by an interaction between cranberry juice and simvastatin. The conclusion was drawn on the grounds that the patient’s medication had been stable for two years following the symptoms and the only change she made was adding cranberry juice in the diet. Another case study described a similar incident when a 45-year-old man took 40mg of atorvastatin daily for three years before suffering from hepatitis and rhabdomyolysis.
Some studies suggest that cranberry can decrease how quickly the liver metabolises medication which can raise the risk of potentially toxic reactions. However, as per Harvard Health, not all statins are affected equally by grapefruit juice. But the effect is not as severe with the whole fruit.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.