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Does Pomegranate Interact With Statins?

| By Jeffrey Traister
Does Pomegranate Interact With Statins?
Pomegranate interferes with statins. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Pomegranate is an exotic fruit with medicinal properties and substances that interfere with medications. Statins are medications that treat high blood levels of cholesterol. Although there have not been any clinical studies to determine an interaction between pomegranate and statins, one report that suggests the fruit might adversely interact with statins and cause rhabdomyolosis, a rare condition involving muscle breakdown. Consult your doctor about the interaction between pomegranate and statins.

Pomegranate

Pomegranate contains high concentrations of nutrients, particularly antioxidants. Pomegranates, particularly when juiced, may improve your health and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoarthritis. More clinical research is needed to fully determine its efficacy and safety. Nonetheless, pomegranate interferes with blood pressure medications, particularly ACE inhibitors such lininopril, ramipril, monopril, capropril and vasotec. Pomegranate also interferes with blood thinners, such as warfarin. Scientists at Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in London, England reports pomegranate juice inhibits cytochrome 450 enzymes that are involved in metabolizing warfarin, according to research published in "Emergency Medical Journal" in January 2010.

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Statins

Statins are prescription medications designed to lower your blood cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme HMG- CoA reductase, which controls how much cholesterol you produce in your liver and stimulates your liver to lower LDL-cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, from your blood. Statins include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin. Taking statins increases your risk of rhabdomyolysis. Pomegranate juice interferes with statins, due in part to substances within the fruit that inhibit liver enzymes that increase accumulation of statins in your body, which in turn elevates your risk of liver toxicity and other serious side effects.

Rosuvastatin

Rosuvastatin is the one statin that has a published case study involving pomegranate juice interfering with a statin drug. Scientists at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut found that pomegranate juice taken with rosuvastatin may increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis, according to research published in the "American Journal of Cardiology" in 2006. The scientists report a 48-year-old man with possible heart disease was successfully treated with rosuvastatin for 17 months, yet experienced thigh pain and elevated enzymes after drinking pomegranate juice. The scientists conclude pomegranate juice is known to inhibit intestinal cytochrome 450 3A4 enzymes, suggesting the fruit increases the risk of rhabdomylosis during rosuvastatin treatment.

Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is medical condition characterized by the breakdown of muscle fibers that enter the bloodstream and harm the kidneys, frequently resulting in kidney damage. The symptoms of rhabdomyolysis include abnormal urine color, muscle pain, weakness and seizures. If left untreated, the condition may progress to kidney failure. Drink plenty of fluids to reduce risk of further damage.

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author image Jeffrey Traister
Jeffrey Traister is a writer and filmmaker. For more than 25 years, he has covered nutrition and medicine for health-care companies and publishers, also producing digital video for websites, DVDs and commercials. Trained in digital filmmaking at The New School, Traister also holds a Master of Science in human nutrition and medicine from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
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