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Can I Take Fish Oil With Simvastatin Before Bed?

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Can I Take Fish Oil With Simvastatin Before Bed?
A pile of fish oil capsules on a counter. Photo Credit twinsterphoto/iStock/Getty Images

If your cholesterol levels are not under control, you are at higher risk of heart disease. Your doctor may prescribe a common statin drug called simvastatin to lower your cholesterol, and you may be able to further reduce your risk of heart disease by taking fish oil, which may lower levels of triglycerides in your blood and promote a healthy blood pressure, according to MayoClinic.com. In some cases, you can safely take fish oil with simvastatin before bed; consult with your doctor as to whether this course is appropriate for you.

Heart Disease and Cholesterol

Risk factors for heart disease include family history, high blood pressure, diabetes and older age. Your risk for heart disease increases when your total or LDL cholesterol levels are higher than normal or when you have high blood triglycerides. Simvastatin is among the statin drugs, which can lower your risk for heart disease by lowering your cholesterol levels. Fish oil is not an effective cholesterol-lowering supplement, but it may lower your triglycerides and help prevent heart disease, according to MayoClinic.com. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, fish oil may increase the effects of simvastatin.

Simvastatin at Night

According to a study published in the "British Medical Journal" in October 2003, simvastatin is more effective when you take it in the evenings before bed rather than in the morning or during the day. This effect is probably due to simvastatin’s mode of action. The drug reduces your liver’s ability to produce cholesterol by reducing the activity of HMG CoA reductase, which is a key enzyme in cholesterol synthesis. Your liver naturally tends to produce more cholesterol at night, when you are fasting, so simvastatin may lower your cholesterol levels most when you take it at night. Simvastatin works best when you follow a healthy diet.

Role of Fish Oil

Fish oil is a source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic, or DHA. Potential benefits of fish oil supplements include stronger bones and a lower risk of osteoporosis, prevention of rheumatoid arthritis, lower blood pressure and lower triglyceride levels, according to MayoClinic.com. The University of Maryland Medical Center warns that you should consult your doctor before taking fish oil if you are on blood-thinning medications, since omega-3 fatty acids may increase their effects. In addition, fish oil can raise your blood sugar and decrease the effects of certain diabetes drugs. In many cases, fish oil is safe to take with simvastatin, but your doctor may need to change your statin dose. Fish oil may be unsafe to take with simvastatin if have not consulted your doctor, as omega-3 fatty acids increase the effects of simvastatin.


Potential side effects of simvastatin include muscle and joint pain, constipation, hives and fatigue, according to MedlinePlus. Fish oil can cause gas or bloating. Fish oil supplements may contain mercury, which can be especially harmful to the fetus or infant of a pregnant or nursing woman. Pregnant women should not take simvastatin. You may need to take simvastatin or fish oil at another time of day rather than before bed if you take other medications at night and need to avoid drug interactions.

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