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Fish Oil, Statins and Triglyceride Levels

by Vin Kutty, MS on November 6, 2010

Statins are a class of drugs used to treat high cholesterol.

You may be more familiar with their brand names, Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, Pravachol, etc.

Not only do these drugs reduce cholesterol, they also reduce triglycerides. Depending on how much triglycerides you have in your blood, it can lower triglycerides as much as 25%.

Fish oil-based Lovaza is another drug that’s used to lower triglycerides.

If your doctor prescribes you 4 grams of Lovaza a day (4 pills), you’ll notice a 20 to 25% reduction in your triglyceride levels.

Typically, if your doctor is not satisfied with how much Statins have reduced your cholesterol or triglycerides, he or she will increase the dosage.

If you started with 10 mg, may be your doctor would bump up the dosage to 20 mg.

This usually works.

Percent Reduction in Triglyceride Levels

fish oil statins triglyceride levels

Adapted from: Chan DC, Watts GF, Mori TA, Barrett PH, Beilin LJ, Redgrave TG. Factorial study of the effects of atorvastatin and fish oil on dyslipidaemia in visceral obesity. Eur J Clin Invest 2002; 32: 429 – 436.

But if you’ve been through this, you know the side effects and the misery!

Muscle aches, cramps and pains are awful!

This happens because these drugs also wipe out Coenzyme Q10, a substance that’s needed by every cell in your body. Unfortunately, wiping out cholesterol also requires wiping out most of your body’s Coenzyme Q10.

As long as you use statin drugs, there is no way around this.

Fortunately, there is another option!

Several new clinical trials have shown that combining fish oil with statin drugs lowers triglyceride levels more than either could if taken separately.

The first and most important research on Combination Therapy (Fish Oil + Statins) came from Australia.

They noticed that:

  1. 40 mg of Atorvastatin (Lipitor) reduced triglyceride levels by 26%
  2. 4000 mg of Omega-3 reduced triglycerides by 25%
  3. But when combined, triglycerides were reduced by 40%

Another study from Japan that followed over 18,000 patients also found similar results.

The latest study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition also showed that 20 of statin drugs reduced triglycerides by 14% after 6 weeks, while statin plus 4 grams of Omega-3 from fish oil reduced triglyceride levels by 41%.

So if you’re nervous about the side effects of increasing your statin dose, talk to your doctor about adding 4000 mg of Omega-3 to your statin dosage.

Lovaza is often the preferred medical approach to getting Omega-3.

If Lovaza is covered by your insurance, it is a recommended product. But without insurance, Lovaza can cost $2 a pill or $8 a day.

There are several pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements that provide similar potency as Lovaza.

Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

Increasing your statin dosage and enduring the muscle pain does not have to be the only option.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this blog do not constitute medical advice. This is merely an open discussion of the science behind health and nutrition. Please consult your physician for medical advice.

 Author Vin Kutty is an expert on fish oil, stains and triglyceride levels About the Author: Vin Kutty is OmegaVia’s Scientific Advisor and Chief Blogger. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with over 20 years of experience. Email him.

Fish oil triglycerides

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bilal April 9, 2013 at 9:08 am

I am using Rovista 10mg for lowering my Cholesterol level, can I use
Ultra omega Krill oil softgel along this medicene.


Vin Kutty April 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Hi Bilal – please check with your doctor before you make any changes to your prescription or supplement regimen. Combination of fish oil + statin drugs typically works very well with no added side effects.


Boniface March 31, 2015 at 6:15 pm

I am currently taking atorvastatin 20mg to lower my cholesterol levels. Today is the 8th day since I started taking them. I take one tablet a day. Can I take Omega 3 capsules as well?


Vin Kutty, MS April 1, 2015 at 12:05 am

Hi Boniface – there is usually no issue with taking Omega-3 with statins, but since you are under a doctor’s care, please check with him/her to make sure it’s OK.


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