23 August, 2011
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 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.
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 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 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.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Pomegranate; 2011
- "Emergency Medical Journal"; Possible Interaction between Pomegranate Juice and Warfarin; S. Jarvis, et al.; Jan 2010
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Statins; 2010
- Food and Drug Administration; Fda Drug Safety Communication: Ongoing Safety Review of High-Dose Zocor (Simvastatin) and Increased Risk of Muscle Injury; 2010
- MayoClinic.com; Can Drinking Pomegranate Juice Help Lower My Cholesterol?; Thomas Behrenbeck; 2009
- eMedTv; Pomegranate Drug Interactions; 2011
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images