Mediterranean diet can boost effect of statins

Washington: A recent study has found that statins – a class of drugs often prescribed by doctors to help lower cholesterol levels in the blood – are more effective for those who follow the Mediterranean diet.

The findings of the Italian study have been published in the International Journal of Cardiology.
The traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals, olive oil, wine in moderation, fish and low in meat and dairy products.

“We found that statins and Mediterranean Diet together were more effective, as compared to one or the other considered separately, in reducing the risk of cardiovascular mortality. Likely, a Mediterranean diet facilitated the beneficial effect of statins, that in our real-life study were generally used at low doses,” said Marialaura Bonaccio, first author of the study.

Researchers also analysed the potential underlying mechanisms of this positive interaction, so far poorly explored, between drugs and eating habits.

Licia Iacoviello further said, “The favourable combination of statins and Mediterranean Diet appeared to act, rather than on cholesterol levels, by reducing subclinical inflammation, a condition that predisposes to a higher risk of illness and mortality. This finding is of particular interest especially in the light of our observation that a high level of subclinical inflammation doubled the risk of mortality in patients who already had a heart attack or stroke.”

Giovanni de Gaetano, director of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, concluded, “Our data suggest that we should focus more on the possible interactions between food and drugs, an aspect largely neglected in epidemiological research. Of course, controlled clinical trials will be needed to clarify these findings. If our data will be confirmed, new therapeutic possibilities could be designed for those who have already had a cardiovascular event, allowing a better modulation of the pharmacological intervention in relation to life habits. This is a new aspect of personalised medicine.”