Ginger Protects against Statin Liver Toxicity

An increased risk of moderate or serious liver dysfunction is an adverse effect of statin drugs used to treat high cholesterol (hyperlipidaemia).  This risk increases where high doses are taken, and fluvastatin and atorvastatin in particular appear to have the strongest association with hepatitis and liver failure.  However liver dysfunction appears to be a rare but potentially serious adverse effect for all statin types, and other statins such as simvastatin, pravastatin and lovastatin have also been associated with liver injury when taken in high doses.

Studies have shown that long term ingestion of Ginger has been shown to have hypoglycaemic, hypolipidaemic and anti-atherosclerotic effects in test subjects.  Hepatoprotective (liver protective) effects have also been reported for Ginger extracts.  These effects may extend to chemopreventative effects against hepatocellular carcinoma, according to the results from other animal studies following administration of Ginger extracts.

A team of Egyptian researchers have recently evaluated the effects of combined administration of Ginger and the statin drug atorvastatin on the lipid profile, and atorvastatin-induced hepatic injury.  Ginger root was prepared and given orally on a daily basis, with and without concurrent atorvsatatin administration for four weeks.

Compared to the control group, cholesterol levels dropped in  those treated with either Ginger extract or atorvastatin.  Atorvastatin alone produced a 15% decrease in cholesterol levels & a 23% decrease in triglycerides.  Ginger alone produced an 11% decrease in cholesterol levels & a 5% decrease in triglycerides.  Combined administration of atorvastatin and Ginger produced an even bigger decrease 28% decrease in cholesterol levels and a 25% decrease in triglycerides.  ‘Hepatic malondialdehyde’ (marker for oxidative stress) and ‘nitric oxide’ (low levels needed to protect the liver) levels were also found to be decreased and levels of (protective) liver antioxidant enzymes ‘superoxide dismutase’ and ‘catalase’ were increased.  There was a significant lessening of the severity of liver damage normally seen.

This study shows that Ginger could be an advantageous combination treatment to atorvastatin, and possibly other statin drugs,  especially in those more susceptible to liver function abnormalities.

To get started on helping support your liver & cholesterol levels while on statin drugs, click on the following teas now:

Liver Tea
Ginger Tea then click on the drop down box to choose Ginger