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Can I eat bananas with atorvastatin?

The short answer:

You can eat bananas with atorvastatin in case there are no other medications that affect your potassium blood levels such as ACE inhibitors and ARBs which are commonly prescribed with atorvastatin. These combinations could increase your potassium blood levels. Interestingly, eating bananas could help to lower blood cholesterol levels that give a synergistic effect to atorvastatin.

Key facts:

  • Banana is a popular fruit which rich in potassium.
  • You should avoid eating bananas with atorvastatin in case you are taking other antihypertensive medications such as ACE inhibitors or ARBS which are reported to elevate your potassium blood levels. Bananas with these medications could increase your risk to have elevated potassium blood levels.
  • Eating bananas could help you to decrease cholesterol absorption from your intestine and as a result, could help to decrease blood cholesterol levels.
  • Banana peel extract is found to lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • You should avoid eating fatty foods with atorvastatin.
  • Grapefruit should be avoided with atorvastatin. It inhibits the enzyme responsible for atorvastatin metabolize and therefore could increase atorvastatin blood levels thus atorvastatin side effects may increase.


Eating bananas with atorvastatin

Bananas and blood cholesterol levels

What to avoid with atorvastatin?

Banana and atorvastatin

Banana is a popular fruit that is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Atorvastatin is a cholesterol-lowering agent that belongs to statins that are commonly prescribed to patients with hyperlipidemia, patients with cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, and angina.

Now the question is, Is it OK to eat bananas with atorvastatin?

The answer is yes, you can take bananas with atorvastatin but with certain precautions.

Atorvastatin is often used with other antihypertensive drugs to control blood pressure. Some antihypertensive drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors including captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) are reported to increase your potassium blood levels (Ref). Therefore, foods that are rich in potassium such as bananas should be avoided with these medications.

Therefore, it is OK to eat bananas with atorvastatin. However, you should avoid eating bananas with atorvastatin if it is used with other medications that affect your potassium blood levels such as ACE inhibitors and ARBs.

Higher potassium blood levels could lead to irregular heartbeat and heart palpitations.

Do bananas affect cholesterol blood levels?

Bananas are popular fresh, versatile, and relatively inexpensive fruits. The scientific names of most cultivated bananas are Musa × paradisiaca, Musa acuminata, and Musa balbisiana.

They are rich in several nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Bananas are known to have numerous health benefits including:

  • Improve blood sugar levels
  • Improve digestion
  • Help in weight loss
  • Improve kidney functions
  • Could prevent constipation

Bananas and blood cholesterol levels

Bananas are free of fat and cholesterol and rich in fiber. Water-soluble fiber becomes more viscous when it become in contact with water. The gel-like substance formed by water-soluble fiber could bind with cholesterol and fats preventing their absorption into your blood and helping you to carry it out of your body.

Accordingly, eating bananas could help you to decrease cholesterol blood levels by decreasing its absorption from your intestine.

It is reported that eating just 5 to 10 grams per day of water-soluble fiber could help you to decrease total and LDL cholesterol levels.

A study published in 2014 showed that the daily consumption of bananas (25 g/day) could improve the lipid profile in hypercholesterolemia volunteers.

In addition, several studies revealed that banana peel extract has many health benefits including lowering blood cholesterol levels.

A study showed that banana (Musa x paradisiaca L.) peel extract had a potent inhibitory effect of HMG-CoA reductase enzyme which is involved in the synthesis of cholesterol in your liver. The authors showed that the fat hydrolyzing potential of banana peel extract was capable of lowering the levels of blood cholesterol. The banana peel extract at 50 ppm concentrations showed the closest activity in the action potential of atorvastatin, 10mM.

Another study revealed that banana (Musa x paradisiaca L.) leaf and fruit peel extract had antihyperlipidemic and cardioprotective effects in animal experiments (rats) with induced diabetes. This effect was attributed to the improvements of insulin sensitivity, and antioxidant defense mechanism of the banana peel extract in rats.

Moreover, banana (M. paradisiaca) was early reported to inhibit cholesterol crystallization in vitro experiments. Accordingly, it may have an effect on atherosclerosis plaque (Ref).

What to avoid with atorvastatin?

Statins are usually prescribed once daily. Most stains can be taken with or without food. However, certain foods could affect the bioavailability and efficacy of statins.

Here we discuss what you should avoid when you take atorvastatin.

1. Fatty foods

You should avoid foods rich in fats while taking atorvastatin. Fatty food could make atorvastatin less effective in lowering your cholesterol blood levels.

2. Grapefruit

If you are prescribed atorvastatin, you should avoid eating grapefruit with it.

Grapefruits are rich in furanocoumarins which are reported to deactivate the CYP3A4 enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for metabolizing atorvastatin (Ref).

As a result, taking atorvastatin with grapefruit could decrease the metabolism of atorvastatin leading to increase atorvastatin blood levels. This could increase your risk of atorvastatin-associated side effects such as liver damage (Ref).

Interestingly, grapefruit doesn’t affect the metabolism of other statins which are metabolized with different enzymes called CYP2C9.

You should also avoid grapefruit with lovastatin and simvastatin.

3. Drinking alcohol

You should avoid drinking alcohol with atorvastatin. Because this could increase your risk of liver damage which is also associated with atorvastatin administration.