Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Green tea and statins

Heart Beat

Green tea and statins

Some people drink green tea because they've heard it is good for the heart. That could be true. Green tea contains catechins, flavonoids, antioxidants, and scads of other substances that have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve artery flexibility, and prevent artery-damaging chemical changes to circulating cholesterol. The evidence is so weak, though, that the FDA won't allow companies to claim that tea "" green, black, or oolong "" prevents heart disease.

If green tea is one of your daily beverages, and you take a statin, don't overdo the tea. Writing in the Aug. 19, 2008, Annals of Internal Medicine, Italian researchers tell the story of a man who developed muscle pain while taking simvastatin (Zocor). But when he stopped drinking his usual three or more cups of green tea a day, he was able to take simvastatin without any pain. Tests showed that on the same 20-milligram dose of simvastatin, the man had twice as much of the statin in his bloodstream while drinking green tea as he did when he took a break from drinking it.

Green tea is an excellent beverage, and it could be doing your heart, bones, and the rest of you some good. But how it and other beverages and foods interact with medications is uncharted water.

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