Statins

Statins are widely used class of medicines which inhibit cholesterol production in the body. A number of different statin medications have been shown to lower blood viscosity. In patients with genetically high cholesterol, pravastatin has been demonstrated to lower blood viscosity significantly [1]. Another widely used statin medication, lovastatin, was also shown in clinical studies to reduce blood viscosity after three months of treatment [2].

A 2003 study of patients with high cholesterol showed that low dose administration of atorvastatin (or Lipitor) for four weeks reduced diastolic blood viscosity by an average of 16%. Atorvastatin at the administered dose reduced total cholesterol levels and LDL levels by 25% and 24%, respectively. It is reasonable to surmise that these changes to cholesterol and LDL were connected to the 16% mean reduction in diastolic blood viscosity observed in this study [3].

Lowering LDL cholesterol concentration in the blood contributes to reducing blood viscosity by individually altering its major determinants, namely the stiffness of the red blood cell, the stickiness of the red blood cell, and the viscosity of plasma. Therefore, certain statin medications have a blood viscosity lowering effect, and this anti-viscogenic effect would, by definition, improve blood flow to tissues and organs.


Sources:

Holsworth RE, Cho YI. “Hyperviscosity Syndrome: A Nutritionally-Modifiable Cardiovascular Risk Factor.” Advancing Medicine with Food and Nutrients, Second Edition. Ed. Ingrid Kohlstadt. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2012.

References:

1. Tsuda, Y., et al., Effects of pravastatin sodium and simvastatin on plasma fibrinogen level and blood rheology in type II hyperlipoproteinemia. Atherosclerosis 1996; 122:225-33.

2. Koenig, W., et al., Lovastatin alters blood rheology in primary hyperlipoproteinemia: dependence on lipoprotein(a). J Clin Pharmacol 1992;32:539-45.

3. Empen, K., et al., Effect of atorvastatin on lipid parameters, LDL subtype distribution, hemorrheological parameters and adhesion molecule concentrations in patients with hypertriglyceridemia. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 2003; 13:87-92.

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