Fish Oil, Statins and Triglyceride Levels

Statins are a class of drugs used to treat high cholesterol.

You may be more familiar with their brand names, Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, Pravachol, etc.

Not only do these drugs reduce cholesterol, they also reduce triglycerides. Depending on how much triglycerides you have in your blood, it can lower triglycerides as much as 25%.

Fish oil-based Lovaza is another drug that’s used to lower triglycerides.

If your doctor prescribes you 4 grams of Lovaza a day (4 pills), you’ll notice a 20 to 25% reduction in your triglyceride levels.

Typically, if your doctor is not satisfied with how much Statins have reduced your cholesterol or triglycerides, he or she will increase the dosage.

If you started with 10 mg, may be your doctor would bump up the dosage to 20 mg.

This usually works.

Percent Reduction in Triglyceride Levels

fish oil statins triglyceride levels

Adapted from: Chan DC, Watts GF, Mori TA, Barrett PH, Beilin LJ, Redgrave TG. Factorial study of the effects of atorvastatin and fish oil on dyslipidaemia in visceral obesity. Eur J Clin Invest 2002; 32: 429 – 436.

But if you’ve been through this, you know the side effects and the misery!

Muscle aches, cramps and pains are awful!

This happens because these drugs also wipe out Coenzyme Q10, a substance that’s needed by every cell in your body. Unfortunately, wiping out cholesterol also requires wiping out most of your body’s Coenzyme Q10.

As long as you use statin drugs, there is no way around this.

Fortunately, there is another option!

Several new clinical trials have shown that combining fish oil with statin drugs lowers triglyceride levels more than either could if taken separately.

The first and most important research on Combination Therapy (Fish Oil + Statins) came from Australia.

They noticed that:

  1. 40 mg of Atorvastatin (Lipitor) reduced triglyceride levels by 26%
  2. 4000 mg of Omega-3 reduced triglycerides by 25%
  3. But when combined, triglycerides were reduced by 40%

Another study from Japan that followed over 18,000 patients also found similar results.

The latest study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition also showed that 20 of statin drugs reduced triglycerides by 14% after 6 weeks, while statin plus 4 grams of Omega-3 from fish oil reduced triglyceride levels by 41%.

So if you’re nervous about the side effects of increasing your statin dose, talk to your doctor about adding 4000 mg of Omega-3 to your statin dosage.

Lovaza is often the preferred medical approach to getting Omega-3.

If Lovaza is covered by your insurance, it is a recommended product. But without insurance, Lovaza can cost $2 a pill or $8 a day.

There are several pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements that provide similar potency as Lovaza.

Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

Increasing your statin dosage and enduring the muscle pain does not have to be the only option.


This website is for your education and general health information only. The ideas, opinions and suggestions contained on this website are not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from your doctor for any health condition or problem. Users of this website should not rely on information provided on this website for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician. Please do not start or stop any medications without consulting with your doctor. We neither encourage you to do so, nor can we be held responsible for the fall out of failing to seek the counsel of a medical health practitioner.

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Vin Kutty
Vin Kutty, MS, is co-founder of Innovix Pharma. He is a nutritionist, author, and Omega-3 expert with 20 years of experience.


Join the Conversation

  1. I am using Rovista 10mg for lowering my Cholesterol level, can I use
    Ultra omega Krill oil softgel along this medicene.

    • Hi Bilal – please check with your doctor before you make any changes to your prescription or supplement regimen. Combination of fish oil + statin drugs typically works very well with no added side effects.

  2. I am currently taking atorvastatin 20mg to lower my cholesterol levels. Today is the 8th day since I started taking them. I take one tablet a day. Can I take Omega 3 capsules as well?

    • Hi Boniface – there is usually no issue with taking Omega-3 with statins, but since you are under a doctor’s care, please check with him/her to make sure it’s OK.

  3. I’ve been taking 4 g fish oil for 3 months, however, it wasn’t enough to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. Today doc added Lipitor. I’ve read that the higher EPA and DHA in some fish oil supplements, i.e. Omega 3, is actually better at lowering the trifecta fatty acids, is that true? C is 261, TG is 303, HDL is 39, and LDL is 161. All went up except HDL. Thanks.

    • Hi Bobbi – Omega-3 will not noticeably change LDL, HDL or total cholesterol much. However, it will reel in Triglycerides. If you want to control the other stuff, cut back dramatically on sugar, grains, and flour. And increase activity and exercise – minimum of 10,000 steps per day. HDL goes up if you sit a lot.

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