Most of us know that there can be interactions between different medications, but are you aware that you have to be careful to avoid grapefruit juice drug interactions?
Countless research studies have been done over the years to look at the way grapefruit juice interacts with medications. Even other fruits and veggies may also not mix well with medication.
Depending on the meds you are taking, you may have to avoid grapefruit and certain other citrus fruits completely.
Professor David G. Bailey of the University of Western Ontario and his colleagues have been researching the interaction between grapefruit and certain medications for more than two decades. More and more common medications seem to cause problems when ingested at the same time as grapefruit. In fact, the effect of grapefruit can last for a number of hours!
What complicates things is that it isn't just one or two medications that are involved in this interaction, but a whole host of them. These cover meds for high blood pressure, cholesterol, allergies and antibiotics. Cancer medication can also be affected.
How Do Grapefruit Juice And Drug Interactions Work?
Interactions can go both ways. On the one hand the absorption of the meds into your blood could be blocked. Or you can unknowingly experience a huge increase in absorption, which can in effect cause a hazardous overload in your system. Older folks are more at risk, due to a higher intake of both grapefruit and meds.
You have particular liver and digestive enzymes that affect the way in which medication is absorbed or metabolized by your body. In instances where absorption of the medication is increased, grapefruit seems to block the enzymes that normally puts the brakes on the rate at which meds are absorbed.
So, if you are taking certain medications while you have grapefruit in your system (whole or juiced), those enzymes won't be there to do their job! What happens then is that the concentration of the medication in your blood can become much higher than it is supposed to be. This 'boosts' the effect of the meds to a level that can be toxic for your system.
There are indications that certain flavonoids in grapefruit, such as naringin, may contribute to this interaction. Limes, tangelos and Seville oranges may cause a similar effect.
Professor Bailey and his team have also found that juices from fruits such as grapefruit, oranges and apples may block absorption of particular medications, in effect almost nullifying their working. As you can imagine, this can have disastrous consequences, as in the case of some cancer meds or beta blockers taken for hypertension.
This is not the only area of concern when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Some of the leafy greens and common fruits contain what are called oxalates. Oxalates are found in berries, spinach, beet greens, leeks and celery. You may need to limit your intake of these if you have kidney or gallbladder problems.
If you use a blood thinner, you may need to be careful when juicing greens high in vitamin K, such as kale, chard, broccoli, collard greens or spinach. You may also need to watch your intake of cranberries.
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So, should you avoid juicing if you are taking medication? No! Not at all! Here is what you should do:
How To Avoid Grapefruit Juice Drug Interactions
- If you have any ailment or are pregnant, talk to your doctor before juicing
- If you are taking any medication, ask your doctor if there can be an interaction between it and the fruits and vegetables you are using
- Remember that the absorption of the meds could be affected for quite a while after having grapefruit, etc
- Ask your doctor how much time you should allow between taking your meds and enjoying your juice or the whole fruits
- Ask your doctor if there are any fruits or vegetables you should limit or avoid completely
- Rather take your medication with water or as prescribed
> From the juicing for health desk of Rika Susan
1. Grapefruit juice drug interactions
2. Grapefruit - medication interactions