Are my medications affected by grapefruit juice?
We usually assume that natural foods are safe to consume and won’t cause health related problems in the absence of food allergies. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If you eat grapefruit on a regular basis, you may be subject to some unhealthy grapefruit side effects. This is particularly true if you take certain prescription medications used to treat high blood pressure, heart conditions, and elevated cholesterol.
Grapefruit has been shown to prevent the action of certain enzymes found in the gut that play a role in processing some types of blood pressure, heart, and cholesterol meds. This causes levels of these medications to rise in the blood stream, potentially causing adverse effects on the body.
If you take these types of medications, can you still eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice safely?
It appears that even ingestion of six ounces of grapefruit juice has the ability to alter medication levels and switching over to the raw fruit itself doesn’t reduce the risk of complications. Even grapefruit juice extract is a problem if you’re taking certain type of medications. Some people believe that not taking their medications within several hours of drinking grapefruit juice can offset the potential for grapefruit interactions. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been shown to be true. Once the gut enzymes are turned off by the consumption of grapefruit juice, it takes up to three days for them to resume their normal function.
Can I really not eat grapefruit with my medications?
If you enjoy grapefruit but require blood pressure or cholesterol lowering medications, what are your options? If you take medications that are affected by grapefruit consumption, it’s best to completely eliminate grapefruit from your diet to avoid potential grapefruit side effects and reduce your risk of altering medication levels. If you don’t want to give up grapefruit entirely, talk to your doctor about switching over to a similar medication that isn’t affected by grapefruit consumption. What about the possibility of substituting over citrus fruits such as oranges or tangerines for grapefruit? There is some new evidence suggesting that other citrus fruits may have a similar potential to interact with medications. One such fruit is the pomelos which has been shown to have a medication altering effect similar to grapefruit.
Are there other foods that contain extracts?
It’s also important to remember, there are some medications that haven’t been studied for potential grapefruit interactions so if you’re taking medications of any type it’s best to proceed with caution with regard to grapefruit consumption. It’s also important to read lists of ingredients on foods and drinks you purchase since they may contain grapefruit extract. One example is a certain brand of Stevia sweetener which contains grapefruit extract.