Bad news for those who enjoy drinking grapefruit juice. According to The Harvard Medical School, grapefruits seem to be dangerous when combined with prescription or over the counter medications. Grapefruits contain hundreds of complex chemicals. Doctors have not found out yet which one exactly is the culprit. But they suspect furanocoumarin. Which is also found in Seville (sour) oranges and tangelos.
What the mysterious chemical does
This chemical doesn’t interact with the pills directly, it binds to an enzymeCYP3A4, in your intestinal tract, reducing the absorption of certain medications. In other words, blocking the enzyme, consequently the medication goes into your bloodstream more readily, raising the concentration of the medication in the blood, sometimes dangerously high.
The higher the medication concentration levels in the blood, the more adverse effects it may have. High concentrations of certain drugs can increase the risk of liver damage and kidney failure as a medication for lowering cholesterol would.
Limiting grapefruit consumption
While using certain medications listed by FDA, It’s a safe bet to avoid consumption of grapefruit juice. A good substitution would be orange juice if you like the tangy taste, or any other juice. However, if you really feel you can’t live without your grapefruit juice, ask your doctor for a different medication which won’t interact with it. Or space consumption as much as possible. If you take your medication in the morning, have your juice in the early evening. But only when your medication is a low dose, and make the usual glass, half a glass.
Not all bad news: The good
If you are not taking medications which can interact with grapefruit juice you will enjoy many benefits. Its Latin name is Citrus Paradisi, meaning: Paradise Fruit. An orange with a twist of tanginess.
- Excellent source of vitamins A and C
- Rich in Potassium and Fiber.
- Loaded with the Antioxidant Lycopene: reduces risk of developing cancer.
- Bursting with Limonoids: Phytonutrient which inhibits tumor formation.
- Lowers cholesterol.
- Reduces risk of developing kidney stones.
- Protects against colon cancer.
- May help prevent weight gain, lowering insulin levels.
- Contains Naringerin, flavonoid which helps repair damaged DNA in prostate cancer.
Enjoy with caution!