Grapefruit Juice Can Interact With Medicines!

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Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

A nutraceutical is a food or part of a food that allegedly provides medicinal or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease. Grapefruit juice has been touted as containing many compounds that can reduce hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and even the risk of cancer. Grapefruit juice can, therefore, be justifiably referred to as a classic nutraceutical. However, for many persons taking certain medications, grapefruit juice might actually better be termed a "nutrapollutical!"

It turns out that grapefruit juice can directly or indirectly interact in important ways with a number of medications. This is especially important since grapefruit juice is consumed by approximately one fifth of Americans for breakfast - a time of the day when medications also are commonly taken.

Grapefruit juice blocks special enzymes in the wall of the small intestine that actually destroys many medications and prevents their absorption into the body. Thus, smaller amounts of the drugs get into the body than are ingested. When the action of this enzyme is blocked, more of the drugs get into the body and the blood levels of these medications increase. This can lead to toxic side effects from the medications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/3/2014