If You Take Medications, You Need to Know About Grapefruit

Grapefruit is good for you!

It’s a vitamin C-rich citrus fruit that’s low in sugar and contains vitamin A, potassium, and fibre. It has a low glycemic index and does not spike your blood sugar when you eat it. The pink and red varieties also contain lycopene.

It’s definitely a nutritious health-promoting food.

It even had a whole weight-loss diet created around it – the “grapefruit diet!” Research has proven that grapefruit doesn’t have any magical weight loss properties, so don’t eat it just to lose weight.

But…

There is something you need to know about grapefruit if you take medications.

 

GRAPEFRUIT-MEDICATION INTERACTION

 

Grapefruit enhances the effects of many medications – over 85 at last count; this is sometimes called the “grapefruit effect.” Taking grapefruit (or its juice) along with certain medications – even a day apart – can increase the risk of side effects.

For example, when taken with certain blood pressure lowering medications it lowers blood pressure too much. This causes lightheadedness and other symptoms.

Another example is when taken with certain birth control pills, women have a higher risk of blood clots.

Grapefruit affects the metabolism of some of the following categories of medications:

  • Blood pressure
  • Birth control
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-infection
  • Cholesterol-lowering
  • Immunosuppressive and anti-rejection
  • Urinary tract agents
  • Some over-the-counter cough medication

When the medication is taken within 24-72 hours of consuming grapefruit or its juice (yes, up to three days later!), there can be an interaction and potential side effect. In fact, for half of the medications affected, the grapefruit effect can be serious. Serious effects include heart and muscle issues and kidney toxicity, just to name a few.

How does this even happen, and why is grapefruit special?

 

HOW DOES GRAPEFRUIT INTERACT WITH MEDICATIONS?

 

Grapefruit (as well as Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos) contain a compound called “furanocoumarin.” It’s this compound that inhibits (stops) an enzyme in our gut (enzyme CYP 3A4) from working properly.

When working properly, this enzyme breaks down and metabolizes many compounds we ingest, including dozens of medications.

When the enzyme is inhibited, like when we’ve consumed grapefruit, this slows down the enzyme. This leads to slowing down of the rate these medications are metabolized and eliminated from the body.

If you slow down metabolism and elimination, this leads to higher than normal levels of medications in the blood – up to 137% higher! This “enhances” their effect and can cause those side effects.

When medications are prescribed at certain doses to be taken in certain time frames, this is based on the medication being metabolized normally – not way-too-slowly.

If you need to replace grapefruit or its juice in your diet, try another fruit or vegetable. Or, talk with your doctor about swapping for another medication that’s not affected by grapefruit.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Since one glass of grapefruit juice can affect the enzyme’s function for over 24-hours, it’s advisable to stop eating the grapefruit or drinking its juice altogether while you’re taking certain medications.

If you love eating grapefruit or drinking its juice and are taking medications, definitely speak with your doctor or pharmacist to see if this affects you. Many medications are not metabolized by this enzyme, and even if they are, this grapefruit effect may not pose a serious risk for all of those medications.

So, now that you know grapefruit’s little secret go find out if you’re affected.

Do you know someone who loves grapefruit or its juice, and is taking medications that have the grapefruit effect? Share this post to let them know that they should double-check with their doctor or pharmacist before enjoying this awesome fruit.

 

Recipe (Tangy Citrusy): Non-Grapefruit Juice or Smoothie
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2 cups pineapple, peeled & chopped
1 cup cucumber, washed & chopped
1 lemon, peeled

INSTRUCTIONS

Juice OR blend pineapple, cucumber and lemon.

Serve over ice & enjoy!

Tip: Top with fresh mint leaves.

 

References:

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/early/2012/11/26/cmaj.120951.full.pdf

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/fiche-nutri-data/nutrient_value-valeurs_nutritives-tc-tm-eng.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit_diet

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/tell-your-doctor-if-you-eat-grapefruit/

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/rr-grapefruit-diet

About Me

Hi, I’m Tracy! I create food solutions to feed your life goals. I’m a Nutritionist, chocoholic + superhero fan. Mom to three, wife to one, crazy about all four, and food! When you work with me you’ll learn to savour life and nourish all that it has to offer.

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5 months ago
Tracy Houle Nutrition
I dont know about you but I have been struggling over these last few months. 

All of the things that Im normally pretty good at like staying positive, eating well, and being active have really been challenging for me during these difficult times.

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And what I found was that I needed a really good plan and some accountability.

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Wanna join me?

Just send me a quick DM with “I’M IN” and I’ll send you more info.

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I don't know about you but I have been struggling over these last few months.

All of the things that I'm normally pretty good at like staying positive, eating well, and being active have really been challenging for me during these difficult times.

I needed an inner shakedown!

And what I found was that I needed a really good plan and some accountability.

Starting on Monday, May 3rd, I'm committing to a 4-week meal plan to revitalize my health and help me shed a few pounds.

Wanna join me?

Just send me a quick DM with “I’M IN” and I’ll send you more info.

#healthfirst
#foodmatters
#nutritionist
#healthylifestyle
#cleaneating
... See MoreSee Less

5 months ago
Tracy Houle Nutrition
TODAY is EARTH DAY 🌳 (which is really everyday) and if you want to know how small changes can add up to a healthier planet 🌏 check out my newest blog (link below) where I do a deep dive into modern agriculture and how it impacts our health, as well as the health of the planet.

 

Actually, not be an ‘askhole’ but I’d really appreciate if you could take the 10 minutes, or so, to read it.

 

When it comes to farming, we’re in a cultural crisis – and it’s never been more important for food production to evolve and it’s us who will make it happen with our buying power.

 

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So, have a read and let me know if you can support your local farmers or share your favourite farm in the comments below.

Two of my favourite local food producers are @farmqueenfoods & @providencehillfarm.ca 
 
https://tracyhoule.com/food_health_climate_change/

TODAY is EARTH DAY 🌳 (which is really everyday) and if you want to know how small changes can add up to a healthier planet 🌏 check out my newest blog (link below) where I do a deep dive into modern agriculture and how it impacts our health, as well as the health of the planet.



Actually, not be an ‘askhole’ but I’d really appreciate if you could take the 10 minutes, or so, to read it.



When it comes to farming, we’re in a cultural crisis – and it’s never been more important for food production to evolve and it’s us who will make it happen with our buying power.



The good news is that smaller scale, environmentally friendly, and regenerative farming practices are playing a big part in helping to restore lost nutrition in our soil and food, and you can “be the change” with my list of what you can do as an individual today!


So, have a read and let me know if you can support your local farmers or share your favourite farm in the comments below.

Two of my favourite local food producers are @farmqueenfoods & @providencehillfarm.ca

tracyhoule.com/food_health_climate_change/
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Very informative. Thanks for sharing !

5 months ago
Tracy Houle Nutrition
Ready for the truth no one wants you to know?

There actually IS a secret tool to getting healthier.

Here’s another secret:
It DOESN’T involve giving up treats and wine forever.

In fact, the way I’ve been able to keep my family and I healthy for the last decade has been largely thanks to the 80/20 rule.

This week’s blog (link below) is ALL about moderation. The word you hear SO MUCH, but never really know how to practically include in your life.

Also on the blog, 15 DELICIOUS (and I mean actually delicious) vegetable recipes.

No, I’m not going to tell you to make a plain salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Let’s talk about VEGGIES that are delicious and taste like our favourite comfort food.

When we start to rekindle our flame with veggies, we remember how good they can taste and how they make us FEEL.

What’s your favourite FUN way to include veggies in your diet? 

https://tracyhoule.com/how-to-rekindle-the-flame-with-vegetables/

Ready for the truth no one wants you to know?

There actually IS a secret tool to getting healthier.

Here’s another secret:
It DOESN’T involve giving up treats and wine forever.

In fact, the way I’ve been able to keep my family and I healthy for the last decade has been largely thanks to the 80/20 rule.

This week’s blog (link below) is ALL about moderation. The word you hear SO MUCH, but never really know how to practically include in your life.

Also on the blog, 15 DELICIOUS (and I mean actually delicious) vegetable recipes.

No, I’m not going to tell you to make a plain salad with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Let’s talk about VEGGIES that are delicious and taste like our favourite comfort food.

When we start to rekindle our flame with veggies, we remember how good they can taste and how they make us FEEL.

What’s your favourite FUN way to include veggies in your diet?

tracyhoule.com/how-to-rekindle-the-flame-with-vegetables/
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

I really enjoyed reading your blog on Veggies! I like the different ideas on how to incorporate more veggies. I love grilled veggies the best but also enjoy making casseroles with different veggies! I cant wait to try some of your new veggie recipes....even the butternut smoothie😬!

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