Why you should think twice before eating grapefruit and taking medication

Grapefruit can seriously effect your medication [Photo: Getty]

There are certain things we know could impact the effectiveness of our medication.

How regularly you take it, whether or not you take it on an empty stomach and of course, whether you drink alcohol.

But it turns out that grapefruit can have a pretty big impact on medication, too.

Nurse and first aid trainer Emma Hammett, of First Aid For Life, explains in a piece for the Hippocratic Post that at least 53 medications can be made less effective by the citrus fruit and warns that people taking certain drugs should take extra care when deciding whether to eat or drink it.

Apparently, grapefruit contains a compound, which interferes with an enzyme in the small intestine, responsible for breaking down nearly half of all medicines.

As a result, the fruit can make medicines too strong or not strong enough by impacting how well your body absorbs them.

More scientifically, grapefruit contains a compound called furanocoumarin, which inhibits a vital enzyme in the small intestine responsible for breaking down many medicines.

The furanocoumarins within grapefruit can block the action of this enzyme so instead of breaking it down, more of the drug enters the blood and stays in the body for longer.

But the amount of that particular enzyme can differ from person to person, so grapefruit may impact people’s medication in different ways.

The NHS advises checking with your GP before having grapefruit with medication [Photo: Getty]

And the amount of grapefruit juice you have to chug to have an impact on your medication is actually surprisingly low.

According to Hammett, just a single glass can make a difference, reducing the production of the intestinal enzyme that regulates how much we absorb by almost half (47%).

And grapefruit isn’t the only fruit to impact medication taking either. Seville oranges could actually have the same effect.

For anyone concerned about the impact grapefruit might have on medication, the NHS recommends asking your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

It’s not all bad press for the humble grapefruit, however, the fruit is actually rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fibre, making it one of the healthiest citrus fruits on the chopping block.

Research also reveals that it could also have some powerful health benefits, including weight loss and a reduced risk of heart disease.

You can view the full checklist here. 

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