Eating fruits and vegetables can pave way for a long and healthy life has been known for years. Recent research has pointed out that fruits and vegetables can cause dangerous interactions when taken along with medicines. Foods can increase or decrease the activity and toxicity of orally administered drugs. The effect does not hold good for drugs administered intravenously.
One of the most studied or well documented of these effects is the one involving grape juice. Consumption of grape juice has been known to inhibit the functioning of the CYP3A4 enzymes, that are responsible for the metabolism of more than 60 percent of orally administered drugs.
AdvertisementDrugs that have been known to interact with grapefruit include anti-infectives, anti-inflammatory drugs, cardiovascular agents, central nervous system agents, estrogens, gastrointestinal agents, Histamine H1 antagonists, immunosuppressants, and erectile dysfunction drugs. Caution has to be taken in particular with sedatives like triazolam, midazolam and diazepam that could cause excessive sedation in patients with dental problems.
As little as 6.0 oz of grapefruit juice may lower the amount of a drug needed to produce the desired effect, resulting in overdose. The components of grapefruit juice believed to be clinically active are also found in limes, pumellos, and Seville oranges. Natural food products, citrus products and cabernet sauvignon wine are also known to interact with drugs. This interaction can increase the concentration of drugs in the bloodstream and enhance their potency, which can result in toxicity.
While most people know to ask their pharmacists about possible interactions between medicines, many don't realize they should also be asking about the food interactions with drugs. Hence caution is needed while taking fruits along with medications. There are probably more food and beverage interactions that have not yet been discovered.