Wednesday, November 28, 2012


In an alarming report food-drug interaction is claimed to be a serious concern that deserves much more attention and focus in future. Who ever will suspect that Grapefruit consumption can cause problem to those who take regular medications for managing life style diseases like blood pressure which can even pose life threatening risks in some cases? After all citrus fruits in general are considered a valuable source of Vitamin C and many health boosting phyto chemicals and if the reports are true, there is an urgent need to open up investigations for bringing out such dangers with regard to other foods also. Here is a gist of the findings of some scientists which deserve serious attention by nutritionists and medical community alike.

The fruit can cause overdoses of some drugs by stopping the medicines being broken down in the intestines and the liver. The researchers who first identified the link said the number of drugs that became dangerous with grapefruit was increasing rapidly. They were writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The team at the Lawson Health Research Institute in Canada said the number of drugs which had serious side effects with grapefruit had gone from 17 in 2008 to 43 in 2012. They include some drugs for a range of conditions including blood pressure, cancer and cholesterol-lowering statins and those taken to suppress the immune system after an organ transplant.Continue reading the main story "Start QuoteOne tablet with a glass of grapefruit juice can be like taking five or 10 tablets with a glass of water" Dr David Bailey. Chemicals in grapefruit, furanocoumarins, wipe out an enzyme which breaks the drugs down. It means much more of the drug escapes the digestive system than the body can handle. Three times the levels of one blood pressure drug, felodipine, was reported after patients had a glass of grapefruit juice compared with a glass of water. The side effects are varied depending on the drug, but include stomach bleeds, altered heart beat, kidney damage and sudden death. Dr David Bailey, one of the researchers, told the BBC: "One tablet with a glass of grapefruit juice can be like taking five or 10 tablets with a glass of water and people say I don't believe it, but I can show you that scientifically it is sound. "So you can unintentionally go from a therapeutic level to a toxic level just by consuming grapefruit juice." The report said: "We contend that there remains a lack of knowledge about this interaction in the general health care community." They added: "Unless health care professionals are aware of the possibility that the adverse event they are seeing might have an origin in the recent addition of grapefruit to the patient's diet, it is very unlikely that they will investigate it." Other citrus fruits such as Seville oranges, often used in marmalade, and limes have the same effect. Neal Patel, from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: "Grapefruit isn't the only food that can cause issues, for example milk can stop the absorption of some antibiotics if taken at the same time. "Although some of these interactions may not be clinically significant, some may lead to more serious outcomes.

Inter disciplinary interactions among scientists are increasingly becoming more and more relevant in the light of the above findings. Already mankind is facing a health crisis due to shifting dietary habits with predominance of calorie rich foods, over use of antibiotics and use in feeds to animals, emergence of more and more virulent pathogens resistant to most antibiotics known to day, wide scale food contamination episodes linked food and environmental deterioration. If drug-food interactions become a serious concern, a total rethinking may be necessary on future life styles, if a major calamity is to be averted.


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