Delaware County Medicine & Health Spring 2017 - 16

FEATURE

Grapefruit: Friend or Foe?
A Pharmacist's Perspective
The Good
Grapefruit, a popular citrus fruit, is both delicious in
taste and offers many health benefits. The United States
is one of the largest suppliers of grapefruit worldwide,
producing over 60% of the supply. It is an abundant
source of vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, and fiber.
This widely popular fruit known for its potential benefits such as weight loss and cholesterol reduction. Fresh
grapefruit is available from California and Arizona in
many colors such as red, pink, white, and golden. Red
grapefruit is known as the healthiest because it has the
highest amount of antioxidants which help fight certain
cancers like prostate and esophageal. Additionally, grapefruit extract was found to be effective against certain
bacteria when treating urinary tract infections.

The Bad
There are over 80 drugs that can interact with
fresh grapefruit or grape fruit juice in general and
over 40 drugs that cause very serious adverse effects. One reason is because a substance in grapefruit blocks the ability of certain medications to
breakdown in the body. If the medication cannot
properly break down, its levels can build up. This
leads to unwanted side effects of that medication.
On the other hand, fresh grapefruit and grapefruit
juice also contain a substance that blocks certain
medications from working. Some people try to
avoid these drug interactions by eating grapefruit
or drinking grapefruit juice several hours before or
after their medication. According to the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA), even drinking grapefruit juice several hours before or after taking the
medicine might still be dangerous. Therefore, the
best way to avoid side effects is to limit grapefruit
juice or fresh grapefruit consumption while taking
certain medications.

14 DELAWARE COUNTY MEDICINE & HEALTH

spring 2017

According to the American Heart Association,
grapefruit can also lower risk of stroke in women and
improves blood pressure and overall heart health. Red
grapefruit has also been shown to lower cholesterol
levels. Furthermore, grapefruit has high contents of
water and fiber which promotes digestive system health
and prevents constipation. The vitamin C component is
beneficial to the skin and can lower the risk for asthma.
All in all, this fruit is a real winner and offers many health
benefits. However, it is important to realize that grapefruit has an ugly side; it causes many dangerous drug
interactions.



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