Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2017 - 26

M e d i c a l R e c o R d F e at u R e

Grapefruit: Friend of Foe?

A Pharmacist's Perspective
by Kristin Motely, PharmaD, & Rebecca Vayalumkal, Student Pharmacist,
University of the Sciences and Philadelphia College of Pharmacy

The Good

Article reprinted courtesy of Delaware County Medical Society.

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 is 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 grapefruit 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.
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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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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Medical Society Medical Record Summer 2017

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