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Grapefruit is good for you!

It’s a vitamin C-rich citrus fruit that’s low in sugar and contains vitamin A, potassium, and fibre. It has a low glycemic index and does not spike your blood sugar when you eat it. The pink and red varieties also contain lycopene.

It’s definitely a nutritious health-promoting food.

It even had a whole weight-loss diet created around it – the “grapefruit diet!” Research has proven that grapefruit doesn’t have any magical weight loss properties, so don’t eat it just to lose weight.

But…

There is something you need to know about grapefruit if you take medications.

Grapefruit-Medication Interaction
Grapefruit enhances the effects of many medications – over 85 at last count; this is sometimes called the “grapefruit effect.” Taking grapefruit (or its juice) along with certain medications – even a day apart – can increase the risk of side effects.

For example, when taken with certain blood pressure lowering medications it lowers blood pressure too much. This causes lightheadedness and other symptoms.

Another example is when taken with certain birth control pills, women have a higher risk of blood clots.

Grapefruit affects the metabolism of some of the following categories of medications:
● Blood pressure
● Birth control
● Chemotherapy
● Anti-infection
● Cholesterol-lowering
● Immunosuppressive and anti-rejection
● Urinary tract agents
● Some
● over-the-counter cough medication
When the medication is taken within 24-72 hours of consuming grapefruit or its juice (yes, up to three days later!), there can be an interaction and potential side effect. In fact, for half of the medications affected, the grapefruit effect can be serious. Serious effects include heart and muscle issues and kidney toxicity, just to name a few.

How does this even happen, and why is grapefruit special?

How does grapefruit interact with medications?

Grapefruit (as well as Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos) contain a compound called “furanocoumarin.” It’s this compound that inhibits (stops) an enzyme in our gut (enzyme CYP 3A4) from working properly.

When working properly, this enzyme breaks down and metabolizes many compounds we ingest, including dozens of medications.

When the enzyme is inhibited, like when we’ve consumed grapefruit, this slows down the enzyme. This leads to slowing down of the rate these medications are metabolized and eliminated from the body.

If you slow down metabolism and elimination, this leads to higher than normal levels of medications in the blood – up to 137% higher! This “enhances” their effect and can cause those side effects.

When medications are prescribed at certain doses to be taken in certain time frames, this is based on the medication being metabolized normally – not way-too-slowly.

If you need to replace grapefruit or its juice in your diet, try another fruit or vegetable. Or, talk with your doctor about swapping for another medication that’s not affected by grapefruit.

Conclusion

Since one glass of grapefruit juice can affect the enzyme’s function for over 24-hours, it’s advisable to stop eating the grapefruit or drinking its juice altogether while you’re taking certain medications.

If you love eating grapefruit or drinking its juice and are taking medications, definitely speak with your doctor or pharmacist to see if this affects you. Many medications are not metabolized by this enzyme, and even if they are, this grapefruit effect may not pose a serious risk for all of those medications.

So, now that you know grapefruit’s little secret go find out if you’re affected.

Do you know someone who loves grapefruit or its juice, and is taking medications that have the grapefruit effect? Share this post to let them know that they should double-check with their doctor or pharmacist before enjoying this awesome fruit.

Recipe (Tangy Citrusy): Non-Grapefruit Juice

Serves 2

2 cups pineapple, peeled & chopped
1 cup cucumber, washed & chopped
1 lemon, peeled

Instructions

Juice pineapple, cucumber and lemon.

Serve over ice & enjoy!

Tip: Top with fresh mint leaves.

References:

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/early/2012/11/26/cmaj.120951.full.pdf

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/fiche-nutri-data/nutrient_value-valeurs_nutritives-tc-tm-eng.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit_diet

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/tell-your-doctor-if-you-eat-grapefruit/

Research Review: The grapefruit diet – fad or science?

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired.  Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!   And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you.  Right? Well, maybe…

     Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat.  This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.   Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kind of knew that already, didn’t we? You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.   Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods).  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don’t need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.  Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.  Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?  When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

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This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days. If yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?   Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.  Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
● Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
● Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.  Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

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