Grapefruit juice can be deadly: scientists have found strong evidence
Grapefruit is a rather controversial fruit. Nutritionists claim that the fruit has anti-sclerotic and tonic properties, and is good for the digestive tract and metabolism. However, recent studies have shown that grapefruit juice can be deadly.
Healthy eaters often drink grapefruit juice for breakfast because it is rich in beneficial vitamins and minerals. The Science Alert publication told us what irrefutable evidence of the danger of this type of juice scientists have found.
When grapefruit juice can be deadly
The chemical compounds furanocoumarins, which are found in high concentrations in grapefruit, can reduce or enhance the effect of certain medications. This leads to dangerously low - or, more often, dangerously high - levels of these drugs in the body.
The compound bergamotin is also found in pomelos and bergamot oranges, and dihydroxybergamottin in pomelos and Seville oranges, the latter of which are often used to make marmalade.
As pharmacologist Shiv Mei Huang of the FDA explained, "Grapefruit juice allows more drugs to enter the bloodstream. And when you have too much medicine in your bloodstream, you can experience more side effects."
Chemical properties of the interaction between grapefruit and drugs
The body - mainly in the liver and small intestine - produces an enzyme called cytochrome P450 3A4 (or CYP3A4). It helps to break down small foreign molecules, such as toxins or medications, so that the digestive system can eliminate them. It is the cytochrome that plays a crucial role in the metabolism of many drugs.
At the same time, furanocoumarins interfere with the ability to produce or effectively utilize cytochrome CYP3A4.
The danger of one glass of juice
Scientists have proven that just one glass of grapefruit juice can interfere with the production of CYP3A4, and repeated consumption reduces the activity of cytochrome in the liver.
This reduces the ability of the gastrointestinal tract to metabolize certain oral medications. As a result, a larger amount of the drug enters the bloodstream. The medicine stays in the body longer, creating an overdose effect, even if you took the correct dose.
By the way, the types of medications that grapefruit affects are very diverse: from cholesterol and blood pressure pills to cancer drugs and antidepressants.
At the same time, in the case of fexofenadine, an antihistamine, grapefruit consumption reduces the effectiveness of the active ingredient.
The body's reaction can be quite unpredictable:
- heart palpitations begin;
- destruction of muscle tissue occurs;
- shortness of breath begins;
- gastrointestinal bleeding occurs;
- symptoms of kidney failure, etc.
In extreme cases, these interactions can be fatal.
So if you are taking medication, ask your doctor what the interaction of a particular drug with grapefruit may be. It's better not to take any risks and drink a glass of water with your pills.
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