What could be harmful about health foods like grapefruit, licorice and kale?
While everyone can benefit from their nutrients and vitamins, they are also known to disrupt the efficacy of some prescription drugs. Recently, a study found that grapefruit juice may interact with more prescription drugs than previously thought. According to the researchers' estimations, grapefruit has the potential to interact negatively with 85 different prescription drugs that are currently on the market, including popular statins like Lipitor, Zocor and Mevacor and the anticoagulant Plavix.
"The number of drugs on the market with the potential to produce serious adverse and in many cases life-threatening effects when combined with grapefruit has markedly increased over the past few years from 17 to 43 in four years," said lead researcher David Bailey, from the Lawson Health Research Institute in Ontario, Canada, according to HealthDay.
That's because grapefruit contains the compound furanocoumarin, which blocks the enzyme cytochrome P450 3A4, used to metabolize many drugs. If the enzyme is blocked, the drug can quickly reach toxic levels in the blood stream. The researchers counseled consumers to look for three warning signs that their medication might interact poorly with grapefruit: drugs taken orally, drugs with low absorption rates and drugs that are metabolized with cytochrome P450 3A4.