Food and drug interactions render a prescription ineffective
It’s important to be aware of what you’re eating when taking medications. According to Stephen Dahmer, M.D., of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing, some foods can render a prescription ineffective or increase the risk of experiencing dangerous side effects.
Here’s a list of five healthy foods that can interact dangerously with common prescriptions:
Grapefruit juice: Vitamin C, fiber and potassium are just a few of the health perks of grapefruit juice. However, just one glass of grapefruit goodness interferes with important intestinal enzymes, making it difficult for some 85 different prescriptions to enter the blood stream, including: statins (Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor), immunosuppressants, calcium-channel blockers (Plendil, Sular, Procardia), and benzodiazepines (Valium, Triazolam, Halcion).
Bananas: A potassium powerhouse, the banana is typically a good choice for those seeking to reduce their risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. However, eating too many potassium-rich foods (bananas, oranges and green, leafy vegetables) can be problematic, if a person is taking ACE inhibitors.
Cranberry juice: A go-to natural remedy for urinary tract infections, cranberry juice contains chemicals that may dangerously amplify the effect of Lipitor and other statin medications, according to recent research.
Spinach: Along with its cruciferous cousin—broccoli—spinach receives high praise in health food circles for its vitamin K content and minimal calorie count. But, for people taking blood thinners, including Warfarin (Coumadin), munching too much of this green vegetable can be bad.
High-fiber foods: Dietary fiber; the kind found in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, is a nutritional powerhouse. Fiber has been proven to play a role in reducing a person’s risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also help relieve constipation and promote healthy weight management. But the fiber slows the rate at which the stomach empties and Dahmer cautions that it may also slow the rate at which medications are absorbed into the blood stream, like antibiotics.
Talk to your doctor, if you have concerns about how your diet may impact your prescriptions and be sure to thoroughly read the labels on all medications to learn what foods to avoid.
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