7 Medications That Don’t Mix With Grapefruit and Its Juice

Grapefruit and its juice are unquestionably nutritious additions to your diet. With vitamin C galore and plenty of potassium, this fruit may support a healthy immune system, improve skin health, reduce blood pressure, and more, as research suggests.

Unfortunately, though, for all their sunny health benefits, they have one particularly notable risk. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with a variety of medications, making them either less or more effective, and sometimes causing extra side effects.

If you’ve ever been told not to eat grapefruit while on a certain mediation, it may have seemed like a strange caveat — what’s the deal with this particular fruit? “When you take certain medications, they are broken down (metabolized) with the help of a vital enzyme called CYP3A4 in the small intestine,” says Alyssa Pike, RD, of the International Food Information Council in Washington, DC. “Grapefruit juice can block the action of intestinal CYP3A4, so instead of being metabolized, more of the drug enters the blood and stays in the body longer.” The result: too much medication in your system.

Oddly enough, however, in some cases, grapefruit can actually have the opposite effect. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), its enzymes can decrease the effectiveness of proteins called drug transporters, which help the cells absorb medication. When this happens, less of a drug enters the bloodstream.

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