Substance in fruit juice could affect absorption of medications

August 20, 2008 in Healthy Eating, Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Substance in fruit juice could affect absorption of medications

Drinking grapefruit, apple or orange juice may decrease the benefits of taking certain medications - some for life-threatening conditions, say researchers from the University of Western Ontario.

In this new study presented at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting, healthy volunteers took an antihistamine with grapefruit juice or water. Drug absorption was monitored and compared between those who drink juice and those who drink water.

Compared to those who downed the pill with water, people who took the antihistamine with grapefruit juice absorbed only half the drug.

Researchers believe a substance in grapefruit juice - naringin - can block a key transporter that shuttles drug compounds from the small intestine to the bloodstream, leading to decreased absorption.

Naringin, which is responsible for the bitter taste of grapefruit, is also found in orange and apple juices. These juices have been found to reduce the absorption of beta-blockers for heart disease and antibiotics. 

Due to previous research supporting the "grapefruit juice effect", health professionals often warn people not to drink grapefruit juice while taking these medications. 

This study reveals that orange and apple juices can also alter the effectiveness of medications for cancer, heart disease, and prevention of organ rejection after a transplant.  

To prevent possible drug-nutrient interactions, this study's author suggests taking medication with only water to avoid the risk of lowered effectiveness.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.