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.
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