Talk to a board certified doctor
in just a few minutes!

Can Grapefruit Endanger Your Health?

Written by Courteney

Posted on March 31, 2017 at 8:32 pm

While grapefruits offer valuable health profits to most of us, including such as vitamins A, B1, C, fiber, potassium and lycopene, they can make quite the dangerous snack choice for people taking certain medications.

How Does Grapefruit Juice Interfere With Medications?

The bitter fruit contains furanocoumarins, which are compounds that block CYP34A enzymes. CYP34A enzymes are responsible for metabolizing certain drugs and toxins in the body. Because grapefruit prevents the body from properly breaking certain drugs down, blood levels of the medications can rise which can lead to a build up of toxins, or increased risk of side effects. For certain medications it can even be a life-threatening ordeal.

Can You Just Space Them Apart?

Not really. You would think you can just take your medicine a different time in the day than you drink your grapefruit juice, but an interaction can still occur. Because of this, you may have to cut out grapefruits completely while you’re taking the particular medication.

Do Other Citrus Foods Cause Interact Too?

According to a registered dietitian who works with the Mayo Clinic, Katherine Zeratsky, some other citrus fruits may possibly interfere with medications as well, such as Seville oranges. It is best to check with your doctor or pharmacist about any possible interactions with new medications.

What Type of Medications Are Affected?

Grapefruit can interact with many different medications. Many of which involve those that help fight infection, reduce blood pressure or cholesterol, prevent organ transplant rejection, gout medication, as well as some analgesics. A few common medications that aren’t compatible with grapefruit include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Warfarin
  • Colchicine
  • Artemether
  • Lipitor
  • Methylprednisolone

Check out RxList for a more complete list of medications that interact with grapefruit.

Do Grapefruits Pose Any Other Potential Health Dangers?

Other potential problems grapefruit may pose to health include:

  • Breast cancer – While the link isn’t fully established, one 2007 study did illustrate a higher risk for breast cancer among postmenopausal women who consumed more grapefruit. Other studies have been inconclusive or saw no increased risk.
  • Skin cancersome studies have illustrated a link between consuming moderate-to-large amounts of grapefruit or orange juice and an increased risk of developing skin cancer. More research is needed to draw a clearer conclusion on this subject.
  • Hormone-related conditions – grapefruit may elevate levels of estrogen in the blood of women taking oral contraceptives, or may interfere with certain conditions involving estrogen production.

The bottom line is to always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are wondering about a potential medication interaction, especially when it comes to this sour fruit! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

Talk to a board certified doctor
just in few minutes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Try DocChat!

(2 Minute Registration)

App Store

Google Play


* Disclaimer: DocChat is intended as a complementary service to your primary care physician. It is intended for use by those seeking acute health care in non-emergency situations. DocChat does not prescribe DEA-controlled substances, narcotics, or drugs that may potentially be abused. DocChat is not a replacement for your primary care doctor and will only provide short-term prescriptions if medically necessary. If you have an emergency, call 911. If you have a chronic illness, please see your primary care physician. DocChat does not guarantee that our doctors will prescribe medication. DocChat reserves the right to refuse service to any patients it deems to be abusing the intended service or seeking prescriptions beyond a reasonable amount.