Danger of GrapefruitThe main danger of grapefruit, or grapefruit juice, is the effect on many prescription medications. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal (26th November 2012), the list of medications which interact with grapefruit is over 85 and still growing. In about half of these cases, side-effects can be very serious.
Grapefruit IngredientsGrapefruit contains many polyphenolic compounds. The ones we are concerned about are:
- The flavanone Naringin
- 6',7' Dihydroxybergamottin
Other bioactive grapefruit compounds can also interfere with P-glycoprotein and OATP's (Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptides). These compounds either increase or decrease bioavailability of many prescription medications. Pomelo is an Asian fruit (which was crossed with an orange to produce grapefruit) and also contains high levels of furanocoumarin derivatives. Other grapefruit and pomelo relatives contain variable amounts of furanocoumarins. Seville oranges (often used in marmalade), limes and tangelos (a cross between tangerines and grapefruit) contain furanocoumarins, but Navel and Valencia oranges no not contain furanocoumarins, so these are generally safe.
Another problem with grapefruit is that it blocks absorption of some medications, such as the antihistamine fexofenadine (Allegra).
Why do we need these enzymes? To detox (eliminate) poisons, and especially drugs, as most drugs are poisons.
Drugs are poisons?Many doctors refuse to admit that prescription medications are popisons, but it is true.
The definition of a poison in biology is:
"Poisons are substances that cause disturbances in organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when an organism absorbs a sufficient quantity."
Of course, doctors also say "the poison is in the dose" meaning that many poisons are harmless in small doses, like Cyanide, which is harmlessly disposed of by the kidneys in urine in small doses, but used in the USA in some States to kill people given a death penalty.
Everyone knows that almost any prescription medication is deadly in large doses, so indeed they are poisonous, depending on the dose.
Often there is a fine line between an appropriate use of a drug and a poisonous dose. Even some health supplements can also be poisonous in a large dose or in a long-term situation.
Common painkillers like Paracetamol (Acetaminophen in the USA) can cause liver damage even at the recommended daily maximum if taken continuously. See my article on Pain for more info.
Some people can tolerate large doses of some toxic substance, where others can die from the same substance at the same dose. The difference is generally because some people have a healthier detoxification system than others. Detox pathways are many and varied, and include the lymphatic system, the kidneys, the livers, many enzymes, etc.
The Cytochrome P-450 Detox Pathway EnzymeThe human liver manufactures many things the body needs, including over 50,000 different enzymes, each responsible for a particular bodily function.
Of course, if we have a nutritionally poor diet, we often do not have all of the amino acids and other basic components to manufacture every enzyme, and this is why bad nutrition makes us sick.
If we block the Cytochrome P-450 detox pathway enzyme, the result can be acute kidney failure, respiratory failure, internal bleeding and sudden death.
All from eating a grapefruit!
Eating a single helping of grapefruit can affect us even if it is consumed hours before a drug is taken, and frequent grapefruit consumption is a bigger problem. When people combine a glass of grapefruit juice with Simvaststin (a common cholesterol-lowering drug) once daily, after 3 days the statin concentration has increased 300%. Regular readers of my articles will know that I believe statin drugs should never be taken except in extreme circumstances as they do more harm than any benefit received. Multiplying the harmful effects three times is extremely dangerous for statins, and for some other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, could be fatal.
Furanocoumarins are made by plants to defend against attacks from insects, so can be toxic, and can sometimes cause a sunlight-sensitive skin rash.
For some 40 years, allergies have been increasing, with citrus fruits becoming more of an allergy problem. For all allergy sufferers, the first thing to do is to clean up the diet by eating only very basic, fresh, unprocessed foods, and re-introduce suspect foods gradually.
The drugs are the real problem rather than grapefruit, but the moral of the story is:
Avoid grapefruit, tangelos, limes, seville oranges and marmalade, especially if taking any prescription medication.
There may be other detoxing problems we do not even know about.
MushroomsIf we have eaten a lot of furanocoumarin-containing foods, we can help clear furanocoumarins by eating mushrooms.
Mushrooms generally are good for us, especially vegetarians or vegans, being the only non-meat product that contains vitamin B-12.
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DisclaimerLeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been studying nutrition and health since 2011 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia - Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia - Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia - Chemistry - Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA - Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA - Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA - Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA - Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA - Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England - Inside Cancer
WebMD - The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
LeanMachine has now read thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.
Updated 11th December 2016, Copyright © 1999-2017 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285