The nutrients in the food we eat and drink can affect the way prescription and over-the-counter drugs work in our body. Food-drug interactions can diminish the strength of certain drugs or increase absorption causing serious side effects.
Not all medications are affected by food. Some are to be taken on an empty stomach, some are to be taken with food. Some medications are affected by only a particular food. It is important to read the instructions or ask your pharmacist or physician for specific directions before you take any medicine.
Some foods interfere with how the medicine is absorbed by the body. Other can slow down the effect on the body so you get a smaller dose. Some foods block the metabolism of the drug and the body eliminates them in the urine
*Top foods that can interact with medications
Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice:
If you take blood thinners, cholesterol lowering meds, blood pressure drugs, tranquilizers, or anti-depressants, grapefruit juice can affect the enzymes that metabolize the drug and cause potentially serious side effects or make some lifesaving drugs less effective.
Some allergy medications like Allegra are also affected by grapefruit juice. However, not all citrus fruits act in this way.
Grapefruit should also be avoided when taking Valium, Viagra, Zoloft, Claritin, estrogen, methadone, erythromycin and HIV medications. Again the drug’s absorption is affected.
Dairy products affect iron supplements and certain antibiotics like Cipro, Tetracycline and Levaquin so you get less of the compounds circulating in your body.
High Fiber Foods:
Eating high fiber foods such as bran, cereals or muffins can diminish the stomach’s absorption of heart and statin medications such as Lanoxin, Lipitor andZocor. Fiber also can make some antidepressants less effective.
Garlic, Fish Oil, Turmeric (in Curry), Cranberry Juice:
When taken with Coumadin, these foods can cause an increase in the drug’s blood thinning ability.
Taking any medication and drinking alcohol can cause serious side effects. Sedatives, painkillers and alcohol when taken together can result in death.
Green Leafy Vegetables:
The vitamin K in green vegetables like broccoli, kale or spinach when eaten while taking the blood thinner Coumadin can decrease the blood thinning affect and lead to dangerous blood clots.
If eaten with Lanoxin (digoxin) a drug used to treat congestive heart failure and irregular heart rhythmns, black licorice can cause toxicity and stomach upsets. Black licorice can also reduce the effectiveness of some diuretics and blood pressure medications.
Avoid food and drug interactions:
-Always read drug labels and inserts carefully and check for food and drug interactions
-Ask your doctor or pharmacist what foods to avoid when prescribed a new medication.
– If your medication isn’t working effectively or you have bothersome side effects, ask
your doctor or pharmacist about possible food and drug interactions.
-Try to buy all your drug needs at the same pharmacy to keep track of all your medications.
Author’s note: This writer is not a practicing medical professional. Check with your own doctor or pharmacist for any concerns you may have regarding food and drug interactions.