Is Grapefruit Good for You?

Grapefruit is a weird fruit. It has so many health benefits, including helping healthy cholesterol. It is chock-full of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. But it can have detrimental impacts of many drugs, including medications for cholesterol. We want to take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of grapefruit but, before adding it to your diet, speak to your doctor about whether or not you should eat it.
The fruit, especially the red variety, has helped cholesterol levels in studies. Researchers gave three groups the same low-fat, low-cal diet. One group also ate white grapefruit, one ate red and one had none. Both groups of grapefruit-eaters had markedly lower LDL cholesterol levels. The folks in the red grapefruit group also had better triglyceride levels. Red grapefruit generally has more antioxidants than white. This might explain the difference in the results. From aiding blood sugar, supporting the immune system, helping weight loss and more, grapefruit is a highly beneficial fruit.
However, for people on some drugs, including some statins, grapefruit can have unwanted side effects. Grapefruit can hinder an enzyme in the liver that breaks down drugs, leaving too much of the medication in your blood. This, in turn, can damage the kidneys, liver, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, the interaction may cause higher blood sugar, muscle damage, neurological problems and joint and muscle pain. Most prescriptions have a note on the label if they interact with grapefruit. However, it’s always important to speak to your doctor about possible drug interactions with diet. It’s important to know what food or medications can upset your drugs. It’s also important to understand time frames for how long chemicals stay in your system. You can’t eat grapefruit and then wait a few hours to take your statin. It can take three days for grapefruit to clear your body.
Not all statins have the same adverse reaction to grapefruit. Different types of statins are broken down by assorted enzymes. Drugs that are broken down by the enzyme CYP3A4 are impacted by grapefruit, other statins are not. However, statins aren’t the only medications that rely on CYP3A4 — 85 drugs are affected by grapefruit — so it’s best to discuss everything you’re taking.

September 19, 2019

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