CAUTION If we are on immunosuppressive agents (if we
have had a transplant) then doctors recommend we avoid grapefruit. This
can create fluctuations in medication levels. Some transplant teams will allow
grapefruit if you agree to eat a set amount each and everyday. Otherwise the
risk of losing a transplanted organ is too great and the transplant team usually
recommends that grapefruit and other citrus be avoided.
Cyclosporin (Sandimmune) has a powerful immunosuppressive activity affecting
especially the T lymphocytes. It is toxic to the human kidney, and there is
fear that prolonged use of the agent could lead to permanent renal damage. It
also increases the growth of hair on the face and body, which can be distressing
to female patients. It is a difficult drug to use because since it is fat soluble
and its absorption is variable. Thus each patient needs to be individually
studied to ensure that the dosage is adequate but not excessive. Grapefruit
juice and Mediterranean oranges and Sun Drop, a citrus soda, contain bergamottin
which enhances the effect of cyclosporin, increasing the level of the drug in
circulation. St. John's wort reduces the concentration of cyclosporin
rendering it less effective.
Grapefruit also interferes with many medications. While taking certain medications your pharmacist or physician may recommend avoiding grapefruit. Something in grapefruit juice blocks the action of specific enzymes needed to absorb and break down certain medications. These enzymes, found in the intestinal wall and liver, are called cytochrome P-450 3A4 and 1A2 (CYP3A4 and CYP1A2, for short). Several constituents of grapefruit juice have been implicated, including specific flavonoids and other phytochemicals called furanocoumarins. Concentration of these compounds varies from one batch of juice to another. By inhibiting the action of these enzymes, grapefruit juice increases your body’s absorption of certain drugs, and also slows the process of breaking them down in the liver. Thus certain drugs affected by these enzymes stay in the body longer than normal.
By inhibiting the action of these enzymes, grapefruit juice increases your body’s absorption of certain drugs, and also slows the process of breaking them down in the liver. Thus certain drugs affected by these enzymes stay in the body longer than normal. These include the calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure, non-sedating antihistamines such as Hismanal (astemizole), certain tranquilizers including Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Halcion (triazolam), and others, a number of cholesterol-lowering drugs, including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin) and other statins, immunosuppressive drugs used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs and antiviral agents used to treat HIV/AIDS.
If you take any of these drugs with grapefruit juice, you may feel a difference. For example, with calcium channel blockers you might notice flushing, headache, an increased heart rate, or blood pressure which is lower than intended. With the tranquilizers, you may notice increased sedation. More dangerous side effects including kidney toxicity and increased susceptibility to infections could develop among those taking immunosuppressive drugs. Grapefruit juice can even enhance your response to caffeine, resulting in nervousness and over-stimulation.
Compounds in grapefruit are known to increase circulating levels of several prescription cholesterol lowering drugs including statins. For this reason, the risk of muscle toxicity associated with statins may increase when grapefruit is consumed. To counteract this, sometimes co-enzyme Q10 is needed. Statins lower the body's level of coenzyme Q10 resulting in muscle pains. Coenzyme Q10 is useful when prescribed statins.
I take no prescribed medications and I eat grapefruit daily. I have found that grapefruit juice freshly squeezed eliminates leg swelling on a prolonged plane or train ride. It also has something in it that keeps the weight stable. I eat and feed my husband a grapefruit each morning. Neither of us takes any prescribed medications. Grapefruit is so useful as a weight loss aide, that they have bottled it and sell grapefruit tablets.
On the lighter side, there is a festival from Menton –The Lemon Festival in Menton – a town located on the coast of the French-Italian border. All the art work is made with grapefruit, lemons, and oranges.
Grapefruit's health benefits can be attributed to its compounds.
1. Decreases leg
2. Cholesterol - Pectin Lowers Cholesterol
3. Anti tumor activity - Lycopene a carotinoid with anti-tumor activity. Helps
eliminate free radicals.
4. Vitamin C supports immune system, reduces inflammation, cold fighter, diminishes
free radicals' harm
5. Limonoids promote the formation in the liver of lutathione-S-transferase,
a detoxifying enzyme. This helps increase the metabolism of estrogen through
6. LDL cholesterol-
Anthocyanin helps raise good cholesterol
7. Kidney stone - Reduce formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones.
8. Weight loss - Grapefruit may help prevent weight gain by lowering insulin
levels. It cuts appetite and burns fat.
9.Tobacco harm reduced the activity of an enzyme that activates cancer-causing
chemicals found in tobacco smoke.
10. Cancer causing toxins - grapefruit works in both Phase I and Phase II (liver
detoxification) to enhance the liver's ability to remove cancer-causing toxins.
11. Naringenin, a flavonoid concentrated in grapefruit, helps repair damaged
DNA in human prostate cancer cell.
I first noticed the helpfulness of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice on a
train/plane from Germany. A very dear friend in Trier, Germany, squeezed
three grapefruits to drink along the way. This was prior to my liver resection.
It was the first time I noticed no swelling at all on the flight home to the
USA.I readily drink grapefruit juice to prevent leg swelling while traveling. Following my liver resection surgery I craved grapefruit. I wanted something
sour and I also craved bitter. Grapefruit has a bit of both flavors.