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Should you be drinking grapefruit juice?

Written by Diane Archer
Grapefruit juice, which is filled with vitamin C and potassium, can be part of a healthy diet. But, according to the FDA, you might want to avoid drinking grapefruit juice if you are taking certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs to avoid harmful side effects. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist about possible interactions.
Grapefruit juice and, more generally, citrus fruits and juices can interact with certain medications and cause harmful  and even dangerous side effects. People with high blood pressure and arrhythmia should be particularly cautious. Sometimes, a substitute medication does not cause these side effects.
Potentially harmful interactions can occur regardless of when you eat or drink citrus products. But, dangers side effects depend on your body, the drugs you take, and how much juice you drink. Citrus products contain chemicals that can keep enzymes from doing their job in your digestive system. They therefore may not allow drugs to leave your body when they should, putting too much of the drugs in your blood and causing you harm. Or, your medicines may not remain in your body as long as they should, failing to work properly.
A wide range of drugs can interact with citrus products in harmful ways, including statins like Zocor and Lipitor that lower cholesterol. Grapefruit juice and other citrus products can also cause harmful interactions with prescription drugs like Procardia and Adalat, which treat high blood pressure, and buspirone, which treats anxiety, and some antihistamines like Allegra.
Of course, vitamins are important for your health and well-being. Most people can get all the vitamins they need from a healthy diet. And, you can save money avoiding vitamin supplements. There is little evidence that vitamin supplements provide the nutrients most people need. And, they too, present risks.
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