In Feb of 2006 a study was published showing the beneficial results that grapefruit, especially the red type, can have on one’s triglyceride level (part of your lipid panel). This study also showed that grapefruit has powerful antioxidant effects as well.
This was great news, especially for those with elevated cholesterol panels and atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the vessels). As with everything though, it didn’t mean you should run out and start eating tons of grapefruit.
The downside to grapefruit is that it interacts with a certain metabolic pathway (CYP3A4) and that pathway plays a big part in the metabolism of many, many medications including the ones you may take to reduce your cholesterol level.
What medications are involved? Think blood pressure medication, benzodiazepines (that’s the valium/xanax family), some seizure and allergy medication, many of the statins (used to lower cholesterol, think lipitor and family), anti-fungal medications, estrogens, caffeine, some antibiotics and some antidepressants. Coumadin or warfarin is also affected, as they are with most everything.
One study looked at how long grapefruit inhibits the CYP3A4 pathway and found effects even 7 days after the ingestion of grapefruit juice in healthy individuals. This could be radically different in someone who is taking medication for a problem. They also found in order to avoid this interaction, one should take no have any grapefruit within 3 days of the medication.
So if you took something daily well, that meant no grapefruit.
New information is coming out all the time as more and more medications are tested and more is learned about the metabolic pathways of medication and food.
If you are like me and love grapefruit, please check with your health care provider or pharmacists regarding any potential interactions and to stay up to date with the latest information.