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Unveiling 5 Deadly Food and Medicine Combinations that Pose Threats of Blood Clots and Liver Damage

December 20, 2023

The meds you should never sneak a drink on and how a supposedly healthy food could reverse the effects of lifesaving drugs.

Photo Credit: The Sun


IT’S generally not advised to take medication on an empty stomach – we’re often told to have a bite to eat before popping any pills.

But what we eat has a big effect on how our bodies process medication, and some foods can enhance a drug’s effectiveness, while others can reduce it.

Some drug and food combinations can even result in blood clots or liver damage.

It’s important to read through your medicine leaflet before starting a new medication to check for any foods you’re advised not to eat.

Here are five foods you should never mix with specific medicines to avoid unpleasant complications.

1. Grapefruit and statins

Statins are medicines that lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – also known as ‘bad cholesterol‘ – in your blood.

They include drugs like Lipitor, Lescol, Lipostat, Crestor and Zocor, according to the British Heart Foundation.

The charity warned that you should avoid having grapefruit and grapefruit juice at all costs if you’re taking Lipotor or Zocor, “as it can increase your risk of side effects”.

Side effects from statins can include muscle aches and pains.

“If you take another type of statin, limit your intake of grapefruit juice to very small amounts or avoid it altogether,” the BHF added.

Shamir Patel, pharmacist and founder at Chemist4U, previously said: “Grapefruit] contains a group of chemicals called furanocoumarins that inhibit the time the body takes to break down a drug.

“They stop certain enzymes from working, which can lead to more of the active drug being absorbed into the body than the intended dose.

“Other citrus fruits including limes and Seville oranges are also thought to have the same effect.”

Grapefruit can also amplify the side effects of some blood pressure medications, and certain psychiatric drugs, according to Study Finds.

Calcium channel blockers – which are used to treat high blood pressure and coronary heart disease – and anticoagulants that prevent blood clots from forming were also added to the list by the NHS.

2. Dairy and antibiotics

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt can interfere with the absorption of antibiotics tetracyclines and quinolones, Study Finds said.

The calcium binds to the antibiotic in the digestive tract, reducing its absorption and effectiveness.

To avoid this, it’s better to take antibiotics a few hours before or after you eat dairy.

Meanwhile, Shamir said you should be careful about eating mature and aged cheeses and meats when you’re taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors for depression.

He explained that aged and smoked food – including Camembert, Gouda, salami and pastrami – contains an amino acid called tyramine.

“Monoamine oxidase inhibitor drugs, prescribed for conditions such as depression and chemotherapy, reduce the body’s ability to process tyramine,” the pharmacist added.

“That puts you at risk of side effects including a severe increase in blood pressure, chest pain and rapid heartbeat.”









3. Leafy greens and blood thinners

If you take blood thinners like warfarin, it’s a good idea to pay attention to how many leafy greens you’re eating.

Touted for their health benefits, foods like spinach, kale and brocolli are also rich in vitamin K, which plays a role in how your blood clots.

Shamir said: “Kale, along with other leafy green vegetables such as spinach and romaine lettuce, can reverse the effects of blood thinning medication such as warfarin, increasing blood clotting.

“Experts advise you don’t have to avoid eating these foods entirely if you’re on warfarin – just don’t gorge on it.”

4. Booze and painkillers

There’s certain meds we never drink on, like antibiotics.

But some painkillers, antidepressants and diabetes medications could also cause a range of complications when they interact with booze.

These interactions can lead to dizziness, drowsiness, liver damage, and other serious complications, Study Finds said.

Alcohol Change UK warned you should never mix alcohol with: antibiotics metronidazole and tinidazole, or monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants.

Meanwhile, Drinkaware said: “Drinking within the UK low risk drinking guidelines while taking a standard dose of most over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen is unlikely to cause any problems.”

But it said alchohol should be avoided if you’re taking prescription-only painkillers, such as tramadol, gabapentin and codeine and other morphine-like drugs.

“Consuming alcohol alongside these medications can be dangerous, leading to severe drowsiness and other side effects, such as nausea,” the charity went on.

5. Coffee and anti-psychotics

Anti-psychotic medicines can help treat people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder.

But taking the pills with caffeine – in the form of tea or coffee – can make your body absorb less of these medications than if you take them with water, according to Health.

Meanwhile, Study Finds said caffeine could increase the side effects of some anti-psychotic and ADHD medications, leading to increased heart rate and blood pressure.


Culled from The Sun

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