You may have heard that grape juice can seriously interfere with various medications – including many blood pressure medications.
A new study, published in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, takes this knowledge a step further by proving that another common juice is even deadlier when used with blood pressure medications.
It has already claimed several lives.
As if that wasn’t enough, two more juices were found to completely neutralize the blood pressure medications, causing false security.
In a 2016 article that gave practical advice to clinicians in the Natural Medicine Journal, researchers explained that many drugs, upon ingestion, were first processed in your small intestine by a chemical called cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) before they started to circulate through your body. This is true for approximately 50% of all drugs.
Under normal conditions, these chemicals ensure that these drugs are available in only small amounts, letting them do their work before your liver finally disposes of them and prepares them for excretion.
The big problem with grapefruit juice is that the furanocoumarins and flavonoids in it reduce the activity of CYP3A4. This, in turn, means that the drugs are not first processed by it, and will appear in your body in insanely high and toxic amounts.
The consequences of this could include extremely low blood pressure, dangerously irregular heartbeats, unconsciousness, and difficulty breathing.
Blood pressure and cholesterol drugs are right at the top of the list of drugs that are processed by CYP3A4, and these can be made toxic through the consumption of grapefruit juice.
A small, 200 mL glass of grapefruit juice, or even an entire grapefruit, can make these drugs toxic for anywhere between 24 hours to three days.
Since the first batch of studies, some researchers have found that pmelo, pomegranate, cranberry, and even apple and orange juice can have similar effects.
This finding prompted Chinese scientists to do a systematic review of the literature recently, in order to find out just how dangerous blood pressure and cholesterol drugs can be when taken with juice or any fruit other than grapefruit.
They analyzed 46 medical trials.
It was found that the calcium channel antagonist felodipine could become toxic when taken with seville orange juice (also called bitter or sour orange).
This popular drug for high blood pressure has even been found to have caused some deaths when taken on the same day as the consumption of this juice.
Normal orange juice, in turn, rendered most blood pressure drugs useless by causing them to be excreted before they could be able to do anything.
This was true for direct renin inhibitors, like aliskiren, and for beta-blockers, like atenolol and celiprolol.
Beta-blockers block the effects of epinephrine (adrenaline) and are often prescribed for cases such as irregular heartbeats, chest pain, and other heart conditions.
Apple juice neutralizes some beta-blockers, and pomelo juice was found to neutralize the drug for high blood pressure, (vasodilator) sildenafil, thereby rendering the drug ineffective.
What this new study tells us is that doctors really have no idea as to what interferes with the drugs you’re using.
If something as innocent as apple juice can render your drugs useless, what else could interfere with it?
That is why I always recommend to try to manage your blood pressure naturally as much as possible and to get off medications if you’re already taking them.