Food and Drug Interactions to Avoid

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork and family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross discuss which foods you should avoid while taking certain prescription medications.

Avoid drinking grapefruit juice while taking most prescription drugs

  • The molecule bergamottin, which is found in grapefruit, can inactivate drug-metabolizing enzymes in the liver, which allows drug levels to build up in the bloodstream.

Avoid eating green leafy vegetables while taking blood thinners

  • Blood thinners are prescribed to slow the rate that your body produces blood clots, reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Too much vitamin K can cause blood to clot more quickly, reducing or negating the effect of blood thinners.

Avoid indulging in wine, aged cheese and cured meats while taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAO, antidepressants

  • The foods contain tyramine, which can slow the metabolism of MAO antidepressants and lead to severely elevated blood pressure.

Avoid dairy products and calcium and iron supplements while taking antibiotics

  • Antibiotics in the quinolone family can attach to the calcium and iron in milk, which prevents the medication from being absorbed properly and reduces its effectiveness, which could mean you stay sick longer.

For more information about food and drug combinations you should avoid, see this guide from the Food and Drug Administration. Consult your doctor about any food or drug interactions before you begin taking a new medication.

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