If you want to lower your cholesterol level, your doctor may prescribe a statin for you to take such as Lipitor. However, what you may not know is that certain statins and grapefruit are combinations that just don’t mix.
In fact, grapefruit and statin drug reactions may be deadly.
Statins are also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. They are able to lower the level of cholesterol in your blood by blocking the enzyme HMG Co-A reductase. When this enzyme is blocked, statins are able to block cholesterol production in the body. Statins seem to be the drugs of choice among cholesterol-lowering medications because they affect each aspect of your cholesterol panel which includes HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.
There is an often hidden danger when certain statins are prescribed for the patient. In fact, if you decide to eat a grapefruit or drink a glass of grapefruit juice at about the same time that you take your statin medication, you are taking a big risk!
Interaction between Statins and Grapefruit
Grapefruit contains a compound called bergamottin which interacts with specific enzyme systems within your body such as P-glycoprotein and cytochrome P-450. These enzyme systems have the job of breaking down statins as well as some other drugs into more usable chemicals and transports them in your body.
When you drink grapefruit juice about the same time that you take your statin, the components in the grapefruit do not allow these enzyme systems to break down the drug. This, in turn, causes the drug to build up in high amounts in your body. This can be a very dangerous situation and may cause numerous health problems such as liver damage or damage to your kidneys.
If you really love your grapefruit whether it is juice or a whole grapefruit, you may be wondering just how long it would take before you notice an adverse effect. A lot of studies have shown that you only have to have one serving of grapefruit juice to cause a build-up of statin drugs in your body. Eating a whole grapefruit may also have the same effect as would a single serving.
If you happen to be taking Lipitor, Mevacor or Zocor, you want to curtail having any grapefruit products while you are on any of these medications.