Caution: Do Not Mix These Food With Your Medicines

By on May 10, 2014
what to eat

Going to a doctor and taking medications properly are two of many things that most of us feel lazy doing about. Many of us even will not complete the prescribed dose.

We do not care about the kind of food we are eating along with the medications. EHC finds out that there are possible interactions between the food and the medications you consume. Even the most common supplements can have surprising interactions with drugs and other supplements. Let’s look at some of the foods and their effects of interactions with popular drugs.

Fish oil

Taking fish oil with blood pressure-lowering drugs can increase the effects of these drugs and may lower blood pressure too much. Birth control pills may interfere with the triglyceride-lowering effects of fish oils. Taking high doses of fish oil with herbs that slow blood clotting (including ginkgo) may cause bleeding.

Calcium

Calcium can reduce the absorption of many medications, including the prescription osteoporosis drugs known as bisphosphonates; antibiotics in the tetracycline and quinolone families (like Cipro); and levothyroxine, which treats hypothyroidism.

Echinacea

Echinacea's ability to stimulate the immune system may interfere with drugs that decrease the immune system, such as the steroid prednisone.

Melatonin

Since melatonin may make you drowsy, taking it with sedative drugs may cause too much sleepiness. Melatonin may slow blood clotting, so taking it with anticoagulant medications such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin) may increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Avoid using melatonin if you are taking medication to control blood pressure, as it may raise blood pressure. Taking melatonin with other supplements that have sedative properties (including St. John's wort and valerian) may increase the effects and side effects of melatonin.

St. John's wort

Taking St. John's wort with antidepressants may lead to too-high levels of serotonin in your body, which can result in serious side effects including heart problems. St. John's wort may make birth control pills less effective. It may also interact with common migraine medications such as sumatriptan and zolmitriptan.

taking vitamins

Vitamin D

Vitamin D might decrease the effectiveness of the cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (Lipitor). Taking high doses of D along with a diuretic medication may result in too much calcium in the body, which can cause kidney problems.

Supplements are billed as super-healthy, but some of them might have harmful interactions with certain types of foods. There can be too much of a good thing and, in some cases, you may be able to overdose on the vitamin or mineral that you are supplementing with.

Brazil Nuts and Selenium

Although selenium toxicity is rare, it can be potentially fatal, leading to a whole range of symptoms from hair loss to cirrhosis of the liver. If you are taking a selenium supplement or a multivitamin that contains large amounts of selenium, avoid eating Brazil nuts in large amounts.

Foods with Vitamins A and C and Iron

If you take high-dose iron supplements, you may want to steer clear of foods that increase iron uptake. In these cases, the culprit tends to be taking too many iron pills, but a high dose combined with foods like citrus, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, which are packed with vitamins A and C, could potentially worsen the side effects of taking iron supplements.

Calcium-Rich Foods and Calcium

Taking too much calcium can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia, where too much calcium wreaks havoc in the body. If you are taking a high dose of a calcium supplement every day and also eating large amounts of dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and other calcium-rich foods, your body will usually just excrete the excess calcium. But if you have a hormonal imbalance or any other health issues, this calcium stays in your body and, if untreated, can cause abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), mental fogginess, bone issues like osteoporosis, kidney stones and failure, and nervous system complications.

eating banana

Bananas

Bananas are not be mixed with
ACE inhibitors such as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), which are used to lower blood pressure or treat heart failure. Also avoid mixing with certain diuretics, such as triamterene (Dyrenium), used to reduce fluid retention and treat high blood pressure.

Kale 

Kale is not to be mixed with
blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin). Kale and other greens, including broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and brussels sprouts, are rich in vitamin K, which can reduce the drug’s anti-clotting effects. It is good to eat a balanced diet with lots of greens, but don’t suddenly start drinking a daily kale smoothie without telling your doctor.

Milk

Do not take milk with Tetracycline antibiotics (Sumycin). Calcium from dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, and calcium supplements and fortified foods, can prevent the body from absorbing the drug. In general, tetracycline works better if taken one hour before or two hours after eating.

Grape juice

This is not to be mixed with cholesterol drugs such as atorvastatin (Lipitor) and lovastatin (Mevacor). Drinking grapefruit juice can raise the level of the drug in your bloodstream and increase the risk of side effects, especially leg pain. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with other drugs too.

Walnuts

Walnuts are not be mixed with thyroid drugs such as levothyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid). Walnuts, soybean flour, cottonseed meal, and high-fiber foods can prevent your body from absorbing those medications. So if you eat a high-fiber diet, you might need a higher dosage. One study found that the drugs were better absorbed when taken at bedtime rather than a half-hour before breakfast, which is what is usually recommended in the instructions.

Alcohol 

Please pay attention to the alcohol warnings and instructions on the medication bottle or cover. Many medications come with instructions not to drink alcohol while you are taking them. Even one little glass of wine could be too much. Alcohol alone can make you drowsy, light-headed, and less coordinated; mixing it with certain drugs can magnify those effects. Even worse, it can cause problems including internal bleeding and breathing and heart problems. And alcohol can make a drug less effective, even useless, or it can make a drug toxic. For example, just a few drinks mixed with acetaminophen (Tylenol) can damage your liver.

Image courtesy: howcast.com , telegraph.co.uk , churchnewspaper.com

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