Medical experts say it's important to be aware of certain types of food and how they can lessen the effectiveness of certain medications. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
We all know our diet can impact our overall health, but did you know that if you are on medication your diet might influence how well it works?
Gina Caliendo, the director of pharmacy services for Mount Sinai Medical Center, says many people are surprised to learn that some common foods could be altering the effectiveness of their medication. For one, if you wash down your morning meds with grapefruit or grapefruit juice, you may be doing more harm than good.
"Grapefruits and grapefruit juice have chemicals in them that can change enzymes in your stomach. And what that can do is change the absorption of the medications. You have to be very careful with medications that are used to prevent the rejection of a transplanted organ or medications used for cholesterol," says Caliendo.
Black licorice is another one. It may seem like a harmless snack, but it can increase your blood pressure. So if you are on blood pressure or heart medication be careful. Green leafy vegetables are a good boost to any diet, but be cautious of you take anti-coagulants.
"Green leafy vegetables contain a lot of vitamins K which can interact with any medications used to thin your blood. So if you are taking anything to thin your blood, you should try to keep your intake of the green leafy vegetables to be the same. Don’t increase or decrease it dramatically so you can always have the same effect of the drug," adds Caliendo.
Another surprising one is chocolate. If you take medication to help calm you like sleeping pills or medication for ADD, the caffeine in chocolate could stimulate you and make the medicine less effective.
And watch out with herbal supplements because some may not mix well with meds.
"St. Johns wart can interact with antidepressants. Ginko Baloba can interact with blood thinners. Ginsing can interact with blood thinners and vitamin E can interact with blood thinners. So before you start taking and nutritional supplement or herbal remedy you should speak to your physical, pharmacist or dietician," recommends Caliendo.
If your medication should be taken with food, Caliendo says you should also ask them what type of food because the fat or dairy content can impact absorption.
So before you pop your next pill, make sure you understand how it reacts to your diet so can take action to avoid trouble.