I’m a huge fan of the gigantic, super-tart, sweet Grapefruit. Even as a kid, although I know many little ones fear the aggressive taste of this particular fruit, I loved them. I know it’s a health blog, but my favorite and former standard cocktail order for many years was an Absolute Greyhound.
Unfortunately for me, I was born with genetically high cholesterol. In the 90’s I wasn’t eating red meat and relative to my family and friends would have been considered a very healthy eater. I had my cholesterol tested and it was in the 268 range – – what? I couldn’t believe it. I worked out, ate healthy, ran a few miles every-other-day and my cholesterol was >100 points higher than my wife’s and definitely in the danger zone. I talked with my doctor and moved to a diet that would frustrate a rabbit following the path of Siddhartha. It didn’t help. As a result, in addition doubling down on a very healthy nutrition plan, I began taking a statin. I know there are health advocates and professionals with the philosophy that all things can and should be managed without a man-made medication, but I made my decision. With my fitness and nutrition regimen and daily dose of medication my cholesterol clocks in around 130 and my ratio of good (HDL) to bad (LDL) is where it should be.
The bad news, as I was told back in the 90’s by my doctor, “don’t eat grapefruit, or drink any grapefruit juice while on this medication.” No more greyhounds and no more tangy, tart sweet goodness. So I haven’t had grapefruit in many years. The interesting thing is that I always assumed something as cool and natural as grapefruit, which typically is a prevalent part of a healthy diet (and many weight loss plans), could at worst dilute the effectiveness of the cholesterol lowering drug. Wrong! The research has demonstrated significant health risks associated with the interaction of grapefruit with statins (e.g. Lipitor) and a number of other medications treating everything from anxiety and depression to malaria. The interaction can cause organ failure and in some cases instant death.
Some of this research is discussed and summarized in “Grapefruit and Medications May Be a Deadly Mix” by Lisa Collier Cool on Yahoo!Health. Worth a read.
Small steps add up!