Be­ware of food and med­i­ca­tion in­ter­ac­tions


New Straits Times - - Heal -

WHEN you take oral med­i­ca­tion to treat an ill­ness or swal­low a nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ment, they end up be­ing di­gested to­gether with the food and drinks you con­sume. For the most part, many of us take these with­out giv­ing much thought to the fact that they may in­ter­act with each other.

Cer­tain food may af­fect the ab­sorp­tion of some medicines. This is im­por­tant to know so that you do not jeop­ar­dise your treat­ment.

Tak­ing some of these food to­gether with cer­tain med­i­ca­tions may lessen the ef­fec­tive­ness of the lat­ter or cause com­pli­ca­tions.

Let’s take a look at some com­mon food and med­i­ca­tion in­ter­ac­tions.


Doc­tors pre­scribe ACE in­hibitor med­i­ca­tion and di­uret­ics to lower blood pres­sure, re­duce wa­ter re­ten­tion and treat heart fail­ure.

These med­i­ca­tions may in­crease the amount of potas­sium in your body. Due to this, do not take ex­ces­sive amount of food that are high in potas­sium such as ba­nanas, leafy green veg­eta­bles and or­anges if you have been pre­scribed these med­i­ca­tions.


War­farin is a blood-thin­ning med­i­ca­tion. Food that is high in vi­ta­min K, such as leafy green veg­eta­bles, kale, cab­bage, broc­coli, spinach and Brussels sprouts, re­duce war­farin’s anti-blood­clot­ting func­tion.


If you are tak­ing tetra­cy­cline, a type of an­tibi­otics, be aware that cal­cium will lessen the ef­fec­tive­ness of this med­i­ca­tion.

Cal­cium-rich foods such as milk, yo­gurt, cheese and cream should not be taken to­gether with this an­tibi­otic. Don’t for­get cal­cium-for­ti­fied foods, bev­er­ages and sup­ple­ments as well.

Apart from cal­cium, iron tablets and alu­minium in antacids can re­duce the ab­sorp­tion ca­pac­ity of tetra­cy­cline.

The usual in­struc­tion is to take tetra­cy­cline one hour be­fore or two hours af­ter a meal.

Avoid ex­ces­sive amounts of food high in potas­sium such as ba­nanas if you have been pre­scribed ACE in­hibitor med­i­ca­tion and di­uret­ics to lower blood pres­sure, re­duce wa­ter re­ten­tion and treat heart fail­ure. GLYCYRRHIZIN COM­POUNDS

Black liquorice, which is used to make the pop­u­lar black cul­tured candy, con­tains a com­po­nent called glycyrrhizin. This com­pound in­ter­acts with digoxin, which is pre­scribed to pa­tients with ab­nor­mal heart rhythm and heart fail­ure.

Apart from digoxin, black liquorice should be avoided if you are tak­ing med­i­ca­tion for blood thin­ning, pain reliev­ers, birth con­trol pills and high blood pres­sure.

Be care­ful about tak­ing nat­u­ral liquorice root sup­ple­ments, which have the same in­ter­ac­tion with these med­i­ca­tions. THE AMINO ACID TYRAMINE

Tyramine is an amino acid that is found in a va­ri­ety of food such as choco­late, smoked/ fer­mented meats, pro­cessed meats, fer­mented soya prod­ucts and aged cheese.

Eat­ing too much tyramine foods is not ad­vis­able for peo­ple tak­ing med­i­ca­tions for Parkin­son’s dis­ease and de­pres­sion (monoamine ox­i­dase in­hibitors, also known as



A high-fi­bre diet can de­crease the ab­sorp­tion of an­tide­pres­sant med­i­ca­tions such as amitripty­line, caus­ing it to be less ef­fec­tive.

High-fi­bre food that is also high in phy­tate com­pounds such as oats and wheat bran should also not be taken to­gether with the heart med­i­ca­tion digoxin as they lessen the ab­sorp­tion of the med­i­ca­tion.


This in­ter­est­ing-sound­ing word is a nat­u­ral com­pound found in grape­fruit and its rel­a­tives, the pomelo and Seville or­anges.

Avoid these fruits if you are tak­ing choles­terol-low­er­ing med­i­ca­tions, an­ti­his­tamines, high blood pres­sure med­i­ca­tions, thy­roid re­place­ment med­i­ca­tions and a type of cough medicine that con­tains dex­tromethor­phan. Food that is high in vi­ta­min K, such as leafy green veg­eta­bles,

can re­duce war­farin’s anti-blood clot­ting func­tion. Cal­cium-rich foods should not be taken to­gether with tetra­cy­cline, a type of


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