Friday, June 25, 2010

Dangerous food/drug interactions

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy, informative article detailing extensive scientific research into how many foods that we think of as healthy -- from black tea (my drink of choice after water, alas) to grapefruit, cranberries and salmon -- may be either diluting or magnifying the effects of commonly prescribed medicines.

Here's a link to the article; highlights include:

--Some foods block the body's ability to absorb certain medications, making the drugs significantly less effective;
--Other foods enhance the absorption of some drugs, leading to possible overdoses;
--Beer, wine, nuts, black pepper and widely used herbal supplements are among the foods mentioned in the article for their interactions with specific drugs, along with the others listed above;
--In general, serious interactions seem likely only if large quantities of the suspect foods are ingested, but that is not always the case.

I'm not sure whether we should be alarmed by this kind of research, but it's probably a good idea to keep following the scientific studies as they are completed. Most of these interactions have not been definitively researched, but studies are ongoing.

There's a very cool graphic with the WSJ story called "Bad Pairings," which I've copied above. To get the real thing, however, go to the article.

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