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Food and Medication Interactions

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By Lori Stevens, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

Many of us assume that our physicians and pharmacists are keeping track of what medications we take to ensure there are no interactions between medicines and making sure we are not given something we are allergic to.  But what about what they don’t know we are doing?  Do they know what foods we eat or vitamins we take?

Now more than ever, it is so important for your physician and your pharmacist to have a complete list of ALL prescribed medications and over-the-counter medications you are taking–including vitamins and other supplements for well-being. The list is quite significant in regard to drugs that can interact with each other.  Not only drugs can cause a negative reaction with each other, but there are also foods that can interact with a drug. For instance, some of the top culprits are:

Vitamin K Rich Foods, i.e., green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collard and turnip greens, kale, romaine and green leaf lettuce.  Also Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower to name some more.  And just when you thought these foods were good for you!  Well, they are, but just not in some cases, as they can interact with certain medications like Warfarin, a blood thinning medication.  Please consult your doctor for advice on this.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice, along with some other fruit types:  With certain medications, i.e. statins, these can increase the potency to a dangerous level and interfere with your body’s ability to metabolize the medication.  Again, please seek physician or pharmacist guidance on this.

Calcium Rich Foods:  Of course, when we say calcium, that is mostly dairy products:  Milk, cheese, and a whole host of other items.  These can interfere with the effectiveness of some antibiotics, as well as certain diuretics (water pills) and other medications.  Please consult your physician and/or pharmacist if you have questions about this.

In addition to foods, turmeric, antacids, and lavender can also have negative effects.  Also be aware that certain herbal remedies have been known to interfere with certain medications (often found in teas).

These are just a few examples of interactions you should be aware of, and by no means is a complete list.  The morale of the story here is CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST about any food interactions you may be concerned about AND/OR make sure they know of what supplements/vitamins you are taking to stave off any harmful medication effects.





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