Drugs are chemical substances which are administered to living organism to produce a biological effect. Drugs can also be called medicine or medication. They are used to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent a disease. Some drugs are also used to promote well being. Whatever the reason may be for taking a particular drug, the most important thing to consider is the effect it confers to the body. This effect is the main reason why people take drugs. Unknown to us, there are some diets we engage in that can reduce or interfere with the ability of drugs to perform their basic function.
There are certain healthy foods that can have severe consequences when mixed with certain drugs. The food in itself doesn’t have drug inhibiting factors but when these foods are mixed with certain drugs, they tend to be severely consequential. Below are some of the most dangerous food-drug interactions;
- Vitamin K-Rich Foods + Warfarin
Warfarin is an anticoagulant drug. VitaminK-rich foods like spinach, kale and leafy vegetables, are vital for the production of clotting factors that help prevent bleeding. However, warfarin exert their effect by inhibiting vitamin K, so, an increased intake of foods rich in vitamin K can antagonize the anticoagulant effect of warfarin and prevent the drug from performing its function.
- Calcium-Rich Foods + Antibiotics
Dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese can interfere with certain antibiotics drugs such as; tetracycline and ciprofloxacin. These dairy products interfere with drug action by binding with the antibiotics, thereby forming an insoluble substance in the stomach and small intestine. The body is incapable of absorbing this insoluble substance and this impairs the drug’s action.
- Grapefruit + Statins
Grapefruits should be avoided when taking some medication, statins in particular. There are compounds in grapefruit called furanocoumarin chemicals. These compounds can decrease the medication potency of statins by interacting with enzymes in the liver and small intestine. This interaction can also partially inactivate a number of other medications under normal condition.
- Fermented and Pickled Foods + Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAIOs)
These MAIOs are used in treating diseases like Parkinson’s disease. Foods that are fermented or pickled contain a compound called tyramine. Tyramine has been associated with a dangerous blood pressure increment, especially among patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
- Alcohol + Prescription stimulants
Generally, mixing alcohol with any medication at all is very dangerous, but mixing it with some certain drugs are more serious than others. Ingesting alcohol while taking a prescription stimulant will increase the intoxicating ability of the alcohol. This is especially true when the patient is abusing the prescription stimulant, but can also happen when the patient is taking the drugs as prescribed.
Always contact your doctor or pharmacist before taking a new drug. They are in a better position to tell you certain foods that should be avoided when taking such drug.
There are other important tips to follow when taking drugs, they include;
- Make sure to read the prescription label on the drug container. If something is not clear to you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Read all directions, warning and interaction-precautions stated on the drug container.
- Take all drugs with a full glass of water, unless told otherwise by your doctor or pharmacist.
- Do not stir medicines into your food unless advised to do so by your doctor or pharmacist.
- Do not mix drugs into hot drink; the heat may stop the drug from performing.
- Do not take vitamins at the same time with drugs. Vitamins and minerals had potential of causing problems when taken with some drugs.
- Never take alcohol with drugs.