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Watch Out With Grapefruit Before And After Surgery

Watch Out With Grapefruit Before And After Surgery

Before undergoing any particular type of surgery, doctors often advice their patients to do certain preparations particularly on their regular activities and diet.

One of the advices you might have heard of is NOT to drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit at all before and after surgery. It’s a healthy and nutritious fruit drink, so why are doctors prohibiting you to take it before your operation or while you’re healing?

The Risks Associated With Grapefruit Before and After Surgery

  • Drug toxicity or overdose
    The most dangerous risk grapefruit can pose is you getting overdosed. Several studies have been conducted on the effects of grapefruit or grapefruit juice and it was conclusive that this citrus drink really interacts with several medications in a negative way. It was noted that grapefruit can double or even triple the strength of the medicines you are going to take. If it reaches a toxic level, it can be fatal especially for serious medical conditions.

About 85 drugs are known to interact badly with grapefruit and can be potentially deadly.

Leader of a study, David Bailey, a clinical pharmacologist at the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario told NBC News:

“When I say sudden death, I’m not being sensational,”


Why doesn’t your doctor just prescribe lower dosages for medications?

The problem is not really on the dosage but on the effects itself of grapefruit to your natural digestive process. Did you know that most medicines or drugs sold have higher concentrations than what they should be?

This is because the human body’s intestine where digestion occurs is home to certain enzymes (P450 3A4) that limit and control the absorption of chemicals and drugs. So if you take a certain medicine, not all of it gets absorbed and goes to the bloodstream.

Things become different when you consume grapefruit. The furanocoumarins chemical found in grapefruit inhibits the functioning of the abovementioned enzyme which means that your body will absorb the entire amount of drug or medication you take. As a result, drugs have doubled or even tripled effects.


  • Risk of kidney problems or failure
    As a result of drug toxicity, the burden of cleaning these drugs out of your body lies on the kidneys. Additionally, there are medications which when mixed with grapefruit can trigger muscle tissue breakdown rendering too much protein in the bloodstream. All these require the kidneys to work harder and too much pressure on your kidneys can be the cause of renal problems. If the patient is already dealing with a renal problem, the ultimate risk is for them to totally fail.
  • Risks of stomach bleeding
    Grapefruit juice or similar citrus juices is already harsh on the stomach when drank alone especially if the stomach is empty. If dangerously combined with certain blood-thinning drugs, it can cause stomach bleeding. Limes, Seville oranges, and pomelos are known to have similar unwanted effects.


What about quercetin?

You may have heard about the link between grapefruit and quercetin. Quercetin is a unique bioflavonoid found in grapefruit.

Especially since this flavonoid has been extensively studied for its healing properties. Quercetin, often taken in combination with bromelain is a popular surgery recovery supplement since it helps fight inflammation among other things.

However, medical professionals recommend to avoid quercetin if you have been told to avoid grapefruit juice.

very healthy yet risk in combination with drugs
very healthy yet risk in combination with drugs


Benefits of Dietary Grapefruit

Of course, grapefruit is not entirely on the bad side. It is noted to have high concentrations of vitamins and minerals particularly Vitamin C, is considered one of the best natural antioxidants, and even has its antitumor or anticancer properties.

An effective diabetic drug. In a recent study at the University of California, Berkeley, grapefruit was noted to effectively reduce blood glucose or sugar. It has similar effects to the diabetes type 2 drug metformin.
Good for cardiovascular diseases.

Grapefruit is also beneficial to individuals suffering from high blood or heart conditions particularly the coronary atherosclerosis patients. This is because grapefruit helps lower cholesterol or triglycerides and prevents the narrowing of arteries through their high lycopene content. Coronary artery atherosclerosis is the single largest killer in the United States.

“The addition of fresh red grapefruit to generally accepted diets could be beneficial for hyperlipidemic, especially hypertriglyceridemic, patients suffering from coronary atherosclerosis.” ()

Improves COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder is a common respiratory problem in colder regions especially for the senior or older individuals.

  • Patients who have included grapefruit in their diet were seen to experience the most improvement. The beneficial effects were experienced as fast as 24 hours. Aside from COPD, grapefruit has also promising benefits for lung cancer patients

Animal studies show that dietary supplementation of foods with high concentrations of bioactive polyphenols have been shown to be neuroprotective against stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

  • These neuroprotective polyphenols include curcumin (turmeric), resveratrol (red wine, grape juice), epigallocatechin-3-gallate (green tea), quercetin (grapefruit), and ellagic acid (raspberries, pomegranates).


In summary

Grapefruit is also now popular for individuals wanting to lose weight, to improve their skin, for kidney problem prevention, for asthma prevention, etc.

Despite its health benefits it’s generally not recommended to eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice if you take medications that could interact with the fruit.

Since you may not know up front which drugs you will be administered or going to take after the procedure it may be wise to avoid grapefruit and similar citrus fruits all together.


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