Grapefruits Endanger The Effectiveness of The Contraceptive Pill: That is Actually Behind The Claim

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Not only are grapefruits delicious, they are also one of the healthiest fruits around. However, it is well known that grapefruit and medication do not make a good mix. The bitter fruit repeatedly triggers interactions, including the birth control pill.

Grapefruit: The vitamin-rich bitter fruit

Like oranges, tangerines and clementines, the grapefruit belongs to the rue family. The bitter fruit comes in two varieties: one white, with light yellow flesh, and one red, with pink to red flesh. Like all citrus fruits, grapefruits have a high vitamin C content and are very healthy. Three grapefruits a day already cover the daily vitamin C requirement. The delicious bitter fruit also has many other nutrients. That is why it is also considered the queen of citrus fruits.

In addition to the valuable vitamin C, it also provides folic acid, the vitamin A precursor beta carotene and some B vitamins in smaller quantities. The fruit also contains minerals, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphate.

Studies show that the juice from the bitter fruit can help lower blood sugar levels and is therefore used to prevent diabetes. Since the grapefruit is very low in calories and the bitter substances in the fruit stimulate digestion and fat burning, people like to use it as a natural slimming aid. However, the fruit is not entirely harmless. It triggers interactions in connection with certain medications. Especially women who take birth control pills have to be careful.

Interaction: This is how grapefruit affects the birth control pill

Studies have long confirmed that grapefruit has a negative impact on the effectiveness of some medications. As early as 1996, scientists were looking at the interaction between the consumption of grapefruit and the pill. The reason grapefruit has this effect on medications, and the pill in particular, is because of the ingredient naringenin.

The bitter substance naringin is responsible for the typical taste of grapefruit. When broken down in the stomach, it turns into naringenin, which has an inhibitory effect on degrading enzymes. The effect of the medication that is taken is thus increased. In addition to the contraceptive pill, heart, cancer and asthma drugs as well as sexual enhancers and antidepressants are affected. As little as 200 milliliters of juice can trigger these reactions.

In combination with the contraceptive pill, the interaction leads to an increase in the level of estradiol in the blood. This leads to a greater risk of side effects, such as breast tenderness. According to experts, the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and thrombosis also increases. The fabric in pomelos also has the same effect. These fruits should therefore only be eaten in small amounts or avoided altogether.

Grapefruit and Co: What other foods affect the pill?

Attention interaction: But grapefruit is not the only food that can trigger such interactions. In addition to the bitter citrus fruit, you should also pay attention to possible interactions when taking the medicinal plant St. John’s wort. The remedy is taken in the form of dry extracts, teas or oils. The plant is said to work wonders for premenstrual syndrome, gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia and panic attacks. It is even used as a prescription drug for depression.

However, St. John’s wort influences enzymes in the liver and intestines. This means that foreign substances are broken down more quickly. So does the active ingredient in the pill. The interaction is relatively low, but there is a risk of an unwanted pregnancy.

In principle, all foods that lead to diarrhea can also limit the effectiveness of the pill. Because with diarrhea, part of the active ingredient is lost. So if you are prone to diarrhea, you should remember to use additional contraception. Food such as dried fruit, apple and orange juice, prunes, dairy products, particularly fatty foods and too much coffee are particularly conducive to diarrhea.

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