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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Some Drugs Don't Always Mix Safely With Foods

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Like many others, you probably wash down your daily vitamins, prescription medications, and any other supplements at breakfast with a glass of fruit juice, coffee, or milk. However, you should think of your stomach as a giant test tube, where mixing together some chemicals at the same time doesn't always result in the best outcome. Sometimes, combining your medication with one of these liquids can cause a bad reaction, including rendering the drug useless or creating some nasty side effects.

For example, I take a statin each day, but never with grapefruit juice because of a chemical in the fruit that prevents the intestines from releasing an enzyme that helps break down statin medications. As a consequence, too much of the active ingredient in the statin can get released into the blood stream and cause a serious muscle disorder or liver damage. Similarly, with some tetracyclines, you may need to avoid dairy products. And if you take digoxin for your heart, you will want to steer clear of St. John's Wort.

However, because age, gender, medical history and a litany of other factors also affect the way that medications and other substances interact in your stomach, it is best to always work with your pharmacist to figure out what works for you. Pharmacists suggest that you always let your pharmacist know what other supplements you are taking, and to look for the specific food interactions that are known for the medications that you are taking. Since guidelines change often, it is very important to keep your pharmacist up-to-date. The best advice might be to stick to a glass of water when taking your pills.