Foods and Medicine That Just Don't Mix
Occasionally, when I start a new prescription and read the labels, I will turn my head and perk up my ears like my dogs do when they appear perplexed. “Be sure to stand thirty minutes after taking this medication. “ “This medication works best with milk ingested prior.” “Do not ingest while in the sun.” “Do not do laundry for three weeks upon taking this medicine” (I have inadvertently lost this bottle, however I swear that was on the label).
Terri Coles from the Food Network finds even more perplexing warnings. And while the warnings will seem odd at first glance, many of us have probably had instances where these combos were very real possibilities either for us or for someone we know.
1. Seaweed and Antithyroid Medication: Aside from sushi, seaweed is showing up in many mainstream fusion dishes and is used in dried form in many snack option. Why? The higher the iodine in your diet (which seaweed is choked full of), the more of the drug you will actually need for it to be effective. So essentially, by combining the two, the thyroid medication could be null and void.
2. Limes and Cough Medicine: Oddly enough, there is an ingredient in limes that breaks down dextrosethorphan, a common ingredient in cough suppressants. When an breakdown occurs, typically the original intent of the additive disappears and in this case hallucinations can appear instead.
3. Kale and Blood Thinners: Similar to the seaweed issue, Kale which is rich in Vitamin K can act as a counter to Warfarin, a blood thinner, making it less effective.
4. Chocolate and Ritalin: This one actually makes a little bit of sense to me. Chocolate has caffeine and acts as a stimulant. Ritalin is a stimulating drug. Combine the two? Too much stimulation.
5. Bananas and ACE Inhibitors: ACE Inhibitors are used for migraines and high blood pressure and have been found to cause heart palpitations and irregular heartbeats when combined with high levels of potassium. Which food do we know and love that is high in potassium? You guessed it: bananas.
6. Grapefruit and Calcium Channel Blockers: Grapefruits attach themselves to an intestinal enzyme in the body and as a result, these freeloaders can cause intensified side effects of channel blockers like sore muscles and liver abnormalities.
7. Dairy and Antibiotics: Calcium sticks to the antibiotics as they are taken and the drug becomes almost impossible to digest or for the antibiotics to be absorbed.
8. Alcohol and Insulin: Even just one drink can lead to hypoglycaemia as alcohol frequently lowers the body’s blood glucose.
9. Alcohol and Acetaminophen: While most of us know this one, the dangerous side effects bear repeating. Two or more drinks a day combined with Tylenol can lead to liver toxicity.
10. Ginseng and Digoxin: Atrial fibrillation is a common heart rhythm disorder and ginseng seems to show up on almost every food aisle. However, combine the two and the ginseng elevates the blood levels of digoxin producing heart palpitations, the exact symptom the drug is trying to prevent.
As with all medications, label reading, common sense research, and consulting with your doctor are always wise decisions. Combining intelligence with conversation will hopefully prevent these drug and food combinations from infiltrating you or your loved ones.