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Sun, Food, and Drug Interactions

Posted Oct 05 2013 9:19am

If your doctor tells you that the drug he has prescribed prevents you from eating certain types of foods or may require you to avoid the sun – be afraid, be very afraid.  The sun and foods are necessary for a healthy life.  Now there are some drugs that are used for short term treatment like antibiotics that the consideration of avoiding the sun is perfectly legitimate.  If this is the case, be sure to get enough vitamin D3.  However, when you are taking a drug long term for a chronic disease and the doctor tells you to avoid certain foods and the sun then ask for the possibility of a different treatment procedure that does not have sun and food avoidance as a requirement.

The most common interactions are with alcohol and caffeine.  I do not consider these two items as food.  Caffeine and alcohol are drugs, have no nutritional value, and should be treated as drugs.  Starbucks, McDonalds, and Dunkin Doughnuts are social gathering places and drug dispensaries for caffeine.  Grapefruit is a food that commonly interferes with the actions of drugs.  This happens because grapefruit affects an enzyme that is commonly used by drugs for activation.  This can either cause an increased action or a decreased action of the drug.  I overheard a suggestion that Starbucks, caffeine, grapefruit juice, and Viagra are a great combination.  This sounds like the need of counseling for a combination of less than moral addictions.

You may be told by your doctor to not eat leafy greens when taking a blood thinner.  The thinning of the blood is very important and is normally controlled by eating enough foods that are high in vitamin E.  The reason that leafy greens cause a problem is because of vitamin K which causes a thickening of the blood.  Also, the amount of vitamin E in the greens as it causes thinning of the blood.  It is not that you eat leafy greens; it is the inconsistent amounts of greens that you eat.  Leafy greens are now known to be critical for the methylation cycle or the epigenetic control of turning your genes off/on through the folate cycle.  When prescribed a blood thinner, be sure to eat the same amount of greens everyday so that your doctor can properly titrate your blood thinner drug.  Keeping the ratio for vitamin E in relation to vitamin K may be more important as a way to control blood clotting versus a med.  In addition to greens, sunflower seeds and almonds are a great source of vitamin E.  However, if you are already making blood clouts, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to prevent stroke and heart disease emergencies.  Talk to your doctor about eating plans of the ratio of greens to seeds and nuts.

Eat great foods, go into the sun, and if you have to take meds, be sure to become knowledgeable of interactions.  – Pandemic Survivor

References Lutheran Health Network Dupont Hospital
FDA Food and Drug Interactions (pdf)
Colorado State University – Nutrient-Food and Drug Interactions
Today’s Geriactric Medicine – Dangerous Food-Drug Interactions
WebMD Sun Sensitizing Drugs
Medicine Net Sun Sensitive Drugs


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