Scientists isolate grapefruit chemical that interacts with meds - - Columbia, South Carolina

Scientists isolate grapefruit chemical that interacts with meds

(National-NBC) May 10, 2006 - Scientists have completed a new study on grapefruit. They have figured out why it increases the effects of certain common medications.

The bittersweet fruit fell out of favor more than a decade ago when it was discovered it amplifies the effect of some common medicines - like cholesterol and blood pressure drugs.

But until now nobody really known what in grapefruit was mixing with medicines. So people had to cut back or cut it out altogether.

Scientists at the University of North Carolina have confirmed the identity of the culprit, a group of chemicals called furanocoumarins, FCs. Removing the compounds eliminated the drug interaction.

Dr. Paul Watkins was one of the researchers, "Just as there is lactose-free milk for lactose intolerance, there could be FC-free juice that could be purchased for people who might have drug interaction issue but don't want to give up grapefruit juice."

Dr. Watkins says it's too soon to tell if an FC-free juice will hit the market, but there's hope among grapefruit fans who've had to cut back. One fan of the fruit says, "Oh it's great - that's what research is all about!"

The research may yield more than a possible grapefruit comeback. Scientists are now looking at ways to add the FC compound to certain drugs to help make them more effective.

Posted 8:04pm by Chantelle Janelle

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