Top Diets & Medications Which Don’t Play Well Together

If you are a health freak or even remotely health conscious, I bet you have bottles of atleast a few health supplements scattered around the house. If not health supplements then maybe you are just a healthful eater and have foods of all colors, textures and tastes stocked up in the pantry or refrigerator. But being a healthful eater or a fitness freak does not make you immune to routine illnesses, allergies and seasonal afflictions, not to mention your fair share of struggles with one or any number of chronic illnesses.

Every human on the face of this earth needs food to survive and medication to sustain that survival and maintain the quality of life. Often people start taking dietary supplements, or switch to new diet fads in order to become healthier, slimmer,  strengthen their immune system, extend their lifespan, recover from illnesses or just to live a better life. Yet the human body is not as easily manipulated as that and so they fail to see the results they were expecting from all those dietary changes.

This may be due to how food, supplements and medication interacts within the body. Here are a few dietary supplements which people/ athletes/ fitness freaks will be adequately familiar with. However, what they might not be familiar with is how these supplements interact with other medication and cause havoc instead of health in the body.

Bilberry

Uses:

  • Strengthens blood vessels
  • Improves circulation
  • Treats diarrhoea
  • Prevent cell damage
  • Could help in treating retinopathy
  • May help lower blood glucose levels

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Diabetes medicines. Can decrease blood sugar to dangerously low levels.
  • Anticoagulant/antiplatelet medicines (such as warfarin). Can reduce blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Chaste Tree Berry

Uses:

  • Treats constipation,
  • Irritability,
  • Depressed mood,
  • Migraines and
  • Breast pain and tenderness.
  • Helps rebalance hormones,

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Birth control pills. Can affect hormone levels, decreasing effectiveness.
  • Dopamine receptor antagonists. Can affect how the body breaks down the medicine.

Cranberry

Uses:

  • Prevent urinary tract infections
  • Improve digestion
  • Reduce bad cholesterol
  • Prevent gum disease
  • Strengthen immune system

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Warfarin. May increase the duration of warfarin is in the body. Increasing the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Garlic

Uses:

  • Reduces cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Full of antioxidant properties
  • Reduce risk of common brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and aging

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Isoniazid. Can reduce amount of isoniazid body absorbs, decreasing effectiveness.
  • HIV/AIDS Medicines. Can increase how fast medicine is broken down, reducing effectiveness.
  • Saquinavir. Can increase how fast medicine is broken down, reducing effectiveness.
  • Anticoagulant/antiplatelet medicines (such as warfarin). Can slow blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Ginkgo Biloba

Uses:

  • Treatment for blood disorders
  • Memory problems,
  • Enhancement of cardiovascular function
  • Improves eye health.

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Alprazolam. May decrease the effects of alprazolam.
  • Efavirenz. May decrease effectiveness of efavirenz, used to treat HIV.
  • Ibuprofen. Slows blood clotting, which increases the chance of bruising and bleeding.
  • Diabetes medicines. May affect insulin levels, which can decrease effectiveness of the medicines.
  • Anticonvulsants. May affect chemicals in the brain, which can decrease effectiveness of the anticonvulsants.
  • Trazodone. May affect chemicals in the brain, which can cause serious side effects in the brain.
  • Warfarin. May slow blood clotting in addition to the warfarin, which can increase chance of bruising and bleeding.

Ginseng

Uses:

  • Potent Antioxidant That May Reduce Inflammation
  • Benefit Brain Function
  • Could Improve Erectile Dysfunction
  • Boost the Immune System
  • Potential Benefits Against Cancer
  • Increases Energy Levels
  • Lowers Blood Sugar.

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Warfarin. May decrease the effectiveness of warfarin, which can increase the risk of blood clots.

Horse Chestnut

Uses:

  • Treats Varicose Veins
  • Possesses Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Relieves Hemorrhoids
  • Fights Cancer
  • Contains Antioxidant

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Lithium. Can decrease how well body gets rid of lithium, which can cause serious side effects.
  • Diabetes medicines. Can decrease blood sugar, causing blood sugar to reach dangerously low levels.
  • Anticoagulant/antiplatelet medicines (such as warfarin). Can slow blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Kava

Uses:

  • Relieve stress and anxiety
  • Boost sleep.

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Alprazolam and CNS depressants.Can cause too much drowsiness and sleepiness.

Licorice

Uses:

  • Soothe gastrointestinal problems.
  • Repair of stomach lining and restore balance.
  • Immune-boosting properties of glycyrrhizic acid.

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Diuretics, corticosteriods. Can reduce potassium to dangerously low levels.
  • Can affect levels of cortisol in the body, affecting the medicine’s ability to work properly.
  • Anticoagulant/antiplatelet medicines (such as warfarin). Can slow blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Milk Thistle

Uses:

  • Natural treatment for liver problems i.e, cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders.
  • Lowering cholesterol levels.

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Glucuronidated medicines. Can decrease how well liver breaks down the medicines, which can increase or decrease its effectiveness.
  • Tamoxifen. Can increase how much tamoxifen is absorbed by the body.

Saw Palmetto

Uses:

  • Treats asthma,
  • benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH),
  • chronic pelvic pain syndrome,
  • colds, coughs, migraine, prostate cancer, and sore throat
  • Increase libido
  • Alleviate stress.

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Birth control pills. Can decrease effects of estrogen in the body, which can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.
  • Estrogen. Can decrease estrogen levels in the body, which can decrease the effectiveness of estrogen pills.
  • Warfarin. Can slow blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

St. John’s Wort

Uses:

  • Strong antidepressant
  • Has strong antiviral activity that may also promote healing and repair of wounds

St. John’s Wort has many possible drug-supplement interactions, including but not limited to:

  • Cyclosporine. Can increase how quickly the body breaks cyclosporine down.
  • Digoxin. Can decrease the amount of digoxin the body absorbs, decreasing the effects of digoxin.
  • Some antidepressants. Can alleviate serotonin levels causing serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, nausea, headache, and anxiety.
  • Birth control pills. Can increase the breakdown of estrogen, decreasing the effectiveness of birth control.
  • Warfarin. Can increase the breakdown and decrease the effectiveness of warfarin, possibly increasing the risk of clotting.

Soy isoflavones

Uses:

  • Promotion of heart health
  • Maintenance of bone health in post-menopausal women

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Estrogen. Soy isoflavones may decrease the effectiveness of estrogen pills.
  • Tamoxifen. Can affect estrogen levels, decreasing effectiveness of tamoxifen.
  • Warfarin. Can decrease the effectiveness of warfarin, increasing the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Turmeric (curcurmin)

Uses:

  • Helps in osteoarthritis.
  • Treats hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, liver disease, and itching.
  • Helps in heartburn, thinking and memory skills
  • Treats inflammatory bowel disease, stress,

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Anticoagulant/Antiplatelet drugs (such as warfarin). Can slow blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Valerian

Uses:

  • Commonly used for sleep disorders
  • Helps anxiety and psychological stress

Possible drug-supplement interaction with:

  • Alcohol. Can cause drowsiness in addition to the alcohol, resulting in too much sleepiness.
  • Sedative medicines (benzodiazepines and CNS depressants). Can cause drowsiness in addition to the effect of the sedative, resulting in too much sleepiness.

These are just a few popular dietary supplements taken by people on a daily basis, which if mixed with other medications can do more harm than good. Always consult you GP before starting any supplement or medication.