Find out why a GP thinks fruit juice is a killer

  • A random comment in a pub starts the whole stain debate again
  • Do you fear the prowling doctor every time you have a check up?
  • The truth about grapefruits and statins

It was Father’s Day.

It rained!

So, in an attempt to cheer me up my eldest son had booked a table at the pub so he could buy me a pint.

Hurrah! My first visit to licensed premises for over a year.

With some trepidation on my part we set off walking to my local.

Masks on we were shown to a table and had our drinks served to us.

Table service in the Nags Head, I never thought that I would see the day!

It was almost like being in a posh wine bar rather than my local pub, although the clientele were much more rural.

Soon I was regaling my long suffering offspring with my view of the world… how he was enjoying it until…

…“Did you know if you tried to put coffee through as a crop chemical it would fail the tests”

A startling point that one of the horny handed sons of the soil delivered from another table as I nursed my well deserved beer.

He seemed to take exception to the fact  I had been having a bit of a rant about modern reliance on science and chemicals to grow our food especially if its just to keep it fresh enough to sell in a supermarket.

You know that this has become latest in a long list of pet hates! My son had the look inherited from his mother that said – here we go again!

My hayseed friend went on to say that the same would be true of beer, tea and even grapefruit juice.

This caused me to splutter into my pint of finest ale…I thought he had gone too far this time. The pure juice of the sun ripened fruit could surely do no harm to anyone.

“It’s true,” he said with a determined look on his weather beaten face, “my doctor has said I shouldn’t drink it!”

Then the penny dropped or rather it hit my old balding cranium with a dull thud…

…I asked what medication he was on, and lo and behold another nemesis lurched into view – this wasn’t going to be the quiet pint I had planned on. I just knew I was going to get hot under the collar, and dear reader I even resorted to a cuss or two!

“Bloody statins again,” I exclaimed a little too loudly so that several folk turned to stare, old Joe in the corner woke from his traditional slumber and the dominos game was interrupted as a few of the tiles dropped to the floor.

I lowered my voice and felt myself blush slightly, “the problem isn’t with the juice, my dear fellow, it’s the fact it makes that drug even more dangerous.”

By this point my lad might well have been regretting taking his old dad out, but I was having a whale of a time. Boy I had missed this type of encounter!

The GP is waiting to pounce

Please note the use of the words ‘even more dangerous’. I think regular readers will know that I am no fan of this class of cholesterol lowering drugs.

Even more so I detest the feeling that every GP in the country appears to be hooked on prescribing the holy trinity of drugs to anyone over the age of 45;

  • A statin to reduce cholesterol in the blood stream, rather than give sound and proven advice about how these can be managed by diet, exercise and a range of natural remedies.
  • An ACE inhibitor, such as Lisinopril, to counteract hypertension, again without using any of the simpler or natural routes to lowering blood pressure.
  • Metformin to control increased blood sugar, once again all natural and low risk alternatives don’t seem to appear.

In all three cases there should be a policy of good honest advice rather than reaching for the prescription pad at the first opportunity.

Why natural grapefruit juice is classed as more dangerous than a drug

So, to set my drinking chums mind at rest I explained why the pure, unsweetened juice of a natural fruit could never be bad for you.

After all it’s completely natural and comes with all the factors the body needs to use it safely.

But that’s not true for pharmaceutical fare.

Like all drugs that we take statins have to be broken down by the body to prevent toxic build up, normally this occurs in the liver.

The enzymes which do this are specific to the classes of drugs being taken, for statins they are called cytochrome P-450 and P-glycoprotein, and it is these enzymes which are affected by the juice.

Basically when you consume a glass of grapefruit juice as well as taking statins the liver stops producing the enzymes, and renders those present useless. As a result your body harbours much higher levels of the drug than it should and liver, kidney and muscle damage can occur.

Now can I have a little clear thinking here… if the drug taken has the potential to damage our major organs and muscle systems why are we taking it in the first place?

Where is the logic in a GP telling a patient that natural, pure, unrefined fruit juice should be avoided so that they can continue to take a synthetic, expensive and potentially damaging drug?

I ask you! And it’s not like there aren’t natural alternatives – if only the medical fraternity would recognise them.

Heart drugs recalled…. again!

The UK Medicines Authority (MHRA) has insisted that two major blood pressure drugs are withdrawn from supply because they can cause cancer.

They are known as Irbesartan and Losartan and have been recalled from pharmacy shelves because they have been contaminated with azido-tetrazole – a substance linked to a heightened risk of cancer.

Manufactured in India and China, several batches have been tested and show levels of contaminants above safe amounts.

To my certain knowledge there has never been a recall of grapefruit for the same problem!

Maybe it is worth mentioning this fact when your GP is trying to strong arm you into taking prescription drugs by insisting that they are safe and effective…

…in my case it’s something I can use the next time I get treated to a lunchtime beer… don’t think that is going to happen again anytime soon though!