Kauvery Hospital | Patient Newsletters | Nutrients in Food can react with Medication

A Food-Drug interaction can occur when the food we eat reacts with certain ingredients in the medicines you take, thereby making the medicine ineffective. For example, it can reduce the absorption of the drug or speed up its elimination.

Does nutrient deficiency affect the drug transport?

Yes many drugs are transported in blood, bound to the plasma proteins. For example, Albumin is the most important drug-binding protein in the blood. Severe malnutrition can affect the plasma proteins and their ability to bind medicine.

Does food affect drug metabolism?

Food can both inhibit and enhance the metabolism of drugs by altering the activity of the enzyme system operating in the body.

Does any drug affect the nutritional status?

  • YES! Some common examples:
  • Women who take oral contraceptives over a long period of time may develop folic acid and Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Anticonvulsant drugs prescribed to prevent seizures can lead to vitamin D and folic acid deficiency.
  • Taking excessive antacids can lead to phosphate depletion. This leads to osteomalacia due to Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Excessive diuretics lead to loss of electrolytes, mainly potassium.
  • Taking anti-hypertension drug hydralazine can deplete your body's supply of vitamin B6.
  • Drugs like colchicines, which is a medicine for gout, can lead to B12 deficiency.

Guidelines to help use drug wisely

  • Consult a doctor to understand when and how the drug/supplement should be taken.
  • Follow all directions on medicine bottles as well as your doctor's instructions clearly.
  • Taking drugs with a full glass of water is generally the safest way.
  • Do not take medicines with hot water or mix it with hot water, as that may destroy the efficacy of the drug.
  • Unless advised by a physician, do not stir medicine into your food. This can change the way the drug works. Always follow directions on how medication must be taken.

Article by Ms. Radhika
Dietician, Kauvery Hospital

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