An expert has warned that people who are taking asthma drugs should avoid eating grilled meat as many foods considered essential for a balanced diet could interfere with some of the most commonly prescribed medicines – either rendering them useless or increasing the dosage to a dangerous level.
“The key thing is not to dramatically change your diet if you are taking medication, but to ask your GP about potential interactions,” the Daily Mail quoted Jane Alder, lecturer in pharmacology at the University of Central Lancashire, as saying.
According to Alder, asthma sufferers should avoid grilled meat because the carbon compounds formed prevent asthma medications containing theophylline from working.
The carbon compounds also trigger asthma attacks regardless of the medication taken, so very charred meat should be avoided.
Explaining some of the most common hazardous food and drug combinations, Alder said that grapefruit contains a compound called furanocoumarin that prevents the enzymes in our intestine, responsible for keeping foreign substances out of our bodies, from working properly.
This leads to more medication being absorbed, effectively doubling or even tripling the dose in some cases.
Calcium in dairy foods binds with antibiotics tetracycline and minocycline, which are used for skin conditions such as acne and minor infections including cystitis.
These antibiotics combine with the mineral, forming an insoluble mass in the intestine that cannot be absorbed into the body.
Fermented foods, such as mature cheese, contain high concentrations of tyramine and can cause “cheese syndrome”.
This can lead to dangerously high blood pressure. Tyramine is also found in pork, bananas, yeast extract, chocolate and soy products.
High-fibre foods can slow the absorption of many drugs including digoxin – used to regulate irregular heartbeats, diabetes medication such as metformin, and even cholesterol-lowering statins because they bind to the medication, preventing its absorption into the body.
Alcohol interacts with many medications and increases the chance of side effects such as vomiting, gastric bleeding and low blood pressure.