pitcher of grapefruit juice

Q. From about 1985 till about 2005, my blood pressure ran about 150/90 and I needed antihypertensive medications. In 2003 I planted several citrus trees, including two pink grapefruits.

When they started to bear fruit, I ate lots of grapefruit and made gallons of juice (which I froze). I enjoyed the juice as the harvest faded.

The past several years my blood pressure has been about 130/75. Two doctors told me to keep up the grapefruit routine and cut back on the meds! I feel wonderful.

A. Both animal and human research suggests that grapefruit may indeed have an impact on blood vessel flexibility and lower blood pressure (Phytotherapy Research, July, 2009; Metabolism, Jul. 2012). Other foods that can help lower blood pressure include beets, green leafy vegetables and dark chocolate.

To learn more about natural ways to control hypertension readers may wish to consult our Guide to Blood Pressure Treatment. People who take blood pressure or cholesterol medications must be cautious about grapefruit, though. It can interact with dozens of drugs to make them more dangerous. There is detailed information in our Guide to Grapefruit Interactions.

Israeli researchers have found that red grapefruit not only lowers blood pressure but also cholesterol and triglycerides (American Journal of Hypertension, Oct. 2005; Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, March 8, 2006). We talked with Dr. David Bailey, the scientist who first discovered grapefruit-drug interactions several months ago.

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  1. Vonnie C.
    Hampton, VA

    What foods wood be an alternative for meds for Diabetes?

  2. Glenda Parrott
    Winter Haven, FL

    I found eating or drinking any type of grapefruits aggravated my osteoarthritis. Would like to know your thoughts on this from The People’s Pharmacy.

  3. Julia
    Southern Pines, NC

    I am in my eighties and have been on blood pressure medications since about 50 years if age, I, too, have been told to stay away from grapefruit (which I love to eat), however, have refrained from eating grapefruit all these years due to advice of my doctors. Please advise of any home remedies I may try while still on my medications. Thanks….

  4. Marsha

    If you eat grapefruit and it interacts with your BP meds so much that it drops your BP so much that you faint?….Then perhaps you need to eat grapefruit and nix the BP meds

  5. Andrea

    I think it’s important to check to see if grapefruit reacts negatively to some prescription drugs one is taking. It is contraindicated in various drugs.

  6. Don

    I was under the impression that grapefruit would cause issue with your heart/blood pressure meds. Has this thought changed? I love grapefruit but stay away from it due to these intereactions. Please update.


  7. Christine
    virgi islands

    I started eating a grapefruit a day to help with weight loss. Soon after I starting fainting. It’s only then I realized my blood pressure, which was always on the low side, was dropping dangerously low. Had to give it up.

  8. Bob
    Land O Lakes, Fl

    I really don’t know if Gfruit juice helps or not but I started enjoying 100% Florida Ruby Grapefruit only about a month ago and I see my BP going down. I didn’t know anything about it doing anything for BP until I read about it on the net. I just was curious as to what Grapefruit juice was good for. I am impressed.

  9. AJ

    While being told I would need to start b.p. meds….I began to search for alternatives to meds. Grapefruit obviously kept coming up. I insisted to my doc that alternatives would be exhausted before starting a med regime. I was already eating 80% vegan/raw vegan so I was certain something out there would be better. Grapefruit was the trick….combined with what I was already eating. 2 a day keeps the meds away!

  10. Alex

    You might know already but heres a table about the interactions http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0206d.shtml
    It seems there no interaction with calan, and given the doses are small, less yet (the problem with gfruit is that it lets more of the medicine into the bloodstream so in some cases it can drop bp dangerously)
    About the other drug you should check the ingredients with the table, or better yet with your doctor..

  11. Sel M.

    How very interesting. I love grapefruit but was always told to stay away from it if you are on blood pressure medications.

    • Carla

      Interesting: My MD told me the same;
      Stay away from grapefruits!! May be, we have hit another way, without BP MEDS. That would be great!

  12. Lucy

    I had high blood pressure after some stressful life events and was on medication for about a year. I hated the way it made me feel–tired and nauseous and also I got severe leg cramps. Then I read about grapefruit. I have half a glass for breakfast and eat half a grapefruit later in the day for a snack. My blood pressure today was 135 over 71, and I have been on a stressful automobile trip along the gulf coast with many delays due to icy roads. I thought for sure it would be way up, but the grapefruit does the job.
    Why don’t health care people want you to know this simple way to treat high blood pressure? You can only guess. It would sure cut down on the number of patients they treat, and the drug companies would see greatly reduced profits.

  13. Alice W.

    I just want to know does Grape Fruit really lower Blood Pressure? It’s hard to believe that but very curious I just really want to know the truth!!
    People’s Pharmacy response: Yes it can. Here is the study abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19153985

  14. Paul 43

    I always heard that that Grapefruit interferes with some blood blood pressure medicines.

  15. Cindy M. B.

    Since I stopped taking Coumadin, would it be correct to assume that I can now indulge freely in Grapefruit, which I know you can’t eat if you’re on Coumadin. In other words, may I assume that grapefruit merely interferes with the Coumadin itself and does not directly make the blood thicker? I’m taking many things for blood thinness already, e.g., Vita E, gingko, aspirin, cranberry, garlic and krill oil.

  16. ebm

    Meta, did you NOT READ the admonition by the People’s Pharmacy above???? They mentioned CAUTION when taking meds!!!! Paying attention to all details helps!

  17. Sha

    Please give us more grapefruit info. I take Calan & Coumadin, very small doses; and I miss my formerly daily grapefruit!

  18. Joan

    curious about follow up re grapefruit not being good re other issues

  19. PattiC

    The way I understand it grapefruit, seville oranges, possibly pom juice & piperine inhibits the enzyme (cyp3a4) that breaks down some drugs therefore making it stronger. It sounds dangerous to keep taking the medications unless they are some of the ones that do not use that enzyme. I have researched all my hubby’s meds and two or three make it a no no….
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Quite right. You do need to make sure your drugs don’t interact. The letter writer has been discussing this with his doctors, though.

  20. Carol S.

    I have been told that grapefruit interferes with certain medications, I would love to have grapefruit but it seems to make my blood pressure pill more potent. Isn’t this true?

  21. Meta

    What about admonitions about the adverse affects of grapefruit on other meds?

  22. SM

    I also have high blood pressure and have been on medication since 2000. I was always told not to have grapefruit when you are on blood pressure medications. I love grapefruit but have given it up and now I hear that they are wonderful and lower pressure. What do I believe?

  23. Betty France

    Interesting… eat grapefruit/juice and it improves B/P along with the meds.
    Stop eating/drinking grapefruit juice because it makes your B/P meds un-effective.
    Opposites. Which to do, which to do.

    • Mary

      Or maybe grapefruit makes your meds even stronger?

      It might be difficult to find a balance to get off or reduce meds.

      Work with your doctor.

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