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Should You Worry About Pomegranate Juice Interactions?

Pomegranates contain compounds that affect intestinal enzymes much as grapefruits do, but pomegranate juice interactions do not appear to be important.
Should You Worry About Pomegranate Juice Interactions?
Fresh half of pomegranate juice on an isolated background

Have you ever wondered whether something you are eating or drinking could affect your medication? It’s not a crazy idea. For more than 20 years, we have known that grapefruit juice can increase blood levels of certain medicines. Grapefruit juice isn’t the only food that can create unexpected reactions. For example, coffee can reduce absorption of the thyroid drug levothyroxine (Synthroid). What about pomegranate juice interactions?

Are There Pomegranate Juice Interactions with Statins?

Q. I read that if you drink pomegranate juice it could make statins more dangerous, just like grapefruit juice. Is that true?

A. There are some articles on the web that warn about an interaction between pomegranate juice and statins. They were not based on human research, however.

One study we found was titled “Pomegranate juice does not affect the disposition of simvastatin in healthy subjects” (European Journal of Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Aug. 2016).  The authors conclude that if there is an interaction it is probably not clinically significant.

Pomegranates do have interesting chemical compounds such as anthocyanins and hydrolyzable tannins that may affect the intestinal microbiota (Molecules, Sep. 25, 2017). The antioxidant activity of some of these agents may help keep blood sugar under control (Nutrition Research, May 2013). Some pomegranate compounds appear to have anti-cancer activity (Nutrients, Apr. 27, 2018).

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On the whole, while grapefruit juice interactions can be serious, it doesn’t appear that you need to worry about pomegranate juice interactions (European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, June 2017). Even though pomegranate components can inhibit some of the same intestinal enzymes as grapefruit juice, the results of these pomegranate juice interactions do not appear to be harmful (Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Apr. 2014). To find out more about the possible problems that grapefruit juice interactions can cause, you may wish to read our free Guide to Grapefruit Interactions. You may also be interested in our free Guide to Drug & Food Interactions.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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