We’ve been talking about supplements a lot lately. And while supplements can be vital to ones diet, it’s important to keep in mind that they must be taken safely. Also, you should never start taking any vitamin or supplement without consulting a healthcare professional. Even though a supplement can be considered safe by the FDA it doesn’t mean that it can’t cause interactions. July is Herbal/Prescription Drug Interaction Awareness Month so today we’re sharing 6 supplements you should watch out for if you’re on prescription drugs.
Grape fruit and St. John’s Wort
Not many women know this, and not many health care professionals warn young women about it, but grapefruit supplements, as well as St. John’s Wort, can interact with birth control pills. It can change how your body handles estrogen. Which is the whole point of a birth control pill, it prevents an egg from dropping by tricking your body in to thinking it’s already pregnant. Therefore, if the grape fruit extract messes with one’s estrogen levels it can cause a decreased effectiveness of their contraceptive.
St John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is an herb that has several contraindications. In addition to birth control, as mentioned above, it can interact with many other prescription medications. These medications include HIV drugs, cyclosporine (an immunosuppressive drug used after transplants), imatinib and irinotecan (chemotherapy drugs), verapamil (a calcium blocker used for hypertension), warfarin (blood thinner), digoxin (for managing high blood pressure) as well as methadone (pain medication). So as you can see, this herb has many dangerous contraindications.
Licorice and licorice liquid is often times used to improve poor adrenal function. The adrenal glands are responsible for blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation and they can play a role in stress and fatigue. Black licorice is a great herb to help boost adrenal function, but beware if you’re on diuretics. This liquid can lessen their strength.
Coleus, these beautiful variegated plants you see in peoples landscaping, is used for treating cardiac disorders. It helps regulate blood pressure and strengthens the heart muscle. But be careful not to mix this plant with prescription hypotensive drugs. It can drop blood pressure too low.
Korean ginseng is an ancient herb used to boost the immune system. It can also help manage diabetes and improve memory. But don’t take this herb if you’re on MAOI’s for depression. It can cause drowsiness and more serious complications such as liver damage.
Evening primrose oil
Evening primrose oil is an herb that all women should know about, especially those who are of the age of menopause. EPO helps to lessen hot flashes. What woman wouldn’t want that? But this is a no-no for those with blood sugar issues. It can lower blood sugar and could potentially lead to diabetic coma. It can also increase one’s risk for breathing.
As you can see, many of the herbs listed above have important benefits. And can really help with many ailments. But as you can also see, these supplements can be extremely dangerous when mixed with the wrong prescription drugs. So you should always consult your physician before adding any vitamins or supplements to your diet.
To learn more about health and women’s health check out the Women’s Mind Body Wellness Summit. It contains 6 interviews by top female health professionals plus two workout videos and 3 bonus videos on mind-body wellness with MyHealthSpin Founder Lori-Ann Rickard.