“My liver hates me” – Blame the grapefruits

Many students may bandy around the old phrase, “The liver is evil and Needs to be punished” A friend even has a T-shirt with this on it.  What if it wasn’t so much the alcohol consumed so much as often missed interactions with grapefruit Juice.

I accept that most people tend to drink ALOT more alcohol than grapefruit juice but this seemingly innocuous breakfast drink has some really interesting effects within our bodies. Grapefruit Juice has been found to interfere with Cytochrome P450 as well as a host of other enzymes including CYP3A4 affecting metabolism of organic Compounds.

It is barely known that Grapefruit Juice has been anecdotally implicated in various deaths where routinely prescribed drugs have been found at elevated concentrations in blood as the body simply couldn’t get rid of the drugs. The P450 complex has been implicated in interactions with many drugs some of which, the Statins for example are amongst the most widely prescribed drugs in the West.

This interaction is still not fully understood and one key question is looking at which molecules from the Grapefruit are involved with current opinion divided between the Flavinoid and FuranoCouramin compounds. It has been shown that though with some drugs it may wildly increase the risk of OverDose (effectively lowering the LD50, a crucial parameter in epidemiology and prescription control) In other cases the enhancement of blood concentration may improve BioAvaliablity, this has been proven for certain Anti-Depressants and may have profound implications in areas of drug Metabolism research as well as drug design following through to therapeutic application.

A more widely known fact about Grapefruit is its weight loss properties, it has been widely reported that Grapefruits may help with dieting as well as regulating metabolism and Insulin. More recently Medical research has backed this up but diets have been modelled around it for much longer. Though this again is not fully understood it is an insight into the molecular basis of life processes and how something seemingly simple has such an impact at the enzyme level.

So on the assumption that You’re not on any Meds lets sit back and celebrate Life at the molecular level with one of these, my Favourite Grapefruit Cocktail:


1 Shot Vodka

1 Shot Cointreau

2 Shots Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit peel for Garnish

– Shake over Ice Until frosted

– Strain Into Martini glass & add Garnish

– Wonder at the marvel of Science

Enjoy !


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