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Grapefruit Extract (generic name)

treats Atopic eczema, Endocrine disorders, Heart disease, and Kidney stones
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Alternate Title

Citrus paradisi

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Antioxidizers, bergamottin, bergapten, bergaptol, blond grapefruits, citricidal, Citrus decumana, Citrus maxima, Citrus paradisi, Citrus paradisi Macf., Citrus paradisi Macfayden, Citrus x paradisi, citrus seed, citrus seed extract, flavonoids, Fresca®, furanocoumarins, geranylcoumarin, grapefruit juice, grapefruit pectin, grapefruit seed, grapefruit seed extract, naringenin, naringin, nootkatone, organic grapefruit juice, paradisapfel, ParaMicrocidin®, pomelo, pummelo grapefruit, red grapefruit, Red Mexican grapefruit, Rio Red Grapefruit, rutacea, sesquiterpen, shaddock oil, Sun Drop®, toronja, vitamin C, white grapefruit.

Background

The grapefruit was first described in the 1750s as the "forbidden fruit" of Barbados. It was introduced to Florida in the 1820s. Most grapefruit in the United States is still grown in Florida. Grapefruit juice has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of diabetes as well as to strengthen the immune system. Grapefruit is also added to cosmetics and hair care products as a fragrance.

Grapefruit has been suggested as a treatment for several conditions, but there is currently insufficient scientific evidence to support the use of grapefruit for any medical disorder. The use of supplemental grapefruit pectin in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and the use of grapefruit seed extract in atopic eczema warrants further scientific investigation before a strong recommendation can be made. There is conflicting research regarding the use of grapefruit for kidney stones.

Grapefruit juice alters the way some drugs are broken down in the liver. Grapefruit may increase the effects of calcium channel blockers, benzodiazepines, immunosuppressants, and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Atopic eczema: There is early, but inconclusive evidence to support the use of grapefruit seed extract in the treatment of atopic eczema. Additional study is needed to confirm these findings.
Grade: C

Endocrine disorders (metabolic syndrome): Early studies suggest grapefruit may have some benefit in the management of metabolic syndrome. More studies are needed to understand this relationship.
Grade: C

Heart disease: Grapefruit pectin supplementation may inhibit high cholesterol. There is promising but inconclusive human evidence to support the use of grapefruit pectin in the prevention of heart disease. Additional study is needed in this area.
Grade: C

Kidney stones: There is limited and mixed research regarding the use of grapefruit for kidney stones. Further research is needed to clarify these results.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Alzheimer's disease, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, cancer, common cold, cosmetic uses, Crohn's disease, diabetes, diarrhea, eye diseases, immune function, insecticidal, liver disease, Parkinson's disease, preservative, stomach ulcers, tonic, weight loss.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

There is no proven effective dose for grapefruit. Grapefruit is typically taken as a fruit, seed extract, or pectin by mouth. It has also been applied on the skin as a disinfectant for skin wounds. For atopic eczema, 150 milligrams of grapefruit seed extract has been taken by mouth three times daily for one month. For heart disease, 15 grams of grapefruit pectin in divided doses with meals for 16 weeks has been used. For metabolic syndrome, grapefruit capsules, fresh grapefruit, or 8 oz. of grapefruit juice three times daily before each meal has been studied for 12 weeks.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven effective dose for grapefruit in children. Grapefruit is likely safe when used in amounts commonly found in foods by individuals not on concurrent drug therapy.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to grapefruit.

Side Effects and Warnings

Grapefruit appears to be well-tolerated. Grapefruit is likely safe when used in amounts commonly found in foods by individuals not on concurrent drug therapy. Grapefruit has Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in the United States. Adverse effects from grapefruit juice have been reported only rarely and have been limited to those in combination with drug therapy. The severity of the interaction may depend on how much and how often the grapefruit juice is consumed, the timing of the grapefruit juice, the specific brand of juice, and the medication dose.

Experts report that topically applied grapefruit seed extract can be irritating to the skin.

High doses may cause pseudohyperaldosteronism (Liddle's syndrome), increases in potassium clearance, mineralocorticoid excess, lowered elevated hematocrits, the development of kidney stones, or increases in enamel loss and tooth surface loss.

Use cautiously in patients who drink red wine. Red wine in combination with grapefruit juice appears to have an additive inhibitory effect on the way liver breaks down some agents, theoretically increasing the risk for interactions with other drugs.

Use cautiously in patients who drink tonic water or smoke.

Use cautiously in patients with liver cirrhosis, at risk for kidney stones, or who have undergone gastric bypass surgery.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Grapefruit is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

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