Pectin is a water-soluble substance found in the cell walls of ripe fruits, such as grapefruit, apples and oranges. According to WebMD, grapefruit pectin is useful in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides; it also helps prevent colon and prostate cancers. Although grapefruit pectin has many health benefits, it also has some side effects that you should know about. Find out if the benefits outweigh the side effects before you gobble up grapefruit pectin.
Diarrhea, Gas and Loose Stools
Ingesting grapefruit pectin, along with guar gum and insoluble fiber to lower cholesterol, can cause your stools to loosen and may lead to diarrhea, frequent passing of gas and frequent belching, says WebMD. These side effects may be minor compared to grapefruit pectin’s benefits, but they can be a nuisance and unpleasant.
According to Harvard Medical School, limited research and mixed results exist pertaining to the effect of grapefruit pectin in increasing the risk of developing kidney stones. In some cases, grapefruit pectin also lowers the risk of developing kidney stones. Due to inconclusive studies and conflicting results, you should practice caution and ask your doctor first before taking grapefruit pectin if you have a history or concerns about kidney stones.
Side Effects Due to Drug Interactions
Most of grapefruit pectin’s more-serious side effects stem from its interactions with medications. The American Family Physician (AFP) states that grapefruit, in general, can increase the risk of toxicity and adverse effects of many medications. For example, when taken with antiarrhythmics, grapefruit pectin can cause increased plasma concentrations of amiodarone, quinidine and disopyramide. Increased amiodarone concentrations in plasma can cause thyroid or pulmonary toxicity and liver injury among others, while increased quinidine and disopyramide can be cardiotoxic (toxic to the heart).
Other examples of drugs that can lead to side effects when taken with grapefruit pectin include albendazole, pacerone, buspirone, carbamazepine, clomipramine, etoposide, fluvoxamine, quinidine, sertraline and sildenafil. Grapefruit pectin also interacts with some medicines used for high blood pressure, sleeping, organ transplant, migraine headaches, high cholesterol and estrogen.
Asthma and Allergic Reactions
The Healthline website reports that applying grapefruit seed extract topically can be irritating to the skin. In addition, people who work with grapefruit pectin dusts in factories may develop asthma.
High Dosage Side Effects
When taken in high doses, grapefruit pectin may cause Liddle’s syndrome (pseudohyperaldosteronism), elevated potassium clearance, excessive mineralocorticoid (hormone responsible for the balance of water and electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium) and lowered hematocrit count (percentage of red blood cell present in blood), reports the Healthline website. High doses also may increase enamel loss and tooth surface loss.
If you drink red wine in combination with grapefruit pectin, you will increase its adverse effects with certain medications, because this combination inhibits the way the liver breaks down some substances.
- Grapefruit image by Tim Soderby from Fotolia.com