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DON'T EAT THIS IF YOU'RE TAKING THAT: The Hidden Risks of Mixing Food and Medicine
by Madelyn & John Fernstrom

Publishers' Weekly review:

Don’t Eat This If You’re Taking That: The Hidden Risks of Mixing Food and Medicine by Madelyn Hirsch Fernstrom and John Fernstrom.

Skyhorse, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-63220-452-3

Neuroscientists Madelyn Hirsch Fernstrom (The Runner’s Diet) and John Fernstrom bring their expertise with nutrition and pharmacology to this discussion of foods and supplements that can inhibit common medications. The authors divide the book into sections focused on different categories of drugs, such as analgesic, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-reflux medications, and they include several lists of foods to limit or abstain from altogether. Some common culprits are obvious; alcohol is almost always to be avoided, though grapefruit appears on the prohibited lists almost as frequently. Readers are warned of the potential for life-threatening serotonin syndrome if they combine the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort with antidepressants, and they will learn that combining antacids with certain nerve pain medications can reduce the latter’s effects. Other lesser-known dangers covered in the book are the inhibiting effects of Vitamin K on anticoagulants, and of orange juice on the beta blocker atenolol. Additional topics include the way in which pain relievers function and the different ways beta blockers and calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure. This is an excellent resource for anyone taking prescription medication, collecting a wealth of vital information into one accessible volume. (Oct.)

No one wants to take medication to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or other ailments, for many millions of people worldwide, this is a daily reality. But when it comes to food and medicine interactions, what you don’t know can harm your health.

DON’T EAT THIS IF YOU’RE TAKING THAT is for anyone who takes a prescription medication (and some over-the-counter drugs) for a short time, or for years. Here you can find the medications you take and learn about what foods and dietary supplements you need to

Avoid or minimize in order to make sure you are optimizing the impact of the drug you are taking for your medical condition. It’s a must-read if you take medication yourself, or know someone who does.

The Fernstroms provide the most up-to-date information about food and medicine clearly and concisely organized the the eight most frequently prescribed and used drug categories: (1) ANTIDEPRESSANT MEDICINES, (2) ANALGESICS (for pain), (3) ANTICOAGULANTS (blood thinners), (4) ANTI-DIABETES MEDICINES, (5) ANTI-ACID REFLUX MEDICINES (heartburn), (6) ANTI-HYPERTENSIVES (blood pressure medicines), (7) CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING MEDICINES, and (8) CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINES (for heart issues).

DON’T EAT THIS IF YOU’RE TAKING THAT takes the mystery out of food and medications; readers can easily find a medication, see what foods to avoid, and make some smart swaps. Small diet changes with big health payoffs!

Cholesterol medicine — no grapefruit; blood thinner — no dark green vegetables; thyroid medication — no soy; anti-depressant — no aged cheese; sleeping pills — no wine, etc.

An added bonus in each chapter is a “Dietary Supplements Alert” box, providing the most up to date information on interactions with vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements. We all believe a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products are all part of healthy eating – right? Not always. With DON’T EAT THIS IF YOU’RE TAKING THAT, consumers can easily personalize their healthiest eating plan to work with — not agains — their medications.

Madelyn Fernstrom is the author of The Real You Diet, The Runner’s Diet; John Fernstrom is an award-winning neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry & pharmacology.