Getting more fiber in your diet is a good idea when trying to improve your health. Grapefruit pectin is a type of soluble fiber found in the citrus fruit that may be taken as a supplement.
Adding grapefruit pectin to your daily regimen may help lower cholesterol and act as a treatment for diarrhea. Talk to your doctor before adding any dietary supplements to your daily routine.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, and one of the factors you may have the most control over. Grapefruit pectin may help lower your blood cholesterol levels.
According to a 2012 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, supplementation with citrus pectin reduced cholesterol by 6 percent to 7 percent. That said, it’s important to note that apple pectin may be a little more effective than citrus pectin at reducing cholesterol.
Impact on Digestion
As a form of soluble fiber, grapefruit pectin forms a gel in your digestive tract, which helps slow digestion. This action may help you feel full longer, which is beneficial if you’re following a reduced-calorie diet for weight loss.
Also, if you have diarrhea, the gelling action of grapefruit pectin and the decrease in transit time may help alleviate your frequent and loose stools.
Grapefruit pectin also has anti-cancer properties. According to a 2014 article published in the Polish journal Postȩpy Higieny i Medycyny Doświadczalnej, the oligosaccharides in the pectin may help promote death of cancer cells in the colon. They may also help reduce your risk of cancer by grabbing hold of and dragging out carcinogenic substances in your stool. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center notes that the scientific data to support these claims are limited, however, and more research is necessary.
Even though grapefruit pectin comes from a natural food, you should always discuss the use of any dietary supplement with your doctor before you start taking it. One form of the supplement, called modified citrus pectin, has caused mild cases of diarrhea, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering. There’s also concern that when combined with the cholesterol-lowering medication lovastatin, grapefruit pectin may increase low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol.
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.
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.