Possible interactions of drugs, fortified foods concern scientist

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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Count Dr. Guy Amsden among the believers in foods fortified with minerals, provided proof exists that the minerals fail to offset the effects of prescription drugs. A research scientist with the Clinical Research Division of the Bassett Healthcare Research Institute and a clinical pharmacology specialist with the Department of Pharmaceutical Care Services of Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, N.Y., Dr. Amsden said he has noticed an increase in foods fortified with minerals such as calcium, which may help in the prevention of osteoporosis.

"This is good," he said. "People get the amount of calcium they need per day."

In some cases, however, the amount of mineral fortification in foods comes close to the amount found in antacids, Dr. Amsden said. Doctors often warn patients not to take certain antacids and multivitamins while on antibiotics or other prescription drugs because the minerals in them may counter the effects of the drugs. Dr. Amsden said he would like to see more investigation into whether similar warnings should be given for fortified foods.

"There has to be responsibility somewhere, an acknowledgement of a potential for a problem," he said.

Dr. Amsden was one of the authors for a paper titled "Is it Really OK to Take This with Food? Old Interactions with a New Twist" that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2002. The paper stated, "The biomechanical mechanisms that cause drug-antacid interactions are the same mechanisms that cause drug interactions with fortified foods."

Dr. Amsden said calcium, which millions of Americans need to consume more of every day, is linked to damaging the efficacy of prescription drugs. Both the food and beverage industry and the antacid industry promote calcium content. Promotions for Tums antacid tablets include their effectiveness in battling osteoporosis since each tablet contains 200 mg of calcium. An 8-oz serving of Minute Maid Original Orange Juice + Calcium contains 35% of the recommended % Daily Value of calcium. Thirty-five % would be about 350 mg for men and women aged 19-70, according to the U.S. Dietary Reference Intake.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 makes it clear that people need to consume more calcium and other minerals. Intake levels are of concern for adults in the cases of calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamins A, C and E. Intake levels are of concern for children and adolescents in the cases of calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E.

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