Q: “I’ve been giving away tangelos to neighbours, some of whom are taking statins. I just found out tangelos are a cross between a mandarin and a grapefruit. Since people who take statins are advised not to eat grapefruit, does this apply to tangelos also?”
Janette, via email
A: APD Hannah Gilbert answers:
“Tangelos are a hybrid of a tangerine and grapefruit and therefore contain some grapefruit genetic material.
Statins are a common type of drug prescribed to lower cholesterol. They are broken down by enzymes in our small intestine.
Substances naturally present in grapefruit can disrupt the function of these enzymes in the small intestine, which causes too much of the statin to be absorbed by the body. This over-absorption can then lead to dangerous side effects.
You’ve taken the right step in seeking clarification. Please ask your neighbour to get advice from their pharmacist or GP, so they have a good understanding of the statin and tangelo interaction.“