Why grapefruit juice might be my new coffee creamer

by Christina on March 25, 2011

Recently started looking at Tim Ferriss’s new book The 4-Hour Body and cannot get enough of it.

I admire his curiosity, questioning, and self-experimentation.

A major frustration I have with modern medicine is that medical professionals are afraid to suggest anything new or different. We fear criticism (which always happens) and the ruining of our career (a frightening prospect after all the time and money we invest).

Ferriss describes someone telling him: “you can do more outside the system than inside it.” As disappointing as that is, I think it is generally true today.

I am grateful (and a bit envious) of his freedom to experiment, ask questions, and boldly write about it.

Ferriss writes about drinking grapefruit juice before his coffee because it extends the caffeine’s half-life making its effects last longer in the body. Why haven’t I learned this sooner?!

In medical school, we learn that grapefruit juice inhibits a specific enzyme (p450) in the liver. As a result, medications which are also metabolized by this enzyme may accumulate to toxic levels in the body, and so we learn to tell patients to avoid grapefruit juice when on these medications.

We did not learn that caffeine is also broken down by the p450 enzyme, and that grapefruit juice could thus be used to our advantage.

With a bit of PubMeding, I found that other natural foods and spices also inhibit the p450 enzyme: pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg (and hey, cinnamon and nutmeg actually taste good in coffee).

For those long days ahead in the hospital, I’m going to be adding a grapefruit to my morning coffee.

Thank you, Tim Ferriss (there will be more from him to come).

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam March 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm

thank you, helpful for these last days of tax season
Hi Christina !


Christina March 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Hi Adam! Yes and make sure you make time for sleep and yoga too!!!! Almost there!


Jen March 26, 2011 at 3:10 am

I go to the same sports therapist that Tim Ferriss wrote about going to in this book!

I read his book and I was not too impressed. I wish he focused on long term health rather than instant unbelievable results. But, I do like the idea of self-quantification, and there are definitely some gems in there like the grapefruit thing. I also like his ab workouts!


Christina March 26, 2011 at 11:24 am

Hey Jen,
True, he does not talk much about long term health effects, but I’m also not sure how he would — that’s much more difficult to self-experiment with and quantify (he’ll only really know when he sees how he’s doing in 50 years).


Sara March 29, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I’m so glad that I just had a grapefruit before my cup of tea. This should mean an extra productive afternoon!


Christina March 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Haha yes! How did it go?! I did the same thing before heading to a coffee shop to get some work done this afternoon 🙂


amanda April 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

i got this book after reading your blog. it’s fascinating. and exciting. and thank you!


Christina April 15, 2011 at 8:03 pm

amanda! so nice to hear from you 🙂 yes the book IS fascinating… let me know if you start doing any of the things he recommends!


Mariano Viloria May 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Thank you Christina for this post.. I will follow you on Twetter 🙂

I read about it on the 4HB but didn’t pay attention to it.. I guess you explained it better than Tim.


Mariano Viloria


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