Grapefruit contains a number of vitamins and minerals that offer a range of health benefits. Some older studies suggest that consuming grapefruit may help reduce a person’s cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is present in the body. It is essential for good health. Medical professionals often split cholesterol into two categories: “bad” cholesterol and “good” cholesterol.

High levels of bad cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to build up in the blood vessels. This can increase a person’s risk of several health issues, including heart attack and stroke. While more research is necessary, older evidence suggests that grapefruit may help lower bad cholesterol levels.

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Some evidence suggests that grapefruit may be able to help lower a person’s cholesterol levels.

Grapefruit membranes are rich in pectin. Pectin is a type of dietary fiber that some medical professionals refer to as viscous fiber.

Viscous fiber is a soluble fiber that the gut does not absorb. Viscous fiber can also bind to cholesterol in the gut. This means the gut cannot absorb the cholesterol. This action can help lower a person’s bad cholesterol.

An older study from 2012 analyzed the effects of eating grapefruit each day on a number of factors, including cholesterol levels. The study states that participants who consumed grapefruit saw improvements in their cholesterol numbers. However, the study also states that eating grapefruit each day did not significantly decrease cholesterol levels.

An old study from 2014 looked at the effect of certain citrus juices on cholesterol levels in rats consuming a high cholesterol diet. The study states that the citrus juices, which included grapefruit juice, caused a reduction in cholesterol levels in the rats. The study suggests that these juices have the ability to increase:

  • bile flow
  • the concentration of biliary bile cholesterol
  • the concentration of biliary bile acids

These abilities may enhance the excretion of cholesterol, which can reduce cholesterol levels.

Most of the studies on the effects of grapefruit juice and cholesterol levels are older, with some mixed results. This means that more studies are necessary to determine whether consuming grapefruit may help decrease cholesterol levels.

Evidence suggests that grapefruit can interact with some drugs. These include the following:


Statins are a group of medications that can help lower a person’s blood cholesterol. They can reduce a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke. The most common type of statin that people in the United States take is called simvastatin (Zocor).

When a person takes simvastatin, the body metabolizes the drug and breaks it down. Studies show that consuming grapefruit when taking simvastatin can significantly inhibit the body’s ability to metabolize the drug.

This can cause large amounts of the drug to remain in a person’s bloodstream. When this occurs, it can cause certain side effects, such as an increased risk of liver and muscle damage that can lead to kidney failure.

Read on to learn more about grapefruit and statins.


Some people take antiarrhythmic medications to treat an irregular or rapid heart rate, which medical professionals refer to as arrhythmias.

Studies show that grapefruit juice can inhibit the metabolism of certain antiarrhythmic medications. Grapefruit juice can also increase a person’s plasma levels and affect the heart’s electrical activity.

These effects can all increase a person’s chance of developing an adverse drug reaction.


Antihistamines are medications that people take to treat the symptoms of allergies. Fexofenadine is a type of antihistamine that people use to treat seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and chronic idiopathic urticaria (hives).

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), if a person consumes grapefruit juice and takes fexofenadine, the juice can interfere with how the medication works.

Grapefruit juice can block the transporters that move the medication into the body’s cells, which can reduce the effectiveness of fexofenadine. Consuming grapefruit juice while taking fexofenadine may also increase a person’s risk of developing side effects.

Other medications

According to the FDA, grapefruit may interact with other medications, such as:

A person should speak to their doctor if they are taking these medications and wish to consume grapefruit.

Some health benefits of grapefruits may include:

Vitamin C

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the daily recommended amount of vitamin C is 90 milligrams (mg) for males and 75 mg for females. Grapefruit is high in vitamin C, and 100 grams of grapefruit contains around 34.4 mg of vitamin C.

Vitamin C has a number of possible health benefits, including:

  • protecting cells and maintaining cell health
  • helping wounds to heal
  • maintaining the health of the following structures:
    • skin
    • bones
    • blood vessels
    • cartilage


Free radicals are chemicals in the body that are highly reactive and can cause damage to a person’s cells. Antioxidants are chemicals that can neutralize free radicals. This can prevent the free radicals from damaging cells in the body, reducing a person’s risk of developing certain medical conditions.

Grapefruits contain high amounts of the antioxidant lycopene. Studies suggest that lycopene may be effective in:

Lycopene may also have positive neuroprotective qualities that may cause it to relieve:

Some health points to consider when consuming grapefruit include:

Interactions with medications

Grapefruit interacts with certain medications, such as:

  • statins
  • antiarrhythmics
  • antihistamines
  • high blood pressure medications
  • anti-anxiety medications
  • certain corticosteroids
  • organ-transplant rejection drugs

A person should always check with their doctor if they are taking these medications and wish to consume grapefruit.

Grapefruit juice may increase the risk of kidney stones

A 2021 systemic review explored the relationship between citrus juices and kidney stone disease (KSD).

It states that epidemiological studies suggest that grapefruit juice may increase a person’s risk of developing KSD. However, the review also states that smaller clinical studies indicate that grapefruit juice may have a protective role against KSD.

More research is necessary to determine grapefruit’s effect on KSD.

There are a number of things a person can do to manage their cholesterol levels. These include:

  • eating foods that are low in saturated fats and trans fats
  • avoiding red and processed meats
  • following a heart-healthy diet containing:
    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • whole grains
    • poultry
    • fish
    • nuts
    • nontropical vegetable oils
  • being physically active
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • avoiding smoking, if applicable

Grapefruit contains vitamin D and has antioxidant properties. This means that it can have a number of possible health benefits. Some older studies suggest that grapefruit may help lower bad cholesterol. However, more research is necessary to confirm this.

The vitamin D in grapefruit may also help protect cells, help wounds heal, and maintain healthy skin, bones, blood vessels, and cartilage. Antioxidant properties in grapefruit may also help reduce a person’s risk of developing diabetes, cancer, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular diseases.

Grapefruit may also interact with certain medications, including statins, antiarrhythmics, and antihistamines. This can affect how the medications work and may increase a person’s risk of adverse drug effects.