Nothing says “St. Patrick’s Day” in the United States like green beer and corned beef and cabbage. Even though corned beef and cabbage is an American invention (created by Irish immigrants as a more-affordable substitute for traditional Irish bacon and cabbage), it has become the standard grub for the shamrock-bedecked holiday.


In 2009, 2.3 billion pounds of cabbage were produced in the United States. We sure do like our cabbage. It’s affordable, versatile, a good source of vitamin C and an even better source of vitamin K. But unbeknownst to many, cabbage can also be a bit of a trickster in the body’s system.  


Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot, so some medications, like warfarin (Coumadin) which are used to slow blood clotting might be affected by cabbage’s high level of vitamin K.


Other interactions can occur as a result of cabbage’s ability to increase how quickly the body breaks down certain drugs, resulting in a decrease in the medication’s efficacy. As described in the article, The Effects of Food on Drug Bioavailability published by the British Pharmacological Society, “the brassica species [cabbage's family] include enzyme inducing indoles … which can reduce the bioavailability of some drugs by increasing their rate of metabolic clearance.”


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According to a list on WebMD, there are a number of medications that can be altered by the consumption of cabbage:

1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)

2. Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

3. Clozapine (Clozaril)

4. Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)

5. Diazepam (Valium)

6. Digoxin (Lanoxin)

7. Entacapone (Comtan)

8. Estrogen

9. Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

10. Haloperidol (Haldol)

11. Imipramine (Tofranil)

12. Irinotecan (Camptosar)

13. Lamotrigine (Lamictal)

14. Lorazepam (Ativan)

15. Lovastatin (Mevacor)

16. Meprobamate (Equanil)

17. Mexiletine (Mexitil)

18. Morphine

19. Olanzapine (Zyprexa)

20. Oxazepam (Serax)

21. Oxazepam (Serepax)

22. Oxazepam (Murelax)

23. Pentazocine (Talwin)

24. Propranolol (Inderal)

25. Tacrine (Cognex)

26. Theophylline (Aerolate)

27. Warfarin (Coumadin)

28. Zileuton (Zyflo)

29. Zolmitriptan (Zomig)

That said, these are listed as being of “moderate” concern. None of these interactions are likely to be fatal, but if you’re a big fan of cabbage and taking any of these medications, be sure to check with your health provider to see if eating cabbage is OK. Then do a little jig and get thee to the pub.


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