Sometimes, certain foods, drinks, and supplements can interact with medications. This includes beta-blockers, which are primarily used to prevent or treat heart disease (1).

If you’re taking beta-blockers, you may wonder if there are any dietary or lifestyle changes you need to consider.

This article explains what beta-blockers are and if you should avoid or restrict any foods, beverages, or supplements while taking them.

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Beta-blockers are a group of medications. Some of the most commonly prescribed include (2):

  • carvedilol
  • bisoprolol
  • metoprolol
  • acebutolol
  • atenolol
  • nadolol
  • nebivolol
  • propranolol
  • celiprolol

They work by blocking receptor sites, known as beta receptors, for the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. Some beta-blockers also bind to sites called alpha receptors.

These receptor sites are found in the heart and other areas of your body. They are involved in many functions, like regulating your heart activity and blood pressure (1).

The effects of beta-blockers depend on which receptors they target. They are used to treat the following conditions (1):

  • high blood pressure
  • heart failure
  • tachycardia, a rapid heartbeat that may be regular or irregular
  • heart attack
  • arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat
  • coronary artery disease
  • hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid
  • glaucoma
  • migraine
  • aortic dissection, or a tear in the aorta, the largest blood vessel in your body
  • portal hypertension, or increased pressure in the portal vein
  • long QT syndrome, a heart rhythm disorder
  • hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy, or thickening of the heart muscle

Beta-blockers are typically administered orally, though they can also be given by injection or intravenously.

SUMMARY

Beta-blockers are a class of drugs primarily used to treat conditions that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and arrhythmia.

If you’re taking beta-blockers or are about to start, you may wonder if there are any dietary or lifestyle changes you should make.

Thankfully, your diet does not have to change significantly. Still, you may need to avoid or restrict a few types of foods, beverages, and supplements.

Foods and beverages that may interact with beta-blockers

You may need to avoid or restrict certain foods and beverages that can interact with beta-blockers.

For example, certain fruit juices, including grapefruit, apple, and orange juice, have been shown to lower the absorption of the beta-blockers acebutolol, atenolol, and celiprolol (3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

Even though you may be able to enjoy these juices while taking beta-blockers, it’s important to consult your doctor about how fruit juices may interact with your specific medication and whether you should avoid certain fruit juices completely.

Caffeinated foods and beverages, including coffee, energy drinks, energy bars, and certain sodas, can also interact with beta-blockers by slowing down how fast your body metabolizes them. This can cause the medication to stay active in your body for longer (8).

Lastly, alcohol can decrease the effectiveness of beta-blockers. If you take these medications, it’s best to avoid alcohol or limit how much you consume (9).

Ask your doctor for tailored recommendations about your treatment and these foods and drinks.

What about supplements?

If you’re taking beta-blockers, there are several reasons why you should check with your doctor before trying any new supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements.

For example, beta-blockers may cause you to develop hyperkalemia, which is high blood levels of potassium.

A large 2016 study that included data from 194,456 people found that taking beta-blockers was associated with a 13% increased risk of hyperkalemia (10).

For this reason, you should not take potassium supplements or multivitamins that include this mineral before speaking with your doctor.

It’s also important to know that certain supplements can affect the effectiveness of beta-blockers.

This includes hawthorn, an herbal supplement sometimes used to treat heart failure, which can increase the effects of beta-blockers (11).

Other supplements, including fumitory, lily of the valley, night-blooming cereus, and piperine — a compound found in black pepper — may increase or decrease the effect of beta-blockers (12, 13, 14).

If you’re taking beta-blockers and are interested in taking any dietary supplements, it’s important to first ask your doctor for advice on what is and is not safe.

Summary

Some beverages, foods, and supplements may interact with beta-blockers. It’s important to check with your doctor before starting a new dietary supplement while taking beta-blockers to ensure your safety.

Beta-blockers are typically used to treat heart-related conditions like arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.

In addition to taking medications, certain diet and lifestyle modifications can improve your heart health and lower disease risk.

Here are some general tips on how to take care of your heart and overall health:

  • Eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Consuming a diet low in ultra-processed foods and rich in whole, nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fish, and beans is one of the best ways to take care of your heart (15).
  • Be more active. If you’re mostly sedentary or have low levels of daily activity, increasing activity by exercising and engaging in enjoyable movement can help keep your heart healthy (16).
  • Quit smoking and cut back on alcohol. Smoking and excessive drinking can harm your heart and take a toll on your overall health. Quitting smoking and cutting back on your alcohol intake are smart ways to help your heart (17, 18).
  • Get proper sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night to promote optimal health (19).

If you’re having difficulty with diet, exercise, or healthy lifestyle choices, consider working with healthcare professionals like registered dietitians, psychologists, and doctors who can help you build a plan that works for you, your lifestyle, and your health.

Diet and lifestyle advice depends on your health, medication use, and more, so it’s important to receive personalized care.

Summary

Following a nutrient-dense diet, being more active, getting enough sleep, quitting smoking, and cutting back on alcohol can help keep your heart healthy.

Beta-blockers are medications primarily used to treat conditions that affect the heart.

Some foods, beverages, and supplements, including orange juice, caffeinated drinks, and potassium supplements, may interact with beta-blockers.

If you have specific questions related to diet and supplements when taking beta-blockers, consult your healthcare team for advice. They can help you decide what is safe and what is not depending on the type of beta-blocker you’re taking and your health.