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People who use blood thinners have to constantly watch their Vitamin K intake due to how this vitamin interacts with blood thinning medication. This nutritional obstacle becomes even more difficult because Vitamin K levels are not required to appear on food labels.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms. The main type is called phylloquinone, found in green leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale, and spinach. The other type, menaquinones, are found in some animal foods and fermented foods. Vitamin K is important as it helps to make various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of bones throughout the body. Prothrombin is a vitamin K-dependent protein directly involved with blood clotting. Osteocalcin is another protein that requires vitamin K to produce healthy bone tissue (Harvard.edu).
Warfarin works by disrupting the role of vitamin K in a complex series of molecular events that cause blood clotting. But vitamin K is a nutrient essential for heart and bone health (Mayo Clinic). You and your doctor should keep an eye out for how much vitamin K you are and have consumed. It’s all about consistency about how much vitamin K you should consume daily. The “Warfarin Diet” or the “Coumadin diet” is all about taking a consistent amount of Vitamin K. Medical professionals recommend that adult men should take 120 micrograms (mcg) while adult women should intake 90 mcg of Vitamin K. Foods that contain more than 60 mcg per serving should be avoided in large portions.
There are so many foods to avoid when on blood thinners. Specifically, these foods can inhibit the effectiveness of the drugs, putting the patients at risk for bleeding and other complications.
Both men and women should avoid large amounts of the below foods (Mayo Clinic):
A stable diet, containing around 60 to 80 mcg of vitamin K is desirable. Below are the foods that have small amounts of Vitamin K. And can be safe if eaten under the supervision of a doctor (all of these foods have small amounts of Vitamin K, Fruits and Veggies):
Patients that consume an inconsistent amount of Vitamin K and/or foods that contain large amounts of Vitamin K can put themselves at risk of developing a blood clot and further side effects. Here are some of the serious ailments that patients should keep an eye out for and call 911 if these symptoms arise:
On the positive side, patients are able to consume many foods considered safe if they are taking any anticoagulants. These are the foods that are considered safe to consume:
Patients should take many precautions. Specifically, knowing that taking an oral anticoagulant has a higher propensity to cause adverse reactions putting the patient in the hospital for bleeding-related illnesses (NCBI). Furthermore, anticoagulants can also react negatively to other medications specifically, anti-platelet drugs, in the presence of dosing errors, and when there is improper monitoring. Patients should communicate with their doctor about their diet, current medications, and any follow-up issues that are occurring.
They are considered the same thing. Though medical professionals usually refer to these specific drugs as anticoagulants (“blood thinners” don’t actually thin blood).
The blood circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, delivers nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. It is comprised of the heart and the blood vessels, all running through the entire body. Briefly, the arteries carry blood away from the heart; the veins carry it back to the heart (NCBI). This helpful system carries oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to cells, and removes waste products, like carbon dioxide in the body (Kids Health).
When a blood clot, or thrombus, travels to critical parts of the body like the heart or lungs, it can turn into a very serious health concern. Briefly, blood clots become dangerous when they get stuck in a passageway and turn into what is called an embolus. Once this embolus forms, the blood can no longer pass through the veins and reach organs and the person is at high risk for a heart attack or stroke (Heart.org).
Also known as anticoagulants. These are medicines that help prevent blood clots. These drugs work by interrupting the process involved in the formation of blood clots. And this interruption can significantly decrease your risk of blood clotting, but will not decrease the risk to zero. Additionally, we usually hear of anticoagulants as “blood-thinning” medicines, although they don’t actually make the blood thinner (NHC).
There are many helpful blood thinners that medical professionals might prescribe. Some of the most common are:
The generic names are listed first, followed by the name brands of these blood thinners (HeartandStroke.CA).
Warfarin is a blood thinner medication that is usually prescribed to people who have had or are at risk for blood clots. Because this medication prevents blood clots, it can also put you at risk for bleeding.
There are a couple of reasons why someone would get prescribed Warfarin and that is because that person has a mechanical artificial heart valve that is more likely to form blood clots and/or a blood clot in your lungs (Mayo Clinic).
This is another blood thinner medication. This drug helps prevent blood clots from forming in a patient’s body. Jantoven is used to treat or prevent blood clots in veins or arteries. And can reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other serious conditions (Drugs.com).
Alcohol can create side effects when combined with an anticoagulant. Medical professionals suggest avoiding acute alcohol intoxication. Coffee consumption can also alter the effects of blood thinners; as caffeine can inhibit the metabolism of warfarin (NCBI). Also, some juices like cranberry juice, green tea and grapefruit juice can deactivate an enzyme that normally breaks down warfarin, causing an unusual amount of bleeding (NY TImes).
It is recommended to drink water throughout the day to keep your blood thin, starting with a glass or two in the morning. This lessens the risk of stroke and the thickening of the blood (dehydration).
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