Vitamin K and Blood Thinners
Anticoagulant medications commonly referred to as blood thinners are prescribed to prevent and treat stroke, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, and high blood pressure. It may also be prescribed prior to surgery to prevent complications. Medications like Warfarin/Coumadin prevent blood from clotting. The metabolism of Coumadin, Vitamin K, and dependent clotting factors takes place in the liver. Coumadin prevents the production of Vitamin K dependent clotting factors. As a result, clotting occurs at a slower rate. Coumadin and Vitamin K have opposite functions in the body. Vitamin K promotes blood clotting and Coumadin prevents it.
Does eating foods high in Vitamin K make blood thinners less effective? It could. The most important thing to do is to maintain a balance between the amount of Vitamin K in your body and the amount of Coumadin prescribed. It is also important to be honest with your doctor and to be consistent.
1. If you eat a spinach salad for lunch every day, continue to do so and tell your doctor. They will prescribe the appropriate dosage of Coumadin based on your dietary habits.
2. If you are already taking Coumadin or another blood thinner and you start a new, healthy habit of replacing your daily sausage and egg breakfast with a green smoothie, for example, tell your doctor. They may increase your dosage.
3. Tell your doctor if you are taking a multivitamin that contains Vitamin K.
Foods high in Vitamin K include: leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce and broccoli.
Foods low in Vitamin K include: apples, bananas, cantaloupe, mango, orange, carrot, squash, potatoes and mushrooms.