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Heart and Wealth Services: Invest in Your Health and Wealth

Warfarin and Vitamin K Rich Foods: A Guide for Heart-Healthy Choices

One of the most common questions I get from clients taking warfarin is how it interacts with foods high in vitamin K. In this blog post, I'll review the drug warfarin, talk about the role of vitamin K in blood clots, and how to eat well while taking this drug.


Describe Warfarin.

Warfarin, also sold under the brand name Coumadin, is a medicine that helps keep blood from clotting in the body. It is an anticoagulant. Patients with blood clots, atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism, or specific heart treatments, like valve replacements, are often given this medicine.


What effect does vitamin K have on warfarin?

Vitamin K is a vitamin that dissolves in fat and is very important for the blood to clot. It is needed for the liver to make several blood-clotting factors, which are required for the blood to clot normally. Warfarin works by stopping vitamin K from doing its job. This reduces the production of clotting factors and, in turn, prevents blood from clotting.


For individuals taking warfarin, it is essential to maintain a consistent vitamin K intake to ensure the medication's effectiveness.


The international normalized ratio (INR), which measures how long it takes for blood to clot, can change a lot if you get too much or too little vitamin K. If the INR is too high, it means that you are more likely to bleed, and if it is too low, it means that you are more likely to get a blood clot.


Vitamin K can be found in many foods but is most concentrated in green leafy veggies like kale, spinach, and collard greens. Good sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, green beans, and oils like soy and canola.


How to Eat Well While Taking Warfarin

Moderation and balance are the keys to getting enough vitamin K while taking warfarin. Here are some suggestions to help you:


Be aware of the size of your portions. Eating a lot of vitamin K-rich foods at one meal can cause your INR levels to change quickly. Aim for smaller amounts that are the same size all week.


Eat a range of foods, including a mix of foods high in vitamin K and foods low in vitamin K. This will help you keep your levels steady while giving you a wide range of tastes and nutrients.


Write down what you eat. Keep track of how much vitamin K you take daily to stay consistent. This will also help you determine if there are any trends or changes in your INR levels so that you can change your diet.


Talk to the people taking care of you. Tell your doctor or anticoagulation center about any changes to your diet and any other medications, supplements, or herbal products you may be taking.


Keep an eye on your INR levels. Regular blood tests to check your INR levels will help your healthcare team change your warfarin dose if needed.


Conclusion

Getting the right amount of vitamin K while taking warfarin is essential to ensure the medicine works and avoids problems. You can successfully manage your diet and live a heart-healthy life by eating various foods in moderate amounts, keeping an open line of contact with your healthcare team, and regularly checking your INR levels.

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