Did your doctor recently prescribe Warfarin (Coumadin)? Are you interested in learning more about how this drug interacts with the foods you eat? If so, you’re in the right place!
In this video, Amanda Haney will talk about how your diet affects Warfarin and what you can do to ensure your medication is working properly.
Continue reading for more information.
What is Warfarin?
Warfarin is a medication given to individuals who have an increased risk of forming blood clots. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of blood clots. As a result, Warfarin works to prevent blood clot formation and reduce your risk for heart attack, stroke, or other serious complications.
When your body senses an injury, a series of reactions occur to form a blood clot. Vitamin K is one of the substances in your blood that is required for these reactions to occur.
Warfarin works by slowing the activity of vitamin K to slow blood clot formation. Therefore, when you are taking Warfarin, you must keep your vitamin K intake consistent. When people hear this fact, the most common response is to remove vitamin K-rich foods entirely from the diet. This elimination is unecessary. Allow me to explain.
Warfarin and Vitamin K
Your doctor will measure your blood clotting time before prescribing Warfarin. This measurement helps the doctor determine the correct dose for you. Your doctor will continue to monitor your levels to make sure your clotting time remains in a healthy range.
Because vitamin K supports blood clot formation, it counteracts Warfarin’s effect. Changing the amount of vitamin K in your diet can impact clotting time; therefore, affecting the dose of Warfarin.
Significantly increasing your vitamin K intake decreases the effectiveness of your medication. As a result, you’ll remain at an increased risk of forming blood clots.
On the other hand, if you significantly decrease your vitamin K intake, you’ll increase Warfarin’s effectiveness. This, too, is undesirable because your blood can become too thin, putting you at an increased risk for bleeding.
The major takeaway here is this: for Warfarin to be effective, you must keep your dietary consumption of vitamin K consistent!
Foods that contain Vitamin K
Vitamin K’s most significant source comes from green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, swiss chard, and collard greens. Other common foods with Vitamin K are broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, avocado, tuna, blueberries, blackberries, and peas.
There’s no need to eliminate the foods listed above because they offer various nutrients outside of vitamin K. Instead, keep your intake consistent.
In the end, I recommend working closely with your registered dietitian and doctor while taking Warfarin. Whether you are interested in increasing your Vitamin K rich foods or if you are having trouble maintaining your blood clotting time in a healthy range, your medical team can help you determine a meal plan that is right for you!