Did your doctor recently prescribed you Warfarin (Coumadin)? Are you interested in learning more about how this drug interacts with the foods you eat? In this video I will talk about how your diet affects Warfarin and what you can do to ensure your medication is working properly.
If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.
What is Warfarin?
Warfarin is a medication given to individuals who have an increased risk for forming blood clots. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk for 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 that can protect the injured area. 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, it is important that you keep your Vitamin K intake consistent. When people hear this fact, the most common response I see is they cut Vitamin K foods completely. This is not necessary, so let me explain.
Warfarin and Vitamin K
Your doctor will measure your blood clotting time before you start this medication. This measurement helps the doctor determine the medication dose that is right for you, then your doctor will continue to monitor your levels to make sure your clotting time remains in a healthy range. If you change the amount of Vitamin K you are eating after you start the medication, you can affect your blood clotting time.
Greatly 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 greatly decrease your Vitamin K intake, you’ll increase the effectiveness of your medication. This is dangerous because your blood can become too thin, putting you at an increased risk for bleeding.
The major takeaway here is, in order for Warfarin to be effective, you must keep your dietary consumption of Vitamin K consistent!
Foods that contain Vitamin K
Lastly, you may be wondering what foods contain Vitamin K.
The greatest source of Vitamin K come from green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, swiss chard, and collard greens. Other common foods with less Vitamin K are broccoli, cabbage, other lettuces, asparagus, avocado, tuna, blue or blackberries, and peas.
These foods are packed with important nutrients, so it is important that you keep them part of your healthy diet!
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!