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Vitamin K and Coumadin

There are numerous dangers associated with the combination of vitamin K and Coumadin, so the following factors need to be taken into consideration if you have been prescribed Coumadin (also known as Warfarin).

Coumadin is a prescription medicine taken by those prone to forming blood clots in the legs, lungs or brain. It is also associated with the replacement of heart valves, the quickening of the heartbeat and irregularities of the pulse. Coumadin may be used to decrease the risk of dying after a heart attack or stroke; or in the occurrence of blood clots which may move from the legs or lungs to the heart or brain.

Some medical conditions cause blood to clot quicker than normal. This can be very dangerous and be the cause of serious health issues if these clots were to travel to the heart or brain. Coumadin prevents the formation of these clots.

Vitamin K and Coumadin combined can cause serious complications, as Vitamin K is an essential nutrient in the formation of blood clots. If someone is already at risk of developing blood clots, adding extra vitamin K to the diet could be catastrophic. Vitamin K decreases the activity of Coumadin because it diminishes its action in the process of clotting.  

To enable Coumadin and Vitamin K to have the desired beneficial effect in your body and thus an efficient coagulation process, you need to monitor the intake of this vitamin.

The balance between vitamin K and Coumadin needs to be effectively monitored and controlled.  If, on the one hand, one was to suddenly increase the intake of Vitamin K, it would lessen the effects of the drug Coumadin. If, on the other hand, one was to lower the intake of the Vitamin, you would increase the effects of the drug. Neither would be beneficial to one’s wellbeing if left unmonitored and uncontrolled.

Measurements taken in laboratory tests give values as to how long a clot takes to form. These are called Internal Normalised Ratio (INR) and Prothrombin Time (PT). Coumadin slows down this process, affecting the INR and the PT. This is what your doctor needs to measure monthly, to make sure they remain within the desired range.

What can you do to ensure a good Coumadin and Vitamin K combination?

  • Take the correct dosage of Coumadin at regular times
  • Have your INR and PT regularly checked
  • Be consistent in your vitamin K intake daily
  • Be aware of  the RDA of  Vitamin K, which is 80mg per 2000 calories
  • Notify your healthcare provider before making any major changes to your diet

Vitamin K and Coumadin can be a deathly combination when not monitored correctly. Ensure you follow all the above requirements to keep your health at an optimal level.

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