How to Regulate Vitamin K and Warfarin Levels

Parashar Joshi Nov 3, 2018
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Vitamin K plays a vital role in the process of blood clotting, whereas warfarin (Coumadin) is a medicine that delays it. Those who are prescribed this medication need to consume vitamin K in restricted quantities. Read on to know more about this medication.
Vitamin K is one of the 6 main types of vitamins. It is responsible for ensuring proper blood clotting and for increasing the bone mass, which aids in bone development.
Vitamin K is found in almost all green vegetables and is required in little amounts every day. Deficiency of vitamin K can lead to slower blood clotting, which is not a good sign either.
Those who have been diagnosed with internal blood clots or thrombus, are sometimes advised to use a blood thinning agent known as warfarin. It is available under several brand names such as, Coumadin, Marevan, Waran, and Lawarin.
This medication decreases the effects of vitamin K in the body, thereby slowing down the process of blood clotting. If the intake of vitamin K increases while using this medicine, it may interfere with its functioning.
On the other hand, completely barring the intake of this vitamin may also negatively increase the effects of this medication, which is also harmful. People using this medication should always be wary of the vitamin K levels in their body.

Regulating Warfarin and Vitamin K Levels in the Body

Some people are prone to the formation of thrombi or emboli, i.e. clots as well as air bubbles in the blood vessels. If a clot grows in size and gets stuck in a vital organ, it can become life-threatening.
In such cases, warfarin is prescribed to serve the purpose of an anticoagulant. It is also prescribed to prevent diseases like heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and peripheral vascular disease. Warfarin is meant to lessen (and NOT negate) the action of vitamin K.
Those who are taking warfarin are advised to get the International Normalized Ratio (INR) and Prothrombin Time (PT) tests done on a monthly basis. These tests measure the time taken for the blood to clot.
To ensure that the results of these tests are within the acceptable range, it is very important to be strict when it comes to taking the medication as instructed by the doctor and keeping a tab on your vitamin K intake. It should be consistent, i.e., it should not drop sharply nor should it rise sharply.
A sudden drop or rise in the vitamin K levels may prove to be harmful. What you eat would play an important role in the process. The following section will give you a brief information on the foods you must avoid taking in excessive amounts than usual.

Foods to Avoid while on Warfarin

Do consult a trusted physician and a registered dietitian to chalk out an elaborate diet plan for you. Here is a list of vitamin K rich foods which ideally should be avoided, or if you have been consuming them regularly, should be eaten in moderately consistent quantities.
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Swiss chard
  • Parsley
  • Mustard greens
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Spring onions
  • Collards
  • Tuna
  • Prunes
  • Blue/black berries
  • Avocado
There are certain drinks that should be avoided with warfarin. These are -
  • Cranberry juice
  • Alcohol
  • Green tea
For a person undergoing warfarin therapy, maintaining a balance of vitamin K levels is absolutely crucial. The best way to do so, is to consult your doctor and a registered dietitian about what you can eat and in what quantities.
Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for expert medical advice.