Foods and anticoagulation therapyGOAL:
Achieve balance between your vitamin K intake and your anticoagulant medication in an effort to stabilize the time it takes your blood to clot.OBJECTIVES:
- Understand how anticoagulants work and the role of vitamin K in your body.
- Maintain your usual vitamin K intake.
- Learn about other factors that can interact with your medication.
You have been prescribed an anticoagulant, which is a medication that prevents blood clots from forming in your blood vessels, heart or around your artificial heart valve. Coumadin™ and Sintrom™ are among the most widely used brands of anticoagulant medication.VITAMIN K:
In addition to playing an important role in blood clotting, vitamin K also protects your heart and promotes bone health. An adequate and consistent vitamin K intake will help you meet your dietary requirement (90-120 µg /day), while improving anticoagulant stability. Conversely, a low vitamin K intake may cause your clotting time to become unstable.
THERE IS NO NEED TO AVOID CERTAIN FOODS
Vitamin K is found in many foods, especially green vegetables. If you enjoy greens, it is worth noting that many of them are low in vitamin K, and can therefore be eaten without restriction:
The table below lists vitamin K-rich foods. If one or more of these foods are already part of your weekly diet, continue to eat the same portions. Eating one of these foods every day is ideal!
However, if these vegetables are not part of your eating habits (less than once every 2 weeks), we recommend that you not exceed the recommended maximum portion. The portions are for vegetables in their raw form, before they are cooked. While you may steadily increase your intake, you must notify your doctor so that your medication can be adjusted.
|Food||Maximum portion (100-150 µg vit K)|
|Beet, mustard and turnip greens||½ cup (125 mL)|
|Broccoli||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Brussels sprouts||4 sprouts|
|Cabbage||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Celery root (celeriac)||¾ cup (175 mL)|
|Chicory and watercress||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Collard greens||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Curly, Romaine and Boston lettuce||2 cups (500 mL)|
|Dandelion||¼ cup (60 mL)|
|Endive||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Kale||¼ cup (60 mL)|
|Mesclun||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Napa cabbage||2 cups (500 mL)|
|Parsley (fresh)||2 tbs (30 mL)|
|Soybean sprouts||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Spinach||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Spring onions (scallions)||½ cup (125 mL)|
|Radicchio||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Rapini||1 cup (250 mL)|
|Swiss chard||½ cup (125 mL)|
Some foods that are low in vitamin K can also have an effect on anticoagulants when eaten in very large amounts. Keep your intake consistent, or ask to have your dosage adjusted if you want to integrate any of the following into your diet:
- Soy protein (e.g., tofu, soy milk)
Alcohol affects clotting time and should be used in moderation.
- Women: Maximum of 1 drink per day
- Men: Maximum of 2 drinks per day
One drink is equal to:
- 1 ounce (30 mL) of hard alcohol (spirits)
- 4 ounces (125 mL) of wine
- 10 ounces (341 mL) of beer
You may drink 1 to 2 glasses (250-500 mL) of these juices if they are already part of your diet, but again, try to be consistent when it comes to the amount you drink. You should however, avoid extracts and concentrates in supplement form.OMEGA-3:
Foods that contain omega-3s are excellent for cardiovascular health and will not affect your current treatment. Daily doses of 1000 mg of pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 supplements (EPA and DHA) are permitted. Do not exceed this dose unless advised by your doctor.ADDITIONAL ADVICE:
Natural products and supplements should only be used as prescribed by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are taking any over-the-counter products. Many supplements can interact with your anticoagulant.
Report any significant changes in your eating or lifestyle habits to your healthcare professional:
- If you start a weight loss diet
- If you become vegetarian
- If you experience a loss of appetite lasting more than one week
- If there are any changes to your medication
- If you develop a new disease or condition
- If you stop smoking or make changes to the number of cigarettes you smoke each day
- If you travel abroad
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.