Many people do not think twice about eating a salad full of deep greens. Usually, vegetables are encouraged as a great source of fiber and nutrients. However, medications may put restrictions on a person’s diet. For people taking Warfarin, diet is sometimes the largest lifestyle change required to promote safety.
The Body's Need for Vitamin K
Vitamin K is found in a variety of foods, including leafy green vegetables and certain plant oils. In the normal human body, Vitamin K is needed in order to make blood clots. For example, a blood clot forms shortly after a paper cut occurs to stop the bleeding.
Clotting outside the body is helpful to a person’s safety; however, clotting inside the body can be harmful. In cases where excessive clotting is a health risk, anti-clotting medications such as Warfarin may be prescribed.
Vitamin K and INR Tests
The International Normalized Ratio (INR) is a blood test that measures the time it takes for blood to clot. This test is usually performed on people taking Warfarin.
Vitamin K performs the opposite action as Warfarin so it essentially functions as its antidote. Since excess Vitamin K in your diet can decrease the efficacy of the drug, it can cause a lower INR test result. An INR below the prescribed range can increase the risk of clotting and result in complications including pulmonary embolism and death.
Monitoring Vitamin K while on Warfarin
Since the vitamin is responsible for impacting the effectiveness of Warfarin, it is important to discuss diet with your physician.
Monitoring the level of Vitamin K in your diet could help identify the cause of INR fluctuations and reduce the need for dosage changes.
Although the vitamin K content in food is difficult to determine because the vitamin is not typically listed on food labels, you can track vitamin K using INRTracker’s food database that contains the nutritional information in over 7000+ foods. Registration is free. Sign up now.