safety medical

Vitamin K and Coumadin (Warfarin)

Coumadin (warfarin) which is also know as warfarin is one of the most used anticoagulants. Originally developed to be used as a rat pesticide it was discovered to have potent anticoagulant properties in human beings. Rather than thinning the blood's viscosity as other anticoagulants do, warfarin effects the way important blood clotting proteins and enzymes are synthesized. The proteins and enzymes effected by warfarin are unable to promote clotting effectively in the blood and this is what gives it its anticoagulant effects. Unfortunately, Coumadin's action can be greatly effected by the presence of other medicines and compounds within the body. One of the biggest compounds able to effect Coumadin's action is vitamin K. It is for this reason that Coumadin and vitamin K should not be present in the bodies system together in large amounts. Vitamin K is found in a variety of vegetables and is sometimes put into health supplements.

Vitamin K Coumadin (warfarin) interaction

The way that warfarin functions is by inhibiting the role that the vitamin K plays in producing essential proteins and other compounds for blood to properly clot. With a disruption in the vitamin K protein production chain ineffective proteins are formed which causes the blood to not be able to clot. If vitamin K is introduced into the diet it will basically reverse the effects that Coumadin has had upon the ability of the blood to clot. It is for this reason that vitamin K is the main compound administered to those who have overdosed on Coumadin. For those who are taking warfarin in order to prevent blood clots ingesting too much vitamin K will lead to an inefficiency of the medication which will result in a high likelihood of a blood clot forming. If large amounts of vitamin K are accidentally ingested you should see a medical professional immediately as you will likely have to have your dose of warfarin adjusted in order to account for the additional amounts of vitamin K in your system.

Vitamin K rich foods

The main sorts of foods which contain vitamin K are dark green leafy vegetables. If you are not certain whether a food contains vitamin K or not it is best to avoid that food due to the harmful effects vitamin K can have if ingested while undergoing warfarin treatment. If you take a daily multivitamin it is good to check and make sure that it does not contain any vitamin K. Also check the labels of any supplements you currently take to assure that they are Vitamin K free as well. The vegetable known as Kale contains vitamin K so it should be avoided. Spinach also is known to contain vitamin K. Other vegetables known to contain vitamin K are parsley, brussels sprouts, collard greens, mustard greens, chard and green tea. If only a small quantity of these vegetable is consumed it is nothing to worry about. It is usually only excessive amounts of these vegetables that when ingested can have a significant effect on warfarin and vitamin K interactions.

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