A doctor may prescribe warfarin to someone who has had a blood clot in the past, as they are at a higher risk of blood clots in the future. Other factors that increase the chances of a blood clot include:
- long periods of inactivity
- irregular heartbeat
- older age
- chronic inflammatory diseases
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
Warfarin works by slowing the production of clotting factors, which the body makes by using vitamin K from food. Levels of vitamin K in a person’s diet could influence the effects of warfarin.
It is possible that vitamin-K rich diets can reduce the effectiveness of warfarin.
The warfarin diet
Vitamin K, which is in some foods, has an important role in blood clotting, and how warfarin works.
The liver uses vitamin K to produce clotting factors, which are cells that help to control bleeding and enable blood clots to form.
Warfarin disrupts this clotting process by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver that uses vitamin K to form clotting factors.
Warfarin can reduce the chances of a dangerous blood clot forming by increasing the time it takes for the liver to produce clotting factors.
Alcohol can also affect the action of warfarin and, therefore, the risk of developing blood clots.
High levels of alcohol consumption can alter the way the body metabolizes warfarin.
The AHA suggest that, on average, men should drink no more than one or two drinks per day, and women should drink no more than one drink per day.
Examples of one drink are a 12-oz beer, a 4-oz glass of wine, 1/5 oz of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz of 100-proof spirits.
Drinking too much alcohol can be particularly harmful for people taking warfarin. A study of 570 people in 2015 found that alcohol misuse has links to a higher risk of major bleeding in people taking warfarin.
Warfarin can help to prevent dangerous blood clots. It works by slowing the production of clotting factors, which the body makes by using vitamin K from food. Levels of vitamin K in a person’s diet could influence the effects of warfarin.
People taking warfarin must avoid eating too many foods that are high in vitamin K, but it is not necessary to avoid these foods entirely. A stable diet, containing around 60 to 80 mcg of vitamin K is desirable.
People on warfarin must also ensure that they only consume alcohol in moderation. High levels of alcohol may affect the metabolism of warfarin and increase the risk of major bleeding.
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