News Picture: Study Refutes Notion That People on Warfarin Shouldn

The study refutes the idea that people should not eat green leaves on Warfarin

TUESDAY, 11 June 2019 (HealthDay News) – Spinach-loving seniors, rejoice. A new study suggests that – despite warnings from doctors to the contrary – you can eat green leafy vegetables with a lot of vitamin K if you use the blood thinner warfarin.

In fact, "I think all patients treated with warfarin would benefit from increasing their daily vitamin K intake," said lead author Guylaine Ferland. She is a professor of nutrition at the University of Montreal in Canada.

The results of the study were to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition in Baltimore.

Vitamin K coagulation helps so that patients on the anticoagulant (or "anticoagulant") warfarin are often warned by their physician to limit the amount of food rich in the nutrient. These foods contain green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and many others.

However, the Ferland team wanted to test the long-standing idea that vitamin K is really a problem for these patients.

The study included 46 patients from 32 to 85 years old, all of whom had difficulty maintaining their anticoagulation level.

Half participated in regular diet supervision and cooking classes. The other half went to counseling and cooking classes, but instructors in these classes encouraged the addition of more green vegetables, as well as oils with vitamin K to the diet.

To their surprise, six months later, 50% of people who had added more vitamin K to their diet had maintained a stable anticoagulation level, compared to only 20% of those who had not added more of the vitamin.

These results suggest that taking more vitamin K, not less, may be beneficial for patients taking warfarin (Coumadin).

Based on the new findings, Ferland now recommends a minimum of 90 micrograms of vitamin K per day for women and 120 micrograms per day for men.

"We hope that health care professionals will stop advising warfarin-treated patients to avoid green vegetables," she said in a press release about a meeting.

"Having said that, given the direct interaction between vitamin K in the diet and how the drug works, it is important that the (higher) daily vitamin K intakes are as consistent as possible," Ferland said.

One heart specialist was encouraged by the new findings.

"The accepted teachings for patients who use warfarin is to avoid vitamin K at all costs, to prevent inhibition of warfarin by vitamin K," Dr. said. Marcin Kowalski, who leads heart electrophysiology at the Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. "But this study showed that a reasonable and balanced diet with vitamin K actually brings better outcomes. "

Nevertheless, he agreed with Ferland that consistency is the key to preventing the warfarin's efficiency from being disrupted.

"Educating patients about why it is important to maintain a constant vitamin K intake helps them in obtaining appropriate warfarin levels," Kowalski said.

Dr. However, Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, was not so enthusiastic about the findings.

First of all, he said, "we now have many new anticoagulants to give patients who do not interact with vitamin K and who do not need frequent blood tests." So this means that "the use of warfarin therapy is very limited," said Bhusri.

But for those who use warfarin, the best approach is to measure the intake of the patient's diet and try to adjust the doses of warfarin accordingly, he believes.

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the findings should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

– Steven Reinberg

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCES: Marcin Kowalski, MD, director, cardiac electrophysiology and associate director, Cardiology Fellowship Program, Staten Island University Hospital, New York City; Satjit Bhusri, M.D., cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; American Society for Nutrition, press release, 11 June 2019

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