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Ask Tufts Experts April 2013 Issue

Q: I will use blood thinners the rest of my life, and so watch out for foods high in vitamin K. I’m aware of leafy greens, but are there other fruits and vegetables I should be cautious about?

Answer : Sarah L Booth, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Vitamin K Laboratory, answers, “Blood thinners are among the top 15 drugs prescribed in this country, and adverse drug events for these drugs account for some staggering numbers among the elderly.” People who have been prescribed warfarin, the most common such anticoagulant medication, need to monitor their vitamin K intake because warfarin works by affecting the body’s vitamin K. But Booth goes on, “Although vitamin K is found in numerous green fruits and vegetables, one would have to eat very large amounts to achieve high intakes. Examples would be green peas and kiwi fruits. Most of the vitamin K is in the peel of fruits, such as apples. One popular food item that is appearing more often on the shelves that may be of concern is some of the green seaweed, especially if consumed in large amounts.”

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