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Coumadin and Fish Oil Supplments
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Coumadin and Fish Oil Supplments

After reading the expanding literature on heart health and fish oil supplements, I would like to begin taking this supplement on a regular basis (about 1 gram/day) .  I have 2 artificial heart valves and am taking coumadin (target INR 2.5 - 3.5).  I am living overseas and have very limited access to fresh/frozen fish.  To help regulate my INR, I do have a portable tester that works well.  I'm wondering if the blood thinning effects of fish oil (if any) will be measured by my INR testing machine.  In other words, will the total blood thinning effects of both coumadin and the fish oil suppliments be measured by the INR?  
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Avatar n tn
I think fish oil supplements are contraindicated when on Coumadin.  I would google it or check with your pharmacy.  Or you could ask your doctor.  In any case, I would not try anything without checking first with a medical professional.  Good luck.
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Avatar m tn
I take 1 tablespoon of Carlson lemon flavor fish oil in the AM, 1 teaspoon in the afternoon and  1 tablespoon in the evening.
Coumadin is one of the all-time worst "hangovers" from the "heyday" of patent medications: No matter how many alternatives there are for it, it just won't go away. It certainly thins the blood, but it does so by "poisoning and killing off" the vitamin K in your body. Over enough time, the near-total lack of vitamin K will (not "could" -- WILL) cause osteoporosis, arterial calcification, cognitive malfunction, and many, many other problems.

Unfortunately, clinical studies are expensive ventures, and unless there's a patented substance that has enormous profit potential on the other end of all that pricey research, no one is willing to fork over the money to conduct one. And since vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can't be patented, there just aren't any double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to "prove" how well they can work to replace patent medications (like Coumadin) -- without all the negative side effects associated with those patented substances.

But even without the clinical studies to "back it up," there is a very good alternative to Coumadin  it just so happens to be the same supplement used with such great success for RA in the study mentioned in the article above: Cod liver oil.

Cod liver and other fish oils work by making platelets (the very small element in your blood essential to the clotting process) so slippery that they can't stick together easily to form a clot.

There is a test (called the "platelet aggregation test") that can measure how well your blood is responding to all the natural anti-clotting measures you're already taking, and help you and your doctor determine exactly how much cod liver (or other fish) oil to take. But, unfortunately, it's hard to find and expensive--usually $200-$400 each time. That's why no one taking aspirin as a blood thinner is ever tested to see if the aspirin is actually doing its job. However, over the years, I've run many of these tests and have found that 2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of cod liver oil daily were always enough -- and not too much -- to do the job.

Remember: Whenever you take supplemental oils or essential fatty acids, always take extra vitamin E, as mixed tocopherols, to prevent the oils from oxidizing too rapidly in your body. Take 800-1,000 IU of vitamin E with 2 to 3 tablespoons of cod liver oil each day. And to minimize any gastrointestinal upset, split the cod liver oil into two or three doses. It's not very tasty stuff, so if necessary, you can blend it with rice or almond milk.

Of course, for those readers who may already be taking Coumadin, it's never wise to switch from Coumadin to cod liver oil without the advice of a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine; to find one contact the American College for Advancement in Medicine at (800)532-3688 or visit their website, www.acam.org.
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