We’ve added a new FAQ and answer to our section, Mineral Deficiencies & Supplements:
“I’m taking Eliquis for my risk of A-Fib stroke. I’m interested in the supplement, Krill Oil, that has natural blood thinning properties. Is It OK to take Krill Oil along with Eliquis?
Krill Oil and Eliquis Work Differently
The supplement, Krill Oil, is similar to fish oil. Both contain omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids are thought to make blood platelets less sticky, and thus are less likely to form clots. Krill Oil is considered superior to fish oil for not accumulating toxins the same way fish do.
Eliquis is an anticoagulant, a ‘Direct Factor Xa Inhibitor’, and affects only one stage in the anticoagulation process (the stage after platelets do their part). It works to slow or stop clotting proteins (like fibrin) from binding together and forming a clot.
[su_quote]How Blood Clotting Works: First, platelets clump together to temporarily ‘plug’ the wound; Next, a cascade of coagulation stages reinforces the plug with fibrin threads that act as a ‘molecular glue’ during healing.[/su_quote]
Stop Taking Warfarin―Produces Arterial Calcification
The blood thinner, warfarin (Coumadin) is a “vitamin K-antagonist” which works by blocking vitamin K (i.e., K-2, menaquinone), thereby affecting several steps in the anticoagulation pathway and decreasing clotting proteins in the blood.
But vitamin K is also essential for heart and bone health. Vitamin K determines whether we maintain strong bone density and soft pliable tissues. Without enough K-2, osteocalcin, a protein that binds calcium to bone, doesn’t function. This vascular calcification produces plaque and reduces aortic and artery elasticity.
“When calcium doesn’t stay in bones, it can end up clogging your arteries, causing a heart attack or stroke.”
Warfarin Blocks Vitamin K: Deposits Calcium in Arteries
By blocking vitamin K (K-2), warfarin deposits calcium in our arteries and progressively turns them into stone. In the absence of vitamin K, bony structures form in soft tissues. When you hear the term “hardening of the arteries,” this means that previously flexible blood vessels are turning into rigid (calcified) bony structures.
In a study of 451 women using mammograms to measure arterial calcification, after just one month of warfarin use, arterial calcification increased by 50% compared to untreated women. After five years, arterial calcification increased almost 3-fold.
Why You Should You Stop Taking Warfarin
If you are taking warfarin (Coumadin), you should talk to your doctor about switching to Eliquis (apixaban) which tested the best of the NOACs and is the safest. (See my article, Warfarin and New Anticoagulants.)
The new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) do not block vitamin K. But the NOACs do have drawbacks. In the case of severe bleeding, there is currently no antidote or reversal agent like there is for warfarin (a reversal agent for the direct factor Xa inhibitors Xarelto and Eliquis is close to FDA approval).
Added 2015: The FDA approved a reversal agent Praxbind for the NOAC Pradaxa Oct. 16, 2015. In clinical trials, 5gs of Praxbind (idarucizumab) administered by IV reversed the anticoagulant effect of Pradaxa within minutes (which is significantly faster than the current antidotes for warfarin).
Whether or not to be on an anticoagulant and which one to take is the most difficult decision you and your doctor have to make (and your initial decision may change over time as your body changes.)
If you aren’t happy with your doctor’s response, get a second opinion. You need to feel confident and at peace with this decision.
[su_spoiler title=”References for this article”]Goodman, Dennis. The New Nutrient Fix. Bottom Line/Health. July, 2015, p. 3.
Tantisattamo E et al. Increased vascular calcification in patients receiving warfarin. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2015 Jan;35(1): 237-42. http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/35/1/237.short doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.114.304392
Faloon, William. Turning To Stone. Life Extension Magazine, July 2015, pp. 7-16.
Geleijnse, JM et al. Dietary Intake of Menaquinone Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: The Rotterdam Study. The Journal of Nutrition, November 1, 2004, Vol. 134, no. 11. 3100-3105. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/134/11/3100.full Last accessed 6/19/2015.[/su_spoiler]
Jeff Patten’s A-Fib started briefly in 2000, then returned in 2010 when his father-in-law died. The emotional upset, high summer heat, stress and accumulated age, followed closely by a bout with appendicitis, put him back into A-Fib .
In 2012, came a successful CryoBalloon ablation. But Jeff’s post-ablation recovery on Pradaxa turned into “alimentary torture” and burning diarrhea. Later came a Right Atrium Catheter Ablation for PACs/PVCs. Learn how Jeff emerged in 2015 healthy and A-Fib free.