Counseling Sheet


By Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

Since we have so many good anticoagulants from natural sources these days, it seems unfortunate to me that we do not have hundreds of physicians urging the use of these sources of anticoagulants, rather than the extremely hazardous Warfarin. In the last 10 or 15 years, there have been perhaps 30 foods and herbs discovered having very fine anticoagulant effects with no side effects whatsoever. A very important thing, also, is good lifestyle and careful attention to hydration.

Garlic is one of those foods containing anticoagulants. That quantity that would be considered a goodly amount by a Korean or an Italian would probably be enough, especially if the person does not use free fats (margarine, mayonnaise, fried foods, cooking fats, salad oils, or more than one tablespoon daily of nut butter), and if the person is a total vegetarian using no dairy products or eggs, both of which are known to be pro-coagulants.

Grapes and grape seeds contain resveratrol and pycnogenol. The phytochemicals in grapes and grape seeds, and also the commercial extracts, have an even better effect and you also get a number of antioxidants from the grape seed that you do not get from the remainder of the grapes. It is believed by some doctors to be of help in atrial fibrillation (AF). Paroxysmal, atrial fibrillation (the kind of AF which is not sustained but has periods of occurring and then periods of normal rhythm), is a bit more hazardous than the kind that comes one time and stays. The idea is that one could have a small thrombus to occur inside one's blood vessels or heart while the rhythm is irregular; and then, when the rhythm becomes regular again, and the heartbeat is stronger, the clot is dislodged and travels to some other place as an embolus. The important thing is through lifestyle and careful attention to diet that the intravascular clot is prohibited from occurring.

Take three ounces of grape juice in the morning, three ounces at noon, and three ounces in the evening. It is one of the very best "blood thinners" you can get from a food because of the nutrient in it named resveratrol. This nutrient is more effective than aspirin in preventing blood clots. It is an excellent anticoagulant. You may use grapes instead of grape juice, a bunch which would be about equivalent to the small dose of grape juice we suggested.

Exercise is another very good anticoagulant and you should do it daily. "Let some portion of each day be spent in outdoor exercise." "The minister is not more serving the Lord when he is visiting the sick, than when he is working in his garden." We can say the same for any professional person.

A high-fiber diet can reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) according to a recent study of over 21,000 men. The consumption of each additional 10 grams of fiber per day reduced the risk of death from heart attack by 17 percent. The researchers speculate that fiber functions as an anticoagulant.

The American Heart Association recommends the consumption of 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day, but the typical United States male consumes only about 17 grams per day. (Circulation 94:2720-2727, 1996)

Lemons, alfalfa, red clover, soy, broccoli, cabbage, onion, and many other foods and herbs contain nutrients which have anticoagulant properties, such as the nutrients coumarins and resveratrol. Hawthorn berry and apples can also be used for their anticoagulant effects.

White willow bark will give you not only anti-pain properties, but also anticoagulant properties. Curcumin in turmeric is good for anticoagulation, and also has good anti-inflammatory properties.

Lettuce, especially leaf lettuce, can be used daily as there are not only antioxidants in lettuce, but also a number of other beneficial nutrients such as an anticoagulant, substances that reduce homocysteine (a chemical byproduct in the blood increasing the risk of Alzheimer's, cancer, heart attacks, and strokes). And in addition, lettuce is low in calories, and helps keep the weight down.

September 2007

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