Coumadin (Is It Really Rat Poison?)
Patricia Zifferblatt | September 3, 2008

We receive quite a few questions about the use of Coumadin and its usage in combination with supplements. The following is an excerpt from a recent dialog between M.E. Woltjer, Ph.D. and one our clients. We thought our email subscribers might find this useful and informative.

September 2, 2008
Dear Reader:

I’m guessing that your reference to “poisoning” yourself is due to the fact that Coumadin is also used in rat poisons. In both cases its intended use is to act as a blood thinner. What was initially made available to the public as a rodent poison called warfarin in 1948 was later found to have beneficial medicinal properties when used as an anticoagulant. It was generally found to be superior to other similar products and was approved for medical use in humans in 1954 and has been used ever since. Its most common uses are in people who are more likely to produce blood clots and in people who have already formed a clot (thrombus). Coumadin is one form of warfarin used to prevent clot formation and to reduce the risk that a clot travels to a spot where it can block the blood supply to a vital organ (like your lungs). Under closely monitored conditions, Coumadin should pose little risk to you compared with the higher risk of taking something that has not been as carefully researched as Coumadin has.

I’m assuming that your doctor also spoke with you about the complications that can arise due to interactions of Coumadin with some commonly-used medications and with chemicals that may be present in certain foods. These interactions have the potential of either enhancing or reducing the anticoagulation effect in Coumadin, so blood testing should be a part of the follow-up plan with your doctor. Scientists are continuing to work on finding alternatives that provide the same good results as Coumadin (warfarin) while reducing the need for close monitoring, but nothing is ready for public use at this time.

You also asked about the use of Aphanizomenon Flos-Aquea (AFA). As you may already know, it is a form of blue-green algae similar to Spirulina, but in a purer form so that the body is able to assimilate a greater percentage of what you ingest. Since one gram of AFA contains about 50% of the daily recommendation for vitamin K (an essential nutrient for proper blood coagulation), taking it while on Coumadin would have the effect of decreasing the effect of the Coumadin. This would also be the case if you were to substantially increase the amount of certain foods in your diet that already contain large amounts of Vitamin K. So, if you are considering the use of AFA as a supplement, I recommend that you do so only after consulting with your doctor so that adjustments in your medication can be made if necessary. I think that once you find a good combination of diet and supplementation along with the use of Coumadin, you will ultimately experience a great deal of peace of mind because of its beneficial properties.

M.E. Woltjer, Ph.D.
Better Life Institute, Inc.
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