Omega 3, sardines, and INR levels.

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mknuppel

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I wanted to share something I recently learned concerning Omega 3, sardines, and INR levels.

I’ve been eating more sardines as part of my weight watchers program. For several months, I had varying INR that jumped between levels 2.0 – 2.7. My INR kept going up and going down and I just could not figure out why.

In my “quest” to try and figure it out, I ran across an article that indicated that Omega 3 does influence INR. I talked to the Coumadin clinic and the person indicated that keeping intake of Omega 3 to less that 3g a day should not cause any issues.

I started looking at the different foods I was eating and focused in on the sardines. I quickly realized that the amount of Omega 3 varies significantly between bands. I had tasted numerous bands (all packed in water) to find the best tasting ones. It turns out the one I selected Ocean Prince band had 3g grams per serving and I was normally eating two servings for a meal.

I looked at the other brands and the Omega 3 content varied from less than 1g to the highest of 3g per serving.

The folks at the Coumadin clinic were surprised to hear how much Omega 3 certain sardines continued (again packed in water only – not even going to try the packed in oil versions).

I thought this was an interesting finding and wanted to share.
 

tom in MO

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I was on Omega3 supplements before surgery. After surgery, I stopped all over the counter supplmenents. I saw my cardiologist at week 4 and he said he wouldn't put me on supplements (vitamins or Omega 3) unless my next (in 4 weeks) blood test showed a need. The reason was that Omega3 and some of the things in multivitamins can affect your INR.
 

DanielB

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At the direction of my doctor a while back, my doctor wanted me to get more Omega 3 in my diet to raise my 'good' cholesterol, which I did. Preparing for my surgey though, my surgeon had me stop the fish oil as he said it would effect my INR. I don't know if it was the fish oil itself or the Omega 3 he was wqorried about, but I stopped it. I was recently given the green light to add those back into my diet now that I am six months post surgery and my INR is stable.
 

TheGymGuy

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All things being even, if you consistently consume similar amounts of Omega 3s, etc., it will keep your INR more consistent. I take on the order of 4g of Omega 3s and 6s every day. This is very consistent for me. That, and my multivitamin, etc. Basically, if you have higher amounts of any vitamin in your system, then a small variation here and there should not vary your INR. A medium variation will vary it a little, and of course you will see a big change if out of no-where you consume 5lbs of Omega 3 containing fish or spinach (I could not resist inserting a Vit. K reference here).

Still, several studies I linked up about Vit. K supps (http://www.valvereplacement.org/for...K-Supplementation-and-Anticoagulation-Control) which allow you to vary your daily intake without much impact on INR make me wonder whether the same thing is not true for Omega 3s, etc.
 

catwoman

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I’ve been eating more sardines as part of my weight watchers program. For several months, I had varying INR that jumped between levels 2.0 – 2.7. My INR kept going up and going down and I just could not figure out why.

Have you reduced other sources of fat in your diet?

When I joined Weight Watchers in June 2004, my INR went up even though I was exercising more. I realized that it was due to the decreased intake of fats and oils.
I rejoined Weight Watchers last month, using the online version, and have noticed the same increase in INR.
Am decreasing my dosage by 15%.
 

Protimenow

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If you make changes in your diet and activities, your INR is likely to change. This should be a no brainer.

Completely avoiding sources of things that might effect INR, just because they MIGHT effect INR, can be pretty foolish.

In the case of Omega 3, for example, with well documented health benefits, complete avoidance (and avoidance of those benefits) doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Neither is avoiding antibiotics when you really need them, because they can also change your INR. I have a copy of the Coumadin Cookbook - long an interesting addition to the library of anyone taking coumadin/warfarin - that was loaded with recipes that avoided sources of Vitamin K. It's now known that Vitamin K HAS benefits that can't easily be gotten from other vitamins, and it's also known that a certain amount of Vitamin K can actually HELP you to stay in range.

The old advice to 'dose the diet' makes much sense here. If you want to be on Omega 3, or eat your daily sardines, just keep an eye on what it does to your INR, adjust to it, and consistently much those small, salty fish.
 

mknuppel

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I saw your links the other day. Good stuff. Thanks for pulling together. You are right the key is a constant daily intake of vit K.
 

mknuppel

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Mar 8, 2010
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I definitely reduced my fat intake. I’ll watch that more closely and see what happens.
 

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