Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vampire bats, Popeye and Vitamin K

I am not a doctor nor have a played one on TV. But I am a vitamin taker..or at least I used to be. I still have my favorites chewable Vitamin c, Vitamin E, cinnamon bark extract and so on. But I recently heard of an affect a certain vitamin has that i think everybody should be aware of because it is THAT serious.

Vitamin K is one of those among many, but I just want to clear my mind of this blog subject so I can move on.

A friend recently had been diagnosed with "minor blood clots" found in his lungs. Minor being "non-life threatening, at least not in the immediate future. The doctors said they can prescribe anti-coagulants to help thin his blood and then begin to regulate it for an exact viscosity which I guess they know for certain. Once they got him started on the anticoagulants, they gave him a list of foods which contain Vitamin K.

What is Vitamin K and what does it do? Basically Vitamin K is the nutrient that makes green leafy, vegetables green. I'll stop here for a minute and say that I always thought eating spinach just like Popeye was supposed to be a good thing for everybody. Not so. In fact, for anyone who might be prone to their blood clotting for whatever reason should in fact be careful of eating too much of a good thing. So my friend gets a long list of stuff containing Vitamin K and told to eat only a certain amount a week, once they determined the anti-coagulants, which by the way happen to be bat saliva which, you guessed it, makes a decent blood anti-coagulant. My friend, who also happened to be knowledgeable in Latin read the name on the label and asked the nurse....."Wait a second is that bat spit, you're putting into me?!"

I begin asking lots of questions about what's good to eat, what's not, etc. One thing became clear to me what's good for one person may not necessarily be good for another. In other words, we shouldn't go around self-prescribing or worse telling everybody else what they should eat, what vitamins they should take and so on.

There is a cool website, in fact lots of them which offer lists of foods, nutrients, etc. and as someone once said, everything in moderation.

The cool thing is that they regulate the effect of the medicine by re-introducing a small portion of veggies back into his system. So instead of raising or lowering the dosage of meds, which he has to be on the rest of his life, they actually say eat x-amount of green beans this week, or broccoli or whatever.

Basic rule of thumb--perhaps it's a good thing to not self-prescribe or consume just anything without knowing what it does...or worse, prescribe to others something you "feel" will be their next wonder nutrient.

Ironically, we had been eating items anyone can purchase at organic food chains such as barley powder, potassium supplements and drinks. Things I thought of as safe for anyone and can make anyone feel better. But I count myself as a lucky one who learned soon enough that all the vitamin taking I had been telling my friend to take for the last 20 or so years was not doing him a bit o' good. In fact, had they not caught it in time, those blood clots could have created worse damage or even death.

Read the labels. Don't eat just anything a cartoon character tells you to eat. Read labels. Ask your doctor. Find out the facts. Read the labels. Google it! This information contained herein is not to be used to prevent or cure any disease. In fact, I'd check with your own doctor to find out if Popeye has been telling the truth after all these years.

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