What are blood thinners and how do they work?

Blood thinners, or anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents, are drugs to thwart blood clotting of which could block flow of blood to your heart causing a heart attack or your brain causing a stroke.

Common anticoagulants are Coumadin, Warfarin and Heparin. It controls the rate in which clotting can occur and prevents them from forming inside blood vessels and the heart. It can also help prevent existing clots from enlarging.

Common antiplatelet agents are Aspirin, Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) and Ticlid (ticlopidene hydrochloride). As the name suggests, they keep platelets from aggregation to prevent possible clotting, specifically where an injury to a blood vessel may have occurred.

Blood thinners aren’t associated with any specific nutrient deficiency, but are contraindicated taken with foods and supplements high in vitamin K1 (a clotting factor) or large amounts of vitamins E and C. They are also contraindicated with alcohol, certain herbs and teas, and other dietary agents that cause thinning of blood.

Reference

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/bloodthinners.html

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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