Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Natural vs. Pharmaceutical Anticoagulants

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According to a 2019 report from the CDC, nearly 1 million Americans die each year from heart disease or stroke. It is also estimated that nearly 300 people die, every day in the US, as a result of a blood clot. The simple fact is that blood clots, whether they lead to heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, or some other life-threatening condition, are a major health risk. That is the reason why pharmaceutical anticoagulants, so-called “blood thinners,” have flooded the market in recent decades.

A guest post by Indiana Lee

These little pills haven’t turned out to be quite the miracle cure doctors, patients, and families had hoped for, however. They promised to save the lives of millions of Americans at highest risk of succumbing to cardiovascular and related diseases, but it turns out that these medications come with their own litany of risks, many of which are life-threatening.

This article explores the differences between pharmaceutical and natural anticoagulants. It also explains how you can put this information to use for your own health and the health of those you love the most.

Who Needs Anticoagulants?

Short answer: many of us. The American lifestyle has put vast proportions of the population at risk for blood clots. Fatty diets, rising cholesterol levels, and decreased physical activity are putting Americans at increased risk for blood clots in the legs, lungs, heart, and brain. Blood clots can not only kill, but they can cause devastating disabilities such as post-thrombotic syndrome.
How Do Pharmaceutical Anticoagulants Work and What Are the Risks?

Pharmaceutical anticoagulants work by interfering with the mechanisms of Vitamin K in the blood. Vitamin K helps regulate the composition of the blood. More specifically, its solid and liquid properties, as well as the interactions between them, promote healthy circulation and prevent excessive clotting and excessive bleeding. Pharmaceutical anticoagulants interrupt the blood’s clotting processes by disrupting the creation of enzymes which facilitate the binding of oxygen molecules to the platelets on the surfaces of blood cells. Pharmaceutical anticoagulants, in theory, are designed to strike the perfect balance, ensuring smooth blood flow through both the smallest capillaries and largest veins and arteries.

Pharmaceutical anticoagulants have been strongly associated with significant, spontaneous, and life-threatening bleeding, especially in the brain and gastrointestinal system, however. One of the most promising and widely-prescribed blood thinners, Xarelto, has recently been the subject of thousands of patient injury and fatality lawsuits. Although Xarelto does not target Vitamin K in the blood, it does interfere with another of the blood’s clotting agents, thrombin.

It’s not only the threat of internal bleeding that makes pharmaceutical anticoagulants dangerous. It’s also the fact that those pills have to go somewhere if unused. Unused medications, such as prescription anticoagulants, often end up in household medicine cabinets where they may accidentally fall into the wrong hands, the hands of children or the elderly, who may not realize what they are consuming until it is too late. Prescription medications are the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in children.

Our water supply, as well as land and marine and wildlife, are being poisoned as well. When unused medications don’t linger dangerously in the family’s medicine chest, they often end up being washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet.
A Natural Alternative?

If you’re at risk for life-threatening blood clots, you may not have to opt for potentially lethal pharmaceutical anticoagulants. There are a number of natural routes you can take to reduce your risk of clots.

One natural option is to monitor your diet. Drink lots of water, because your blood will thicken when you are dehydrated. Also make sure that your diet is rich in lean proteins, green leafy vegetables, and simple carbohydrates. Eating these foods will not only decrease the risk of blood clots, but they will also reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels which, in turn, help to also reduce the risk of blood clots. It’s a win-win. It’s also a good idea to avoid high-fat and high-glycemic foods such as starches and dairy. In addition, there is some evidence linking fatty meats and eggs to the formation of the enzyme, choline, which promotes blood clotting.

In addition to eating healthfully, one of the best ways to reduce blood clot risk is to get moving. Exercising regularly, with a particular focus on daily exercise of the legs and feet, can help you prevent the formation of clots.

It can also be helpful to wear elastic and compression socks or hosiery. These can be easily found at any drug store and in most retail stores, or they can be ordered online. These garments may not always be comfortable, but they support blood flow in your legs, reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis. You may even find that your legs feel less achy and fatigued at the end of the day!

The Takeaway

No one is immune from the threat of blood clots, which kill or disable hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Pharmaceutical anticoagulants have been proven to reduce the risk of blood clots by interfering with clotting agents in the blood. However, these drugs are also strongly linked to life-threatening side-effects including internal bleeding of the brain and GI tract. In addition, unused pharmaceutical anticoagulants may pose a significant threat, both in our homes and in our environment. 

There are, nevertheless, a number of proven natural alternatives to these powerful prescriptions. Eating nutritiously, reducing your cholesterol and blood pressure, and getting regular exercise, especially of the legs and feet, are safe and natural alternatives for reducing your blood clot risk.
Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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