Foods that act as blood thinners
In addition to documented and well known medications that can act as blood thinners many foods, herbs, spices, Traditional Chinese Medicines, Asian herbs and natural supplements used in the western world can thin the blood and interfere with natural blood clotting factors, which increases bleeding during surgery - a concern to your Bloodless Surgeon.
Millions of health conscious people regularly make their own fresh fruit and vegetable juices. (Hospitals serve canned fruit and vegetable juices to patients as well). The question is - which fruit and vegetable juices have a NEGATIVE impact on a Bloodless Patient and which have a POSITIVE impact?
Complimentary and Alternative Medicine
The Bloodless Surgery Patient who takes natural remedies or uses complementary or alternative medicine and prescription medicines concurrently (at the same time for a prolonged period of time) is at risk for undesirable drug - supplement interactions that could raise his chances of increased bleeding during surgery. see the article below
Learn about the special benefit of apple, beet and carrot juice used by Bloodless Patients in developing countries.
It is well established that aspirin increases the risk of bleeding. What about foods naturally rich in salicylate, the compound found in aspirin that is resposible for thinning the blood? Learn more here and see a list of blood thinning foods that a Bloodless Patient may want to avoid.
A special diet to build up blood before surgery
Basic foods found in most markets can build up a patient's blood before Bloodless Surgery.
Drugs that interfere with clotting
Over the counter and prescription medications can and interfere with natural blood clotting factors, which increases bleeding during surgery - a concern to your Bloodless Surgeon.
Diet & Nutrition
- the balance between alternative therapy and Bloodless Medicine
"I have degrees in Nutrition and Chiropractic.
And I've used Complementary and Alternative Medicine along with normal medicine all my life.
I know what's good for my body and what isn't. But if I need the surgery I can follow my Bloodless Physician's advice and stop certain natural remedies that might make me bleed excessively. After all, the most important thing is
not to put some stranger's blood into my veins.
I can pick up with my natural supplements after the surgery."
Potential Conflicts between Complementary Medicine and Bloodless Surgery
The Bloodless Surgery Patient who takes natural herbs and prescription medicines concurrently (at the same time for a prolonged period of time) is at risk for undesirable drug-supplement interactions that could raise his chances of increased bleeding during surgery. Over eighty common herbal supplements have been identified by reputable sources such as the National Institutes of Health, Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center, the American Council on Science and Health and others as having drug-herb reactions that either interfere or potentiate anticoagulant drugs or act naturally as blood thinners. So, while trying to improve their health through the use of complimentary and alternative medicine, the Bloodless Patient may actually be putting himself in the undesirable situation of worsening their situation during and following a bloodless surgery procedure.
Bloodless Surgery Programs and Alternative Medicine
“At least 40% of all Americans take some type of dietary supplement.” It can be assumed that many of these are natural herbal remedies. For example, over 2,000,000 American men regularly use the natural herbal supplement saw palmetto. However, “saw palmetto may affect the blood's ability to clot, and could interfere with any blood-thinning drugs.”
40% of Americans use dietary
supplements or herbal therapies ...
... many of these interfere
with Bloodless Medicine
Given the high numbers of people that use natural herbal supplements a good Bloodless Surgery and Medicine Program should include an awareness of these drug-supplement interactions. The proactive Bloodless Patient should inform his surgical team of any natural supplements that he is taking.
Patient Reluctance - an obstacle
However, the evidence suggests that a large percentage of patients are reluctant to inform their doctors that they are taking herbal and/or vitamin supplements. The patient that is preparing himself for Bloodless Surgery cannot afford to hide from his surgeon the fact that he is taking herbs; the possible consequences are too serious.
It is unlikely that most Bloodless Surgeons are aware of the long list of alternative therapies that can interfere with Bloodless Surgery. The list compiled by MyBlood is the longest list available on the Internet. It far exceeds in length and content the lists of esteemed national institutions. It also includes dozens of less common alternative names that local peoples may use instead of the more common names known to doctors. “Knowledge is power”, but access to that knowledge can be difficult to find.
Complementary & Alternative Medicine and Bloodless Medicine can coexist
Although there are many possible herb-drug interactions, this does not mean that alternative medicine is inherently an enemy of Bloodless Medicine any more so than over the counter drugs are at odds with Bloodless Medicine. There are certainly many more dangerous over the counter drug-to-drug interactions that exist than there are herb-to-drug interactions.
Informed doctors will not likely suggest that over the counter drugs should be permanently discontinued by a Bloodless Patient because of the drug-to-drug interactions that result. Likewise educated doctors should not conclude that herbs or natural remedies are any more dangerous than over the counter drugs and that a patient should permanently discontinue there use. Simply put, both have inherent conflicts with prescription drugs. Patients will continue to take over the counter drugs and herbs as well in spite of the possible ‘risks’. The solution is to identify all these possible interactions and discontinue or modify there use temporarily prior to a Bloodless Surgery procedure.
The difficulty with identifying herb-to-drug interactions is this - while the medical literature is filled with documented drug-to-drug interactions and the labels of over the counter drugs include warnings about their interactions with prescription drugs, this is not generally the case with herbal supplements. (Alternative and complementary medicines are not controlled by the FDA). While there are websites and books that have lists of herb-to-drug interactions they are generally short and do not cover all of the herbs that have possible interactions with prescription drugs. Most of these lists identify no more than 20 or 25 herbs. Therefore, proactive doctors, surgical teams, Bloodless Medicine Program directors and patients need to take special efforts be aware of all of the possible interactions between complementary and alternative medicines with prescription drugs. MyBlood has compiled a list of over 80 such herb-to-drug interactions. While not complete it is the most extensive list posted on the internet.
As an example take the popular supplement Ginseng. “Asian ginseng should be discontinued at least 7 days prior to surgery. Asian ginseng may act as a blood thinner, therefore increasing the risk of bleeding during or after a procedure.” University of Maryland – Asian Ginseng Some herbs may take even longer to work themselves out of a patient’s system. This highlights the fact that weeks in advance of a Bloodless Surgical Procedure a detailed patient history needs to be taken. All supplements, vitamins and minerals that a patient is taking need to be noted and compared to the MyBlood list of herb drug interactions.
It is also unlikely that most bloodless surgeons are aware of the long list of alternative therapies that can interfere with Bloodless Surgery. The list compiled by MyBlood is the longest list available on the Internet - it far exceeds in length and content other lists posted by large national institutions. It also includes dozens of less common alternative names that local peoples in various regions or countries may use instead of the more common names known to doctors. For example clove is also listed as GRAMPOO – its Indian name – and golden seal as HERB MARGARET.
Which Bloodless Surgery Patients that use alternative medicine are especially at risk? Older citizens are especially at risk when preparing themselves for Bloodless Surgery. Elderly patients tend to use both drugs and dietary supplements more so than younger patients. The simple mathematics of this demographic group should heighten a Bloodless Surgery and Medicine Program’s awareness of the increased possibility of this group’s exposure to herb-to-drug interactions. Alternative therapies are growing in popularity and certainly affect a patient who will undergo Bloodless Surgery, but the physiology of an older person’s body can potentiate a herb-to-drug interaction.
A Note to Patients and Doctors from the American Association of Family Physicians
“Patients may believe that herbal products are inherently safe simply because they are ‘natural.’ Yet herbs contain hundreds of components, some of which can cause ill effects directly, while others can interact adversely with pharmaceutical agents. Such issues are not addressed in a systematic way in this country because the United States lacks a regulatory system for herbal products that are marketed as ‘foods’ or ‘dietary supplements.’” aafp.org
The AAFP makes a good point, unlike certain countries in Europe that regulate the quality of herbs and standardize them the United States and other countries do not.* The Bloodless Patient especially needs to be selective in their choice of herbal products. Choose a trusted vendor and try to purchase standardized herbs so that you and/or your Bloodless Surgeon can accurately determine how much of an herbal product you are actually consuming. Generally speaking standardized herbs have been checked for uniformity, purity and freedom from pollutants.
The Mayo Clinic
“Herbal supplements have active ingredients that can affect how your body functions… Herbal supplements may be particularly risky for certain individuals… educate yourself about any products you intend to use before purchasing them and talk to your doctor about any supplements you're considering taking.”mayoclinic.com
Self education is the key. MyBlood is dedicated to providing information to Bloodless Patients and surgeons so that can be educated in these vital matters. Alternative therapies are powerful and have proven healing properties that can benefit a patient, but they also have compounds that can have unintended side effects for a temporary period of time – during and after a Bloodless Surgical Procedure.
*The same caution applies to complementary and alternative medicines if you live in a country that does not regulate them.
“Use of various herbs and supplements may affect and reduce hypercoagulation, platelet aggregation, and blood coagulation.” herbalremedies.com
See MyBlood’s list of
over 85 Herbs
that conflict with Bloodless Medicine
in the Glossaries Link
“It's estimated that 42 percent of Americans use herbs or other nutritional supplements as a part of their self-care routine, and the supplements represent a growing place in the market, with over $20 billion spent each year on herbal remedies to treat everything from obesity to cancer.” sixwise.com
“Consultation with a licensed health care professional is advisable before using any herbal/health supplement. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.” health.msn.com
Photo credit (Ginseng): zionorbi