It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Which is more important: the amount of vitamin K you consume or the consistency of your intake?

With total vitamin K set at 80-120 micrograms, how do you calculate this? Is it as adding up the amounts in different foods and their quantity, or are there factors for what the body can metabolize vs. input?

My wife unexpectedly had to get a pacemaker this past weekend. No symptoms, only a preop ECG, then an echo, and the Holter confirmed Bradycardia and AF. A cath ruled out any other problems except SSS. This has been a real stressful week, as she is just 51. We are trying to read everything we can, but there are many contradictions in opinions; I felt like you would be a great source, since you know both sides of the issue.

Our cardiologist is a great guy and we both trust him (I used him first), but he said you had to quit this and that, but most of those are the things that we used to trim up our waist lines and get "fit". My wife now wonders about that one. We are ordering your cookbook and list, but I would like to know the answer to my questions. I think consistency is more important than what you eat that contains vitamin K.

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Green onions

There are factors other than simply the amount of Vitamin K you consume that can have an effect on its availability in the blood stream. For instance, many of the bacteria in your intestines create Vitamin K and taking antibiotics that change the balance of those organisms can have an effect on Coumadin® (warfarin).

That said, those factors are generally exceptions to the rule and we know from recent research that consistent intake of Vitamin K is the key. You can use the Food Diary as part of The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan to help. The research supports that eating too low an amount of Vitamin K can cause as much variation in the INR as eating variable amounts of foods that are high Vitamin K. As you said, consistency is the key.

It's pretty easy actually. Most folks do well using Mediterranean style diet principles and being careful with eating foods that are very high in Vitamin K. In addition to our software you can use The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan coaching modules to learn what the state of the art is regarding diet today.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet