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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What is considered low, medium and high levels of vitamin K?

What are the ranges of mcg of vitamin K for low, medium, and high classifications?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Root Vegetables

There are no official guidelines for classifying foods as low, medium, or high, so when creating our lists for Vitamin K content we reviewed many sources. We looked at the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin K (about 80 micrograms per day) as well as a grouping of ingredients by amounts.

We know that consuming an erratic diet of foods that are high and low in Vitamin K, with daily variations in the amount of Vitamin K in the diet, can cause wide swings in the bioavailability of warfarin. Consequently, we wanted folks using these lists to have more awareness of those ingredients that were high in Vitamin K more than those that contained a medium or low amount. Here's the result:

Low < 20 micrograms (mcg) per serving
Medium > 20 mcg but < 40 mcg
High > 40 mcg

We label our recipes as being "safe for Coumadin users" if the meal contains less than 30 mcg for a main course or 40mcg for a complete meal. If the side dish contains less than 20 mcg, we consider that as being safe. Instead of avoiding all Vitamin K intake, our approach is to recommend a diet in which you consume about the same amount of Vitamin K each day, and our book, The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan for Coumadin Users, is geared toward this.

Thanks for writing,

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