Being on blood thinners does not directly impact iron levels in the blood. Unless you’re bleeding – then you have bigger problems.
If you believe that you are iron deficient:
Call your doctor and make an appointment immediately. It could be an indication of [internal] blood loss, which is a possibility if your INR level is above 3. But the level is not a strong indication – I’ve had no issue when in the 4s, yet I bled into my lungs while open water swimming when my INR was in the low 2s. Doctors can perform a physical exam in addition to blood tests (and more blood tests depending on initial results).
Be aware that if bleeding is confirmed to be the source of the iron deficiency, the benefit to being on warfarin/coumadin is the medication can be flushed from your system. It’s not available to those on other blood thinner medications, and in my experience it’s not something doctors will use unless they have to. As in, they were fine with me sitting in hospital for days until my INR was under 1.4 (allowable level for surgery).
Dietary Sources for Iron Deficiency Prevention
Anyone can develop iron-deficiency anemia, but us “bleeders” are more likely than most to develop it because some of the best sources of iron also have a lot of vitamin K. The goto sources are beef (stop making faces) and spinach.
Here’s the top 5 sources of iron for those of us on blood thinners:
- Lentils are the first on the list which do no contain vitamin K, and at 37% of your Daily Value (DV)… if you eat 1 cup of them.
- Sesame seeds: 29% DV of iron for 0.25 cup
- Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas): 26% DV of iron for 1 cup
- Lima beans: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
- Olives: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
- Navy beans: 24% DV of iron for 1 cup
What? There was a tie, and I’d eat navy beans before olives or lima beans. 😛
The alternative is iron supplements.
FYI: Vegans (or depending on your vegetarianism) should be aware that there’s also pernicious anemia, the result of a vitamin B12 deficiency.