Preventing Economy Class Syndrome: Nutrition
- Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Here are some ways to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT, a.k.a. economy class syndrome).
In general (not just right before a flight), follow this nutritional approach on an everyday basis:
• Increase your intake of pure water.
• Follow a low-fat, low-sugar, high-complex carbohydrate diet with a protein content no higher than 15% of your caloric intake.
• Avoid or eliminate meat, alcohol, fried foods, fatty foods, junk foods, salty foods, heavy protein foods, fats, shellfish and foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Eat more of the following therapeutic foods and fresh juices before long trips by air:
• Flax seed oil
• Olive oil
• Cod and halibut liver oil
• Hawthorn berries
• Sunflower seeds
• Sesame seeds
• Honey in small amounts
• Juices made from beet, carrot, celery, and cucumber
Foods that are high in vitamin K increase blood clotting. They do not have to eliminated, just reduced as much as possible. Reduce your consumption of the following high-vitamin K foods:
• All the dark green vegetables like spinach and alfalfa
• Broccoli and cauliflower
• Egg yolks
• Red meats
Avoid vitamin K if on you are on the prescription blood thinner coumadin because vitamin K inactivates the drug's function. Coumadin works by interfering with vitamin K synthesis.
Green food supplements like blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass, green Kamut and others are all potent sources of vitamin K. They may not be the best foods or supplements to use prior to air travel.
Also, Lactobacillus acidophilus (friendly bacteria that resides in the intestines of most healthy people) manufactures vitamin K as well as B vitamins, enzymes, and other nutritional factors. Taking acidophilus supplements could theoretically increase the body’s reserves of vitamin K. To date, however, there have been no adverse clotting reactions associated with Lactobacillus acidophilus supplementation. The potential for enhanced blood clotting, however, should not be ignored.
In my next blog I will discuss helpful supplements for preventing DVT.
Dr. Zoltan Rona