Answered: Do Blood Thinners Weaken Your Immune System?

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

do blood thinners weaken your immune system

It is a common notion that blood thinners make you more susceptible to illness and infection. In this post, I will be addressing the question “do blood thinners weaken your immune system?”

What Are Blood Thinners?

“Does warfarin affect your immune system?”

“How about Xarelto, and its effects on the immune system?”

For those who are familiar, the names “warfarin” and “Xarelto” almost always immediately come to mind with the mention of blood thinners. These two are commonly used to prevent strokes in people at risk. But it’s not easy to tell them apart! 

Blood thinners, in simple terms, are chemical compounds that can prevent the formation of a blood clot. If you have ever had a heart attack or a stroke, it is more likely that you have been prescribed blood thinners. Through this article, let’s take a look at why blood thinners are necessary, what their common side effects are, and how these side effects compromise your immune system.

Who Uses Blood Thinners?

 Blood thinners are usually taken by people who have atrial fibrillation (AFIB), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or pulmonary embolism (PE). They may also be used to treat other conditions, such as heart attack, serious injury, or surgery. Blood thinners can help stop bleeding caused by a cut or an operation. On the flip side, they can also cause bleeding problems.

Do Blood Thinners Weaken the Immune System?

Blood thinners, also known as anticoagulants, are used to prevent blood clots. However, anticoagulants can have some pretty nasty side effects—including weakening your immune system.

Let’s put it this way: there’s a reason why your body is trying to coagulate in the first place.

Usually, when you get a cut or a wound or an infection, your body tries to heal itself by causing the blood to clot around the affected area and form a scab. But if you’re taking blood thinners—which is probably because you’ve had a heart attack or are at risk for heart disease—then your doctor has probably told you that you need to be careful about things like cuts and scrapes and infections.

bandages

These kinds of injuries are much more likely to become serious complications when you’re already on blood thinners. In fact, anticoagulant users are more likely to contract pneumonia and other infections than people not on the drug (even otherwise healthy people). A study by the University of North Carolina found that people taking blood thinners have a weakened immune system, which makes them more vulnerable to infections.

7 Tips to Boost Your Immune System When Taking Blood Thinners

When you’re on blood thinners, do you feel like a trip to the grocery store without your list and a cart full of food makes you more vulnerable to infection? Sadly, this is more than just paranoia. One study showed that 78% of people taking anticoagulants developed a respiratory tract infection (RTI), such as a cold or the flu.

And although there’s no way to remove all the risks that come with being on blood thinners, there are several things you can do to boost your immune system and avoid infections—like these seven tips below.

Tip 1: Take Your Blood Thinner at the Right Time

It’s important to take your blood thinner at the right time, every time. This will ensure you get the full benefit of the medicine. It might help to use a reminder app on your phone or set an alarm so you don’t miss it.

Tip 2: Watch What You Eat When Taking Blood Thinners

Although we all struggle with cravings from time to time, it’s important to avoid foods like leafy greens and alcohol when taking blood thinners. These can cause complications for people on blood thinners, so make sure you talk to your doctor about what you should (and shouldn’t) eat!

Tip 3: Limit Caffeine Intake

It’s important to limit the amount of caffeine in your diet while on blood thinners. Drinking too much can cause increased heart rate and problems getting restful sleep—both of which can impact your immune system.

woman with curly hair drinking coffee

Tip 4: Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is a major key to boosting your immune system! When you’re not sleeping enough, it makes it easier for germs and viruses to attack you. Make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep every night so that your body has time to heal itself and fight off germs.

Tip 5: Stay Hydrated by Drinking Plenty of Water

Drinking 8 glasses of water a day will help keep your cells healthy and prevent them from becoming dehydrated, which can make you more vulnerable to infection and disease.

Tip 6: Drink Less Alcohol (or completely eliminate it)

Alcohol weakens your immune system and makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infections. Try limiting yourself—or even better, cutting back on how much you drink altogether—to boost how healthy you feel day to day.

Tip 7: Exercise to Manage Your Stress Levels

Regular exercise can help you stay healthy and fight off illness by increasing the circulation of immune cells throughout the body. However, if you’re on blood thinners, you need to be careful with physical activity because they increase your risk of bleeding and bruising. If you’re feeling up to it, take a short walk or do some light yoga or stretches—but don’t go overboard.

Taking Supplements When On Blood Thinners

If you’re on blood thinners, and you want to take a supplement such as NAD+ supplements, it’s vital that you check with your doctor first. Plenty of doctors will approve the use of supplements alongside your blood thinners, but they’ll probably advise you not to take them at the same time as your blood thinners. This is because some supplements can increase or decrease the effectiveness of blood thinners. This can cause dangerous side effects if the blood thinner doesn’t work as it should.

In case you are looking for a supplement that will support your efforts in boosting your immune system and in your wellness goals, Infinity is formulated throughout the years to be the best NAD booster, making it the top longevity supplement available in the market.

FAQs About Blood Thinners And The Immune System

Do Blood Thinners Help Covid?

At this point, you already know that blood thinners are commonly used to treat diseases like stroke and heart disease. They work by helping to lower the risk of blood clots forming in your arteries or veins.

The reason they’re so important for treating COVID-19 is that the virus can cause a severe immune response, called a cytokine storm. This happens when the body reacts poorly to an infection and attacks itself. In extreme cases, it can cause sepsis, which is fatal about 30% of the time.

woman on the street wearing mask

Typically, when someone has an infection like COVID-19, their body will make more white blood cells in order to fight it off—that’s how you know your immune system is doing its job! But sometimes these white blood cells start to attack healthy tissue instead of just germs and viruses. It basically becomes a war between your immune system and your own body.

Blood thinners can help prevent that from happening because they stop white blood cells from sticking together (which is what allows them to form clots) while still allowing them to fight germs. They also help reduce inflammation caused by those white blood cells attacking healthy tissue.

Does Warfarin Affect The Immune System?

Yes, warfarin affects the immune system.

Warfarin (also known as Coumadin) is an anticoagulant medication that is used to help prevent blood clots and strokes. When you take Warfarin, it will decrease your body’s ability to form clots.

What warfarin does is slow down your body’s production of certain proteins that are necessary for proper clotting. These proteins are naturally produced in your liver by a substance called vitamin K.

Since Warfarin slows down the production of these proteins, this means that vitamin K has less effect on your body, which ultimately lowers the amount of clotting your blood will do. This is why people who take blood thinners like Warfarin have to avoid eating foods high in vitamin K, because they can throw off their medication levels and cause excessive bleeding.

The immune system consists of cells and molecules that work together to fight off infections in your body, so if you are immune compromised then there would be fewer cells available for this process. If there are fewer cells available then it means they won’t function as well when they’re needed most-when trying to fight off an infection or disease.

What Medications Can Suppress The Immune System?

It’s important to be aware of medications that suppress the immune system, so you can take precautions in case you get sick while taking one.

There are a few different types of medications that can cause this.

For example, steroids. So, how long is the immune system compromised after steroids? Corticosteroids can help with inflammation, but they also suppress white blood cells, which help fight infection. Sometimes they’re prescribed to prevent organ rejection in people who have gotten transplants.

TNF blockers are used to treat autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. They block the part of your immune system that causes inflammation, which can help reduce symptoms of these diseases, but it also means you’ll be more likely to get infections if you take them for a long time.

Immunosuppressants are often prescribed after an organ transplant to prevent the body from rejecting it. They prevent the immune system from recognizing the transplanted organ as “foreign,” and keep the body from attacking it. However, because they suppress the immune system, they can make people who take them more likely to get infections or other illnesses.

What Are The Negative Effects Of Blood Thinners?

Blood thinners are used to slow the formation of blood clots, which can be good for people who have heart conditions. However, if you’re on blood thinners, you may find that small cuts and bruises don’t heal well or as fast. You might also feel more tired than before taking blood thinners. If you experience these symptoms, don’t worry! Blood thinners are a great way to prevent heart problems, and they’re worth the side effects. The negative effects will go away soon after you stop taking them.

Conclusion

Now that you understand the basics of blood thinners, you are probably asking yourself what steps you can take to keep your immune system strong while on blood thinners. Your physician is an excellent source of information for your individual needs, so be sure to communicate with him or her about any concerns that you have.

However, in researching this article, we did discover a few ways to preserve the health of your immune system that may be helpful for you to know about. Join our Facebook group absolutely free, and meet fellow wellness and longevity enthusiasts, as we share more ideas on how to improve our quality of life, naturally. See you!

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