• Don't Get Yourself in a Pickle!
  • May 2006
    PEP Pioneers
    Second Wind
    Torrance, California
  • Dear Friends

    Historically, getting in a pickle meant a predicament. It derives from the Dutch,”in de piklel zetten,” which literally means sitting in the pickle brine, full of salt and irritation.

    I have commented before about the high content of salt in canned pickles, up to three grams (3000 mg) in a medium sized dill! This would put any person with heart disease in more edema, i.e., a predicament (pickle).

    My associate, Louise Nett, has a recipe for sour pickles that accompanies this issue of Second Wind. They are great and add zest to a sandwich or salad. I started to get hooked on them, for their flavor, and without salt! Amongst other medications that keep me going, I have to take Coumadin to reduce my clotting mechanisms. Coumadin is commonly known as a "blood thinner.” The activity of Coumadin is frequently monitored by measuring the INR, which is known as the international neutralization rate (of a clotting process).

    Shortly after appreciating Louise's salt free pickles, I found out that my INR was way down, meaning that the Coumadin was not controlling the clotting process. The answer had to be the vitamin K in pickles. Vitamin K counteracts the effects of Coumadin on some clotting factors, and thus mitigates the tendency to form clots in the legs, lung, heart and brain. Maintaining a therapeutic range INR is extremely important for persons requiring this drug.

    The main sources of vitamin K in the diet are green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Also vitamin K is in Centrum and other multivitamin preparations. There is no mention of vitamin K in pickles, in any dietary manual that I could find, but now that I control my pickle consumption, my INR is easy to maintain again.

    I thought these facts would keep some of our readers from "getting in a pickle!"

    I will be in touch next month.

    Your friend,
  • Thomas Petty, MD