Blood clots cause heart attacks, strokes, phlebitis, blockage of lung arteries, often leading to severe illness or sudden death. Persons who spend hours in sitting positions, such as in plane flights or long distance driving, are especially susceptible to blood clots forming in their legs, then breaking off and going to the lungs. Symptoms include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, passing out, palpitations, and the possibility of cardiac arrest.
Hospital patients, especially post-operatively, are often immobile, therefore extremely susceptible to forming blood clots in their legs. In all of these instances, physicians routinely order blood-thinning agents, usually heparin, to avoid serious complications.
Atrial fibrillation, a heart irregularity causing blood clots that migrate from the heart to the brain, is a major cause of stroke, and eventually develops in 25% of adults.
Persons who have already experienced blood clots in their legs or lungs are subject to repeat episodes because their blood forms clots too readily. Some have hereditary abnormalities in the coagulation system, such as factor 5 Leiden, prothrombin gene mutation, or high platelet counts or high red blood cell counts.
Overweight and inactive individuals, cigarette smokers, and women on birth control pills all have increased risk of clot formation. Inflammation, trauma, infection and toxicity also promote clotting.
Generally, we are better off with blood that clots less easily. High intake of fruits and vegetables, lots of exercise, weight loss, supplements of fish oil and vitamin E, and drinking a lot of water, are protective lifestyle factors.
Individuals at high risk of forming clots, such as those with atrial fibrillation, are often treated with blood thinners like aspirin or stronger agents like Coumadin, or the newer oral agents such as Eliquis, Xarelto, and Pradaxa. All of these agents, however, present a significant risk of bleeding, and may themselves cause brain hemorrhage, urinary or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Lumbrokinase (Boluoke) is an enzyme mixture obtained from earthworms. It reduces coagulation by lowering blood viscosity, lowering the activity of clotting factors including fibrinogen, and degrading fibrin, a critical factor in clot formation. It has a stronger effect on reducing blood viscosity than other enzyme preparations.
I recommend lumbrokinase for individuals with higher risk of blood clots. It is not intended to replace the stronger prescription blood thinners, but can be taken by persons who do not require those medications, or are unable to tolerate them because of excessive bleeding.
Usual dose is one capsule 1-3 times daily, 30 minutes before eating. For patients receiving intravenous ozone therapy, when thinner blood helps the treatment proceed faster, two tablets should be taken four hours before the treatment. Do not change medication without consulting your physician.
Allan Sosin, MD