Olestra (food additive) and Warfarin

Publication Date: 
Tue, 11/08/2011
By: Alere Staff

Olestra, a substance added to certain food products, prevent the absorption of fat and can reduce the body's absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Olestra as a fat substitute in 1996 in prepackaged, ready-to-eat savory snacks. The hope was to remove the high calorie, fat content of foods commonly found in the "goodie" or snack isles. 

Olestra potentially inhibits the absorption of vitamin K and other fat-soluble vitamins.1 The FDA now requires that vitamin K and other fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, and E) be added to food products containing olestra.2 Snack foods containing the fat substitute, olestra, are fortified with 80 mcg of vitamin K per each one ounce serving so as to offset any depletion of vitamin K that may occur due to olestra interference with its absorption. Whether these foods can alter the effect of oral anticoagulants has not been extensively studied.

Review all food labels and talk to your doctor regarding your diet changes.

  1. Jandacek RJ. The effect of nonabsorbable lipids on the intestinal absorption of lipophiles. Drug Metab Rev 1982;13:695-714.
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Federal Register. Vol. 68, No. 150. Rules and Regulations. August 5, 2003.