- A program to calculate the vitamin K content of foods -

Note: Always consult your doctor and/or nutritionist for advice on medicine and diet.

Program type Target Example
Java Application Java Runtime Environment (JRE) JRE 1.5+
Java Applet Web browser with JRE IE 6+, JRE 1.5+
Java Midlet Mobile phone with Java Micro Edition (JME) Sony Ericsson TM506, J2ME, MIDP 2.0+

When I was put on anticoagulant therapy, I was instructed to carefully monitor food intake and undergo frequent blood testing. The anticoagulant prescribed, Warfarin (also known under brand names such as Coumadin®, Jantoven®, Marevan®, and Waran®), interacts with vitamin K, so it is essential to keep vitamin K consumption as constant as possible. To discover how much of the nutrient is contained in different foods, the hospital referred me to the website of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. This organization supports a Nutrient Data Laboratory which is in charge of the USDA's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, which includes the needed information (and more).

The current (as of 29 June 2009) database is release 21 and can be accessed in multiple ways. An online keyword search will find matches which are then refined to show values for all nutrients at various serving sizes. To access the data offline, Windows and Palm users can download an executable program with an interface similar to the online version. For access without computer, print out a report by single nutrient, vitamin K, sorted either alphabetically or from most to least vitamin K. One can even download database files and read documentation about how to interpret them.

After following standard procedure for some time, I decided that it should be optimized for my particular situation (and possibly yours). When grocery shopping or eating at a restaurant, I don't have internet access for the online version. A laptop generally doesn't work well in these situations, either, and only two platforms are supported. Both online and offline versions also make it difficult to compare values between foods and the vitamin K values are buried between other nutrients. The paper version, on the other hand, is conveniently portable and specific to vitamin K. However, searching through the long lists by eye is cumbersome.

To address this situation, I created a set of programs optimized for vitamin K with the goal of replacing paper documentation with a mobile phone application. Results can be accessed via the links above. I hope that this application is useful to people other than myself. If you are interested in having the program ported to a different mobile phone, using it for a different nutrient, or modifying it in a different way, please contact me.