Do you know that vitamin K is an important vitamin that is important for blood clotting, and bone metabolism?
Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins that play a key role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels.
Your body needs this vitamin to produce prothrombin, which is a protein and helps in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
However, individuals who use blood-thinning medications like warfarin, or Coumadin should always consult their doctor before using Vitamin K supplements.
Its deficiency is rare, however, in severe cases, it can increase clotting time, which can lead to hemorrhage and aggressive bleeding.
Vitamin K1 or phylloquinone comes from pants and is the main type of supplement.
However, a lesser source is vitamin K2, menaquinone comes from animal and fermented foods.
Learn more about the uses, daily dosage, food sources, deficiency, and more in this guide.
Uses of Vitamin K
Phylloquinone is also known as Vitamin K1. It is found in plants and when you eat it, bacteria in your large intestine convert it into its storage form, vitamin K2.
Your small intestine absorbs them and stores them in the fatty tissue and the liver.
However, without it, your body cannot produce prothrombin. This is a clotting factor that is necessary for blood clotting and bone metabolism in your body.
According to studies, most people are not at risk of vitamin K deficiency, however, it is most likely to affect newborns.
Normally, newborns receive an injection of this vitamin to protect them from bleeding in the skull, which is often fatal.
Dosage of Vitamin K
According to doctors, the recommended dosage of vitamin K in both food and other sources is as follows, however, most of the time, you get enough of this vitamin in your diet.
Age Group Adequate Intake
Children 0 to 6 months 2 micrograms/day
7 to 12 months 2.5 mcg/day
age 1 to 3 30 mcg/day
4-8 years of age 55 mcg/day
9 to 13 years of age 60 mcg/day
14 to 19 years of age 75 mcg/day
Women 19 and up 90 mcg/day
Women, pregnant or 90 mcg/day
Boys 14 to 18 years of age 75 mcg/day
Men 19 and above 120 mcg/day
However, it is important to note that it has no adverse effect on the levels of food and supplements, but this does not rule out its danger with high doses.
Benefits of Vitamin K
Vitamin K benefits your body in different ways. Let’s discuss them as follows:
According to different studies, there seems to be a relationship between low intake of vitamin K and osteoporosis.
Different studies suggest vitamin K supports the maintenance of strong bones.
Moreover, it helps to improve bone density and decreases the risk of fractures.
It helps to improve episodic memory in adults, according to studies.
According to another study, adults over the age of 70 using vitamin K1 had the highest verbal episodic memory performance.
This vitamin helps to keep your blood pressure lower, thus preventing mineralization where they build up in the arteries.
However, it is important to note that as you age, mineralization occurs and it is a major risk factor for heart diseases.
Thus, intake of vitamin K has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke.
Now let’s discuss the symptoms and causes of Vitamin K
Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms
Excessive bleeding is the main symptom of this deficiency. However, it is important to keep in mind that bleeding can also happen in areas other than a cut or a wound site.
This bleeding is apparent if you:
Brusie easily, gets small blood clots under your nails, bleeding in the mucous membranes that line your body or you produce stool that is dark in color and contains blood.
In infants, the deficiency of vitamin K will have the following symptoms:
Bleeding in the area of the site of the umbilical cord, bleeding in the skin, nose, or other areas, bleeding after circumcision, or sudden bleeding in the brain.
In such a case, it can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.
Vitamin K Deficiency Causes
Although is deficiency is rare in adults, however, certain individuals are at risk if they:
- take coumarin anticoagulants like warfarin
- using antibiotics
- have a condition that causes fat malabsorption
- a diet extreme deficient in Vitamin K
Coumarin anticoagulants are medications that interfere with the production of proteins that helps in blood clotting.
Moreover, certain antibiotics cause your body to produce less of its own vitamin k, however, other antibiotics can cause it to become less effective in your body.
Fat malabsorption that leads to vitamin K deficiency may occur if you have celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, a disorder of the intestines or biliary tract, or you have your intestines removed.
It is important to note the newborns can have this deficiency for a variety of reasons. These are:
- te breast milk of the mother lacks vitamin K
- it does not transfer well from a mother’s placenta to the baby
- the liver of the newborn does not use the vitamin
- or they do not produce Vitamin K2 on their own in the first few days of life
Learn more about vitamin D here.
At first, your doctor will take your medical history in order to understand if you are at the risk of becoming vitamin K deficient.
If you take anticoagulants, antibiotics, or have a condition where fat absorption is a problem you could risk its deficiency.
Moreover, your doctor will perform a coagulation test or prothrombin time, PT test.
This helps to understand the causes of deficiency and measures how long it takes for your blood to clot.
Moreover, the lab may also look at the results of your test in a different way, measuring the international normalized ratio, INR.
INR compares your result to different labs worldwide.
A normal INR is about 0.9 to 1.1. If you are taking a blood thinner, it might be about 2 to 3.5. Your doctor will be looking to see if the number is too high
The treatment option for vitamin K deficiency involves using the drug phytonadione which is vitamin K1.
In most cases, your doctor will prescribe is an oral medication or they may also inject it under your skin, opposite to the vein or muscle.
The dosage for adults, however, is 1 to 25 mcg.
But if you are taking anti-coagulants, then your doctor will prescribe a small dose of this drug, typically 1 to 10 mg.
This short dose is recommended to avoid any complications due to the usage of anticoagulants as they interfere with your body’s production of vitamin K.
In infants, however, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a single shot of infants is from 0.5 to 1 mg.
Food High in Vitamin
The following is a list of foods that you can add to your diet to keep up with the right dosage of this vitamin. These are:
Kale contains 443% DV per serving, mustard greens contain 346% DV per serving, swiss chard contains 332% DV, collard greens contains 322% DV, spinach contains 121%DV, broccoli contains 92% and brussels sprouts contain 91% DV per serving.
Vegetables high in Vitamin K are kale, mustard greens, collard green, parsley, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts.
Meat products high in this vitamin are beef liver, chicken, goose liver paste, duck breast, and chicken liver.
Dairy products high in vitamin K are hard cheese, soft cheeses, Edam cheese, blue cheese, cheddar, egg yolk, whole milk, butter, and cream.
Moreover, fruits high in content are kiwi, avocado, blackberries, blueberries, pomegranate, dried figs, sun-dried tomatoes, crapes, and red currants.
No notable upper limit has been determined for vitamin K, however, toxicity is rare and unlikely to result from eating food items containing vitamin K.
It is important to note that any type of supplement can lead to toxicity.
This vitamin can interact with certain medications like blood-thinners, anticoagulants, antibiotics, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and weight-loss drugs.
Blood Thinner: Medications like warfarin can prevent harmful blood clots that may block the blood flow to the brain or heart.
Anticoagulants: If you use them during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, it can increase your risk of vitamin K deficiency in a fetus or in your child.
Cholesterol-lowering medications: These interfere with fat absorption.
Dietary fat is important for absorbing vitamin K, so if you are using these medications, you can have a higher risk of deficiency.
Thus, if you are taking any of the above medications, you should consult your doctor before using this supplement.
Moreover, the best way to ensure that your body receives enough nutrients is to consume a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Learn more about Iron Deficiency here.
Vitamin K is an important vitamin your body needs for blood clotting and bone health, and its deficiency is often rare.
However, if you use certain medications like anticoagulants, blood thinners, or cholesterol-lowering medications then you should always consult your doctor before using its supplements.
A healthy and balanced diet is important as it makes sure that you are getting enough of all vitamins in your diet. The same is applicable for people using warfarin and similar medications.