Vitamin K deficiency

What is Vitamin K Deficiency?

Vitamin K deficiency is an unusual but significant condition which can result in excessive bleeding. It is caused by insufficient or reduced levels of vitamin K in the body. Vitamin K is an important component of blood clotting, and its deficiency can result in over-bleeding not only outside of the body, but inside the body as well. Generally, it is caused by dietary deficiency, poor absorption of the vitamin, or an inability to convert it to a form usable by the body.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

The primary sign of vitamin K deficiency is excessive bleeding from the gums, nose or other areas. Bruising may also be more severe than usual since small blood vessels may begin to take longer than normal to clot. Additionally, hematuria, or blood in the urine, may occur. In newborns, vitamin K deficiency can lead to serious bleeding in the retroperitoneum or brain.

Risk Factors for Vitamin K Deficiency

Risk factors for vitamin K deficiency include poor dietary intake of vitamin K, malabsorption and certain drugs that can interfere with the absorption of vitamin K like anticoagulants. People with cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease are also at higher risk.

Treatment of Vitamin K Deficiency

Treatment for vitamin K deficiency usually involves supplementing with oral or injectable forms of vitamin K. Dietary intervention is also important, as ensuring the body has adequate amounts of vitamin K via diet can help reduce the chances of deficiency. Foods rich in vitamin K include spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli, pork, and beef.

Preventing Vitamin K Deficiency

To prevent vitamin K deficiency, take the following steps:

  • Eat foods rich in vitamin K like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower on a regular basis.
  • If you take anticoagulants, talk to your doctor about whether additional vitamin K supplementation may be needed.
  • If you have celiac, cystic fibrosis, or Crohn’s disease, you may need additional vitamin K supplementation.
  • If you are at risk for vitamin K deficiency, talk to your doctor about The recommendation of supplementation.