Learn about Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms

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Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms

written by: Harry Sylvester • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 8/4/2010

Vitamin K is very essential to human body. Read on to learn what foods are high in vitamin K along with the functions of this vitamin. You will know what causes symptoms of vitamin K deficiency and what the recommended intake is.

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    Vitamin K

    The body keeps vitamin K in fat tissue and liver, helping blood coagulate properly. The letter “K" stems from the German word Koagulationsvitamin. When you have a simple cut or skin wound you will need sufficient blood clotting ability to prevent excessive bleeding. Vitamin K refers to a set of fat-soluble compounds known as naphthoquinones. Green leafy vegetables provide vitamin K1 (phytonadione) naturally, offering the primary source to humans. Bacteria in the human intestines also produce vitamin K2 (menaquinones). Vitamin K3 (menadione) is a synthetic and water-soluble preparation used for treatment.

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    Foods Rich in Vitamin K

    Foods containing a good source of vitamin K include green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, lettuce, spinach, green beans, and cabbage. Chlorophyll in plants contributes and provides vitamin K through their green color. Other sources are beef liver and asparagus.

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    The Functions of Vitamin K

    Vitamin K has some beneficial functions to humans. It plays an important role in the development of the fetus. Below are some major roles of vitamin K in your body.

    It prevents excessive bleeding

    Consuming vitamin K can help prevent the possibility of hemorrhage in malabsorption syndromes. Blood clotting will close and cure an open wound. Women are encouraged to consume green leafy vegetables during pregnancy to develop the amount of vitamin K in breast milk. Newborns are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin K because they are born without any bacteria in their intestines that can create vitamin K naturally.

    It prevents osteoporosis

    Studies have revealed that higher intake of vitamin K is associated with greater bone density, while low consumption is related to osteoporosis. You might prevent bone fractures from occurring if you consume adequate amount of vitamin K. Postmenopausal women will benefit from vitamin K intake as it keeps their bones from either weakening or fractures. Vitamin K deficiency might lead to osteopenia (loss of bone) as well.

    It prevents cardiovascular disease

    The accumulation of calcium inside soft tissues known as calcification can result in cardiovascular disease. Once calcium has accumulated inside the arteries, calcium will allow them to harden, causing the heart problems. Again, your body needs vitamin K to avoid the development of calcium inside the blood vessels, and a diet with plenty of this vitamin can help prevent heart valve problems.

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    Causes and Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

    Vitamin K deficiency might occur due to prolonged treatment with oral antibiotics. These medicines can eradicate the beneficial bacteria in the intestines that produce vitamin K, making a low level of this vitamin in your body. Health problems can also result in the deficiency of this vitamin including gallbladder disease, celiac disease, liver disease, and Crohn’s disease.

    Symptoms of vitamin K deficiency may vary including:

    • Anemia

    • Gum bleeding

    • Excessive menstrual bleeding

    • Nose bleeding

    • Gastrointestinal bleeding

    • Easy bruising

    • Bone fractures

    • Osteoporosis

    • Osteopenia

    • Calcification of blood vessels or heart valves

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    Recommended Intake

    You can prevent the deficiency of this vitamin by following recommended daily allowance (RDA). Consuming 80 mg daily is recommended for adult males, and 65 mg daily for adult females. Newborns are suggested to take 5 mg daily.

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    References

    Medline Plus: Trusted Health Information for you - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-vitamink.html

    University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin K - http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-k-000343.htm

    WHFood: Vitamin K - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=112

    Vitamins and Health Supplement Guide: Vitamin K - http://www.vitamins-supplements.org/vitamin-K.php

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    Disclaimer

    Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.

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