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8 Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms To Watch Out For!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Vitamin K is an essential constituent of the blood clotting process. Recent research into the vitamin has revealed that it works as an anti-cancer remedy, helps in bone formation, and increases sensitivity to insulin. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is formed of two components, vitamin K1, which can be obtained from vegetables and vitamin K2, which can be derived from animal products like cheese, meats, and eggs. It is mostly found in babies, especially newborns. Therefore, they are given a dose of vitamin K injection as a standard practice while leaving the hospital to avoid vitamin K deficiency.

Causes of vitamin K deficiency

A vitamin K deficiency has more chance of affecting a newborn infant than of affecting a grown adult. Vitamin K deficiency may have more chance of developing under the circumstances of the following risk factors:  

  • Lack of vitamin K in the diet
  • A low-fat diet
  • Disorders that may impair fat absorption
  • Certain drugs, such as anti-seizure drugs and certain antibiotics
  • Overconsumption of mineral oil

Vitamin K deficiency is commonly noted in alcoholic liver disease and Open heart surgery patients taking warfarin. Vitamin K tablets are now available for ease of treatment.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Signs of Vitamin K Deficiency

The chances of adults developing deficiencies of this vitamin are quite rare. However, if they do, it can have severe repercussions. This is because the vitamin K deficiency disease list is a long one! Low levels of vitamin K can increase the risks of developing heart disease and stroke. Those who suffer from celiac or Crohn’s disease are at risk. Also, people who are severely malnourished or who are on medication that leads to insufficient absorption of the vitamin. Let us look at some of the signs of vitamin K deficiency.

1. Easy Bruising

Those who suffer from vitamin K deficiency get easily bruised. Sometimes, a little bump can manifest as a large bruise that does not heal quickly.

2. Excessive Bleeding

Low levels of vitamin K lead to extreme bleeding wounds, injections, and body parts, especially from the gums or nose.

3. Heavy and Painful Menstruation

Women may suffer from heavy periods accompanied by pain. Known as Menorrhagia, the condition can afflict almost one-fifth of women in the reproductive age bracket. Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is also prevalent more in women with vitamin K deficiency.

4. The Risk to Gastrointestinal Tract

There are also risks of having gastrointestinal hemorrhaging and bleeding, which might be visible as blood in the stools and urine.

5. Risk to Skeletal Health

Deficiency of vitamin K leads to a loss of bone density. Frequent fractures, pain, and aches in the joints and the bones are signs of vitamin K deficiency. People with low levels of this vitamin leads are at risk of developing osteoporosis. Women who are past the menopausal age are more vulnerable than younger women. Read more  10  foods to strong bones.

6. The risk to Cardiac Health

An optimum amount of vitamin K leads to efficient heart functioning. Deficiency leads to calcification of the arteries as this vitamin is responsible for leading calcium away from the arteries to prevent plaque formation. Check for vitamin K deficiency if you have heart problems. Know more the different types of heart diseases.

7. Bleeding Gums and Teeth

Another sure sign of vitamin K deficiency is excessive bleeding in gums and teeth.

8. Danger to Newborns

Vitamin K deficiency is most common among newborns, due to low amounts of the vitamin being transmitted from the mother to the baby during pregnancy, naturally low levels in breast milk, and the baby’s body having trouble producing the vitamin on its own.

Vitamin K deficiency in newborns causes them to be at risk of developing a hemorrhagic disease known as HDN.

Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), also known as hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, is a rare ailment caused by the blood’s inability to clot in infants with a vitamin K deficit. Internal bleeding, including in the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, can occur anywhere in the body. With late-onset VKDB, bleeding into the brain is very prevalent. Internal bleeding can be difficult to detect and can result in significant problems, including death. Signs aren’t always evident, and they can be mistaken for anything else.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Bruises: A Research-Based Guide

Vitamin K Deficiency Diagnosis

The best treatment for a vitamin K deficiency is determined by the severity of the ailment, especially the severity of the accompanying bleeding, as well as the root cause.

Fresh frozen plasma will be administered if the bleeding becomes life-threatening. In some situations, especially after the person has received new frozen plasma, vitamin K supplements will be given to them, usually intravenously or into the muscle.


The majority of people consume enough vitamin K in their diet. Dark green leafy foods like spinach, parsley, broccoli, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and salad greens are the finest sources.

Vitamin K pills may also be prescribed by your doctor. They can aid in blood clotting and may also aid in bone strength. However, don’t use them without first consulting your doctor, as they may react with other medications. You should also avoid taking more than your doctor suggests as this could be dangerous.

Eating a balanced diet, rich in vegetables and other sources, is a good way to ensure an excellent supply of vitamin K in the body. Raw cheese, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables are good choices. You can also opt for supplements if your doctor suggests so.

Also Read: Vitamin E Deficiency Symptoms & Causes

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.



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