KEY POINTS

  • Vitamin K is of two types- K1 & K2
  • Vitamin K deficiency is more common among newborns
  • Warning sign: Excessive bruising or bleeding in body parts

Vitamin K is of two types K-1 and K-2. These vitamins produce proteins C and S that help in blood clotting. Vitamin K deficiency is a rare health condition that occurs when an individual’s body doesn’t produce enough of the nutrient and suffers from risk of excessive bleeding. Bleeding in a certain body part could be an indication of this nutrient deficiency.

Symptom to watch out for: Bleeding nose or gums

Since Vitamin K deficiency affects the production of coagulation factors including protein C and protein S, it can cause excessive bleeding and easy bruising. Not only will this nutrient deficiency cause blood oozing from nose or gums, but it also leads to excessive bleeding from wounds, punctures as well as surgical sites.

Other symptoms of this nutrient deficiency include heavy menstrual periods, gastrointestinal tract bleeding, increased prothrombin time and blood in the stool and/or urine.

This rare condition is more common in newborns than in adults. The most common causes of this nutrient deficiency include insufficient dietary intake, inadequate absorption and decreased storage of the vitamin as a result of liver diseases.

Dietary deficiency of this vitamin is rare among healthy Americans but is relatively common among individuals with chronic health conditions including cancer, kidney diseases and those who are malnourished. Certain medications including antacids, anti-seizure drugs as well as certain antibiotics can also impair the absorption of Vitamin K.

Since their intestines lack the normal flora, newborns might suffer from this nutrient deficiency. Newborns whose mothers have been taking certain drugs during pregnancy might also put them at risk of this vitamin deficiency. This can lead to excessive bleeding and bruising and in severe cases, even cause fatal brain bleeding, says Lab Tests Online.

But thanks to Vitamin K injections, such fatal consequences have become very rare. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all newborns are given a Vitamin K injection shortly after birth. Also, in cases of any surgeries, infants will be administered a dose of Vitamin K to prevent excessive bleeding.

Vitamin K deficiency is typically discovered when unexpected bleeding happens and laboratory testing to find out a prothrombin time is used to diagnose it. Measuring the level of the vitamin in the blood is rarely used to diagnose nutrient deficiency.