The K in vitamin K stands for Coagulation – Another word for blood clotting through the formation of a blood clot. This mechanism ensures that wounds both outside and inside our body are closed quickly and we do not bleed to death. Since vitamin K activates the coagulation factors required for this, a deficiency can have serious health consequences. Fortunately, a vitamin K deficiency is almost impossible with a balanced diet. However, certain medications, an unbalanced diet or inflammatory bowel disease such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis cause a vitamin K deficiency.
Vitamin K Deficiency: 5 Possible Symptoms and Consequences
If you have chronic inflammatory bowel disease, you should definitely have your doctor do a blood count to determine your vitamin K levels. Furthermore, these symptoms and sequelae can indicate an undersupply or deficiency:
1. Bleeding gums
The most typical and noticeable symptom of a vitamin K deficiency is that Bleeding tendency. Since the blood clotting is disturbed due to the lack of vitamin K, the blood platelets can no longer close wounds adequately and there is increased bleeding gums or nosebleeds and an unexpectedly large amount of blood flows even from small wounds. Since the vitamin does not cross the placenta sufficiently, especially with Newborn Vitamin K deficiency bleeding occurs within the first twelve weeks. That is why vitamin K prophylaxis usually takes place after the birth.
Just like external bleeding from the gums or nose, a vitamin K deficiency can also promote internal bleeding. This tendency to bleed can manifest itself in the form of bruises, i.e. bruises under the skin. If you unexpectedly bruise even if you touch it lightly, this could indicate a vitamin K deficiency or a bleeding disorder. It becomes dangerous if the deficiency occurs together with a stomach ulcer, for example, as serious internal bleeding can occur.
3. Brittle bones
Vitamin K is twice as important for your bone health: together with vitamin D and calcium, it not only promotes the build-up of bone mass, but also inhibits the activity of the so-called Osteoklasten. These break down the bone substance and thus promote osteoporosis. Researchers from Harvard Medical School found in a cohort study over 72,000 women found that those with the lowest vitamin K levels were at significantly increased risk for Broken bones had. However, daily consumption of lettuce and other green vegetables can effectively counteract this risk.
4. Blood in the urine
If blood coagulation is disturbed as a result of a vitamin K deficiency, in severe cases even red blood cells can get into the urine of those affected. In the so-called Hematuria the urine may turn slightly red under certain circumstances. The phenomenon also occurs with some kidney diseases such as kidney stones or kidney cancer.
5. Gastric bleeding with vomiting
The increased tendency to bleed as a result of a vitamin K deficiency can also be felt inside the body. In addition to the intestines, the stomach can also be affected by bleeding. Severe gastric bleeding can even lead to bloody vomiting – a clear alarm signal that should prompt you to see a doctor immediately. Because in addition to a vitamin K deficiency, ulcers, gastric mucosal inflammation or foreign bodies are also possible triggers.
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