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Vitamin k deficiency and its treatment

Monday, September 6, 2021

Healthy and balanced nutrition is very important in terms of maintaining health and meeting the nutritional requirements.

Malnutrition, weight loss, vitamin and mineral deficiencies cause malnutrition called malnutrition. One of the vitamins that are taken into the body with nutrients and produced in the body is some of the vitamins.

The deficiency of vitamin K, which is benefits in the production of proteins necessary for blood clotting, is manifested by bleeding disorders. Vitamin K may be supplemented externally in cases of vitamin K deficiency, which is rare in adults and is more common in newborn babies.

What is vitamin K deficiency?

Vitamin K is a type of fat-soluble vitamin that has two different types. The first of these, vitamin K1, is also called phylloquinone and is taken into the body along with herbs such as spinach and cabbage. Another type of vitamin K2 is called menakinon and is produced naturally by the bacteria in the intestines.

Both subtypes of the vitamin work similarly in the body and are responsible for blood clotting. Vitamin K, which acts in the production of proteins necessary for coagulation, prevents excessive bleeding inside and outside the body.

Vit- K deficiency develops in the event that vit- K is not taken into the body with nutrients sufficiently, there are problems in the production of the body, or if there are disorders related to the absorption of vitamin with food.

As a result of vit- K deficiency, the production of blood proteins necessary for coagulation is impaired, resulting in coagulation disorders, unusual and excessive bleeding. Vitamin K deficiency is extremely rare among adults. The reason for this is that there is plenty of vitamin K1 in the foods consumed and vitamin K2 is produced endogenously in the body.

However, in some cases it is possible to encounter vit- K deficiency in adults due to problems with the absorption of vit- K, serious disorders in the diet or various diseases. On the other hand, deficiency of vit- K is more common in infants.

In what foods is vitamin K found?

Vitamin K is a type of vitamin that is present in various amounts in many herbal foods. Among the richest sources of vitamin K in response to the question of what is found in vitamin K are the following foods:

  • Plants such as spinach, chard, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, asparagus, turnip, beet leaf, parsley, chicory
  • Peas, green beans, soy and mexican beans
  • Offal such as red and white meat, liver and kidney
    *Milk and milk products
  • Strawberry, grape, kiwi, blackberry, blueberry, avocado, fig, pomegranate fruit
  • Dried nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews
  • Since vitamin K is a fat-soluble type of vitamin, consuming the above rich sources of vitamin K together with oils such as butter and olive oil increases the benefits of vitamin K.

What are the symptoms of vitamin K deficiency?

The most important symptom seen in vitamin K deficiency is excessive bleeding. In a region that is cut or injured in the body, excessive bleeding may occur due to the delay of blood clotting, and bleeding may occur anywhere on the body without any wounds or cuts.

In addition, other symptoms seen in vitamin K deficiency can be listed as follows:

  • Easy to rot on the skin,
  • Small blood clots under the nails,
  • Bleeding in the mucous membranes of the body,
  • Stool with dark black color or some blood is among the symptoms seen in adults.

The symptoms indicating vitamin K deficiency in infants are:

  • Bleeding in the umbilical cord area,
  • Bleeding on the face, skin, nose, digestive system or a different part of the body,
  • Delayed recovery and continuous bleeding in the circumcised baby,
  • It may include conditions such as sudden brain bleeding.

What are the causes of vitamin K deficiency?

Vitamin K deficiency is a problem that can develop in many different situations besides not getting enough vitamin K together with foods. Factors that usually play a role in vitamin K deficiency, which are very rare in adults, include:

  • The use of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin,
  • Antibiotic use (decreases the amount of vitamin K produced in the body as antibiotics damage the intestinal flora),
  • Implementing a nutrition plan with a very low vitamin K content,
  • Diseases that cause disorders in the absorption of nutrients from the body,
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as celiac disease (gluten enteropathy), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis,
  • Liver and biliary tract diseases,
  • Cystic fibrosis,
  • Some of the intestines have been removed.

The reasons that play a role in vitamin K deficiency, which is more common in newborn babies, are:

  • Insufficient breast milk in terms of vitamin K.
  • Vitamin K does not transfer well from mother’s placenta to baby,
  • Vitamin K2 cannot be produced by the body in the first few days of life in newborn babies,
  • The liver is not yet adequately used in the first period of life in a newborn baby.

How is vitamin K deficiency diagnosed?

In patients who experience symptoms of vitamin K deficiency or for any reason suspected of vitamin K deficiency, medical history is taken by physicians and it is learned whether they use anticoagulant (blood thinning) medication, whether they use antibiotics, or if they have a disease that may affect the absorption of fat. During this interview, questions regarding the diet can also be asked.

Patients are then given a test, often called a prothrombin time (PT) test. With this test, it can be clearly seen whether there is a symptom of vitamin K deficiency. For the test, blood sample is taken from the patient first and then some chemicals are added to the blood clotting time is calculated.

In healthy individuals, coagulation time is usually in the range of 11-13.5 seconds as a result of this test. Overcoming clotting time is an important factor in the diagnosis of vitamin K deficiency. In addition, in some laboratories, “International Normalized Ratio” or INR test, short name, is preferred instead of PT.

This test is based on a scale that compares the results of different laboratories worldwide and a normal INR value should be in the range of 0.9-1.1. The INR value can be in the range of 2-3.5 in individuals who use blood thinners.

In cases where a clotting disorder is detected as a result of the tests performed, if a different reason that may lead to this situation in the medical history cannot be detected, vitamin K deficiency is diagnosed and a treatment plan is made.

How is vitamin K deficiency treated?

Vitamin K deficiency is an important problem that can lead to excessive bleeding and brain hemorrhage in infants when it continues for a long time. In addition, vitamin K deficiency can be treated with applications to be made after diagnosis.

Treatment is carried out by supplementing vitamin K orally or intravenously. The physician decides in what form the supplement will be made, how the dose and frequency will be. In the case of disorders related to fat absorption or if different diseases that cause coagulation disorders are detected, a treatment plan is prepared for them.

Patients who have vit- K deficiency due to nutritional problems should be directed to the dietician and they should be provided with training regarding an adequate vit – K diet. Although there is not a certain amount that should be consumed daily for vitamin K, it is recommended to take 120 mcg of vitamin K for men and 90 mcg of vitamin for women a day on average.

The need for vitamin K can be met very easily as a result of regular consumption of the above-given vitamin K foods, especially green leafy vegetables. Individuals who need to use blood thinning medication may need to limit vitamin K intake. In this case, arrangements are made in the nutrition plan according to the physician recommendations and the necessary information is transferred to the patient. In these patients, clotting tests may need to be repeated at regular intervals.

If you are experiencing some of the symptoms of vit – K deficiency, or if you have bleeding problems, it is useful to contact a healthcare provider immediately and undergo an examination.

By preventing a possible vitamin deficiency in the early period, you can prevent more serious complications and protect your health.

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