VITAMIN K Overview Information
Vitamin K is a vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. The name vitamin K comes from the German word “Koagulationsvitamin.”
Several forms of vitamin K are used around the world as medicine. But in the U.S., the only form available is vitamin K1 (phytonadione). Vitamin K1 is generally the preferred form of vitamin K because it is less toxic, works faster, is stronger, and works better for certain conditions.
In the body, vitamin K plays a major role in blood clotting. So it is used to reverse the effects of “blood thinning” medications when too much is given; to prevent clotting problems in newborns who don’t have enough vitamin K; and to treat bleeding caused by medications including salicylates, sulfonamides, quinine, quinidine, or antibiotics. Vitamin K is also given to treat and prevent vitamin K deficiency, a condition in which the body doesn’t have enough vitamin K. It is also used to prevent and treat weak bones (osteoporosis) and relieve itching that often accompanies a liver disease called biliary cirrhosis.
People apply vitamin K to the skin to remove spider veins, bruises, scars, stretch marks, and burns. It is also used topically to treat rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and pimples on the face. After surgery, vitamin K is used to speed up skin healing and reduce bruising and swelling.
Healthcare providers also give vitamin K by injection to treat clotting problems.
An increased understanding of the role of vitamin K in the body beyond blood clotting led some researchers to suggest that the recommended amounts for dietary intake of vitamin K be increased. In 2001, the National Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board increased their recommended amounts of vitamin K slightly, but refused to make larger increases. They explained there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to make larger increases in the recommended amount of vitamin K.
How does it work?
Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that is needed by the body for blood clotting and other important processes.
- Treating and preventing vitamin K deficiency.
- Preventing certain bleeding or blood clotting problems.
- Reversing the effects of too much warfarin used to prevent blood clotting.
- Weak bones (osteoporosis). So far, research results on the effects of vitamin K on bone strength and fracture risk in people with osteoporosis don’t agree.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Heart disease.
- High cholesterol.
- Spider veins.
- Stretch marks.
- Other conditions.
VITAMIN K Side Effects & Safety
Vitamin K is safe for most people. Most people do not experience any side effects when taking in the recommended amount each day.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: When taken in the recommended amount each day, vitamin K is considered safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women, but don't use higher amounts without the advice of your healthcare professional.
Kidney disease: Too much vitamin K can be harmful if you are receiving dialysis treatments due to kidney disease.
Liver disease: Vitamin K is not effective for treating clotting problems caused by severe liver disease. In fact, high doses of vitamin K can make clotting problems worse in these people.
Major Interaction Do not take this combination
- Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with VITAMIN K
Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, vitamin K might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
VITAMIN K Dosing
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For bleeding disorders such as hypoprothrombinemia: 2.5-25 mg of vitamin K1 (phytonadione).
- For counteracting bleeding that can occur when too much of the anticoagulant warfarin is given: 1-5 mg of vitamin K is typically used; however, the exact dose needed is determined by a lab test called the INR.