VITAMIN K

OTHER NAME(S):

4-Amino-2-Methyl-1-Naphthol, Fat-Soluble Vitamin, Menadiol Acetate, Menadiol Sodium Phosphate, Menadione, Ménadione, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite, Menaquinone, Ménaquinone, Menatetrenone, Menatétrenone, Phytonadione, Methylphytyl Naphthoquinone, Phylloquinone, Phytomenadione, Vitamina K, Vitamine K, Vitamine Liposoluble, Vitamine Soluble dans les Graisses.<br/><br/>

Overview

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. Vitamin K1 (phytonadione) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone) are available in North America. 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. Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is taken by mouth to treat osteoporosis and bone loss caused by steroids, as well as to lower total cholesterol in people on dialysis.

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.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Effective for

  • Preventing bleeding problems in newborns with low levels of vitamin K (hemorrhagic disease). Giving vitamin K1 by mouth or as an injection into the muscles can prevent bleeding problems in newborns.
  • Treating and preventing bleeding problems in people with low levels of the blood clotting protein prothrombin. Taking vitamin K1 by mouth or as an injection into the vein can prevent and treat bleeding problems in people with low levels of prothrombin due to using certain medications.
  • An inherited bleeding disorder called vitamin K-dependent clotting factors deficiency (VKCFD). Taking vitamin K by mouth or injecting it intravenously (by IV) helps prevent bleeding in individuals with VKCFD.
  • Reversing the effects of too much warfarin used to prevent blood clotting. Taking vitamin K1 by mouth or as in injection into the vein can counteract too much anticoagulation caused by warfarin. However, injecting vitamin K1 under the skin does not seem to be effective. Taking vitamin K along with warfarin also seems to help stabilize blood clotting time in people taking warfarin, especially those who have low vitamin K levels.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Bleeding within the fluid-filled areas (ventricles) of the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage). Giving vitamin K to women at risk for very preterm births might reduce the severity of intraventricular hemorrhage in preterm infants. However, it does not seem to prevent intraventricular hemorrhage nor the brain injuries associated with intraventricular hemorrhage.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Athletic performance. Early research suggests that taking vitamin K2 by mouth might improve exercise performance by increasing the work of the heart.
  • Blood disorder (beta-thalassemia). Early research shows that taking vitamin K2 by mouth along with calcium and vitamin D can improve bone mass in children with this blood disorder.
  • Breast cancer. Research suggests that higher dietary intake of vitamin K2 is linked with a lower risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Cancer. Some research has linked a higher food intake of vitamin K2, but not vitamin K1, with a reduced risk of death from cancer. But other research has linked a higher food intake of vitamin K1, but not vitamin K2, with a reduced risk of death from cancer.
  • Cataracts. Some research has linked a higher food intake of vitamin K2 with a lower risk of getting cataracts.
  • Colorectal cancer. Early research suggests that a higher dietary intake of vitamin K is not linked with a reduced risk of cancer of the colon and rectum.
  • Heart disease. Higher dietary intake of vitamin K2 has been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, risk factors for heart disease, and death due to heart disease in older men and women. But vitamin K2 intake from food does not seem to be linked with a reduced risk a heart disease in people at high risk for this condition. Dietary intake of vitamin K1 has not been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease. But increasing vitamin K1 intake from food has been linked with a reduced risk of death due to heart disease. Also, taking vitamin K1 as a supplement seems to prevent or reduce the advancement of coronary calcification. This is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Cystic fibrosis. People with cystic fibrosis can have low levels of vitamin K due to problems digesting fat. Taking a combination of vitamins A, D, E, and K seems to improve vitamin K levels in people with cystic fibrosis who have trouble digesting fat. Also, early research shows that taking vitamin K by mouth for can enhance the production of osteocalcin. Osteocalcin plays a role in the body's bone-building and metabolic regulation. But there is no reliable evidence suggesting that vitamin K improves overall health in people with cystic fibrosis.
  • Diabetes. Early research shows that taking a multivitamin fortified with vitamin K1 does not lower the risk of developing diabetes compared to taking a regular multivitamin.
  • Skin rash associated with a type of cancer medicine. People who are given a certain type of anticancer medicine often develop skin rash. Early research shows that applying a cream containing vitamin K1 helps prevent skin rash in people being given this type of medicine.
  • High cholesterol. There is early evidence that vitamin K2 might lower cholesterol in people on dialysis with high cholesterol levels.
  • Liver cancer. Taking vitamin K2 does not seem to prevent liver cancer recurrence. But some early research shows that taking vitamin K2 reduces the risk of liver cancer in people with liver cirrhosis.
  • Lung cancer. Early research suggests that higher intake of vitamin K2 from food is linked with a reduced risk of lung cancer and lung cancer-related death. Dietary intake of vitamin K1 does not seem to be linked with a reduced risk of these events.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Interferon is a medicine that helps people with MS. This medicine often causes a rash and burning of the skin. Early research shows that applying vitamin K cream modestly reduces rash and burning in people with treated with interferon.
  • Prostate cancer. Early research suggests that higher dietary intake of vitamin K2, but not vitamin K1, is linked with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research shows that taking vitamin K2 along with arthritis medicine reduces markers of joint swelling better than taking arthritis medicine alone.
  • Stroke. Population research suggests that dietary intake of vitamin K1 is not linked with a reduced risk of stroke.
  • Bruises.
  • Burns.
  • Scars.
  • Spider veins.
  • Stretch marks.
  • Swelling.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate vitamin K for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

The two forms of vitamin K (vitamin K1 and vitamin K2) are LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth or injected into the vein appropriately. 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. Don't use higher amounts without the advice of your healthcare professional.

Children: The form of vitamin K known as vitamin K1 is LIKELY SAFE for children when taken by mouth or injected into the body appropriately.

Diabetes: The form of vitamin K known as vitamin K1 might lower blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and take vitamin K1, monitor your blood sugar levels closely.

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.

Reduced bile secretion: People with decreased bile secretion who are taking vitamin K might need to take supplemental bile salts along with vitamin K to ensure vitamin K absorption.

Interactions

Interactions?

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.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • 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.
There isn't enough scientific information to determine recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for vitamin K, so daily adequate intake (AI) recommendations have been formed instead: The AIs are: infants 0-6 months, 2 mcg; infants 6-12 months, 2.5 mcg; children 1-3 years, 30 mcg; children 4-8 years, 55 mcg; children 9-13 years, 60 mcg; adolescents 14-18 years (including those who are pregnant or breast-feeding), 75 mcg; men over 19 years, 120 mcg; women over 19 years (including those who are pregnant and breast-feeding), 90 mcg.

View References

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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