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Which vitamin helps in blood clotting?

Team AckoNov 28, 2022

Vitamin K helps in blood clotting as it is a key player in making different types of protein needed for blood clotting. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is categorised into two forms, vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Read on to know more about blood clots, their relation with vitamin K and food sources enriched with vitamin K.

Which Vitamin Helps In Blood Clotting?

Contents

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What are blood clots?

Blood clots are the clumps of blood that develop within your body in various sizes. These lumps help prevent excessive bleeding in case you get any cuts or are injured. They can also be harmful or fatal if the lumps partly or completely block blood flow to different body parts. Blood clots can occur anywhere in the body, including the heart, stomach, brain, arms, kidneys, etc. 

Symptoms of blood clotting

An individual might experience the following symptoms in the affected area.

  • In arm or leg: Throbbing painful veins, redness, tenderness, and swelling.

  • In abdomen: Stomach pain, diarrhoea, bloody stools, and vomiting.

  • In heart: Trouble breathing, nausea, pain in the chest and upper body, and sweating.

  • In lungs: Shortness of breath, sharp chest pain, fever, dizziness, sweating, and cough (sometimes with blood).

Signs of a blood clot depend on where the clot is located. So, symptoms vary accordingly. 

Reasons for blood clotting

There are many different causes of blood clots, which include the following.

  • Injury to a blood vessel

  • After effects of a surgery

  • Sitting for a long period of time

  • Blood clot in an artery in the lung

  • Certain medical conditions, such as cancer or heart disease

  • Family history of blood clots (conditions such as Prothrombin G20210A mutation, and factor V Leiden mutation)

  • Pregnancy

  • Smoking

  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills and hormone therapy drugs

  • Heart attack and heart failure

  • Stroke

Some blood clots can remain in the same place, and others may break from the site and move to different parts of the body.

Different blood clotting factors

Vitamin K is needed for the synthesis of clotting factors. It helps the body produce 13 proteins that are essential for blood clotting. Prothrombin is one of them, which helps blood clot and regulates bone metabolism. Some clotting factors need modification before they become active in clotting. These factors are categoriesd as II, VII, IX, X and proteins C and S (natural anticoagulants). Vitamin K helps synthesise these clotting factors. 

Effectiveness of vitamin K

Here’s how vitamin K is effective.

  • This vitamin is given to newborns that have the hemorrhagic disease (low levels of vitamin K). 

  • It helps prevent bleeding in those who have inherited bleeding disorder VKCFD (vitamin K-dependent clotting factors deficiency). 

  • It reverses the blood thinning effects of blood thinners such as warfarin. 

  • Vitamin K is effective in treating bleeding problems (low levels of blood clotting protein prothrombin).

The value intake of vitamin K is measured in micrograms. There are one million micrograms in one gram. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin K for different age groups is as follows.

Infants

  • 0 to 6 months: 2 micrograms per day

  • 7 to 12 months: 2.5 micrograms per day

Children

  • 1 to 3 years: 30 micrograms per day

  • 4 to 8 years: 55 micrograms per day 

  • 9 to 13 years: 60 micrograms per day

Adults

  • Males & females of age 14 to 18: 75 micrograms per day

  • Male age 19 and older: 120 micrograms per day

  • Females age 19 and older (including those who are pregnant and nursing women): 90 micrograms per day

Sources of vitamin K

Vitamin K can be obtained from food sources and supplements. However, the best way to get it is by consuming it via food sources. 

Food items rich in vitamin K1 or Phylloquinone: 

  • Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, lettuces, kale, cabbage, spinach, collard, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and turnip greens.

  • Vegetable oils such as soybean oil and canola oil.

  • Fruits like kiwi, avocado, and prunes.

Sources of vitamin K2 or menanoquines are: cheese, chicken, fish, eggs, bacon, pork liver, natto (fermented soybean).

Apart from these, there are food items that are fortified with vitamin K such as shakes and bars. 

Side effects of overconsumption of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is usually consumed orally, and it does not cause any side effects, even if you consume it in large amounts. But the toxicity comes from menadione, which is often referred to as vitamin K3. 

The signs of vitamin K toxicity are as follows.

  • Hemolytic anaemia 

  • Jaundice

  • Kernicterus (type of brain damage) in infants

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions and their answers related to vitamin K and blood clotting.

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What are the symptoms of low vitamin K?

The main signs of vitamin K deficiency are excessive bleeding from the nose, wound, or internal organs. Other signs include the following.

  • Small visible blood clots under the skin

  • Easy bruising 

  • Blood in urine

  • Blood oozing from gums

  • Stool that is tarry black or contains blood

What happens if your body is low on vitamin K?

You may face the following symptoms as a result of vitamin K deficiency.

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Osteoporosis

  • Risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Poor bone development

How is vitamin K deficiency treated?

Vitamin K deficiency is treated by increasing its consumption. You can increase vitamin K in your body by consuming more leafy green vegetables. Your doctor may suggest vitamin K supplements as well.  

What is the most common cause of vitamin K deficiency?

Individuals develop this deficiency as a result of fat malabsorption and due to certain medications such as birth control pills and hormone therapy drugs. It is also seen in people with chronic kidney disease, digestive disorders, and diabetes. Those who consume anticoagulants such as warfarin are also at a higher risk of developing this deficiency. 

What dissolves blood clots fast?

Anticoagulants (blood thinners), such as warfarin, heparin, rivaroxaban, dabigatran, and apixaban, are some medications that can help dissolve blood clots.

Who are more prone to blood clotting?

Blood clots can affect anyone, no matter the age. However, there are certain risk factors that make one prone to blood clots. 

  • Health conditions, such as heart attack and stroke

  • Surgery 

  • During and after pregnancy

  • Family history of blood clots

  • Prior hospitalisation

  • Cancer and some types of cancer treatments 

Can you naturally dissolve a blood clot?

In general, blood clots formed due to an injury are naturally dissolved by the body. However, some clots that form without any apparent injury do not dissolve naturally. Such clots may be dangerous and require timely treatment.

References

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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