Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin K is a vital vitamin essential for clotting mechanism. Vitamin K deficiency is uncommon in today’s healthy population and is most commonly seen in newborn babies.

Vitamin K Deficiency symptoms and signs include heavy menstrual bleeding, nosebleed, gum bleeding, easy bruising, bleed in urine or stool.

Vitamin K is a group of compounds that appear to be in vitamin K1 and vitamin k2. Vitamin K, often known as clotting vitamin acts as a blood-clotting agent and is essential for dense and healthy bones. Vitamin K deficiency symptoms mostly include bone-related problems such as osteopenia, osteoporosis and hip fractures etc.

Vitamin K deficiency is almost a rare case for two major reasons:

Firstly, this vitamin is mostly abundant in some green spices and green leafy vegetables.

Secondly, bacteria in intestine produce vitamin K on their own.

Excessive usage of antibiotics can destroy bacteria (good and bad) in your gut. Bacteria destruction might also lead to health issues like obesity, sluggish mental state etc. and this is due to deficiency of vitamin K.

People suffering from chronic disorders involving intestines, liver and pancreas are more likely prone to vitamin K deficiency. This due to the fact that synthesis of vitamin K from inactive to active form is done in liver which then goes to small intestine where it actually resides. Hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, alcoholic liver disease and celiac disease are few symptoms.

People who suffer from digestive disorders and those who take frequent antibiotic therapies are prone to vitamin K deficiency. Deficiency of vitamin K can cause life-threatening complications as well.

Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

Vitamin K helps coagulate blood and helps maintain proper bone density. It also plays a significant role in healthy development of fetus. Few Common Symptoms indicating vitamin K deficiency are:

  1. Eye hemorrhages
  2. Nosebleed
  3. Gum bleeding
  4. Hematomas
  5. Hypercalciuria
  6. Ovarian hemorrhaging
  7. Liver cancer
  8. Heavy menstrual bleeding
  9. Anemia
  10. Gastrointestinal bleeding

Birth defects are also linked to deficiency of vitamin K. Flat nasal bridges, shortened fingers, cupped ears, underdevelopment of mid face, nose and mouth, epicanthal folds, mental retardation, growth deficiency, learning disabilities, hypertelorism, neural tube defects, microcephaly, learning disabilities, cardiac abnormalities are some birth defects linked to vitamin K deficiency.

Comprehensive insight into Vitamin K deficiency Symptoms & Its consequences


Vitamin K helps control blood clot. Lower the levels of vitamin K, higher the risks of bleeding. Women experience excessive menstrual bleeding due to vitamin K deficiency. Minor gum injury or nose bleeding can also turn into serious complications. Severe vitamin K depletion can also lead to blood in urine and bleeding in digestive tract. Excessive bruising and broken blood vessels are also few common symptoms.

Deficiency in infants (VKDB)

Newborn babies who are only breastfed have higher risks of vitamin K deficiency. The reason behind this fact is that human milk contains lesser vitamin K when compared to formula. For infants, Vitamin K cannot move easily across the placental barrier. In addition, the intestinal region of infants does not contain bacteria to generate vitamin K and also vitamin K is completely not functional in infants. This leads to a disorder known as VKDB or vitamin K deficiency bleeding. This is a life threatening condition.  This is the reason why infants in U.S. are injected with prescribed dose of vitamin K.

Bone Health

In order to make use of calcium properly, your bones require enough of vitamin K. This is very essential as calcium helps build as well as maintain integrity and strength of bones. Greater the levels of vitamin K in your body, greater would be the bone density. Vitamin K is essential for women’s bone health especially after postmenopausal women. Lower levels of vitamin K will lead to osteoporosis. The bone disorder is characterized by weakened bones and this can put the patient at an increased risk for falls and fractures.

Under-development of fetus

In pregnant women, lower levels of vitamin K can harm their babies. Vitamin K cannot be transported across the placental barrier easily and hence there would be more chances of deficiency within the fetus. Vitamin K is helpful in overall development of the baby and lack of this vitamin can lead to internal bleeding, deformed facial features, damage in the skull of fetus and malformed fingers.


Hemorrhages and defective blood coagulation are also few signs and symptoms of vitamin K deficiency. There will be a reduction in prothrobin content in blood, which is due to vitamin K deficiency. Excessive blood clotting leads to hemorrhage and this is due to vitamin K deficiency.

Easy Bruising

Bruising is a common sign of vitamin K deficiency. In people suffering from celiac disease, a typical condition that inhibits absorption of vitamins, easy bruising is a vital sign of the disease. In addition, blood will ooze from the wound or from the surgical site because of the decrease in blood clotting ability, which is due to vitamin K deficiency.

Hardening of walls and arteries in heart

Vitamin K deficiency leads to heavy deposition of calcium within the soft tissues. Calcification can sometimes harden the walls and arteries in heart and this affects the cardiovascular system of the body leading to serious health risks.

Other symptoms

Research studies indicate that lack of vitamin K can be a reason behind varicose veins (swollen veins bulging out in hands and legs). Chronic kidney disease can also be a sign of vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K is essential for overall development of human body including the brain. Lack of vitamin K can cause neuronal damage and also leads to Alzheimer’s disease.

Recommended adequate consumption of vitamin K:

Below is the list indicating the recommended intake of vitamin K everyday either in the form of food or supplements.

  1. Infants need an intake of 2-2.5 micrograms of vitamin K per day.
  2. Children can intake a quantity of 30-60 micrograms of vitamin K every day.
  3. Adults need an intake of 75-90 micrograms of vitamin K daily.
  4. Adult males (19 and older) can consume 120 micrograms of vitamin K a day.

Oral dosage of vitamin K is given to patients depending on the severity of the symptoms and diseases.

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