Sunday, July 16, 2017

Deficiency of vitamin K

Human intake of vitamin K comes from two main sources - human diets and synthesis from intestinal bacteria. The dietary essentiality of vitamin K was discovered as the result of a series of experiments carried out by the Danish nutritional bio9chemcist Henrik Dam (1895 – 1976), working at the University of Copenhagen.

Vitamin K deficiency is rare among humans and most other animal species. This is due to the wide occurrence of vitamin K in plant and animal foods and to the significant microbial synthesis of the vitamin that occurs in the intestines. Vitamin K deficiencies can be caused by a variety of factors. These include:

 *Not consuming enough vitamin K from one's diet can contribute to a deficiency. Dietary vitamin K is highest in leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, kale, broccoli and collard greens.

*A diet with high intakes of salicylates can block vitamin K. Salicylates are found in foods such as nuts, fruits, spices and mints. Aspirin is a salicylate. Blocking vitamin K is why aspirin can "thin" the blood - it basically keeps blood from coagulating. This is why too much aspirin can cause stomach and intestinal bleeding.
*Antibiotics can cause bleeding problems from vitamin K deficiencies. Antibiotics drugs can virtually sterilize the lumen of the intestine, thus removing an important source of vitamin K. Prior to surgery, a patient’s vitamin K status is often tested to assess the risk hemorrhaging because antibiotics are frequently part of the treatment regimen.

*Candida (systemic yeast) infections have been linked to vitamin K deficiencies. An overgrowth of Candida albicans or other kinds of yeast can crowd out the helpful bacteria in the digestive tract that make vitamin K. People who eat a lot of sugary foods, an unusually high proportion of alkaline foods and/or take antibiotics tend to be at high risk for Candida infections.

*The vitamin is lipid soluble and is absorbed primarily in the small intestine. A healthy patient usually has a 30-day body store. Vitamin K deficiency occurs with anatomic lesions that bypass the small intestine, malabsorption, intrahepatic or biliary obstruction, hepatic disease, and rarely with inadequate intake.

*Megadoses of vitamins A and E counteract the actions of vitamin K. Vitamin A appears to hamper intestinal absorption of vitamin K and excess vitamin E seems to decrease the vitamin K dependent clotting factor, thus promoting bleeding.

*A variety of antibiotics interferes with intestinal bacteria growth and can impair vitamin K synthesize or interferes with intracellular role of vitamin K.

*The most common cause of fully functional vitamin K deficiency is the therapeutic use of oral anticoagulant drugs of the coumarin family, such as warfarin. Warfarin blocks the action of vitamin K. In turn, vitamin K blocks the action of anticoagulants. That could block blood vessels leading to the heart or brain.

*The bacteria that synthesize vitamin K thrive in an acidic digestive environment. Antacids, if taken in sufficient quantity, may cause a vitamin K deficiency, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and various nutritional deficiencies, because they neutralize the hydrochloric acid in a person's stomach. Hydrochloric acid is needed to digest food and create the acidic environment in which the beneficial bacteria thrive.

*Vitamin K is furnished by dietary intake of plant foods and synthesis by intestinal flora. Some drugs disrupt vitamin K’s synthesis and action in the body: antibiotics kill the vitamin K-producing bacteria in the intestine, and anticoagulant drugs interfere with vitamin K metabolism and activity. When vitamin K deficiency does occur, it can be fatal.
Deficiency of vitamin K
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