What Is Called Antihaemorrhagic Vitamin?

Key Takeaways:

  • The anti-hemorrhagic vitamin is vitamin K, which plays a vital role in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
  • Vitamin K helps activate certain proteins involved in blood coagulation and prevent abnormal bleeding.
  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are excellent sources of vitamin K.
  • Intestinal bacteria also produce vitamin K, which contributes to the body’s overall levels.
  • A deficiency in vitamin K can lead to impaired blood clotting and hemorrhagic disease.


Vitamins are essential micronutrients that the body requires in small amounts for various physiological functions and to maintain overall health. Among the different types of vitamins, one particular vitamin stands out for its critical role in blood clotting and preventing hemorrhage – vitamin K. But what exactly is vitamin K and why is it called the anti-hemorrhagic vitamin? This comprehensive article will provide an in-depth understanding of this unique fat-soluble vitamin.

We will evaluate what vitamin K is, its sources, its mechanisms and functions within the body, the health consequences of deficiency, and the recommended daily intake levels. Research-backed information will be included to substantiate key facts and provide further insights. By the end of this article, readers will have gained a thorough knowledge of what makes vitamin K vital for blood coagulation and bone health. The depth of coverage will empower readers to make informed decisions regarding their dietary intakes of this important micronutrient.

What Is Vitamin K and Why Is It Called the Anti-Hemorrhagic Vitamin?

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in the blood coagulation process. It helps activate certain proteins involved in blood clot formation. The ‘K’ stands for ‘koagulation’ in Danish and German. Without adequate levels of vitamin K, blood clotting can be impaired, leading to excessive bleeding and hemorrhagic disorders. This is why vitamin K is referred to as the ‘anti-hemorrhagic’ vitamin. Its coagulant function is vital for preventing abnormal or uncontrolled internal bleeding.

What Are the Main Sources of Vitamin K?

There are two primary forms of vitamin K – phylloquinone (vitamin K1) and menaquinones (vitamin K2). Vitamin K1 is abundant in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Significant amounts are also found in vegetable oils and some fruits like avocado, kiwi, and blueberries. Vitamin K2 is present in meat, eggs, and fermented foods like cheese and natto. Intestinal bacteria also synthesize vitamin K2, which contributes substantially to the body’s overall vitamin K levels.

How Does Vitamin K Work in the Body?

Vitamin K plays a crucial role in the production of blood clotting proteins. The liver uses vitamin K to activate coagulation factors II (prothrombin), VII, IX, and X. Once activated, these proteins interact with platelets to form fibrin – the basis of a blood clot. Vitamin K is also required to activate protein C and protein S, which regulate clot formation. An adequate intake of vitamin K ensures enough functional clotting factors and proteins are available for hemostasis.

Recent studies have also shown vitamin K has metabolic functions beyond coagulation. It appears to activate osteocalcin, a protein involved in bone mineralization. Adequate vitamin K intake may help reduce calcium loss from bones and lower fracture risk. More research is still needed to confirm these emerging roles of vitamin K.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Vitamin K?

Deficiency in vitamin K can arise either from inadequate dietary intake or from malabsorption issues like celiac disease. Newborns are also at higher risk due to low placental transfer of vitamin K. An insufficient supply of vitamin K leads to problems with blood coagulation, characterized by easy bruising, bleeding gums, heavy menstrual bleeding, and abnormal internal bleeding.

Without vitamin K, the clotting factors remain inactive and clot formation is hindered. Even mild deficiencies can increase bleeding tendencies. Severe and prolonged lack of vitamin K leads to a condition known as coagulopathy, where blood clotting is dangerously impaired. It can result in hemorrhagic disease or excessive uncontrollable bleeding and may even be life-threatening if untreated.

How Much Vitamin K Do You Need Each Day?

The recommended adequate intake (AI) levels for vitamin K are:

  • Infants 0-6 months – 2 mcg/day
  • Infants 7-12 months – 2.5 mcg/day
  • Children 1-3 years – 30 mcg/day
  • Children 4-8 years – 55 mcg/day
  • Children 9-13 years – 60 mcg/day
  • Males 14+ years – 120 mcg/day
  • Females 14+ years – 90 mcg/day

These AI recommendations are based on the amounts needed for adequate blood coagulation and to prevent bleeding disorders. Higher intakes may be required for optimizing bone health, but more studies are needed to determine exact requirements. Individual needs can vary based on factors like age, gender, and lifestyle habits. People with malabsorption issues may also need supplemental vitamin K under medical supervision.

Can You Get Too Much Vitamin K?

Unlike fat-soluble vitamins A and D, vitamin K does not get stored excessively in the body. There is no established Tolerable Upper Limits (UL) for vitamin K intake because no adverse effects have been found, even with high supplemental doses. One rare side effect is the theoretical possibility of interfering with the action of anticoagulant medications like warfarin. However, this may only occur at very high intakes of >100 mcg/kg body weight per day. Overall, vitamin K has an extremely low toxicity risk.


In summary, vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that allows proper blood coagulation through its role in activating clotting factors and proteins. Adequate intake from foods like leafy greens maintains hemostatic function and prevents hemorrhagic disease. Vitamin K deficiency impairs coagulation and increases abnormal bleeding risk. Recommended daily intake levels have been established to meet the body’s coagulation needs. Further research may reveal other key functions of this anti-hemorrhagic vitamin. Ensuring an adequate and consistent dietary supply of vitamin K is key to preserving normal blood clotting abilities and health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vitamin K

What are the best food sources of vitamin K1?

Some of the richest food sources of vitamin K1 include leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Significant amounts are also present in vegetable oils and fruits like avocado, kiwi, and blueberries.

What are the best food sources of vitamin K2?

The best dietary sources of vitamin K2 include meat, eggs, and fermented foods like cheese and natto. Intestinal bacteria also synthesize substantial amounts of vitamin K2 that contributes to overall body levels.

Can a vitamin K deficiency be reversed?

Yes, a vitamin K deficiency is often reversible once the cause is identified and proper treatment is implemented. Increasing vitamin K intake through diet or supplements helps improve blood coagulation and prevent bleeding disorders. Longstanding and severe deficiencies may initially require injectable vitamin K before transitioning to oral route.

How do you diagnose a vitamin K deficiency?

Vitamin K deficiency is diagnosed through blood tests to evaluate clotting times and factors. Elevated PT/INR levels along with low plasma concentrations of vitamin K indicate impaired coagulation. Medical history and physical examination help rule out underlying absorption issues or other causes. Newborns are often screened for vitamin K deficiency at birth.

Can you get too much vitamin K from food sources?

It is highly unlikely to consume excessive vitamin K from regular food sources. Even very high dietary intakes of vitamin K from green leafy vegetables or supplements are not known to cause toxicity issues. Unlike vitamins A and D, vitamin K does not accumulate to toxic levels in the body when consumed through foods.

Can vitamin K help with bruising?

Yes, vitamin K can help reduce bruising by improving blood coagulation. Easy or excessive bruising is a common symptom of vitamin K deficiency. Ensuring adequate intake helps normalize clotting abilities and prevent blood from pooling under the skin and causing bruises. Vitamin K supplements may be used along with diet to reduce bruising.

Does vitamin K2 have special benefits for bone health?

Emerging research indicates vitamin K2 may play a role in bone mineralization by activating osteocalcin, a key protein involved in bone metabolism. It may help reduce calcium loss and lower fracture risk. More studies are still needed to confirm the exact bone health benefits of vitamin K2 specifically.

Can you take vitamin K supplements while on blood thinners?

Vitamin K can interact with anticoagulant medications like warfarin and influence their action. Those on blood thinners should maintain stable vitamin K intakes and consult their doctor before making any major dietary changes involving vitamin K or taking supplements. Small variations may require adjusting medication dosage.

Are vitamin K injections better than supplements?

For severely deficient patients, initial vitamin K repletion is done using injectable formulations to rapidly normalize blood coagulation. For maintenance use, oral vitamin K supplements and increased dietary intakes are typically effective to meet requirements. Consulting a medical professional is important when determining optimal vitamin K supplementation.


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