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Vitamin K & Slow Clotting Time

by
author image Judith Tompkins
Based in New York, Judith Tompkins has been writing sleep and nutrition articles since 2002. She worked for six years as a polysomnographer and now serves as a nutrition consultant. Tompkins received an associate's degree in polysomnographic technology from Cuyahoga College, as well as a master's degree in applied clinical nutrition from New York Chiropractic College.
Vitamin K & Slow Clotting Time
Tablet with Vitamin K, Phylloquinone on it next to ginger root, lemon and pills. Photo Credit designer491/iStock/Getty Images

Slow blood clotting can be a life-endangering condition in the event of a serious accident. One of the most important vitamins for blood clotting is vitamin K; if it is not present, the blood-clotting mechanisms of your body will slow down or stop working. Vitamin K works with the proteins that are in charge of the clotting process; without vitamin K, those proteins can’t do their job.

How Clotting Works

Blood clotting, or coagulation, works in two different stages. In the first stage, the platelets that are floating around in the bloodstream gather at the spot of the broken vessel. They began to adhere to the walls around the vessel and then pile on top of one another to form a plug. After the plug is formed, proteins known as clotting factors work together to create fibrin that finalizes the clot. Fibrin serves as a mesh material that ties together the platelet pile to make a secure clot. The clot won’t protect the blood vessel properly until the fibrin web has solidified it.

Vitamin K’s Role

Vitamin K is vitally important to blood clotting because the proteins that create the fibrin webbing in the second part of the clotting process depend on this vitamin. Vitamin K is needed for the clotting proteins to be activated and start the final part of the clotting process. When vitamin K is not present in the necessary amount, the clotting process can take longer and is not as effective. This often leads to uncontrolled bleeding or hemorrhaging.

Vitamin K Recommended Daily Amount

Vitamin K is fat-soluble, meaning that it can be stored in the fat stores of the body, but very little vitamin K is usually stored. Thus a regular intake of vitamin K is necessary to continue leading a healthy life. Even though vitamin K is needed daily, it is only needed in small amounts because the body is able to reuse vitamin K several times before losing it. The average recommended vitamin K intake for men older than 19 is 120 micrograms a day and 90 micrograms a day for women. Infants should have 2 mcg if they are younger than six months and 2.5 mcg if they are between seven and 12 months. Children between 1 and 3 years need 30 mcg of vitamin K. The demand for vitamin K increases to 55, 60, and 75 mcg respectively for each of the following four-year ranges: 4 to 8, 9 to 13 and 14 to 18 years.

Sources of Vitamin K

Vitamin K can be found in most of the green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and lettuce. It can also be found in several different vegetable oils such as olive, soybean and canola. If you are having a difficult time getting enough vitamin K to meet the recommended daily amount through your diet, you can also get the vitamin through supplements. The supplements come in both hard capsule and soft-gel forms in dosage ranges from 40 mcg all the way up to 500 mcg.

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