Some people experience nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis, quite often. The nose's blood vessels are easily broken, and the bleeding can be severe. While a nosebleed is usually just an annoyance, it could be a symptom of something more serious, such as vitamin K deficiency. Consult a physician if your nosebleeds are frequent and if they continue for more than 20 minutes.
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Vitamin K and Coagulation
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for several proteins involved in blood clotting. Without enough vitamin K, the blood cannot clot properly, increasing the risk for uncontrolled bleeding. Other then nosebleeds, symptoms of vitamin K deficiency include easy bruising, bleeding gums, and blood in the urine and stool.
Vitamin K Deficiency
Vitamin K deficiencies are uncommon in healthy adults in the United States, because the vitamin it is abundant in the American diet, your body conserves vitamin K and bacteria in your intestines produce vitamin K. Individuals at risk of deficiency include those with liver disease or disorders leading to fat malabsorption, like cystic fibrosis, and those taking anticoagulant drugs.
Recommended Intake and Food Sources
The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board has set the adequate intake for vitamin K at 120 mcg a day for healthy adult males, and between 75 and 90 mcg a day for females. Foods with significant vitamin K include beef liver, green leafy vegetables, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil and green tea. A cup of cooked broccoli provides 220 mcg of vitamin K, while 1 cup of raw kale has 547 mcg.
Other Causes of Nosebleeds
Check with your health care provider if you experience frequent nosebleeds. While it may be a vitamin K deficiency, there are several other causes, including dry nasal membranes, allergies, blood thinners, nasal polyps or tumors, and bleeding disorders. A thorough examination will help determine the cause and proper treatment for your nosebleeds.