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Can Poor Diet Cause Easy Bruising?

author image Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
Can Poor Diet Cause Easy Bruising?
Healing bruise on leg.

A balanced and varied diet supplies the body with all of the nutrients it needs to work properly. A poor diet can lead to many different complications, including easy bruising. Deficiencies in vitamin K or C can lead to easy bruising, and following a low-carb ketogenic diet may also interfere with blood clotting.

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Vitamin K and Clotting

One of the main functions of vitamin K is to help the body make special proteins called clotting factors. Clotting factors are needed to activate the series of chemical reactions that allow the body to form a blood clot. As Medline Plus explains, blood cannot clot without vitamin K. This can lead to easy bruising and other bleeding problems.

Foods With Vitamin K

One common dietary source of vitamin K is chlorophyll, a green pigment found in many plants that allows them to convert energy from the sun into sugar. As a result, green leafy vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, broccoli and dark green lettuce are good sources of vitamin K, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. Green tea and beef liver are also rich in vitamin K. Supplements with vitamin K can also be purchased over the counter, either as multivitamins or with vitamin K alone.

Vitamin C and Bruising

A diet that lacks vitamin C can also lead to increased bruising. Vitamin C is needed to make the protein collagen, which is found in many tissues in the body, including blood vessels. Inadequate vitamin C, also known as scurvy, leads to collagen degeneration, which weakens blood vessels. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, signs of a severe vitamin C deficiency include bruising easily, bleeding from the gums and loss of hair and teeth.

Underlying Health Issues

If you routinely develop bruises that last for several days or that appear with minimal trauma, especially on the chest and back, it may be a sign of a underlying health problem. A doctor can run tests to see if your diet is the cause of the bruising. The medical website UpToDate also notes that tests that measure your blood's ability to clot --- such as a prothrombin and partial thromboplastin time --- can help determine if there is a disorder that is contributing to bruising easily.

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