Bruising is caused by an injury to the skin and underlying tissue. Blood collects and pools under the skin, giving a varying degree of red, black, yellow or green coloring. Some people may have a tendency to bruise more easily than others. As you age, your tissue becomes less flexible and blood vessels break easier, causing more bruising. Bruises generally heal, with the skin back to normal, within one to four weeks, depending on the severity and size of the bruise.
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Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin needed in our diet. It has coagulation properties, or properties that help our blood to clot. Those without enough vitamin K have thinner blood, thus causing bruises to form more easily. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the recommended amount of vitamin K for an adult is 90 mcg/day. Good food sources include green leafy vegetables, like cabbage, broccoli and spinach. Too much vitamin K can be harmful due to its blood-clotting effects, so always talk to your doctor before starting a regimen.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin also needed in our diet. It aids the synthesis of collagen, which helps the maintenance of blood vessels and tissue. It helps the blood vessels become sturdier and can help reduce bruising. The USDA recommended dietary allowance for men is 90 mg/day and 75 mg/day for women. Also, the USDA states doses greater than 2,000 mg a day can be harmful due to gastrointestinal effects of too much unabsorbed vitamin C in the digestive tract, so it is always advisable to monitor intake from supplements. Symptoms of too much vitamin C include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea and nausea. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons. Red pepper, parsley, strawberries, papaya and the kakadu plum are also good sources.
Zinc, taken as an oral supplement or topical cream, can be used to treat bruises and, even, wounds. Zinc helps the maintenance of tissue during wound repair. It also can protect against toxins in an open wound if put on the skin directly when using a cream. Zinc deficiency can lead to delayed wound and bruise healing. The recommended dietary allowance for zinc is 11 mg/day for adult men and 8 mg/day for adult women, states the USDA. Good sources of zinc include oysters, red meat and poultry. Fortified breakfast cereals, whole grains, beans, nuts and dairy are also good sources.
Caution with Supplements
Always discuss supplement use with your doctor. Especially if you are undergoing anticoagulant therapy using medications such as coumadin, warfarin or similiar medication therapy. Vitamin K is needed by the body for coagulation purposes, but those taking medication for blood-thinning purposes need to keep their blood "thinness" in a specific range. Taking too much vitamin K may be dangerous for their health.