Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin K Deficiency and Ways to Reverse Naturally

In most cases, vitamin K deficiency is actually a rare case on its own. While it’s not known to be one of the common deficiencies, it can cause serious complications such as bone loss, excessive bleeding, and more.

Not only is vitamin K essential for blood clotting as many would know, but it is also involved in bone metabolism, heart function, and brain health. Wonder what other complications a deficiency in vitamin K can cause? Read on to find out more!

Table of Content

What is a Vitamin K Deficiency?

Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in heart and bone health. It is one of the main vitamins involved in bone mineralization and blood coagulation and also protects against breast cancer, maintains brain function, and boosts metabolism.

When a deficiency of any vitamin or mineral occurs, it usually means you are consuming less of them. Vitamin K deficiency, in this case, occurs when you either consume less vitamin K than you need or are unable to absorb enough from your diet. Because beneficial bacteria in your gut promote absorption of vitamin K, it is safe to say that levels of vitamin K in your body are greatly impacted by your overall gut and digestive health.

So what is the recommended dosage for vitamin K? It depends on many factors such as gender, age, and whether you’re pregnant or ill at that moment.

However, the following are the recommended intakes of vitamin K from the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine.


  • 0-6 months: 2 micrograms per day (mcg/day)
  • 7-12 months: 2.5 micrograms per day (mcg/day)


  • 1-3 years: 30 micrograms per day
  • 4-8 years: 55 micrograms per day
  • 9-13 years: 60 micrograms per day


  • 14-18 years: 75 micrograms per day
  • 19+ years: 120 micrograms (male) or 90 micrograms (female) per day

Causes and Risk Factors

According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin K deficiency is only considered relevant when prothrombin time increases significantly due to a decrease in the prothrombin activity of blood. It also occurs when you don’t consume enough from your diet, are unable to absorb properly, have decreased production in the gastrointestinal tract, or have reduced storage due to liver disease.

  • Poor Gut Health: As vitamin K is produced by the healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, any disruption in your gut health can result in a decreased ability of the body to produce enough of it.
  • Intestinal Problems: Issues like IBS, or inflammatory bowel disease can prevent your body from absorbing vitamin K.
  • Poor Diet: A diet lacking nutrient-rich, whole foods can increase your risk of deficiency
  • Other Health Problems: Having gallbladder disease, liver disease, gluten sensitivity or celiac disease can increase your chances of developing a deficiency.


Because vitamin K plays such a key role in keeping your health in check, a deficiency can mostly cause a range of serious side effects and may impact the skin, heart, bones, vital organs, and digestive tract.

Here are a few of the most common vitamin K deficiency symptoms:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Easy bruising
  • Heavy, painful menstrual periods
  • Bleeding in the GI tract
  • Blood in the urine/stool
  • Bone density loss


What are some diagnostic assessments if you suspect you might have a deficiency in vitamin K? A deficiency in this vitamin is generally assessed with a coagulation test called prothrombin time test (aka PT). With this test, certain chemicals are added to drawn blood and the amount of time that it takes to clot is measured.

A typical clotting time takes around 10-14 seconds. This is translated to a metric which is then used to assess and measure the status of vitamin K.

When your clotting time is above the recommended range, it means that your blood is clotting more slowly than normal, which may indicate a vitamin K deficiency.

Natural Remedies

The number one way to prevent vitamin K deficiency is by altering your dietary plans to increase the intake of this vitamin. Not only can consuming nutritious plant and animal foods provide plenty of vitamin K1 and K2, but they may also help restore gut lining and absorption.

But where can you get these different types of vitamin K?

Vitamin K2 Food Sources

A good amount of vitamin K2 derives from animal products, such as raw, fermented dairy products and other animal meats.

  • Raw Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Amasi
  • Grass-fed Beef or Lamb
  • Wild-caught Fish – Tuna or Salmon
  • Egg Yolks
  • Chicken Liver
  • Beef Liver

Vitamin K1 Food Sources

Filling your diet with plenty of plant-based foods is also another great way to introduce more vitamin K1 into your system!

Risks and Side Effects

Although having lots of vitamin K foods is recommended, those who are pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid consuming vitamin K in the form of supplements or food well above the recommended daily allowance!

It’s best to always contact your doctor before increasing supplements involving vitamin K, especially if you have a history of stroke, cardiac arrest, or issues pertaining to blood clot formation.

If you are on blood thinners, you should also avoid taking vitamin K supplements or too much food rich in this vitamin. Always contact your doctor if you’re ever unsure of the directions!

Finally, keep in mind that too much vitamin K can also be harmful. For the best results, it’s highly recommended to stick to dietary food sources of vitamin K, and use dietary supplements only if you are directed by your doctor to avoid adverse effects on health!


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