How can we prevent the deficiency of vitamin K dependent clotting factors?
What are the clotting factors?
Blood clotting factors are proteins found in the blood that work together to make blood clot. They are produced mainly by the liver.
Clotting factors are over a dozen. They are measured by Roman numerals from I to XIII.
What happens in a cut?
When you get a cut, your body tries to deal with it.
Firstly, the blood vessels shrink trying to inhibit the blood leaking out.
Secondly, some special cells called platelets get in the area to slow down the bleeding.
Then, the clotting factors arrive. These proteins form a solid mass, in order to patch the leak and stop the bleeding. That’s the healing process.
Bleeding depends on clotting factors
In some cases, this healing process doesn’t work properly.
Some people tend to bleed more easily, while others get clots when they shouldn’t.
In these cases, blood clotting factors aren’t working as supposed to.
Blood flow-dependent factors
There are many factors that influence the good work of the clotting factors and the ability of blood to flow properly.
Some of these factors are:
- cigarette smoking,
- advanced age,
- lack of physical activity,
- major surgery,
- use of estrogen supplements,
- medical conditions (such as cancer, liver failure, or heart failure).
Symptoms of bleeding disorders
Call your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:
- heavy menstrual periods in women
- hard to stop bleeding,
- blood in your poop,
- blood in your urine, or
- easily bleeding gums.
Vitamin K deficiency
Severe liver disease can reduce the production of clotting factors and increase the risk of excessive bleeding.
Vitamin K deficiency can cause excessive bleeding, as the liver needs vitamin K to make some of the clotting factors.
The deficiency of all vitamin K dependent clotting factors leads to a bleeding tendency. That can be reversed by administration of vitamin K.
Vitamin K sources
The main source of vitamin K is leafy green vegetables.
A whole food plant-based diet can easily provide you with the daily recommended value of vitamin K1.
The most vitamin K rich plants are collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
You can learn more about the importance of vitamin K here.
Additionally, you can find a list of the richest in vitamin K foods here.
- NCBI – Bookshelf: Biochemistry, Clotting Factors