7 Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency & Treatment – Research Studies 

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is part of the fat-soluble vitamins important for optimal physiological functions of the human body. Vitamin K can be obtained in the form of dietary supplements or consumed in the form of a diet. This vitamin is integral to the production of coagulation proteins in the body. Vitamin K is a cofactor in vitamin K-dependent coagulation reactions, which mediate the binding of coagulation factors with calcium ions, important for the progression of coagulation cascade pathways. The deficiency of vitamin K results in an impaired coagulation process, resulting in bleeding disorders. [1]

The two bioactive forms of vitamin K are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2, which are obtained from plant sources and gut bacteria, respectively. [1] 

Why Vitamin K is Important?

The key mechanism of action of vitamin K in the human body is the addition of carboxylic acid to glutamate residues, mediating the production of clotting factors. The addition of carboxylic acid groups allows for the calcium ions to bind to clotting factors, which is integral for the clotting cascade to perpetuate. [1]

7 Signs & Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency

1. Hemorrhagic Disease of Neonate  

Individuals suffering from a deficiency of vitamin K may complain of bleeding upon minor trauma or at the venipuncture sites. Early deficiency of vitamin K presents with severe bleeding conditions. Classic deficiency of vitamin K presents with less severe bleeding at post-circumcision, umbilicus, and gastrointestinal tract sites. Exclusively breastfed infants are more likely to develop late vitamin K deficiency, owing to a lower intake of vitamin K in the diet. [2]

2. Impaired Bone Health

Reduced dietary intake of vitamin K1 and K2 increases the risk of fracture in susceptible individuals. Supplementation with vitamin K is useful in increasing the bone mineral density of the lumbar spine. Vitamin K supplementation also improves bone mineral density in postmenopausal women suffering from osteoporosis. [3] 

3. Impaired Cardiovascular Health

The deficiency of vitamin K in the body is associated with impaired cardiovascular health. Low vitamin K status and high concentrations of dephosphorylated uncarboxylated matrix proteins are important in the development of cardiovascular disease, particularly in susceptible patients. Vitamin K deficiency is also associated with a greater risk for vascular calcification in cardiovascular disorders. [4]

4. Menorrhagia 

Vitamin K deficiency can lead to severe menorrhagia in female patients without any prior gynecological problems. Affected females demonstrate prolonged prothrombin time and thromboplastin time. [5]

5. Easy Bruising 

Vitamin K deficiency is associated with easy bruising or bleeding in affected individuals. Spontaneous bruising is an important clinical finding in individuals with vitamin K deficiency. [6]

6. Gum Bleeding 

Regarding periodontal health, individuals suffering from vitamin K deficiency may experience gingival bleeding. However, supplementation with vitamin K does not reduce the pro-inflammatory factors present in the periodontium. [7]

7. Renal Impairment 

There is a frequent association between the deficiency of vitamin K and chronic kidney disease. Renal impairment is further represented by the development of skeletal fragility and cardiovascular disorders. Individuals suffering from chronic kidney disease are more prone to bone fractures and vascular calcification. This leads to higher rates of mortality and morbidity in such patients. Effective treatment strategies include vitamin K supplementation so as to preserve bone health and prevent the progression of vascular calcification. [8]

Vitamin K Deficiency Treatment 

Oral supplementation of vitamin K usually comprises vitamin K1 and the recommended dose of supplementation is 1-2 mg. A higher oral dose is recommended for patients suffering from severe coagulopathy. Vitamin K1 can also be administered via an intravenous route. There are no known toxicities associated with high vitamin K1 or vitamin K2 doses, however, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction following the administration of vitamin K. The synthetic form of the vitamin, vitamin K3 has high levels of toxicity and it may cause hepatic cytotoxicity, allergic reactions, and hemolytic anemia. The relative contraindications of vitamin K supplementation include neonate, renal impairment, over-anticoagulation associated with heparin, hypersensitivity, and hereditary hypoprothrombinemia. [1]

Take advantage of free consultation with one of our Health Coach through the chat icon on the website to determine of vitamin K deficiency along with the identification of appropriate dosages. ASTR K2 & D3 Complete Supplements are recommended for patients who suffer from a deficiency of this vitamin in the body. 


  1. Imbrescia K, Moszczynski Z. Vitamin K. [Updated 2023 Feb 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551578/
  2. Eden RE, Coviello JM. Vitamin K Deficiency. [Updated 2022 Jul 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536983/
  3. Rodríguez-Olleros Rodríguez, C., & Díaz Curiel, M. (2019). Vitamin K and Bone Health: A Review on the Effects of Vitamin K Deficiency and Supplementation and the Effect of Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants on Different Bone Parameters. Journal of osteoporosis2019, 2069176. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2069176
  4. van Ballegooijen, A. J., & Beulens, J. W. (2017). The Role of Vitamin K Status in Cardiovascular Health: Evidence from Observational and Clinical Studies. Current nutrition reports6(3), 197–205. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-017-0208-8
  5. Zekavat, O. R., Fathpour, G., Haghpanah, S., Dehghani, S. J., Zekavat, M., & Shakibazad, N. (2017). Acquired Vitamin K Deficiency as Unusual Cause of Bleeding Tendency in Adults: A Case Report of a Nonhospitalized Student Presenting with Severe Menorrhagia. Case reports in obstetrics and gynecology2017, 4239148. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4239148
  6. Palmer RL. Excessive Bleeding and Bruising. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 146. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK253/
  7. Najeeb, S., Zafar, M. S., Khurshid, Z., Zohaib, S., & Almas, K. (2016). The Role of Nutrition in Periodontal Health: An Update. Nutrients8(9), 530. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8090530
  8. Bellone, F., Cinquegrani, M., Nicotera, R., Carullo, N., Casarella, A., Presta, P., Andreucci, M., Squadrito, G., Mandraffino, G., Prunestì, M., Vocca, C., De Sarro, G., Bolignano, D., & Coppolino, G. (2022). Role of Vitamin K in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Focus on Bone and Cardiovascular Health. International journal of molecular sciences23(9), 5282. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23095282