Who is at risk and what are the causes of vitamin K deficiency?
• Low vitamin K intake
Low vitamin K diet and Plant-based diet because vitamin K is hard to absorb from plant sources and need to convert first to its active form while animal products are absorbed more efficiently and have a higher bioavailability.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding women are at risk because the nutritional demand of the infant increases vitamin K requirements, and may cause vitamin K deficiency when this is not prevented with supplements or by increasing vitamin K intake in food.
• Malabsorption and digestive system diseases
Patients with an intestinal disease that decreases vitamin K absorption such as celiac and Crohn’s diseases should consider vitamin K supplements and these conditions must be treated to avoid its deficiency.
In chronic alcohol consumption, there is an increase in vitamin K excretion in urine.
• Infants and newborns
Newborns are the largest group that is highly susceptible to vitamin K deficiency around the globe. Mothers of a newborn don’t provide a sufficient amount of vitamin K to her child during pregnancy nor breastfeeding stages because vitamin K doesn’t pass easily through the placenta or in milk. Additionally, a newborn’s intestine is devoid from healthy bacteria that convert and produce vitamin K which make them predisposed to vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin K injection is a mandatory measure for all infants after birth.
• Gall bladder diseases
Diseases that decrease bile secretion may lead to a deficit in vitamin K absorption because bile helps with fat absorption and without fat vitamin K will not absorb because it is a fat-soluble vitamin.