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Supplements

vitamin K
What Is It?
General Interaction
Cautions


What Is It?

In the 1930s, researchers in Denmark observed that chicks on a fat-free diet experienced bleeding problems. By l939, they were successful in isolating an alfalfa-based compound that effectively stopped the bleeding. Because of its ability to help blood clot--called coagulation--this substance was named vitamin K, for Koagulation. Over time, scientists discovered that "friendly" bacteria in the intestinal tract produce sufficient quantities of this nutrient to meet most of our body's needs. Another 20% of this fat-soluble vitamin is acquired from foods (it’s particularly abundant in leafy green vegetables). Vitamin K helps to prevent excessive bleeding and promote strong bones. A number of other health benefits are currently being researched.

General Interaction

  • Vitamin K supplements may interfere with the actions of medications that thin the blood such as enoxaparin, warfarin, and aspirin (when taken long-term for its blood-thinning effect).

  • High doses of vitamin E may impair vitamin K function and increase the risk of bleeding.

    Note: For information on interactions with specific generic drugs, see our WholeHealthMD Drug/Nutrient Interactions Chart.

  • Cautions

  • Only take supplemental vitamin K in large quantities (higher than those found in standard multivitamins) after consulting your doctor.

  • Talk to your doctor before taking supplemental vitamin K if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Higher than commonly recommended doses of vitamin K may cause flushing and sweating.

  • Date Published: 04/19/2005
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