Causes of vitamin K deficiency

Human intake of vitamin K comes from two main sources - diets and synthesis from intestinal bacteria. A primary deficiency of vitamin K is rare, but a secondary deficiency may occur in two circumstances.

First when fat absorption falters and second some drugs disrupt vitamin K’s synthesis. Vitamin K deficiencies can be caused by a variety of factors. These include:

*Not consuming enough of vitamin K from one's diet can contribute to a deficiency. Dietary vitamin K is highest in leafy green vegetables such as lettuce, kale, broccoli and collard greens.

*A diet with high intakes of salicylates can block vitamin K. Salicylates are found in foods such as nuts, fruits, spices and mints. Blocking vitamin K can "thin" the blood - it basically keeps blood from coagulating. 

*Prolonged use of some antibiotics decreases the intestinal flora that produce vitamin K, depleting vitamin K store. Antibiotics destroy not only harmful digestive tract bacteria, but also the beneficial intestinal bacteria that is needed to create vitamin K. Sulfonamides and broad-spectrum antibiotic drugs can virtually sterilize the lumen of the intestine, thus removing an important source do vitamin K for most animals.

Certain antibiotics such as cephalosporins that contain an N-methyl thiotetrazol ring, interfere directly with vitamin K activity.

*Candida (systemic yeast) infections have been linked to vitamin K deficiencies. An overgrowth of candida albicans or other kinds of yeast can crowd out the helpful bacteria in the digestive tract that make vitamin K.

*Lipid malabsorption. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, biliary stasis, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and Ascaris infection can interfere, with the enteric absorption of vitamin K.

*Ingestion of high-dose aspirin, high dose vitamin E, warfarin or other anticoagulants is a common cause of vitamin K deficiency, either from decreased absorption or vitamin antagonism.
Causes of vitamin K deficiency

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