What Is the Connection between Vitamin K and Blood Clots?

Erin J. Hill

Vitamin K and blood clots are related, although not in the way many people presume. The vitamin works in the body to help promote proper blood clotting naturally, but taking normal daily amounts will not lead to clots that constrict blood flow in normal circumstances. Those who take blood thinners or similar medications may need to avoid excess vitamin K, however, because it can interfere with their effectiveness in the body.

Curly endive, which contains vitamin K.
Curly endive, which contains vitamin K.

The relationship between vitamin K and blood clots is usually a healthy one. Blood needs to be able to clot properly in order to prevent excessive bleeding when tissues are injured. Clotting forms a scab at the wound which acts as a barrier and keeps too much blood from exiting until it has time to heal. Those with a clotting disorder, meaning their blood does not clot properly, may benefit from taking vitamin K supplements so that they body can work more efficiently in this area.

Multivitamins may contain vitamin K.
Multivitamins may contain vitamin K.

Most people synthesize vitamin K naturally in the small intestine thanks to healthy bacteria found there. The liver helps in the proper utilization and breaking down of the vitamin K produced by these bacteria so that it can be used by the body efficiently. Vitamin K can also be found in foods like oils and green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and Swiss chard.

When not consumed in high enough amounts in the diet, vitamin K supplements are available over the counter. Because of the relationship between vitamin K and blood clots, a doctor or pharmacist should be consulted before supplements are taken, although the normal daily dosage is safe for most individuals. Vitamin K may also be found in daily multivitamins in the appropriate amounts. Over the counter vitamin supplements should not take the place of eating a healthy diet.

Because vitamin K and blood clots are linked, those who have congested arteries due to plaque buildup or a similar condition should avoid taking over the counter vitamin K supplements. This is especially true for those who are taking a prescription anticoagulant medication or other blood thinners, as supplements may interact with these medications. Even those who are not taking these drugs should use precaution when taking over the counter supplements, since sometimes a person can have partially clogged arteries without realizing. The best way to get the right amount of vitamin K is to eat a healthy diet.

Vitamin K is linked to healthy formation of blood clots.
Vitamin K is linked to healthy formation of blood clots.

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