What Does Vitamin K Do for Children?
Not many people talk about the benefits of vitamin K for children, however, it’s an essential nutrient. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting. It helps bleeding stop and is required for producing 4 of the 13 proteins required for blood clotting. This vital vitamin also provides other proteins in the body that are required for blood, bone and kidney health. Low levels of blood could cause low bone density in later years.
Derived from the German word, “Koagulationsvitamin,” vitamin K, is found in sprouts, broccoli, leafy Brussels, and broccoli, green vegetables. There are various forms of vitamin K used as medicine; vitamin K1 (phytonadione) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone) are the most common in this category. Vitamin K1 is the preferred form of vitamin K, as it is stronger, works faster, less toxic, and effective for treating certain health conditions.
Vitamin K is also effective for blood clotting, and it reverses problems associated with blood-thinning medications when in high doses. Vitamin K also controls clotting problems in babies who suffer inadequacy of vitamin K. What`s more? Vitamin K treats bleeding caused by medications such as sulfonamides, salicylates, antibiotics, quinidine, and quinine. Children who consume adequate levels of vitamin K are sure to have strong bones.
Vitamin K has skin benefits also. It`s great for removing scars, spider veins, burns, stretch marks, and bruises. It is also effective for treating rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and acne on the face. Vitamin K also speeds up skin healing and minimizes swelling and bruising.
The two most important compounds in vitamin K are vitamins K1 and vitamin K2. While vitamin K1 is found in dark, leafy green vegetables, vitamin K2 is found mostly in meats, eggs, and cheeses. Vitamin K2 can also be created from bacteria.
8 Health Benefits of Vitamin K for Children
Prevents Vitamin K-Dependent Clotting Factors Deficiency (VKCFD)
People suffering VKCFD will require vitamin K if they are bleeding. They can take it orally or by injecting it by IV.
Prevents and Treats Bleeding Problems in Children Suffering Prothrombin Inadequacy
Administering vitamin K1 as an injection into the vein or by mouth treats bleeding problems in children with low levels of prothrombin. This condition is usually caused by certain medications.
Prevents Bleeding in Newborns with Hemorrhagic Disease
Healthcare practitioners administer vitamin K1 to newborns by mouth or as an injection into their muscles. This helps to inhibit bleeding problems.
Stabilizes Blood Clotting in Children Taking Warfarin
Taking vitamin K1 by mouth or as in injection into the vein can stop excess anticoagulation caused by warfarin. This is effective for children and even adults.
Lowers the Risk of Developing Breast Cancer
Improves the Health of Children with Cystic Fibrosis
Children who suffer cystic fibrosis can experience low levels of vitamin K, owing to poor digestion of fat. You probably didn`t know that vitamins A, D, and E will help improve the digestion of fat in children living with cystic fibrosis.
Lowers High Cholesterol
Children with increased cholesterol levels, and are on dialysis will require vitamin K2 to lower their cholesterol levels. It is important to do this strictly based on a doctor`s prescription.
Treats Heart Disease
Consuming adequate levels of vitamin K2 will lower the risk of coronary calcification and some other cardiovascular conditions. Vitamin K also reduces the risk of death resulting from coronary heart disease. Meat, cheese, and other milk products are rich in vitamin K2. Also, supplementation with vitamin K1 will prevent and reduce the risk of coronary calcification.
Side Effects and Precautions for Vitamin K Consumption
- Vitamin K is safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, as long as they consume it in the right quantities. However, it is not advisable to higher amounts of vitamin K without consulting your healthcare professional.
- Vitamin K is not effective in treating clotting problems resulting from chronic liver disease.
- Excessive intake of vitamin K worsens clotting problems people with chronic liver problem.
- Vitamin K1 is safe for children when they take it orally or have it injected into the body in the recommended amount.
- Vitamin K1 is helpful in lowering blood sugar levels in people who are diabetic.
- If you are diabetic and take vitamin K1, it is advisable to closely monitor your blood sugar levels.
- High doses of vitamin K can be harmful for people receiving dialysis treatments caused by kidney disease.
- People with minimized bile secretion who take vitamin K might need to take supplemental bile salts along with vitamin K to boost the absorption of vitamin K.
Deficiency of Vitamin K
Vitamin K deficiency is more common in children than adults. It would usually occur in adults whose bodies are unable to properly absorb vitamin K from the intestinal tract, as a result of the presence of certain diseases such as lack of nutrient absorption and gastrointestinal disorders such as cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease. There are some conditions that affect vitamin K metabolism; some of them are hemodialysis treatment, long-term intake of medications like blood-thinning medications, and some antibiotics that affect vitamin K metabolism. Some of the signs and symptoms of vitamin K deficiency are excessive bleeding and bruising.
In newborns, vitamin D deficiency can happen in the early weeks as a result of low vitamin K transportation across the placenta. This can further lead to a condition called vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). VKDB can occur between the second and twelfth week, especially in exclusively breastfed babies or those with nutrient absorption issues.
Some Child Growth Facts
- Babies weigh about seven pounds at birth ― they grow from the size of a grain of rice during pregnancy to the size of a small watermelon.
- Appropriate feeding reduces the risk of stunting and obesity in young children, as well as stimulates their intellectual development.
- After two months, the fetus is about the size of a finger, and it is about this time that it develops a brain, eyes, ears, muscles, bones, and all that it requires to live.
- Pregnant women who eat a variety of healthy foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, and moderate amounts of fats, oils, salt, and sugars will have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
- Babies in their first year learn to eat, sit up, talk, crawl, and walk.
- Healthy nutrition during pregnancy ensures a healthier baby. Also, mothers are expected to practice exclusive breastfeeding for six months, after which they should introduce age-appropriate complementary foods, and continue breastfeeding.
Now that you Know…
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body needs for blood coagulation and many other activities. It is particularly for calcium binding in the bones, as well as for the synthesis of proteins involved in blood coagulation. These are vital needs for the health of children. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to weak bones and uncontrolled bleeding.
As important as vitamin K is in treating certain health conditions, self-medicating a condition with vitamin K is not advisable, as it may lead to serious health issues. It is important to always check with your doctor before taking vitamin K supplements.