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What Are Signs of a Vitamin K Overdose?

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  • Written By: Bobbie Fredericks
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 June 2014
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While it is extremely difficult for someone to experience an overdose of vitamin K, it is not unheard of. Children are especially susceptible to issues caused by a vitamin K overdose. Symptoms to watch for include nausea, vomiting, jaundice, skin rash, diarrhea, and anemia.

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin responsible for the production of blood clotting factor. It is produced by bacteria in the small intestine, and found in green leafy vegetables, meat, and dairy products. The kind found in food is known as vitamin K1, or phylloquinone. Vitamin K2, a group of compounds known as menaquinones, is produced in the body. The third kind, vitamin K3 or menadione, is a synthetic version and most commonly associated with vitamin K overdose.

Pregnant women are discouraged from taking vitamin K supplements. They have been shown to cause jaundice in the newborn. Children taking vitamin K supplements should be carefully monitored for symptoms of overdose. Vitamin K3, which is the most likely to be toxic, is not recommended for children. Infants receiving unfortified formula should take supplements containing vitamin K.

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Vitamin K is available in supplements for people who do not get enough in their diet, or those with blood clotting disorders. Over-the-counter supplements contain vitamin K1, since it is less likely to be associated with vitamin K overdose. A vitamin K1 injection is routinely given to newborns in the United States. A newborn's intestines do not contain bacteria, and very little vitamin K is carried in breast milk. Vitamin K overdose in a newborn may cause hemolytic anemia, a serious disorder caused by the premature rupture of red blood cells.

There can be other problems with vitamin K besides an overdose. Allergic reaction is possible, and more likely with vitamin K3. People with certain diseases or conditions should consult a health care provider before taking vitamin K. Patients with liver disease may suffer adverse reactions, as will people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Those with intestinal issues, such as irritable bowel disease, may not be able to fully absorb oral vitamin K, so an injected form is preferred.

Patients taking warfarin or other blood thinners should not take vitamin K supplements because it counteracts their effects. Those taking blood thinners should also maintain a consistent level of dietary vitamin K consumption. Vitamin K is sometimes given to patients who have taken too many blood thinners. Other drugs may interact with vitamin K, so patients should consult a health care provider before taking supplements.

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Discuss this Article

candyquilt
Post 3

New research shows that it's almost impossible to overdose on vitamin K. Even though it's a fat soluble vitamin, apparently, the body does have a mechanism of getting rid of excess vitamin K. But it's best to remain within regular limits just to be on the safe side. If overdose symptoms like nausea, headache, fatigue, stomach upset or mood change are noticed, one should stop taking the supplements immediately and drink lots of water.

By the way, I want to mention that vitamin K is not potassium. Those are two different compounds. Some people confuse them because potassium is represented as "K" on the elements table.

ysmina
Post 2

donasmrs-- I'm not a doctor, so perhaps you should inquire with a professional.

As far as I know, compounds found in topical solutions are absorbed by the skin and do enter the bloodstream. However, it's much less than what would enter your bloodstream through internal supplements/medications.

I think it would be very difficult to overdose on vitamin K from a topical solution. It might be a problem however, if you already have a problem relating to blood clotting. Then, smaller amounts of the vitamin may cause side effects.

Check with your doctor for the most accurate advice. This is just my opinion and I wouldn't want to misguide you.

donasmrs
Post 1

Is it possible to overdose on vitamin K from vitamin K topical products like creams?

I'm using a vitamin K cream to fade bruises and to treat spider veins. A friend of mine told me to be careful with vitamin K products because of the risks of overdose. Is there any truth to this?

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