Vitamin K: metabolism, sources and interaction with the anticoagulant warfarin

Karin Klack Jozélio Freire de Carvalho About the authors

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble substance, mainly involved in the blood coagulation. It is presented as Phylloquinone (K1-predominant), Dihydrophyloquinone (dK), Menaquinone (K2), and Menadione (K3). The factors that interfere with its absorption are: gastrointestinal malabsorption, biliary secretion, inadequate ingestion and anticoagulant use, among others. The main vitamin K sources are vegetables and organic lipids, that are involved in the increased absorption of phylloquinone. Dark green leafy vegetables, usually mixed with oils, nuts and some fruits, including kiwi, avocado, grapes, plums, and figs are rich sources of vitamin K, whereas cereals, grains, breads, and dairy products present low amounts. The daily ingestion of approximately 1µg/kg body-weight is considered safe, even with concomitant oral anticoagulant use, since stable vitamin concentration contributes to anticoagulant efficacy. The most commonly used oral anticoagulant formation is warfarin, that is indicated to both prophylactic and therapeutic tromboembolic phenomena. It is currently monitored by assessing prothrombin time, after adjusting for the international normalized ratio (INR). Usually, the oral dose is adjusted to set the INR in the range of 2 - 3, in order to achieve the treatment objective. The anticoagulating efficacy is influenced by a variety of clinical factors, such as weight gain, diarrhoea, vomiting, age under 40, and excessive vitamin K daily consumption.

vitamin K; phylloquinone; anticoagulation; warfarin

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