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Vitamin K Test

Also known as Vitamin K Blood
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What is this test?

This test is used to find out the Vitamin-K levels in the blood.

What is Vitamin-K?

Vitamin-K is an essential lipid-soluble vitamin which is naturally presented in many green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc. Fruits like avocados, kiwifruit, grapes also contain Vitamin-K. It is also available in some medicines. Vitamin-K includes two (2) natural vitamers and they are vitamin-K1 and vitamin-K2. Vitamin-K1 is also known as phylloquinone and vitamin-K2 is known as menaquinone. Vitamin-K1 is largely found in the green leafy vegetables. It involves in the direct photosynthesis. Vitamin-K1 is converted into Vitamin-K2 by the bacteria present in the gut flora. There are three synthetic forms of vitamin-K, they are Vitamin-K3 (menadione), Vitamin-K4, Vitamin-K5.

Vitamin-K functions as a cofactor for the enzyme which catalyzes the carboxylation of the amino acid glutamic acid to gamma-carboxyglutamic acid (GLA). The body stores only a little amount of vitamin-K and recycles it through a process called vitamin-K epoxide cycle. In this process, a small amount of vitamin-K is reused several times for protein carboxylation. It also plays an important role in the blood clotting process. Vitamin-K dependent factors or proteins requires the ability to bind calcium ions for the activation in the coagulation cascade. Prothrombin, factors VII, IX, X are the core vitamin-k dependent proteins or factors. So, vitamin-K helps these proteins to bind to the cell membranes and provides balance and control in the coagulation cascade. Vitamin-K doesn't promote the clotting process. It only helps for the synthesis of the proteins involved in the clotting process and does not enhance the clotting of blood unnecessarily.

It has been discovered that vitamin-K plays an important role in bone health. Osteocalcin is the protein that circulates in the blood and responsible for binding of calcium ions to the matrix of the bone and makes bone stronger. Vitamin-K dependent GLA proteins are present in the matrix of the bone. Three GLA containing bone proteins are osteocalcin, matrix GLA protein (BGP) and protein S. For activation of all these 3 proteins vitamin-K is required and thus vitamin-K plays an important role in the formation of the bone matrix.

Why this test is performed?

The Vitamin-K Blood Test is done to know whether an individual is having normal or abnormal vitamin-K levels in the blood of the body. The doctor may ask to perform this test if an individual is suffering from conditions like osteoarthritis (degeneration of flexible tissues at the end of the bones), uncontrolled bleeding, weakness, weak bones, easy fractures of the bones, Crohn's disease (chronic inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract), liver disease, intestinal disorders, malnutrition (lack of sufficient nutrients in the body). This test is also done to determine the risk of developing bone disease and bleeding disorders. If an individual is on the treatment of anticoagulant medications like warfarin, then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment and vitamin-K levels in the body. This helps the doctor to rule out the patient disease condition.

Generally, when a patient is diagnosed with liver disease, arthritis (inflammation of one or more joints leading to the pain and stiffness of the joint bones), intestinal disorders or malnutrition visits hospital for a general check-up, the doctor may ask to undergo the Vitamin-K blood test which gives a better status of the condition. This test is also performed to provide a clear idea regarding the malnutrition, liver disease, and bone disorders of an individual. Mostly, this test is done along with other vitamin tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Precautions:

Drugs like warfarin, heparin, enoxaparin etc may change the levels of Vitamin-K. So inform your doctor prior to the test if you are on these medications.

Test Preparation

Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Vitamin K Test. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Vitamin K Test.

There are no specific preparations required for the Vitamin-K Blood test.

Understanding your test results

If the test results of Vitamin-K in blood is normal or more than the normal range then there is no need for medical intervention. Higher the vitamin-k levels in the body, higher health of the bone and good coagulation process in the body.

If test results are less than the normal range, then it indicates that there may be a chance for conditions like liver disorder, osteoarthritis, bleeding disorders, low bone mineral density (low minerals in the bone matrix), osteoporotic fracture (weak bones that are easy to break), thin blood, mucosal bleeding, blood in stools, intracranial hemorrhage (type of bleeding that occurs inside the skull), cystic fibrosis (inherited disorder that damages the lungs and digestive system), chronic fat malabsorption, low consumption of diet containing vitamin-K, use of anticoagulant drugs, chance of a heart disease.

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groups0.2 - 3.2ng/ml
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