Vitamin K in Infant Formula
This vitamin is necessary to support blood clotting and other functions. Does your baby's formula have enough?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin composed of two main types that comes from leafy greens and animal products. It is absorbed in the small intestine. Foods that are a high source of vitamin K are:
- kale, mustard greens, swiss chard, spinach, and collard greens
- natto (fermented soy)
- brussel sprouts
What are the Benefits of Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is important for blood clotting. This helps small cuts and injuries heal faster. It is also helpful in keeping bones strong. Those foods are also important for:
- promoting heart health
- improving insulin sensitivity
- boosting brain function
- fighting cancer
How Much Vitamin K Does Your Baby Need?
When your baby is born, they already have low levels of vitamin K. That is why they can get an injection of vitamin K after they are born. It is the proactive measure to prevent VKDB, or vitamin K deficiency bleeding. It is a bleeding disorder, also known as haemorrhagaic disease of the newborn (HDN) that could cause brain damage and be fatal, but it is also a rare disease these days.
Babies who are breast-fed have the greatest risk of vitamin K deficiency because mother's milk has lower levels of the vitamin. Formula is fortified with vitamin K as long as it is absorbed in their body. Children who are on solid foods and adults get most of this vitamin in the foods they eat and the bacteria in their gut.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend 2.0 mcg of vitamin K for newborns to six months, then 2.5 mcg for infants ages 7-12 months. This is dependent on the baby having the vitamin K shot after birth.
What are Signs of Vitamin K Deficiency?
Vitamin K deficiency impacts your blood and bones. Some visible symptoms include:
- easy bruising
- bleeding that does not start to clot quickly
- tooth decay and bleeding
Can You Have Too Much Vitamin K?
Since your baby is already born with low levels of vitamin K, it is not likely that they will have too much vitamin K from the injection at birth or in baby formula.