Vitamin K for Kids Made Simple: Your Ultimate Guide
- Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting and healthy bones development.
- Although kids don’t need much vitamin K, they may be at risk of vitamin K deficiency due to picky eating habits and poor absorption.
- Multivitamin supplements can help you boost your child’s vitamin K intake.
Childhood is a time for kids to discover the world around them and enjoy new experiences. For parents, it’s a time to worry about their kids’ health and wellbeing. Sometimes, having to worry about how to make sure your child gets the nutrients they need (and doesn’t get too much junk food) may feel harder than your day job, especially if you don’t know what you’re aiming for.
Kids need a variety of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Some of these, like vitamin K, are essential for good health and wholesome development. But how much do you know about vitamin K?
If you’re wondering what vitamin K is, why your child needs it, or how you can give them the right dose, this blog post is here to help. Read on to understand the basics of vitamin K for kids.
What Is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin with many important health benefits. Vitamins belong to a group of nutrients called micronutrients. Micronutrients are required in small quantities by the body. Though the body doesn’t need much, not getting enough vitamin K can take a huge toll on your child’s health.
There are two main forms of vitamin K. Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone), is found in plants while vitamin K2 (menaquinone), is derived from animal sources. Bacteria in the gut also produce vitamin K2. The body absorbs vitamin K2 better than K1, and it’s available in the blood longer than K1 since it’s excreted more slowly. The biological roles of the two forms of vitamin K also differ slightly. Vitamin K1 plays a major role in blood clotting, while K2 is needed for strong bones and a healthy heart.
Once vitamin K is absorbed, the body can store a little of it in the liver — only a little. So, your child is likely to develop a vitamin K deficiency without regular intake. It’s important to ensure that your child gets enough vitamin K from their diet or supplements.
Before we delve into the sources of this key nutrient, let’s look at the health benefits of vitamin K for kids to understand why it matters.
Health Benefits of Vitamin K for Kids
When it comes to vitamins, the focus is usually around the more popular vitamins like A, B, C, and D. Some parents don’t know that the list extends to include vitamin K. It makes you wonder, is vitamin K that important? The answer is yes.
Vitamin K benefits the body in many ways. One of its most important functions is its role in blood clotting. Blood clotting is the process that stops blood loss from injuries. Kids are prone to injuries, especially during play. Vitamin K helps the body produce a protein called prothrombin which is needed for blood clotting.
Even without getting injured, kids who lack vitamin K may experience what is known as vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB). If your child bleeds regularly from the nose or gums, they may have low levels of vitamin K.
Newborns are more likely to experience VKDB since vitamin K doesn’t usually cross into their system during pregnancy. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all newborns should receive a single vitamin K injection shortly after birth.
Vitamin K is also needed for bone health. This is especially important for children since they are still growing. Vitamin K helps make a protein called osteocalcin. This protein binds calcium, one of the minerals that build strong bones. Without enough vitamin K, kids may lack this protein and suffer from a condition called osteoporosis, in which bone tissue is gradually lost.
The benefits of vitamin K don’t end there. Other equally important roles of vitamin K include promoting cardiovascular health and helping to control the level of sugar in the blood.
Now that you know how important vitamin K is, let’s see how much of it kids need and where you can get this valuable nutrient.
How Much Vitamin K Do Kids Need?
As we’ve mentioned before, kids need only a small amount of vitamin K to meet their health needs. But in reality, it’s hard to meet these requirements due to issues like poor absorption of vitamin K. As a result, some children will still lack enough vitamin K.
The Institute of Medicine recommends the following doses in their Dietary Reference Intakes:
- Birth to 6 months: 2.0 mcg
- 7-12 months: 2.5 mcg
- 1-3 years: 30 mcg
- 4-8 years: 55 mcg
- 9-13 years: 60 mcg
- 14-18 years: 75 mcg
Food Sources of Vitamin K
Before kids begin to eat solid food, they usually get vitamin K from breast milk. However, breast milk is low in vitamin K, so babies who are exclusively breastfed may not get enough vitamin K. If you are breastfeeding, vitamin K supplements can help you boost the amount of vitamin K in breastmilk.
A lot of foods contain vitamin K. This is good news because you have a lot of options, as long as you can access them and get your kids to consume them. The main sources of vitamin K include:
- Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnip greens, and lettuce
- Fruits such as kiwi, grapes, blueberries, and avocado
- Soybeans and canola oil
- Soy milk
- Natto (fermented soybean)
- Beef and pork liver
For adequate intake of vitamin K, make sure you include a variety of vitamin K food sources in your child’s diet.
Vitamin K Supplements for Kids
When your child can’t get enough vitamin K for one reason or another, vitamin K supplements come in handy. There are a few reasons why your kids may need vitamin K supplements.
To begin with, Vitamin K isn’t as bioavailable in food. During the early years, their digestive system isn’t developed enough to absorb vitamin K. Even though they may be eating enough vitamin K-rich foods, their bodies may not get sufficient amounts of this vital nutrient due to poor intestinal absorption. Also, most children are choosy when it comes to food. You’ll need some luck to try and convince them to eat their vegetables.
Vitamin K supplements can help boost your child’s vitamin K status. The supplements solve the problem in two ways. First, high-quality supplements are available in the right formulation that is easily absorbed by the body. Second, they contain the right concentration of vitamin K.
Remember to speak with your healthcare provider before giving your child supplements. Your doctor can help you decide whether your kids need the supplements and help with the management of any serious side effects.
If you choose to give your child vitamin K supplements, make sure you read the product labels carefully and only get supplements meant for kids. Also, choose products from reputable suppliers. It’s easy for sub-standard products to reach the market since dietary supplements are regulated differently and less strictly by the FDA.
For high-quality multivitamin supplements, choose Llama Naturals. Llama Naturals’ Plant-Based Multivitamin Gummies for Kids contain 13 essential plant-based vitamins, including vitamin K. Our vitamins are sourced from real fruit and veggies, which are slow-cooked to preserve the nutrients.
In addition, they contain no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and preservatives, giving your child all that natural goodness without any unhealthy additives.
For Good Health, Make Sure Your Kids Get Enough Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a nutrient essential for healthy blood clotting and bone growth. Kids are at risk of vitamin K deficiency due to picky eating habits and poor absorption of vitamin K. Multivitamin supplements are available to boost kids’ intake of vitamin K.
To make sure your kids are getting enough vitamin K, try a supplement like Llama Naturals Multivitamin Gummies. Llama Naturals' whole fruit multivitamin gummies, are packed with natural plant-based vitamins and contain no added sugar. Yet, they still taste great and your kids will love them. Choose Llama Naturals for the perfect boost to your child's health.
Llama Naturals is a plant-based nutrition brand that has created the World's First Whole Fruit Gummy Vitamins that are made with no added sugar and whole-food vitamins. They are USDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free, free of common allergens, and are slow-cooked on low heat to retain rich phytonutrients & fruit flavor. It’s a win-win gummy vitamin that the whole family will love.