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Vitamin K & Elevated Liver Enzymes

Your largest internal organ, your liver, plays an essential role in your health. Liver functioning helps maintain your metabolism, allows your body to dispose of toxins and helps maintain you hormone balance. Elevated liver enzymes -- the presence of excess amounts of liver enzymes in your bloodstream, can indicate the presence of a liver disorder. Vitamin K has an effect on some liver enzyme levels, and liver disease that causes elevated liver enzymes also affects vitamin K.

Your liver naturally contains thousands of enzymes, used to carry out the millions of chemical reactions required for liver function. Damage to your liver tissue causes these enzymes to leak out of your liver cells, leading to an increase in liver enzymes within your bloodstream. Temporarily elevated liver enzymes can occur due to short-term exposure to liver toxins, like alcohol, while chronically elevated liver enzymes can indicate severe liver damage and disease. Laboratory tests can tell your physician about the total levels of liver enzymes in your bloodstream and might provide insight into which specific enzymes are found at high levels.

Failure to get enough vitamin K might account for some cases of elevated liver enzymes. Vitamin K plays a role in blood coagulation, or clotting, and has an effect on pro-coagulant enzymes, including the enzyme prothrombin. A deficiency in vitamin K can cause an increase in your levels of prothrombin, one of the enzymes physicians check for in a liver enzyme test. As a result, vitamin K deficiency might lead to elevated liver enzymes even in the absence of liver damage. Your doctor can perform additional tests to distinguish between elevated liver enzymes as a result of vitamin K deficiency, and elevated enzymes due to liver damage.

If you have elevated liver enzymes as a result of liver disease or liver damage, you might face an increased risk of vitamin K deficiency. Your liver produces enzymes that aid in the digestion of fats from your food, and this digestion proves essential to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin K, as well as vitamins A, D and E. As a result, your physician might perform tests to check for vitamin deficiencies if you suffer from elevated liver enzymes due to liver damage. Treating the liver damage and restoring liver function often treats elevated liver enzymes, and helps restore vitamin absorption from foods.

Vitamin K deficiency due to improper liver function can have a number of adverse health effects. Because your body relies on vitamin K for proper blood clot formation, vitamin K deficiency might lead to bleeding disorders, causing internal bleeding and abnormal bruising. Vitamin K also helps maintain healthy bones, and long-term vitamin K deficiency might increase your risk of osteoporosis. If you have liver disease causing elevated liver enzymes, talk to your doctor about the risks of vitamin deficiency and the potential benefits of taking vitamin supplements.

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.