There is a rising trend of people in health misinformation circles on the internet claiming that vitamin K does not exist and therefore babies should not be given this injection at birth, despite it being standard practice approved by the CDC.
There have always been disgruntled people on the internet that do not like this shot, but their arguments have typically centered around the claims that the injections are not safe – which is incorrect. Now, claiming vitamin K does not even exist is a new avenue anti-vaxxers appear to be going down.
What is vitamin K and what does it do?
Vitamin K does in fact exist and it is a vital substance that we need to help our body to form clots and stop bleeding. We often get this vitamin from the food we eat (such as leafy greens and vegetables) and the good bacteria in our intestines.
Why is vitamin K given to newborn babies?
Unfortunately, newborn babies have pretty much sterile guts, so they are born with very small amounts of vitamin K. Without any medical intervention, they are normally deficient until they are six months old.
Due to this, newborns are often given a single shot of vitamin K at birth. This has been recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics since 1961. This shot is very important as it provides the baby protection against bleeding (called Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding – VKDB) that can occur in people that are deficient of this vitamin.
Why do people not believe vitamin K exists?
One of the reasons why people believe that vitamin K does not exist is because of the name itself and mixups with the element potassium.
Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin, was originally discovered in 1929 during experimentation on sterol metabolism and was found to be involved in blood coagulation. The name came from the Danish word coagulation, “koagulation” – hence the term vitamin K.
Now people are mainly getting confused by the terminology because they are wrongly thinking that vitamin K is to do with the element potassium, which coincidentally has the atomic symbol “K”. Which is false.
Do humans need vitamin K?
It has been known for many decades that humans need Vitamin K. In 1991, there was an observational study that demonstrated, as the CDC says, that "Infants who do not receive a vitamin K shot at birth are 81 times more likely to develop late VKDB than infants who do receive a vitamin K shot at birth."
Despite this, there are still many people disproving the shot, but there have been healthcare professionals responding to these claims.
In this TikTok, Jen Hamilton RN, BSN, CEN, RNC-OB, stitches with a user making these claims on the platform.
So, the claim that vitamin K does not exist is false and babies need the shot when they are born.
The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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