Case Study – Vitamin K

A northern-NSW five-week old baby was fighting for life this year after suffering a brain haemorrhage, an illness that the Vitamin K injection sufficiently prevents. A shot that parents must consent to.

Babies are born with a natural deficiency of Vitamin K, which once killed approximately 15 babies per year, before routine injections, introduced in the 1970s, reduced the incidence to nearly 0.

Older children and adults receive most of their Vitamin K from bacteria in their gut, with the rest supplemented from their diet. With babies however, and after birth, there is minimal Vitamin K in breast milk, leaving breast fed babies severely low in Vitamin K until their gut starts producing it. Infant formula has added Vitamin K, but formula-fed babies still do not receive the required level needed to protect them.

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