As doctors people often ask us what to do if you bruise easily. The other question, often asked is “Does bruising easily mean something is wrong with me?” We will first be clear that bruising is not always a sign of a problem. Some get bruises and have no recollection of why they are there. We especially see this in very physically active people who do contact sports or even parents of younger children who lots of physical contact in their homes. It is also natural for people’s skin to thin as they age and this too, can lead to easy bruising and long healing times.
When is bruising a sign of a health problem? If bruising is a change for you and seems to occur more frequently than it should it is worth contacting your physician. In addition, other symptoms in addition to bruising such as bleeding gums, excessive bleeding from small cuts or your period are also worth reporting. One thing that is almost never associated with health concerns is it taking a long time for bruises to heal. Bruises often turn different colors such as purple/green/yellow, spread (especially downward on your body due to gravity–think from your forehead to under your eyes or from your thigh down your leg) and can take weeks to months to resolve. The length of time for a bruise to heal is not a sign of a health problem.
If you see your doctor re bruising they will likely want to check certain routine blood tests to verify your platelets and other clotting factors are working as they should. There are common post viral processes that can cause platelet levels to drop and lead to bleeding or bruising. There are also hereditary causes of clotting deficiencies that can be diagnosed early or later in life. There are also some serious disease such as leukemias that can present with bruising and bleeding but these most often are also associated with other severe symptoms. A common cause of easy bruising that is often forgotten is use of aspirin or Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen, Advil and Aleve. These all can make you prone to bruising.
Assuming those things are ok, we do often look to common vitamin deficiencies as a potential cause for easy bruising. So what vitamins should you take for bruising? There are a variety of nutrients that play an important role in blood vessel integrity and the ability to clot. It turns out that some of the most important vitamins for this are those that help build and strengthen our blood vessels and skin itself.
One of the best vitamins to help with bruising is Vitamin C. Besides its role in immune health, Vitamin C also is very important in the formation and strength of blood vessels and skin. This is why its deficiency causes easy bruising which is caused by the breaking of blood vessels. Other vitamins that play a role in clotting and therefore bruising can include B vitamins such as B12 and folic acid.
Some vitamins may help with quicker healing of certain bruises. Vitamin D can help accelerate healing of wounds and likely bruises as well. It is an important hormone for many systems in our body so there is no surprise it may help in this realm. While iron deficiency does not likely lead to easier bruising itself. Low body iron stores may prolong the healing process by not allowing oxygen to perfuse tissues adequately.
One vitamin often discussed in the context of bleeding and bruising is vitamin K. While vitamin K does play an important role in preventing bleeding by promoting blood clotting, taking vitamin K for this reason is not typically necessary. Vitamin K deficiency is rare since we get it not only from a variety of food sources, but Vitamin K is the one and only vitamin that we actually make ourselves (to be fair it is actually bacteria in our GI tract that make the Vitamin K).
So how do we know what vitamins to take to prevent bruising? The best way to determine what vitamins to take is via a personalized daily vitamin. Because we all have different diets, lifestyle and health concerns, we should not all take the same vitamins. A doctor created all in one daily vitamin is the best way to get exactly what you need. Take our vitamin quiz to help you figure out what vitamins to take.
Updates for 2024:
There is much talk about collagen supplements and their role in bruising lately. I am here to tell you that this may sound good in theory, but in practice there is little evidence to support the use of collagen supplements for bruise healing. Many vitamin companies feature these products and it has become a huge industry. Collagen supplements are all the rage because we know that collagen is a building block for skin. However, taking formed collagen in supplement form is not necessarily helpful to skin. Personalized vitamins are a much better way to get the nutritional elements that help make for healthy skin, healing bruises quickly.
It is most helpful to take the important vitamins which actually help your body build collagen itself. These often include vitamins C, D, biotin , iron and more. A personalized vitamin can be tailored to your individual nutritional needs based on your diet, lifestyle and health concerns. This will help determine the right doses of each nutrient and combine them in forms that are well absorbed and likely to help your body the most.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three teenagers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin quiz now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.