Health Benefits of Vitamin K – Food Sources, Recommended Doses and Some Precautions

Vitamin KDid you know that your teeth are an incredible barometer to the health of your body? Healthy teeth can mean a healthy heart, strong bones, and more.

Vitamin K is essential to healthy teeth. The benefits of K start, but don’t end, there.

Leafy green veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and spinach are fantastic sources of Vitamin K. Whether it’s through food sources or a good quality supplement, getting enough K into your body will increase your overall health and longevity.

Vitamin K Basics

Vitamin K is essential for the body’s manufacture of blood coagulation proteins that help in the process of binding with calcium to form clots.

Fun Fact: The “K” in Vitamin K stands for Koagulation, the German form of the word “coagulation”.  It was a Danish researcher who isolated the Vitamin K compound as part of the body’s process that causes blood clotting. He aptly named this compound the “Koagulations vitamin” or, as we now know it, Vitamin K. 

Chemically speaking, vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble compounds. While there is ongoing research to unravel the mysteries of K’s functions, three distinct forms have been identified:

Vitamin K1: Also known as Phylloquinone.  This is the popular variant found in green vegetables. Although, green vegetables contain a high amount of Vitamin K1, the body absorbs very little of it. This is one reason you shouldn’t go all “greeny” with your diet on a k1 quest.

Vitamin K2: K2 is the more easily absorbed form of the vitamin and is metabolically converted to K2 by the action of specific enzymes. The health of soft tissues like the heart, brain and bones fall under the watchful eyes of K2. Opt for fermented foods, organ meats and grass-fed dairy products to increase your chances of synthesizing a healthy amount of K2.

Vitamin K3 or Menadione: K3 is the synthetic form of the vitamin that is commonly given to infants as shots to promote blood clotting.

Health Benefits of Vitamin K 

Helps In Blood Clotting

Glumatic acid, the acid that causes carboxylation, is an important component of Vitamin K. When blood oozes out, carboxylation makes the blood stick to nearby tissue. This clots the open wound and prevents excess blood from flowing out.

In fact, a trained individual can recognize the possibility that somebody is deficient in Vitamin K or not by checking his or her symptoms of menstrual bleeding, nose bleeding, etc.

Helps In Formation of Healthy Bones

Vitamin K helps in the formation of healthy bones by blocking the over-formation of osteoclasts, which take away minerals from the bones and deliver them to other bodily functions. This process is demineralization. In due course, this process can leave bones depleted of minerals and having the disease called osteoporosis.

Vitamin K has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

A normal level of Vitamin K reduces the release of glycoprotein interleukin-6, a component that causes inflammation in the body.

Prevents Calcification

Calcification is a process that causes the build-up of calcium inside tissues within the body, leading to cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin K contributes to the process of carboxylation, which helps prevent calcification. In the carboxylation process, a GLA Protein (called MGP) is formed which helps with the regulation of the tissue formation of calcium.

A person with a lack of Vitamin K is at a risk of suffering from stroke, atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.

Infants & Vitamin K

Infants And Vitamin KSince the 1960s, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving every infant a single shot of vitamin K at birth. This is designed to prevent the onset of bleeding in the baby’s brain or intestines.

Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting. But, newborns often do not have an adequate supply of vitamin K in their bodies for this to happen. Nor is there enough vitamin K in breastmilk to aid in this process.

About 9 in 100,000 infants will suffer from bleeding in the brain or intestines without the dose of vitamin K, and there is no way of predicting if your newborn is at risk. This number drops to .8 in 100,000 with the vitamin K shot.

Before you decide to waive the vitamin K for your newborn, we urge you to do your research, talk to your doctor or midwife, and make a fully informed decision.

Foods With High Amount of Vitamin K

Some foods with high amount of Vitamin K include:

  • spring onions
  • Brussels sprouts,
  • broccoli
  • broccoli sprouts
  • spinach
  • kale
  • asparagus
  • cabbage
  • pickled cucumber
  • prunes
  • turnip
  • beef liver
  • green tea
  • fresh and dried herbs
  • paprika
  • cayenne

Vitamin K Recommended Doses

It is advisable to check with your doctor before you consume Vitamin K supplements. Patients with gallbladder, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease will benefit by consuming Vitamin K in the form of multipurpose vitamins than as an individual supplement.

According to Al established by FNB in 2001, the recommended allowances are:

0 to 12 months – 2 mcg

1 to 3 years – 30 mcg

4 to 8 years – 55 mcg

9 to 13 years – 60 mcg

14 to 18 years – 75 mcg

Men above 19 years – 120 mcg

Women above 19 years – 90 mcg

Precautions When Taking Vitamin K

  • Because of possible side effects, take supplements only under the recommendation of a professional and certified health care provider.
  • If you have Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, you must avoid taking Vitamin K.
  • If you take Coumadin, you should not consume Vitamin K.

Please drop us a note in the comments below if you have any thoughts on this topic. We’d love to hear from you!

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