Vitamin K Health Benefits: Consume A Balanced Diet To Get Enough Vitamin K
Vitamin K refers to the group of fat-soluble vitamins that play a crucial role in bone metabolism, blood clotting and help regulating blood calcium levels.
Vitamin K assists the body in producing prothrombin (a clotting factor), important in blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Deficiency is rare, but it can prolong clotting time in severe cases, leading to hemorrhage and too much bleeding.
Vitamin K comes from 2 sources, vitamin K1, and vitamin K2.
- Vitamin K1 or phylloquinone comes from plants. It is the primary type of vitamin K in the diet.
- Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is found in some animal and fermented foods. It is the lowest source of vitamin K.
What Are The Functions of Vitamin K?
Cruciferous vegetables and cabbage are good sources of vitamin K.
When you take vitamin K1, bacteria in the colon convert it to its storage form – vitamin K2. Absorption occurs in the small intestine before being stored in the fatty tissues and liver.
Vitamin K is necessary for the body to produce prothrombin, a clotting factor that aids bone metabolism and blood clotting.
Most Americans are not at risk of vitamin K deficiency. It primarily affects newborns and people with a malabsorption problem, for example, due to cystic fibrosis, short bowel syndrome, celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis.
The recommended adequate intake of vitamin K depends on gender and age. Women 19 years or older should consume 90 micrograms per day, while men should consume 120 micrograms.
Potential Health Benefits of Vitamin K
Vitamin K benefits the body in several ways.
1. Vitamin K Promotes Bone Health
It plays a vital role in producing proteins in bones, including osteocalcin, which helps prevent bones’ weakening. Low vitamin K intake is linked to osteoporosis.
Several studies have indicated that vitamin K supports maintaining bone strength, improves bone density, and reduces the risk of fractures.
2. Vitamin K Improves Cognitive Health
Higher blood levels of this vitamin have been associated with better episodic memory in older adults.
According to research, healthy people over the age of 70 with the highest blood levels of vitamin K1 have the highest performance of episodic verbal memory.
3. Vitamin K Help Boost Heart Health
It can help lower blood pressure by preventing mineralization, as minerals build up in blood vessels. It allows the heart to pump blood freely throughout the body.
Mineralization occurs naturally with age and is a significant risk factor for heart disease. It has also been shown that adequate intake of vitamin K reduces the risk of stroke.
4. Prevent Bleeding Problems in Newborns
Vitamin K helps prevent bleeding problems in newborns due to low levels of vitamin K (hemorrhagic disease).
Giving vitamin K1 by mouth or by injection into muscle helps prevent bleeding problems in newborns. The injections seem to work better.
5. Vitamin K is Good for Diabetic Patients
Vitamin K is well known for its role in blood clotting.
In addition, several studies have reported the beneficial role of vitamin K supplementation in improving glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, preventing insulin resistance, and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
6. Vitamin K Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Vitamin K2 might lower cholesterol levels in dialysis patients with high cholesterol.
Research indicates that vitamin K2 supplement prevents coagulative tendency and atherosclerosis development by reducing total cholesterol and lipid peroxidation.
7. Revers The Effect of Too Much Warfarin
Taking or injecting vitamin K1 into a vein can reverse the excessive blood clotting caused by ‘warfarin.’
However, injecting vitamin K1 under the skin does not seem to work. Taking vitamin K along with warfarin also appears to help stabilize blood clotting time in people taking warfarin. It works best for people with low vitamin K levels.
8. Prevent Bleeding Due to Low Levels of Prothrombin
Taking vitamin K1 or injecting it into a vein can prevent and treat bleeding problems in people with low prothrombin (blood-clotting protein) levels due to taking certain medications.
9. Treat Skin Rashes Due to a Type of Anti-Cancer Drug
People who take a specific type of anticancer drug often develop a skin rash. Research suggests that applying a cream containing vitamin K1 prevents skin rashes in people taking these medications.
10.Treat Multiple Sclerosis MS Related Rashes
Interferon is a drug that helps people with multiple sclerosis. This medicine often causes skin burning and rashes.
Preliminary research shows that using vitamin K cream moderately reduces inflammation and burning in people receiving interferon treatment.
11. Vitamin K Help Prevent Lung Cancer
Research suggests that a higher intake of vitamin K2 from food is associated with a lower risk of lung cancer and cancer death. Dietary intake of vitamin K1 does not appear to be associated with a reduced risk of these issues.
12. Lower The Risk of Prostate Cancer
Studies recommended that a higher intake of vitamin K2 is linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
13. Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Research shows that taking vitamin K2 and arthritis medications reduces arthritis markers better than taking arthritis medications alone.
- Stretch marks
- Spider veins
- Other conditions
What Are The Good Food Sources of Vitamin K?
Vitamin K1 is found in large amounts in green leafy vegetables, like kale and Swiss chard. Other sources include vegetable oils and some fruits.
Vitamin K2 sources include meat, eggs, dairy products, and Japanese “natto” made from fermented soybeans.
Here is the complete list of foods rich in vitamin K:
- Organ meat
- Beef, bacon, ham
- Dairy products
- Egg yolks
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
- Pine nuts
Note: Most adults in the United States consume adequate amounts of vitamin K.
Is There Any Risk Associated with Vitamin K Supplement?
Toxicity is usually rare and unlikely to occur from eating foods containing vitamin K.
Supplements: However, don’t take too much vitamin K supplement as this might be harmful. Supplementing with 1mg or less of vitamin K a day is unlikely to cause any harm.
Interactions: Vitamin K can interact with many common medications, including blood thinners, antibiotics, anticonvulsants, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and weight-loss drugs.
Vitamin K – Takeaway
The best way to ensure that your body has enough nutrients is to eat a balanced diet, with plenty of vegetables and fruits. If a deficiency is present, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a physician.