Your body regularly needs Vitamin K for growth and good health. While Vitamin K is naturally produced in your body, it may also be taken in small amounts and is present in most of the food you eat. Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin that is responsible for normal blood clotting. Its famous lettered name comes from the German word “koagulation” meaning, coagulation.
Role of Vitamin K
Vitamin K helps bind calcium to the proteins in your body, making bones healthy. Studies have shown that elderly people whose diets are low in Vitamin K tend to suffer from hip and bone fractures and osteoporosis, while bone density improved after restoring normal levels of Vitamin-K.
As the blood clotting vitamin, Vitamin K keeps your body from hemorrhaging or bleeding excessively. Blood clotting is important when you suffer from wounds or require surgery so that you do not lose too much blood or bleed to death. It is your body’s way of healing itself naturally.
Vitamin K also decreases calcification in the arteries by absorbing the hardened calcium to lessen your risk of heart disease.
Signs and symptoms of Vitamin K deficiency
and long-term treatment with antibiotics may lead to Vitamin-K deficiency. The following are some signs of Vitamin-K deficiency:
• easy or excessive bleeding
• easy or excessive bruising
• bleeding gums
• blood in the urine and stool
• extremely heavy menstrual bleeding
• liver damage or disease
• low bone density
• arterial calcification
• malabsorption in the digestive tract
Sources of Vitamin K
While Vitamin-K is widely available in foods, animal products like liver contain less Vitamin-K than plant products. Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green leaf lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and string beans contain high amounts of Vitamin-K. Other non-meat sources of Vitamin-K include olive, soybean and canola oils, yogurt and some cheeses.
Bacteria in your gastrointestinal wall also produce Vitamin-K. Oftentimes, this natural production may be disturbed by lengthy treatment with antibiotics, intestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease, and the presence of gallstones.
Prevention of Vitamin-K deficiency
The daily recommended intake of Vitamin-K depends on a person’s age, gender and other individual factors like pregnancy. The best way to get adequate amounts of all essential vitamins, including Vitamin-K, is to consume a balanced diet and to eat more green leafy vegetables.
Essential Fatty Acids
It is important to note that Vitamin-K is a fat soluble vitamin. This means that you need to include Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) in your diet to distribute Vitamin-K all throughout your body. Good sources of EFAs include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel and fish oil supplements.
Multivitamins and supplements
High amounts of Vitamin-A and E have also been seen to affect the absorption of Vitamin-K. A good multivitamin can prevent this from happening by supplying low doses of Vitamin-A, E and K. While you may also obtain Vitamin-K from supplements, it is best to consult a health professional before taking Vitamin-K supplements if you are taking a blood thinner.
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