Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is vital for the blood clotting mechanism in our bodies. It is a group of vitamins with the notable one being Vitamin K1, phytonadione which is the naturally active and beneficial form in our bodies. You have vitamin K to thank for its mediation in various injuries that you sustain in your body. This fat-soluble vitamin has additionally been proven to aid in the maintenance of our bone health besides preventing the calcification of our soft tissues and arteries.
Food Sources of Vitamin K
If you consume a varied and balanced diet chances are that you are covered as far as vitamin K is concerned. Some of the best sources of vitamin K include:
- Leafy green vegetables; asparagus, spinach as well as broccoli
- Soybeans and beans
- Fruits such as strawberries
- Green tea
- Fermented dairy; cheese, yoghurt
The recommended dietary allowance
It is recommended that you consume at least 1mcg for every kilo that you weigh. However, as alluded to earlier on, having a balanced and varied diet will cover your vitamin K needs. You should note that our bodies are able to store the excess vitamin K in our diet in our livers for future use.
Symptoms of Vitamin K deficiency
In the event that you take less or your body is unable to absorb or utilise the recommended amount of vitamin K, some signs and symptoms will point to that. They include:
- Easy bruising
- Abnormally profuse bleeding from wounds, cuts as well as injection or surgical sites
- Having heavy monthly menstrual periods
- Oozing of blood from your nose or gums
- Presence of blood in your urine or stool
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Who is likely to be Vitamin K Deficient?
Despite the normal diet that most of us consume being adequate for our vitamin K needs, there are certain groups of people who are at risk of being deficient in it. Some of the people who are vulnerable include:
- Individuals with chronic disease states, for instance, Crohn’s disease which is closely associated with malnutrition or malabsorption. This points to a problem with the absorption of this fat-soluble from the food that they consume.
- People who have been on antibiotics on a long-term basis, this happens since the bacteria that could have helped in the production of vitamin K2 in the small gut would have been killed.
- Patients who have been seriously ill for instance cancer patients, as well as patients on dialysis, could easily end up being vitamin K deficient.
- People who are taking some drugs that affect the absorption of vitamin K are also likely to be deficient. Some of them include the herbs such as alfalfa, the American Ginseng just to mention a few.
- Chronic and heavy consumers of alcohol are also vulnerable as this interferes with the absorption of lipids, fatty foods.
- Newborns are also at increased risk due to the haemorrhagic disease of the newborn hence the reason why they are given a shot of vitamin K injection at birth.
Notable Health Benefits of Vitamin K
Protection of Your Heart
This unique fat-soluble vitamin is key in reducing or stopping altogether, the hardening of your arteries which commonly affects the coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart. Studies related to this have proven that Vitamin K stops calcium from getting into the blood vessel walls as well as other body tissues. By keeping calcium out, damage that is usually initiated by it is prevented.
Some of the latest studies have revealed a concerted effort between vitamin K and D in the prevention of calcification. This is especially so for the coronary arteries which greatly deals with the burden of cardiovascular diseases.
Prevention of Osteoporosis
In case one wants to have healthy bone tissues, a diet that consists of raw and fresh vegetables is recommended. It is worth noting that vitamin K is among the nutrients in such kind of foods that helps to maintain bone health. Acting as biological glue, this fat-soluble vitamin helps to keep calcium within our bone matrix which is a good way of strengthening it.
Some studies have proven the effectiveness of vitamin K in preventing osteoporosis. Trials among the Japanese has shown that this vitamin aids in the reversal of bone loss and their studies have even implicated vitamin K in the increase of bone mass. This has been associated with the reduction in the occurrence of fractures, particularly the vertebral fractures. Research done in Holland has linked vitamin K with the increase in osteocalcin levels, which promotes bone formation.
Has Links to Cancer Research
The vitamin K 1 and K2 have been shown to help in fight against cancer in our bodies. This is as a result of studies on this which have proven its key role in helping those with cancer in their recovery or coping with the symptoms. A study posted in the International Journal of Oncology back in 2003 showed that vitamin K slows the growth of cancer cells and some related studies prove its effectiveness in aiding those with leukaemia.
Some study done by a German research group have also put more weight on this by proving that Vitamin K2 is associated with a protective effect against Prostate cancer. Besides all these, this fat-soluble vitamin has been shown to be effective in treating cancers affecting the colon, stomach, oral as well as cancers of the nasopharynx and non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
Vitamin K additionally has some other key roles in maintaining our bodies’ health. Its consumption in adequate amounts has been linked with a reduction in the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 Diabetes. Those who consume foods rich in it cannot also be easily bruised and they will additionally enjoy Vitamin K antioxidant effects.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is key in the clotting mechanism in our bodies. Besides this, it has some notably proven benefits that emphasise the need for a diet rich in it. You can get adequate amounts of it in a balanced and varied diet unless you fall among the groups at risk of being deficient of it.
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- www.labtestonline.org.uk/understanding/conditions/vitamin k/start/2