Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin which is extremely important for controlling bleeding and maintaining bone health. Vitamin K deficiencies are not that common in adults, but occurs frequently in newborns, for which they are given a single injection after birth. Vitamin K is also rarely used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin K is a comparatively neglected vitamin and not much people know about this very essential vitamin. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin K for those who are 19 years old and up, in females it is 90 mcg per day and in males it is 120 mcg per day. The recommendation varies with age and sex. The requirements for vitamin K definitely increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding periods and also during illness. Deficiency of Vitamin K is rare in adults unless you have diseases affecting the gut like crohn’s disease and coeliac disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease etc. Usage of broad spectrum antibiotics could reduce the production of Vitamin K in the gut. There are also drugs that interfere with vitamin K absorption. Vitamin K deficiency could also in those severely malnourished or in heavy drinkers.
Sources Of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a group of several compounds of which the two prominent ones are K1 and K2. K1 is mainly derived from vegetarian sources. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale collards, mustard greens etc are it’s main source. It is also found in broccoli, asparagus, beans, soybeans, strawberries, brussel sprouts, cucumbers etc. K2 is derived mostly from meat, cheese, eggs etc. The bacteria in the gut also converts K1 to K2. Eating naturally fermented foods are also good.
Health Benefits The Vitamin K
1. Control Bleeding
Vitamin K helps in the synthesis of proteins needed for blood clotting. This controls the bleeding from any site in the body thus stopping excessive bleeding. The deficiency of Vitamin K could result in excessive bleeding and eventually anaemia.
2. Bone Health
Vitamin K helps in the synthesis of proteins needed for binding calcium in bones and other tissues. This helps in controlling the onset of osteoporosis. Vitamin K helps in keeping the calcium and some other important minerals bound to the bones. Vitamin K also assists in the absorption of calcium from food. Vitamin K deficiency thus leads to weaker bones and osteoporosis. There could be spinal deformity, fractures etc.
3. Heart Health
Vitamin K is known to stop the calcification of the walls of arteries. Vitamin K also helps in maintaining the heart muscles and blood vessels. It also increases the blood circulation in tissues.
4. Tumours And Cancers
Vitamin K is also supposed to slow down the growth of tumors. It is found to be of help in some cancers like lung cancer, non hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostrate cancer, colon and stomach cancers etc.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease
Vitamin K is found to have a certain influence on Alzheimer’s disease. As such supplementation with it may prove to be beneficial in those suffering from this disease.
6. Regulate Blood Sugar
Vitamin K is also supposed to improve insulin sensitivity. So those who take foods rich in Vitamin K may be helped against the onslaught of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
7. Immune System
Vitamin K may also have antioxidant properties. Vitamin K help protect the immune system. It could also help increase longitivity and vitality.
8. Liver Troubles
Vitamin K could help control the bleeding into the liver, jaundice. Regular intake of vitamin K could help reduce the occurrence of biliary obstruction associated with prolonged antibiotic intake.