To stay healthy and in top form, the body needs a couple of essential vitamins. They are crucial for vital processes such as the formation of blood, teeth, and bones. Of those vitamins, vitamin K is a good example. The human body needs vitamin K to synthesize the protein prothrombin, which plays a significant role in blood clotting and bone metabolism. If not for vitamin K, and this Expert Guideline on Vitamin K, we would bleed excessively, probably to death.
Generally, vitamin K is a fat-soluble compound group, the most important of them being vitamin K1 and K2. This article is a detailed guide to vitamin K.
Importance of vitamin K:
Vitamin K benefits the body in uncountable ways. Here are some benefits of vitamin K.
Promotes bone health:
Together with vitamin D, vitamin K is critical in bone metabolism. Studies have suggested that it improves bone density and decreases the risks of suffering fractures. It partners with vitamin D to make sure that calcium gets into the bones to make sure they develop properly.
Prevents heart diseases:
The first benefit of vitamin K to the heart is that it promotes effective blood pumping. It prevents mineralization, a scenario where minerals build up in the arteries. It makes sure that blood pressure is kept in check, and thus the heart remains in good condition.
It’s normal for mineralization to occur at old age, which exposes the individual to heart diseases. Lastly, vitamin K is associated with lower risks of suffering from a stroke.
It’s good for a healthy brain and nervous system:
Firstly, vitamin K prevents hardening/calcification of brain tissue, which keeps away the neurodegenerative diseases, especially in old age. Vitamin K is also essential in the synthesis of sphingolipids, which is essential in cell processes like differentiation, division, and senescence. Lastly, adequate levels of vitamin K have been linked with improved memory, especially in adults.
It keeps diabetes away:
Given that vitamin K positively influences the blood sugar levels, it helps establish a balance that helps prevent diabetes. Also, organs such as the pancreas and the liver, which are important in sugar metabolism, contain vitamin K dependent proteins essential in their functioning. Studies have shown that vitamin K rich diets are associated with reduced risks of diabetes, especially type 2.
The coagulation process depends on vitamin K to form blood clots, which help to prevent excessive bleeding.
Sources of vitamin K:
Getting this precious vitamin is not rocket science. In most cases, it naturally occurs in leafy vegetables, oils, and fruits. In addition, the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract make vitamin D. Here is a breakdown of some of the best sources of vitamin K.
Foods that contain vitamin K:
Dietary sources of vitamin K are the best ways of taking the precious vitamin. Here are the best examples of vitamin K rich foods.
Cooked kales, Cooked mustard greens, Raw Swiss chard, cooked cabbage, broccoli, raw spinach, collard greens, cooked beet greens, and fresh parsley.
Fatty meats and liver are excellent sources of vitamin K. However, the content varies depending on the animal’s diet and the region of production. Here are a few examples of the best meat products for vitamin K.
100g of this contains about 106mgc of vitamin K.
Fatty chicken contains about 69mcg in 100g. However, it would be best if you were careful with this meal to avoid loads of cholesterol.
100g of this has about 369 mcg of vitamin K. with a daily value of 40% per serving, it is a worthy addition to your plate.
Bacon has a 7% DV per serving. It contains about 10mcg in 100g, which is also a very excellent source of vitamin K.
At 4% DV per serving, beef kidneys are also a great choice of vitamin K boosting foods.
More examples of healthy fatty meats include chicken liver, pork liver, ground beef, and pork chops.
Dairy foods and eggs:
This group of foods is also a great source of vitamin K. However, extra care has to be taken when serving such foods, as a wrong formula could lead to unwanted results such as obesity. The value of vitamin K in this group of foods also depends on the animals’ diet and production location. Best examples include;
Generally, cheese is an excellent source of vitamin K. A 20% DV per serving is definitely a great source of vitamin K.
Other types of cheese to try out include soft cheeses, Jarlsberg cheeses, Adam cheese, and blue cheese.
Milk has always been associated with good health and strong teeth, especially in young children. It has about 3% DV per serving. A glass a day is a valuable source of vitamin K.
Other types of dairy products to try out include cream and butter.
Eggs are associated with many health benefits. A typical example is that they are good foods for weight loss. In addition to that, they are perfect sources of vitamin K. 100g of egg yolk contains about 34mcg of this vital vitamin.
Fruits are amazing foods for any reason. Although they don’t have as high vitamin K as the leafy greens, they still have their fair amounts. The best examples of vitamin K rich fruits include; prunes, avocado, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, tomatoes, pomegranates, and grapes.
Nuts such as pine nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and walnuts are also great vitamin K sources.
We also have commercial multivitamin supplements, most of which contain vitamin K. if you wish to take this path of supplements, it’s best if you consulted a nutritionist.
Effects of deficiency of vitamin K:
Deficiency of vitamin K is usually rare in adults since it’s naturally made in the body. Most people who suffer from its deficiency are those that have gastrointestinal disorders.
Also, people who take antibiotics for a long time may suffer from vitamin K deficiency. This is because the antibiotics kill the bacteria responsible for the synthesis of the vitamin.
Vitamin K deficiency is, however, common in babies since they are not born with the bacteria that is responsible for vitamin K synthesis. In most cases, such babies may suffer from internal and external bleeding, which is why they are given shots of vitamin K.
Its deficiency leads to excessive bleeding, which manifests in the gums and the nose. Hemorrhage is also a classic sign of vitamin K deficiency, although it happens in very severe cases.
Lastly, osteoporosis is also an effect of deficiency of vitamin K. It’s a condition where the bones become weak, and one may easily suffer fractures. Vitamin K is very crucial in the strengthening of bones, which means its deficiency reduces bone mineralization. Eventually, it leads to osteoporosis.
Generally, the groups that are the most likely to suffer from deficiency are newborn kids (those who are not given a vitamin K shot), and people who suffer from malabsorption disorders.
The bottom line:
With so much information at your disposal, suffering from vitamin K deficiency could only be by choice. The above information should be of help. If you prefer going the food way, consider eating the vegetables with some oil. Remember that vitamin K is fat-soluble, which means it’s absorbed better when combined with such healthy fats. An Expert Guideline on Vitamin K
Lastly, if you choose to go the supplements way, remember that there are risks of toxicity. To find the perfect balance, consult your nutritionist about the supplements’ interactions with the body and other medications.