What does vitamin K do?
Vitamin K can be described as a group of fat-soluble nutrients that identified for its critical role in the process of blood clot formation. Recent studies suggest vitamin K is also essential to overall health. Such as strong bone building, protects your heart, prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
There are two types of naturally occurred vitamin K:
Vitamin K1 – also known as phylloquinone or phytomenadione, is synthesized by plants and is found in high amounts in green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin K2 – a range of forms referred to as menaquinones, mostly are synthesized by bacteria in our intestine and fermented foods such as natto and cheese.
A deficiency in vitamin K is rare, because it is ubiquitously found in foods. Symptoms can be bleeding disorder, anemia, easy bruising, and life-threatening internal bleeding for infants. Newborn babies who are exclusively breast-fed are at risk of deficiency, because human milk is low in vitamin K. In addition, people who often take antibiotics, suffer from liver disease, fat malabsorption disorders or inflammatory bowel diseases might at increased risk, high quality supplementation is recommended.
Vitamin K health benefits:
1. Blood coagulation
The main function of vitamin K is its ability to bind calcium ions which is required for the coagulation (clotting) cascade, a biological process that stops bleeding. It is vital that blood clots when we have blood vessel damage; it can prevent blood loss from the circulatory system, stop the entry of bacteria and viruses, and uncontrolled bleeding can be life threatening,
2. Improves bone density
Vitamin K is required to synthesize osteocalcin, a specific protein found in large quantities within the bone which binds bone minerals. Therefore, it is critical in bone maintenance, formation and repair. High intake of vitamin K can help the body absorb and retain calcium.
Bone density depends on more than just calcium, it is important to focus sufficient types of nutrients that related to bone health. Vitamin K and vitamin D together have shown remarkable research results of preventive effects against osteoporosis.
3. Promotes cardiovascular health
Vitamin K helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, which is one of main factors in coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases. Stiffening arteries is a result of deposition of calcium, which transform the artery walls into bone-like tissue that is no longer resilient and flexible.
Matrix Gla protein (MGP), a vitamin K dependent protein, that inhibit the process of arteries hardening. The arterial walls can produce MGP, only sufficient vitamin K will activate it to stop arterial calcification.
4. Cancer prevention
Recent studies of vitamin K reveal powerful preventive effect against several types of cancer, such as prostate, stomach, liver and colon cancers. High intake could slow down tumor growth and induce cancer cell death.
Optimum intake of vitamin K a vital role in longevity and disease prevention. Average adult should take 180μg daily, which is doubled amount of RDA. Vitamin K1 is the major dietary form in most diets, including green leafy vegetables and some plant oils. The absorption efficiency could be increased with fats consumed together in a meal.
Food sources high in vitamin K: kale, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, asparagus, cabbage, soybean oil, olive oil, canola oil
Vitamin K interaction with blood thinners
If you are currently taking a blood-thinning drug (warfarin) and willing to begin vitamin K supplementation, please speak with your physician to find a balance between the benefits and the risks of anticoagulant use. Traditional blood thinners will inhibit vitamin K dependent proteins and other side effects to the body.