Importance of vitamin K
Vitamin k is a fat soluble vitamin that is important for blood clotting, metabolism of bones and regulating the calcium levels in blood. Vitamin K is necessary for the formation of clotting factor such as prothrombin that promotes the blood clotting. The deficiency of vitamin K is rare but if prevails can increase the blood clotting time leading to uncontrolled and excessive bleeding that may be due to haemorrhage. Vitamin k is usually found in two forms:
- Vitamin K1; Phylloquinone (mainly obtained from plants sources
- Vitamin K2; Menaquinone (mostly comes from animal sources and fermented foods)
Vitamin K2 is the storage form of vitamin K that is stored in liver and adipose tissue. In this article, the discussion will be about the vitamin K benefits, sources, dosage and the issues related to it.
Vitamin K is stored in the body in the menaquinone or vitamin K2 form that is converted from the vitamin K1 form by the bacteria present in the intestine. Vitamin k plays many important functions in the human body as:
- It is required for the formation of prothrombin that is required for wound healing and bone health. Actually, it makes the proteins necessary for blood clotting. It has been found that vitamin K has been involved in the formation of about 13 proteins that play role in the blood clotting process.
- Vitamin K has also been associated with the increasing and improving bone density, strength and health thus preventing osteoporosis. Moreover, Vitamin K works with the vitamin D to make the effective absorption of calcium into the bones and decreases the bone fractures.
- Vitamin K has also healthy effects on the brain and has been found to improve the cognitive functions and memory of the brain thus provides the protection against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
- It has also been found protective against prostate gland cancer.
- Adequate levels of vitamin k are associated in preventing mineralization and stroke. Mineralization usually develops with the age in which there is the deposition of minerals in the arteries. Vitamin K thus by preventing the mineralization ensures the healthy and less tensed activity of heart.
Sources of vitamin K:
Vitamin K1 is found at large in the green leafy vegetables such as
- Brussels sprouts
- Turnip greens
The absorption of vitamin K1 is effective when the fats or oils are consumed along with these foods rich in vitamin K1. Some fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamin K e.g avocados, grapes etc. vegetable oils such as soybean oil have been found to be rich in vitamin K.
Vitamin K2 is found in abundance in the following:
- Fermented foods e.g cheese and yogurt
Vitamin K is also produced by the enteral (intestinal) bacteria.
The RDA dosage of the vitamin K is different for different age phases and gender. It may include:
- For men, the RDA (recommended daily allowance) dosage of vitamin k above 19 years is 120 microgram (mcg) per day.
- For women, above the age 19 the RDA is 90 mcg per day.
- For infants up to 12 months have RDA dosage as 2.0 to 2.5 mcg /day.
- For children from the age of 1 to 18 years, the RDA dosage per day ranges from 30 to 75 mcg per day.
- For pregnant and lactating ladies, the RDA dosage is 70 mcg per day.
The deficiency of vitamin K usually doesn’t occur but there are still chances of its shortage.
- The infants are usually at the higher risk of being susceptible to its deficiency because they are not born with the gut microflora responsible for the production of this vitamin.
- The people who suffer from severe gastrointestinal disorders and the diseases of the type of liver damage, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel diseases may have the vitamin K deficiency.
The deficiency of vitamin K may result in:
- Osteoporosis due to decreased bone density
- Increased blood clotting time
- Gums bleeding in both sexes
- Heavy menstrual flow in females
- Coronary heart diseases
- Arterial calcification and stiffness
So, in a nutshell vitamin k is essential for blood clotting which if doesn’t occur can cause serious complication including haemorrhages and strokes. Its recommended amounts must be injested and the normal levels should be regulated.