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Vitamin K

Vitamin K: Food Sources, Benefits and Dosage

Most people don't know that Vitamin K is very important to their health. Vitamin K can be called a "teamwork" vitamin because this vitamin does not work on its own. Instead, it works with several proteins, vitamins and minerals in our body to make sure we stay healthy. Keep reading to discover more about the "teamwork" vitamin.

What is vitamin K?

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin thatVitamin K1andVitamin K2Both forms exist. There is strong evidence that vitamin K promotes bone health and blood clotting, and these studies also suggest that vitamin K may help stabilize blood pressure levels and maintain liver health, as well as improve memory in older adults. Vitamin K1 and K2 are found in different foods, we can get vitamin K1 in green leafy vegetables, while vitamin K2 is found in other foods like chicken, beef, etc.

So, how does Vitamin K works in our body? First, Vitamin K assists some proteins in our body to perform their function inside our cells. Secondly, Vitamin K can interact with other minerals in our body to regulate and ensure that we do not have surplus vitamins and minerals in our blood.

Related: Vitamin D: Health Benefits, Deficiency, Food Sources, and Supplements

Foods High in Vitamin K 

We can supply our bodies with Vitamin K1 by eating green leafy vegetables and some plant-based oils. These foods include:

  • Kale
  • Collard green
  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil

Vitamin K2 can be found in animal-based foods and some fermented dishes. Some rich examples include:

  • Natto/Fermented soybeans
  • Chicken
  • Butter
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Liver
  • Meat

Benefits of Vitamin K

1. Promotes blood clotting

Blood clotting prevents profuse bleeding in our body whenever we are injured. But first, certain proteins and cells in our blood must stick together before a clot can form. These proteins rely on vitamin K to function. So when you get hurt, vitamin K causes blood to clot to stop the bleeding, but it doesn't stop there. After the bleeding stops and healing begins, vitamin K stimulates anticoagulant proteins that break down blood clots and remove them from the body.

2. Supports Strong Bones

There is growing evidence that vitamin K may help people with osteoporosis. Vitamin K stimulates osteocalcin - an important protein used to build bones and increase bone strength in the body. After eating foods rich in vitamin K, this fat-soluble vitamin binds to enzymes and osteocalcin to produce enough bone-growing cells. As a result, scientists have discovered that inducing healthy bone growth with vitamin K rapidly increases bone strength and also prevents osteoporosis.

In a 2008 experiment, scientists gave 440 postmenopausal osteoporosis patients 5 mg of vitamin K1 daily for 2 years. After the trial, doctors documented a 50% reduction in bone fractures in these patients, although their bone density showed no improvement.

3. Can Preserve Brain Health In Senior Adults

Vitamin K-dependent proteins are found in our brains, and these brain proteins assist brain cells in carrying out the chemical processes necessary for cell survival. Therefore, low vitamin K levels can interfere with this process, leading to brain cell death. This is also why older adults experience declines in brain function. Therefore, the fastest way to protect brain functions such as vision and memory is to eat foods rich in vitamin K.

4. Maintain blood pressure health

One of the things that can affect blood pressure is excess mineral deposits in the blood vessels. For example, when too much calcium is transported through veins and arteries, some residue may interfere with blood flow. Over time, it can affect blood pressure and heart health. Vitamin K also acts as a calcium regulator in our body. This fat-soluble vitamin ensures that too much calcium does not flow into the blood vessels, and it also ensures that residual minerals adhering to the arterial walls are washed away before any damage can be done.

5. Promotes Liver Health

In a 2012 study, it was found that vitamin K2 may maintain the normal growth of liver cells. However, more research is needed to reveal the role of vitamin K.

Vitamin K And Warfarin: Are There Any Side Effects?

Some dangerous interactions may occur if vitamin K and warfarin are taken together. Warfarin is a prescription drug used to treat and prevent blood clotting in patients. For example, people who have just had hip or knee surgery may be given warfarin to prevent the risk of blood clots.

As a treatment drug, warfarin is used by patients with blood clogging problems. So, if you are taking warfarin, the amount of vitamin K in your food can affect how well this drug works. That is to say, eating too much food containing vitamin K will reduce the ability of warfarin. If you are taking warfarin, you don't have to stop eating foods rich in vitamin K. Include small amounts of vitamin K in your diet, but keep your intake consistent.

How Much Vitamin K Do I Need? 

Adults can take between 70 to 90 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin K daily. You should be able to get all the Vitamin K you need by eating a balanced diet. As a fat-soluble vitamin, our body can store surplus Vitamin K in the liver for future use.

Taking a supplement is another way of supplying your body with Vitamin K. However, if you take vitamin K supplements, make sure you stick to a prescribed dose. Vitamin K supplements are generally safe but taking too much vitamin K might be harmful. Lastly, if you are taking warfarin, consult a doctor first before taking Vitamin K supplements.

GogoHerbs is one of Hong Kong's fastest-growing online stores, providing customers with premium health and wellness products. We help customers with handpicked vitamins and minerals, herbal and functional food products that are pure and effective for overall health and wellness. Available supplements on the gogostore include quality products from some of the reputable health brands around the world. Our expert team selects each supplement for young and older adults with mild or serious health challenges. All handpicked supplements are safe and legally certified. 

Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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