Often in our routine lives, we are so deeply involved in our activities, that we tend to neglect some of the nutrients that are essential yet not widely prescribed. One such nutrient is Vitamin K. The importance of Vitamin K has been well-researched over the last few years, and Vitamin K rich foods have been highlighted by several well-known global practitioners. The health benefits of Vitamin K are now being acknowledged in order to ensure an optimum amount of Vitamin K dose is received by those who care about their general well-being. Read on to understand more about Vitamin K benefits, Vitamin K function, the importance of Vitamin K, and Vitamin K rich foods.
Table Of Contents:
What Is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a group of nutrients that are fat-soluble, in chemical terms known as naphthoquinones. Vitamin K is so named because of its coagulating properties, based on the German word “koagulation”. This group of vitamins encompasses Vitamins K1, K2, and K3. Vitamin K1 is the most common and natural form of Vitamin K and occurs among many plant-based sources of Vitamin K. This is the source through which humans are primarily able to get their required dosage of Vitamin K. In healthy people, Vitamin K1 is naturally made by the helpful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
What Are The Functions Of Vitamin K?
Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is naturally ingested by the human body through plant-based sources, or created by gut bacteria. This nutrient is converted to Vitamin K2 in the process of digestion. The resultant nutrient is stored in the liver and some of the fatty tissues for future use. If you have always wondered which vitamin helps in blood clotting, Vitamin K is your answer. Vitamin K functions primarily involve producing a chemical called prothrombin, which is a must-have for the body to induce blood clotting during injuries. Without a sufficient Vitamin K dose, chances are a person might bleed to death even from minor accidents.
Sources Of Vitamin K:
Vitamin K1 being a major plant-based nutrient, is abundantly available in mother nature’s basket. Including most leafy greens in your daily diet is ideal to avoid any possible onset of Vitamin K deficiency diseases. Some examples of leafy green Vitamin K foods include lettuce, kale, mustard greens, collards, spinach, parsley, and so on. Certain green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are also rich sources of Vitamin K. Apart from these, there are certain Vitamin K rich fruits such as prunes, kiwi, and avocados. Some animal sources of Vitamin K include meat, fish, liver, and eggs. If supplementing with Vitamin K, depending on the condition, an average daily Vitamin K dose should be around 50 to 100 micrograms.
12 Amazing Vitamin K Benefits:
There are several health benefits of Vitamin K, the most prominent ones being listed below.
1. Coagulation: The primary Vitamin K function being the production of prothrombin, its main benefit is that it assists in blood clotting.
2. Bone Health: The importance of Vitamin K also lies in the fact that it helps in the transmission of Calcium throughout the body, which in turn has been heavily researched to be the primary nutrient behind healthy bones. This particular Vitamin K function ensures that chances of bone fractures are reduced. It is a common practice among physicians these days to prescribe a Calcium supplement with a significant inclusion of Vitamin K dose.
3. Neurological Health: Research has been conducted on older adults that have proven the role of Vitamin K in improving episodic memory. This is another of the lesser known Vitamin K benefits.
4. Heart Health: Through the efficient transportation of Calcium, a healthy Vitamin K dose ensures there is reduced calcification of arteries. It is also known to prevent the deposit of other minerals, enabling the heart to function correctly.
5. Cancer Prevention: Vitamin K is linked to fighting serious ailments such as cancer in the prostate gland, stomach, colon, and mouth.
6. Boosts Memory: The importance of Vitamin K in boosting our cognitive power cannot be overlooked. Studies have proved time and again that Vitamin K is crucial for the brain development.
7. Dental Health: Vitamin K benefits the health of our gums and teeth as well. The development of cavities and gum diseases has been linked to the deficiency of Vitamin K too.
8. Relieves Menstrual Cramps: Those who experience regular menstrual cramps are always advised to consume generous amounts of food containing Vitamin K. It helps in regulating the hormones responsible for triggering period cramps.
9. Prevention Of Haemorrhage In Babies: It is very crucial to consume Vitamin K rich food during pregnancy so that babies do not suffer from Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB.)
10. Reduces Excessive Blood Flow During Periods: Owing to its coagulating properties, Vitamin K can help to control an excessive flow of blood during menstruation.
11. Speeds Up The Wound Healing Process: Since Vitamin K benefits include efficient blood clotting, wounds are known to heal faster. It also helps in cell repairing and patching up the wounds and tears of the skin.
12. Relieves Morning Sickness Or Nausea During Pregnancy: Nausea, and morning sickness, two very common symptoms during pregnancy, can be prevented by including sufficient Vitamin K dose in the diet.
Vitamin K Deficiency And Treatment:
Although Vitamin K deficiency diseases are rare, there can be some repercussions of not having enough Vitamin K in the body. Some of the Vitamin K deficiency diseases and the ways to treat them with a proper Vitamin K dose are listed below.
‣ Hemorrhagic Disease: Infants who are recorded as deficient in Vitamin K at birth, usually suffer from bleeding problems. The correct Vitamin K dosage must be administered orally or through injections to newborns suffering from such kind of Vitamin K deficiency diseases.
‣ Prothrombin Deficiency: As one of the primary Vitamin K functions is to produce prothrombin, patients deficient in this chemical in their body could benefit from supplementing with an external Vitamin K dose.
‣ Vitamin K Dependent Clotting Factors Deficiency (VKCFD): This is typically a genetic disorder where patients experience clotting issues hereditarily. An adequate and regular Vitamin K dose, taken intravenously or orally could help keep this disorder at bay.
‣ Other Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms and Causes: Apart from excessive bleeding, which is the most common symptom of Vitamin K deficiency diseases, a patient might also experience blood in urine and stools, and quick bruising. Often, chronic malnutrition and alcohol-dependency can be attributed to Vitamin K deficiency diseases and may be treated by administering Vitamin K supplements and removing the trigger.
Word of Caution: People who regularly use blood thinners such as Warfarin should be cautious about supplementing their diet with Vitamin K rich foods. It is advisable to ask for a physician’s recommendation for the correct Vitamin K dose in such a situation if at all Vitamin K deficiency is discovered.
Ensuring a sufficient supply of Vitamin K from various naturally occurring Vitamin K rich foods is essential for lifelong benefits of good health and vitality. This underrated but essential nutrient is easy to get from diet, simple to convert inside the body and can be easily supplemented when needed. If the next time you run into someone who shows signs of excessive bleeding during injuries, and wonders which Vitamin helps in blood clotting, you may suggest the list of Vitamin K rich foods in order to help them maintain the sufficient levels of the nutrient.