The health benefits of Vitamin K
Vitamin K – Introduction
Vitamins are defined as organic chemical compounds that are required by the body to properly function. Vitamins are required for normal growth, metabolism and overall well-being of the body. The body required about 13 different vitamins including vitamin K to perform these functions. The benefits of vitamin K are discussed below.
The primary source of vitamins is from food and they can also be obtained from dietary supplements. It is not possible to make vitamins in the body.
Vitamins can be classed as either water-soluble or fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body mainly in the fatty tissues and do not dissolve in water but fat. The fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E and K. The water-soluble vitamins are C and all the B vitamins. These are not stored in the body for very long and will dissolve in water as the name suggests.
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Forms of Vitamin K
There are different forms of Vitamin K; from plant synthesis and bacteria synthesis. Vitamin K from plant synthesis is known as vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K made by bacteria is known as Vitamin K2 (menaquinone).
Benefits of Vitamin K
Vitamin K has two main benefits in the body. Vitamin K contributes to the normal clotting of the blood. The other benefit of Vitamin K in the body is that it contributes to the maintenance of normal bones.
1. Vitamin K and Blood Clotting
When there is a break in a blood vessel, the blood may clot and affects the free flow of blood in the body. Clotting helps the body to stop bleeding from cuts, bruises, and other unwanted injuries. Vitamin K which is stored in the liver makes prothrombin which is an important protein that circulates in the blood. Without enough Vitamin K in the body, the production of prothrombin slows down which leads to a bleeding tendency. As a result, a small cut can bleed for a long time and a small bang may cause a big bruise to the body.
2. Vitamin K and Normal Bones
Vitamin K contributes to the maintenance of normal bones by working with calcium in the body. Osteoblasts are responsible for the formation of bones. These osteoblast cells synthesize osteocalcin under the direction of the active form of vitamin D. Vitamin K plays an important role in enabling osteocalcin to bind minerals to bones. As a result, if you lack vitamin K, you won’t be able to form new bone very well. The long-term effect of the lack of Vitamin K can lead to osteoporosis or bones that are brittle and break easily.
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Food sources for Vitamin K
The main food sources for vitamin K are green leafy vegetables. These include kale, cabbage, broccoli, spinach and beet greens. Kale and broccoli are excellent sources, with just one cup providing about 10 times the recommended daily allowance. In addition to Vitamin K, these green leafy vegetables are also good sources of other important nutrients and vitamins.
Other food sources include oats, wheat bran, potatoes, corn, and soybeans.
Signs of vitamin K deficiency include excessive bleeding and damage to the liver. This is mostly caused by the body’s inability to absorb vitamin K rather than inadequate intake.
Vitamin K supplements
Vitamin K supplements are widely available on the market mostly as K2 Menaquinone with doses ranging from 10mcg to 150mcg. Taking Vitamin K supplements are an inexpensive way of ensuring that you have enough supply of Vitamin K in the body. It is possible to get just vitamin K supplements or multivitamins that contain the recommended allowance of vitamin K
Currently, there is no known toxicity associated with taking Vitamin K within the recommended dosages.
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