The body uses vitamin K, an essential nutrient, to form strong bones, aid in blood clotting, and maintain heart health. Vitamin K is present in a variety of foods, so deficiencies are uncommon.
Serious health problems can result from low vitamin K levels. Even receiving less than the advised dosage for an extended period of time may be detrimental to one’s general health. It may result in issues like heart disease, osteoporosis, tooth decay, easy bleeding, and problems with blood clotting.
For women, a daily intake of at least 90 micrograms (mcg) and for men, at least 120 mcg of vitamin K is advised. By incorporating the foods listed below into a balanced, healthy diet, the majority of people can easily reach these levels.
Food sources of Vitamin K
Vitamin K comes in two different forms: K-1 and K-2. A greater variety of foods contain vitamin K-1, which is particularly prevalent in green vegetables and some plant oils.
Only a few animal products and some fermented vegetables, like natto, a dish made from fermented soybeans, contain vitamin K-2 and are very beneficial for the body
Goose liver, beef liver, Turkey sausage, chicken meat, turkey frankfurter, salami, pepperoni, soft cheese, hard cheese, full-fat milk and bacon are some examples for Vitamin K-2
It’s crucial to understand that vitamin K concentrations are determined per 100 grammes of food.. Even though some herbs, like basil and thyme, appear to contain a lot of vitamin K, it is unlikely that someone would use that much of it when cooking.
Benefits of Vitamin K for Health
Increased consumption of foods high in Vitamin K may provide some protective advantages. A higher intake of vitamin K-2 was associated with a lower risk of cancer .
Additionally, vitamin K-2 seems to strengthen bones, which may help prevent broken bones. Vitamin K-2 intake does not always affect bone density. But those who took calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K-2 supplements had a 25% lower lifetime risk of suffering a bone fracture. 10% of the vitamin K in our bodies is produced by bacteria in the gut through the conversion of vitamin K1 to vitamin K2. Additionally, you can find trace amounts of K2 in liver, egg yolks, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.
The adults who take vitamin K were found to have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Other major Health Benefits also include:
Stronger vertebrae: Osteocalcin, a protein that creates healthy bone tissue, is made with the assistance of vitamin K. It collaborates with other vitamins as well.
Dr. Sherry Ross, a specialist in women’s health at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, explains that vitamin K and vitamin D work together to ensure that calcium gets to the bones where it can aid in their proper development.
Cardiovascular Health: There is mounting evidence that vitamin K is crucial for body cardiovascular health. According to a study from Edith Cowan University in Australia, those who consume a diet high in vitamin K have a 34 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease linked to atherosclerosis (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels).
Improved Vision: The eyes may also benefit from vitamin K.
Memory and Cognitive Health: Improved episodic (long-term) memory and improved cognitive health have been linked to higher levels of vitamin K in healthy older adults (the ability to think, learn and remember).
Good Digestive Health: Although you can get vitamin K2 from some foods, vitamin K2 is special because it is made by helpful microbes in the large intestine. Thus, consuming gut-friendly fermented foods like sauerkraut can support microbial diversity in the microbiome and maintain healthy levels of K2 in the body.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin K varies by country and is dependent on your age and sex. Men in the United States should consume 120 micrograms (mcg), while women should take in 90 mcg.
How to increase your intake of vitamin K
The majority of dietary recommendations currently do not distinguish between vitamins K-1 and K-2. It may be best to give the body sources of both kinds.
Getting enough vitamin in their diets,if they eat a balanced diet full of whole fruits and vegetables. Eating dark, leafy greens is one of the simplest ways to increase the intake of vitamin K-1 in the diet.
Healthful gut bacteria produce some vitamin K-2.The best way to ensure the body gets enough is by eating it.
Vitamin K Deficiency Symptoms
Since vitamin K is necessary for the creation of blood-clotting factors, excessive bleeding is a sign of vitamin K deficiency. This may also show up as frequent bruises and blood in the urine and stools.
Although vitamin K deficiencies are not common in the US, you may be more susceptible if you:
- have a digestive illness that interferes with absorption
- are on antibiotics, taking blood thinners and anticoagulants, have severe malnutrition, and consume a lot of alcohol
- a bariatric (weight loss) surgery patient