Vitamin K refers to structurally similar, fat-soluble vitamers found in foods and marketed as dietary supplements. The human body requires vitamin K for post-synthesis modification of certain proteins that are required for blood coagulation or for controlling the binding of calcium in bones and other tissue
Vitamin K plays a key role in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding. Unlike many other vitamins, vitamin K is not typically used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin K is actually a group of compounds. The most important of these compounds appears to be vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.
Why do people take vitamin K?
Low levels of vitamin K can raise the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. While vitamin K deficiencies are rare in adults, they are very common in newborn infants. A single injection of vitamin K for newborns is standard. Vitamin K is also used to counteract an overdose of the blood thinner Coumadin.
Vitamin K benefits the body in various ways.
Increased blood levels of vitamin K have been linked with improved episodic memory in older adults.
In one study, healthy individuals over the age of 70 years with the highest blood levels of vitamin K1 had the highest verbal episodic memory performance.
Vitamin K may help keep blood pressure lower by preventing mineralization, where minerals build up in the arteries. This enables the heart to pump blood freely through the body.
While vitamin K deficiencies are uncommon, you may be at higher risk if you:
- Have a disease that affects absorption in the digestive tract, such as Crohn’s disease or active celiac disease
- Take drugs that interfere with vitamin K absorption
- Are severely malnourished
- Drink alcohol heavily
In these cases, a health care provider might suggest vitamin K supplements.
Uses of vitamin K for cancer, for the symptoms of morning sickness, for the removal of spider veins, and for other conditions are unproven. Learn more about vitamins k2 and d3 as well as which foods pack the highest amount.
Vitamin K is found in the following foods:
- Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, turnip greens, collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, parsley, romaine, and green leaf lettuce.
- Fish, liver, meat, eggs, and cereals (contain smaller amounts)
Vitamin K deficiency symptoms
- bruises easily.
- gets small blood clots underneath their nails.
- bleeds in mucous membranes that line areas inside the body.
- produces stool that looks dark black (almost like tar) and contains some blood.
Bad Side Effects of Vitamin K
Severe vitamin K deficiency can cause bruising and bleeding problems because the blood will take longer to clot.
Vitamin K deficiency might reduce bone strength and increase the risk of getting osteoporosis because the body needs vitamin K for healthy bones.
What are the risks of taking vitamin K?
Side effects of oral vitamin K at recommended doses are rare.
Interactions. Many drugs can interfere with the effects of vitamin K. They include antacids, blood thinners, antibiotics, aspirin, and drugs for cancer, seizures, high cholesterol, and other conditions.
Risks. You should not use vitamin K supplements unless your health care provider tells you to. People using Coumadin for heart problems, clotting disorders, or other conditions may need to watch their diets closely to control the amount of vitamin K they take in. They should not use vitamin K supplements unless advised to do so by their health care provider.
Please share your comments below:
- Do you take Vitamin K? Why or why not?
- What health benefits do you derive from taking Vitamin K if you are taking it?
- Which food have you tried to acquire Vitamin K and gave you your desired results?
Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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