The Importance of Vitamin K

Of all the vitamins out there, how often is vitamin K mentioned? It’s a good idea to learn about all vitamins so that our bodies can put them to good use.

 

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Vitamin K can be acquired naturally in the foods we eat or in supplement form, which can have an adverse effect on the body. This vitamin group shares some of the qualities of vitamin D, which is why they complement each other so well. Read on to learn why vitamin K is so important to your health and how you can get more of it in your diet.

What is Vitamin K? 

Vitamin K, or Koagulationsvitamin as it was first known from its German roots, is a collection of fat-soluble vitamins comprised of chemical compounds K1 and K2, which collectively encourage good bone health, natural blood clotting and the prevention of some diseases.

What’s So Great About Vitamin K? 

Vitamin K has 3 primary functions, including the following:

Blood Clotting – Vitamin K helps the body to produce proteins that aid in natural blood clotting, without which a person could bleed internally or externally to death. The vitamin can be used to treat patients postoperatively to prevent hemorrhaging and as a preventative measure for those who bruise easily and have heavy menstrual periods.

Bone Formation and Strengthening – Vitamin K helps bone growth and density, which lessens one’s chances of having bone fractures, brittle bones such as with osteoporosis, and the inability to support one’s own body weight or other weights. Vitamins D and K work together to prevent bone fractures, and when there is an imbalance among the two, the chances for fractures actually increases.

Disease Prevention (Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and liver disease) – Recent studies imply that large amounts of vitamin K protect against nerve damage which can cause or accelerate Alzheimer’s disease. The K2 vitamer in vitamin K also protects against certain cancers, including cancer of the liver and prostate.

Vitamin K also has been used in cream form to treat certain skin conditions like rosacea, spider veins, discoloration and bruising from cosmetic surgery.

Where Do You Find It? 

Vitamin K-rich foods include the following:

Prunes, which contain about ¾ of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin K in just 3.5 ounces.

Green vegetables like broccoli, scallions, brussel sprouts, asparagus, cabbage and cucumbers. Just 3.5 ounces of cabbage and cucumbers contain nearly the full RDA of vitamin K, 3.5 ounces of asparagus provide the full RDA, 3.5 ounces of broccoli provides nearly 2 times the RDA, and 3.5 ounces of brussel sprouts and scallions provides 2.5 times the RDA.

Chili powders and hot spices like cayenne pepper and paprika, which provide almost 1.5 times the RDA in 3.5 ounces.

Green, leafy vegetables like turnip greens, spinach or kale. Just 3.5 ounces of kale provides more than 10 times the RDA of vitamin K.

Herbs like thyme, sage or basil, all of which contain over 20 times the RDA.

Meat, cheese and eggs also provide a good dose of vitamin K, especially vitamer K2.

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