Vitamin K Health Benefits : Dosage, Deficiency and Food Sources

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Nutrients are the essential compounds used by our body to survive, develop, and grow. They are also vital for preventing any kind of health-related disease or illness.

Today we are going to discuss an essential nutrient named as Vitamin K. Well, most of you may be unaware of its uses and benefits. But the fact is, it is an equally important vitamin for our body which performs many effective functions. lets have a look at Vitamin K Health Benefits.

Vitamin K Deficiency, Sources and Dosage

What is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is the substance which belongs to the family of the fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. It is an essential vitamin which plays an important role in promoting healthy blood clotting by producing proteins. Vitamin K also plays an essential role in regulating our blood calcium levels and also improves our bone metabolism.

Facts About Vitamin K Health Benefits

Some unknown facts related to the use of Vitamin K are:

  • Vitamin K is a type of nutrient required by our body in a small but consistent amount.
  • Vitamin K is an essential element required to form substances like Coagulation factors, Proteins C and Protein S.
  • The term “vitamin K” is derived from a German word known as the “Koagulationsvitamin”.
  • Our body requires Vitamin K to produce a protein named as Prothrombin. Prothrombin is an essential clotting factor which helps in blood clotting. It also helps in improving the bone metabolism too.
  • Vitamin K is mainly a group of different compounds like Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2.
  • Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, usually obtained from the leafy plants and other vegetables.
  • Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinone, can be easily obtained from the fermented food items and animal-based foods like eggs, meats, etc.
  • The deficiency of vitamin K is very rare, but the deficiency may increase the clotting time which may lead to haemorrhage and too much bleeding.
  • It is advised by the medical experts to maintain a fine line of balance between taking enough and taking too much of such nutrients.
  • Because getting enough of vitamins helps in keeping you fit and on the other side, getting too much may end up hurting your immunity and health.
  • All the substances as mentioned above are required to clot the blood when any kind of injury occurs in our blood vessels.
  • The substances also help in preventing excessive clotting.
  • Deficiency of Vitamin K may lead to the situation of excessive bleeding, slow clotting, and easy bruising.
  • Vitamin K is also known as an essential nutrient which helps in preventing the bone loss in the human body.
  • As per the medical experts, the adequacy of vitamin K improves bone density and also reduce the risk of bone fractures.

Therefore, follow a nutritious regime and a balanced diet to get all the required nutrients.

What Are Important Vitamin K Health Benefits?

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble nutrient which benefits our body in different ways such as:

1. Improves Bone Health

As per the recent studies, it has been found that Vitamin K helps in supporting stronger bones. It also helps in improving the bone density while decreasing the risk of bone fractures. Thus, it can be prescribed for treating the problems associated with Osteoporosis.

2. Improves Mental Health

Vitamin K also helps in increasing the blood levels, which allows improving the memory in older adults.

3. Improves Heart Health

Vitamin K also helps in maintaining your blood pressure levels by anticipating mineralization, where minerals develop in the heart arteries. This empowers your heart to simply pump blood through your body. Thus, the ideal intake of vitamin K helps in lowering the risks of heart stroke.

What are the Causes of Vitamin K Deficiency?

The insufficient intake of dietary elements like leafy vegetables, leafy greens, etc. are known as the most essential cause of Vitamin K deficiency.

Other factors which may cause the deficiency of vitamin K are:

  • Inadequate absorption of dietary elements.
  • Any type of liver disease which may cause the decreased storage of vitamin.
  • Any type of intestinal problems causes the less absorption of vitamins in the body.
  • Individuals who are associated with the drug or alcohol.
  • Individuals taking an extremely high dosage of vitamin A or vitamin E.

Health Risks Associated with Vitamin K Deficiency?

The deficiency of Vitamin K is very rare to be found in healthy people, but at the same time, it is common to be found in the people who are suffering from chronic conditions, liver problems or are severely ill such as Cancer patients, dialysis patients and more. Thus, all such people are more prone to the risk of malnutrition.

The interaction of vitamin K supplements with certain medications is not recommendable. Some medicines, for example, anti-microbial, acid neutralizers and against seizure prescriptions can meddle with the assimilation of Vitamin K1, decline the amount of K2 which is generally produced in our digestive organs. It may cause a deficiency of vitamin K.

Other than this, the high dosage of medicines prescribed for headache may also arise the need for more vitamin K in the body.

Other individuals who might be having the deficiency of vitamin K have a condition that results in a health ailment where the body is not able to absorb the body fat properly. Thus, the condition is known as Malabsorption.

Such individuals who have issues engrossing or absorbing fat in the body may have related health problems such as celiac infection, cystic fibrosis, some part of their digestive organ (intestine) is removed and the problem of a biliary or an intestinal tract.

These are the issues or health risks which may be usually found in adults with vitamin K deficiency.

What are the Symptoms of Vitamin K Deficiency Found in Adults?

There are several signs related to a deficiency of Vitamin K, yet the common symptom is the excessive or too much bleeding.

Additional symptoms of excessive bleeding include :

  • Easy bruising or wounding
  • Little blood clusters under the nails
  • Bleeding found in the membranes that line zones inside the body
  • The dark stool which may also contain blood
  • Blood in the pee
  • Excessive bleeding from the bruises, surgical wounds, injection sites, etc.
  • Heavy menstrual flows
  • Increased prothrombin time, which means slow clotting

Why Newborns Are More Prone to Vitamin K Deficiency?

Newborns are more prone to the deficiency of Vitamin K. It is because their digestive organs don’t yet perform the normal functions, and the mother’s milk also does not furnish them with the required intake of vitamin K. We need to be extremely careful about the deficiency of this vital nutrient in newbornes so that the infants can also gain Vitamin K Health Benefits.

During pregnancy, if the mother has taken certain medications like anti-seizure medicines than the infants are more prone to the risk of vitamin K deficiency at the time of birth. The deficiency of Vitamin K in infants is associated with the hemorrhagic disease of infants which is also termed as VKDB.

It may also cause excessive bleeding and wounding, whereas in some cases, it can cause fatal bleeding into the cerebrum.

There are a few reasons why infants are progressively inclined to vitamin K deficiency such as :

  • Breast milk is quite low in vitamin K nutrient
  • Vitamin K is also unable to move through the placenta from the mother to the child
  • An infant’s liver not able to utilize vitamin K effectively
  • An infant’s liver is unable to produce Vitamin K-2 in the initial days after birth.

What Are The Symptoms Found in Newborns Who Are Prone to Vitamin K Deficiency?

The symptoms of vitamin K deficiency in infants and babies are :

  • Bleeding from the area where the umbilical cord has been expelled
  • Bleeding  in the skin, nose, gastrointestinal tract, or more
  • Bleeding in the penis if the infant has been circumcised
  • Any kind of bleeding in the brain, which is considered extreme and conceivably life-threatening too.

What is the Daily Ideal Dose Recommended for Vitamin K?

The ideal dose recommended by the medical experts from the food and other sources of vitamin K by your age is as follows :

Age Group Ideal Vitamin K Intake ( micrograms/day)
Infants (0-6 months) 2
Infants (7-12 months) 2.5
Toddlers (12-36 months) 30
Children (4-8 years) 55
Children (9-13 years) 60
Teenage Girls (14-18 years) 75
Teenage Boys (14-18 years) 75
Women (19 and above) 90
Men (19 and above) 120
Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers 75-90

What are the Natural Sources of Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is generally found in vegetables, particularly in the green leafy vegetables such as :

  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Asparagus
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Turnip greens and more

All these sources are found rich in Vitamin K.

Some other sources other than green vegetables are :

  • Soybean oil
  • Strawberries
  • Whole milk
  • Eggs
  • Grapes
  • Natto (made of fermented soybeans)
  • Meat like chicken liver
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Ham
  • Carrot
  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Okra
  •  Any other dairy products like cheese etc.

Thus, in order to gain Vitamin K Health Benefits, add the above-mentioned sources of food in your diet and maintain the adequacy of vitamin K in the body.

Risks Associated with Vitamin K Supplements When Taken With Other Medications?

There is no upper tolerable limit defined for taking Vitamin K by the health experts. The toxicity or side effect of taking an excessive intake of vitamin K is very rare or unlikely.

If you add any type of vitamin K supplement in your diet then it may lead to toxicity.

Vitamin K can interact with some common medicines such as :

1. Blood-thinners –

Blood thinners simply work by diminishing or deferring the coagulating capacity of vitamin K. Thus, sudden increase or decrease in the intake of vitamin K can interfere with such medicines. Thus, maintain the ideal and consistent intake of vitamin K to avert the issues.

2. Anticonvulsants –

If the anticonvulsants are taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding then it may increase the risk of Vitamin K deficiency in the fetus or infants.

3. Lowering down cholesterol levels, medications –

These medicines are known for interfering between the fat absorption in the body. On the other hand, vitamin K is a substance of fat-soluble and dietary fats are required to absorb vitamin K in the body. Thus, people taking such medicines are more prone to Vitamin K deficiency.

In order to ensure that the body has an adequate amount of nutrients, then simply follow a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and leafy vegetables in combination with the perfect fitness regime. Always consult your doctor before starting any vitamin K supplements.

If you want to add some additional information regarding the use and benefits of vitamin K for our body, then kindly share your information and valuable thoughts in the comments section below.

Thanks and have a great day!

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