Monday, 17 March 2014

Function and Benefits of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is one of the lesser known vitamins that belongs to the family of fat soluble vitamins which means that it is stored by the body in small amounts for future use. 

Vitamin K is usually produced in sufficient quantities by bacteria in the intestines and is stored in small amounts in the liver.

Vitamin K includes K1 (also referred to as phylloquinone) and K2 (also referred to as menaquinone).  K1 is found in its highest amounts in leafy green vegetables whereas K2 is derived in its highest form from meat and dairy products.  K1 can also be converted into K2 by bacteria in the intestines.

Main Functions of Vitamin K

The main functions of Vitamin K include:

·         Assisting in forming prothrombin, a blood-clotting chemical.
·         Aiding in the coagulation of blood.
·         Helping to direct calcium to the bones and away from the arteries.

Benefits of Vitamin K

The main benefits to the body of Vitamin K include:

·         Helping to promote correct blood clotting.
·         Helping to prevent internal bleeding and haemorrhages.
·         Helping to reduce excessive menstrual flow.
·         Helping to heal wounds properly.
·         Helping to strengthen bones.

Natural Sources of Vitamin K

Bacteria in the intestine should normally produce enough Vitamin K for the body’s needs.  Natural food sources of Vitamin K include:

·         Yoghurt
·         Egg yolk
·         Fish liver oils
·         Soya bean oil
·         Vegetable oils
·         Leafy green vegetables, including broccoli, spinach, sprouts
·         Some fruits, including avocado, kiwi, grapes
·         Small amounts in meat and dairy products

Daily Recommended Allowance of Vitamin K

It is recommended that the daily amount of Vitamin K adults need is around 0.001 mg per kilogram of body weight.

Vitamin K Deficiencies

Deficiencies of Vitamin K are rare, but over a long period of time could include:

·         Impaired coagulation of blood.
·         Prolonged blood clotting time, which could result in excessive bleeding of even small cuts.
·         Bleeding from the gums or nose.
·         Bruising easily.
·         Anaemia.
·         Osteoporosis.
·         Calcification of the arteries.
·         Heart disease.
·         Heavy menstrual bleeding.
·         Deficiencies in newborns could result in serious damage from blood loss and bleeding into vital organs, including the brain.

Side-effects of Too Much Vitamin K

There is no known toxicity of Vitamin K, although people with thrombosis may have an increased tendency to blood clot formation.

N.B.   It’s always advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional if you have any concerns regarding your health or nutrient intake.

Prices/discounts indicated correct at time of writing/publishing.  E&OE.

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