Vitamin K Health Benefits, Food Sources, Deficiency, and More

vitamin k health benefits
Vitamin K Health Benefits, Food Sources, Deficiency

A vitamin is an organic compound that is a necessary micronutrient. As a result, we require it in trace levels for regular body tissue functioning, growth, and maintenance. Unfortunately, our bodies are unable to synthesise these essential micronutrients, either entirely or in sufficient quantities.

They are classified as water-soluble or fat-soluble because they are either soluble or dissolvable in fat or water. As a result, it is critical to consume them through a diet. We should ingest a variety of essential vitamins. Most of us are aware of the importance of vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, but did you know about vitamin K?

When was the last time you were bleeding from scraped knees, paper cuts, or a sliced finger while chopping? Do you know how long it took for the scratch to stop bleeding? Maybe a minute, or maybe you wrapped it in a bandage and didn’t notice it was missing for hours?

Have you ever thought about how this is possible? Do you know who is in charge of these bodily functions?

Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin, is the answer to these issues. It is one of the 13 vitamins found in the human body and is required for proper blood coagulation. The body will not stop bleeding if vitamin K is not present. It is plentiful in both plant and animal sources. Most people can achieve their daily vitamin K requirements only through balanced diets.

Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin K

Vitamin K is required for the production of three key proteins in the body. It protects your arteries from calcium buildup and is principally involved in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and protein synthesis. It works in the liver as well as other tissues such as the brain, pancreas, and heart, as well as the skeletal system.

While vitamin K appears to be a single substance, it is actually a collection of chemicals. The most important components are vitamin K1 and vitamin K2, also known as phylloquinone and menaquinone.

Vitamin K2 (or menaquinone) is predominantly produced by intestinal flora, also known as “gut bacteria.” Vitamin K1 (or phylloquinone) can, on the other hand, be obtained mostly by diet, particularly from green leafy vegetables.

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Vitamin K: Daily Requirement

According to scientific studies, the Adequate Intake (AI) of Vitamin K for different people of different ages is:

Infants

2 mcg for children aged 0 to 6 months
2.5 mcg for children aged 7 to 12 months

Children

30 mcg for children aged 1 to 3 years
55 mcg for children aged 4 to 8 years

Women

60 mcg for children aged 9 to 13 years
75 mcg for children aged 14 to 18.
90 mcg for those aged 19 and up
90 mcg during pregnancy and lactation

Men

60 mcg for children aged 9 to 13 years
75 mcg for children aged 14 to 18.
120 mcg for those aged 19 and up

The Top 15 Vitamin K Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet

1. Cabbage

Kale is a superfood that is high in the dietary form of vitamin K known as phylloquinone. 100 grammes of cooked or boiling kale without salt, for example, has 817mcg of vitamin K. Kale contains over 681 percent of the DV (Daily Value) of vitamin K, making it the finest plant-based source of vitamin K. It’s finest eaten raw or mixed into salads, spaghetti, or soups.

Kale is accessible all year and is a nutritional powerhouse. Aside from being high in vitamin K, kale is low in calories and fat. According to one study, drinking kale juice lowers harmful cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of coronary heart disease.

2. Greens with Collards

Collard greens are one of the richest sources of vitamin K and other critical elements. It is high in vitamin K, with over 800mcg per serving. According to USDA data, 100 grammes of raw collard greens contain around 437mcg of vitamin K. It contains about 370 percent of the daily vitamin K requirement.

Collard greens are high in B vitamins, calcium, iron, folate, and potassium. Its nutritional profile benefits bone and blood health in a variety of ways. Vitamin K, for example, can enhance calcium absorption and lower the risk of bone fracture. Furthermore, collard greens may be able to counteract carcinogenic elements that cause renal, colorectal, and breast cancer.

3. Savoy cabbage

Spinach, in addition to being high in iron, is also high in vitamin K, C, and A. 483mcg of vitamin K can be found in 100 grammes of fresh spinach. It provides up to 402 percent of the daily need for vitamin K.

Cooked spinach, on the other hand, contains more vitamin K than raw spinach. One cup of cooked spinach has around 888.5 mcg of vitamin K, whereas one cup of raw spinach contains only 144.9 mcg.

Spinach contains vitamin K, which is required for blood clotting. Eating spinach is also good for your overall health.

According to one study, the nitrates found in spinach leaves can help manage blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health. Furthermore, it is generally safe for improving haemoglobin ratios and eye health.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli may not be everyone’s favourite vegetable, yet it provides various health benefits.

One hundred grammes of raw broccoli has 102mcg of vitamin K, while 100 grammes of cooked broccoli contains approximately 141mcg. However, you must avoid overcooking it in order to preserve its vitamins and other minerals.

Including vitamin K-rich broccoli in your diet can help boost your immunity. It also contains fibre and vitamin C. Furthermore, research demonstrate that eating broccoli sprouts on a daily basis helps improve insulin resistance in persons with type 2 diabetes.

5. Eggs

Eggs are a quick and easy supper. A single egg yolk contains between 67 and 192mcg of vitamin K. So one large egg provides 5 percent DV or 5.8 mcg of vitamin K. You can eat raw egg yolks, boil them, or scramble them.

Eggs provide far more than protein and vitamin K. They aid in the improvement of healthy cholesterol levels as well as the restoration of body structures. Furthermore, eggs help you feel full, which aids with weight management.

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6. Cheddar

The vitamin K content of different cheese kinds varies. So, no matter what type of cheese you enjoy, including it in your diet means increasing your intake of vitamin K. Soft cheeses have 59 mcg or more of vitamin K per 100g, whereas hard cheeses contain 87 mcg or more.

Cheese, in addition to vitamin K, provides protein, fat, and calcium to your diet. Consuming cheese helps underweight people gain weight in a healthy way. However, it is important to consume it in moderation.

7. Soybeans

Vitamin K comes in two forms: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Soybeans are high in both vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. 100 grammes of steamed or cooked soybeans, for example, provide roughly 70.6mcg of vitamin K. A regular half-cup serving of roasted soybeans also contains 43mcg of vitamin L.

Soybeans’ key health benefits are their function in diabetic management, boosting blood circulation, and promoting excellent sleep. Because of the folic acid and vitamin B complexes, it is also good during pregnancy.

8. Chicken

Non-vegetarians can receive the most vitamin K from chicken. Including 100 grammes of chicken in your diet provides 60 mcg of vitamin K, which is equivalent to 50% of the DV. Chicken liver is also high in vitamin K, with up to 13mcg per 100 grammes. Grilled and pan-seared chicken are excellent cooking methods for preserving its nutrients.

Protein, selenium, and niacin are all abundant in chicken. Eating the correct quantity of chicken boosts feelings of fullness in people who are trying to lose weight. Furthermore, it promotes muscle growth, bone health, and increases testosterone levels in men.

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9. Bacon

Bacon is also on the list of vitamin K-rich foods. One hundred grammes of bacon contains 35 mcg of vitamin K, or 29 percent of the daily value. You can try pan-fried, roasted, or broiled bacon.

Bacon has a high protein-to-fat ratio, making it a rich source of animal protein. Furthermore, its vitamins help with muscle strength, heart function, and bone health.

10. Lettuce

Lettuce is a common source of vitamin K in American diets. 100g of raw, green leaf lettuce contains 126mcg of vitamin K. Per serving, you’ll get almost 60mcg of vitamin K.

Furthermore, water makes up 95 percent of uncooked lettuce. As a result, it is suitable for hydration. In addition, lettuce extract enhances sleep and vision.

11. Green Peas

Green peas, for example, provide 26mcg of vitamin K, or roughly 22 percent of the DV. Eating half a cup of cooked green peas provides 21mcg, or 17 percent of the DV. It can be eaten as a side dish or added to soups and stews.

Green peas also help increase immunity due to their antioxidant characteristics and high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, and zinc. Green peas have anti-inflammatory effects and are heart-healthy.

12. Prunes

Most fruits are low in vitamin K, while prunes are high in it. Prunes provide 60mcg of vitamin K per 100 grammes, or 50% of the DV. Every prune has 5.7 micrograms of vitamin K.

Consuming half a cup, or roughly nine prunes, provides 51.8mcg of vitamin K. Simply toss sliced prunes into salads or combine them into smoothies.

Prunes can help postmenopausal women improve their bone density by limiting bone loss. It is also beneficial to digestion and heart health. However, excessive use may result in a laxative effect.

21 Day Smoothie Diet Video
21 Day Smoothie Diet Video

13. Kiwi

Kiwi is another fruit that is high in vitamin K. It contains 40.3mcg of vitamin K per 100 grammes of food, which accounts for up to 34% of the daily value. You can eat it plain or add it to salads, drinks, and custards.

In terms of health advantages, kiwis are beneficial to bone health and the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Kiwi also contains vitamin C and fibre, in addition to vitamin K. Furthermore, they are appropriate for cellular repair and digestion, respectively.

14. Cashews

Cashews have a high vitamin K content. 100 grammes of raw cashews provide 34.1mcg of vitamin K, or 28 percent of the daily value. As a result, one ounce (28.35 grammes) of cashews provides 11% of the recommended intake of vitamin K for women and 8% for men.

Cashews are high in heart-healthy lipids while still being low in sugar. As a result, it is a well-known plant protein that plays a role in immunity, brain health, and energy production.

15. Pine Nuts

100 grammes of pine nuts provide 54mcg of vitamin K, or 45 percent of the daily value. One standard cup of dried pine nuts contains 81 percent of the daily value of vitamin K for women and 61 percent for men.

Pine nuts are a wonderful snack option because of their energy-boosting properties. It is also a superfood that protects the heart and adds a buttery flavour to your diet.

Vitamin K Deficiency

Vitamin K deficiency is uncommon because it is abundant in the diet and also obtained via gut microbes. It can still happen if you use antibiotics, which impede vitamin K metabolism. It also occurs in those who have a condition that causes food and nutrient malabsorption. Furthermore, it poses a risk to persons who have gastrointestinal issues.

Vitamin K insufficiency is also frequent in neonates due to the fact that it does not cross the placenta. Breast milk, by the way, contains very little. As a result, if neonates aren’t given vitamin K supplements, their blood clotting proteins diminish, increasing their risk of bleeding.

The following are the most prevalent symptoms of Vitamin K deficiency:

  • Prolonged prothrombin time or blood clotting time
  • Osteopenia and osteoporosis
  • Haemorrhaging
  • Bleeding

Vitamin K Health Benefits

Vitamins K1 and K2 are both necessary for good health. Some of the most well-known health benefits of both types of vitamin K are as follows.

Vitamin K boosts bone health

According to research, Vitamin K and Vitamin D work together to help the body metabolise calcium, which is required for strong bones. Vitamin D increases calcium absorption in the small intestine, and vitamin K aids calcium buildup in the bones, which maintains them strong.

Vitamin K is also involved in the production of proteins in bone, such as “osteocalcin,” which aids in the prevention of bone deterioration.

Cardiovascular Health

Calcium buildup in the arteries surrounding your heart is a major cause of heart disease. As a result, anything that can aid in the reduction of calcium build-up is advantageous in the prevention of heart disease.

Vitamin K contributes to this by encouraging regular calcium metabolism and reducing hazardous calcium plaque build-up (arterial calcification) in the arteries, hence enhancing heart health.

Clotting of the Blood

Vitamin K stimulates the development of the proteins prothrombin and osteocalcin, which are essential for blood clotting and the healing of wounds and the formation of healthy bone tissue. As a result, it aids in the reduction of the side effects of blood-thinning drugs.

Blood Pressure is Maintained by Vitamin K

Vitamin K, when paired with vitamin D, lowers blood pressure by reducing mineralisation, or the deposit of minerals in the arteries. As a result, the heart can efficiently pump blood throughout the body.

The Best Ways to Get Vitamin K

Vitamin D and Vitamin K2

Vitamin D is another fat-soluble vitamin that collaborates with vitamin K to carry out a variety of biological tasks. These include calcium metabolism regulation for bone and heart health. According to research, vitamin K2 improves vitamin D absorption.

K2 activates the protein osteocalcin after vitamin D transfers calcium into your blood. It guarantees that the protein is used for your bones rather than getting up in your arteries and causing potential heart problems. As a result, it is preferable to combine vitamin D and vitamin K2 tablets.

Fats and Vitamin K

Vitamin K absorption from dietary sources is approximately 20%. When paired with dietary lipids, however, its absorption can be increased. So, add a sprinkle of hazelnut or olive oil to your favourite leafy green salads and curries.

Soybean oil should be used.

To increase your vitamin K intake, cook with soybean oil. It has far more vitamin K than other oils. As a result, it is the most effective approach to include vitamin K in your daily diet. One tablespoon of soybean oil, for example, contains around 25mcg of vitamin K.

Choose Combos.

The greatest approach to increase your vitamin K consumption is through food. Instead of experimenting with just one vitamin K-rich food, combine it with others.

Adding prunes, cashews, and greens to a salad, for example, delivers more benefits than eating them separately. Do you want noodles? Try it with spinach noodles and chicken. It all depends on how the foods are combined.

Precautions and Side Effects of Vitamin K

Vitamin K, unlike other fat-soluble vitamins, is easily broken down and removed through urine or faeces. As a result, even at high dosages, it rarely reaches harmful levels in the body; thus, toxicity is uncommon.

Its toxicity, however, is due to its water-soluble nature. When poisoning occurs in babies, it is accompanied by jaundice and hemolytic anaemia. Hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus are two other signs.

Interaction of Drugs

Medication isn’t always the best option for everyone. As a result, those who are undergoing certain medical treatments should avoid taking vitamin K supplements. People who are taking any of the following medications should check their doctor before using these supplements.

  • Antacids\sAntibiotics
  • Thinners of the blood
  • Aspirin
  • Cancer medications
  • Stabilizing Drugs for Seizures
  • Medications for high cholesterol
  • Food Sources Pose a Risk of Goitre

Leafy vegetables, such as collard greens, are high in vitamin K. Collard greens, as a member of the Brassica family, contain goitrogens. They are a type of chemical that can increase the likelihood of developing goitre.

It has the potential to produce aberrant thyroid gland enlargement. As a result, persons with thyroid disease should avoid eating raw collard greens for vitamin K. Steaming and boiling, on the other hand, can reduce their goitrogen concentration.

Also Read – Oregano Health Benefits and Uses: The Complete List

Conclusion

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin required by the body for healthy blood clotting, strong bones, and cardiovascular health. As a result, in order to operate properly, you must take a suitable amount of vitamin K. It is abundant in most foods, and a healthy diet can help prevent deficiency.

The finest source of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is dark leafy green veggies. For optimal absorption, you can also ingest vitamin K sources and healthy fats. Certain circumstances, such as chronic illness and certain drugs, can, however, interfere with your levels and lead to health problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Does coffee include vitamin K?

No, coffee does not contain vitamin K. A 100 g cup of coffee, on the other hand, provides 355 calories and 0 g total fat and cholesterol. It also provides 277 mg sodium and 79 g carbohydrate, both of which are good for your health.

Q. What are the signs of a vitamin K deficiency?

A. Vitamin K insufficiency is uncommon, but it can occur in patients taking antibiotics or suffering from nutrient malabsorption. Bleeding or haemorrhage into the skin, which results in bruises, is one of the most prevalent vitamin K insufficiency symptoms.

These can happen in the nose, as a result of a wound, in the stomach, or in the colon. Urine or faeces may include blood, or stools may turn tarry black.

Q. Who is most vulnerable to vitamin K deficiency?

A. Vitamin K is not absorbed through the placenta. Breast milk includes only a trace quantity as well. As a result, until they begin eating standard foods, all infants are at a heightened risk of bleeding from VKDB or Vitamin K deficiency.

It normally happens between the ages of 6-7 months, until the regular gut flora produce vitamin K.

Q. What vitamin deficit is responsible for clots?

A. Vitamin K aids in the synthesis of numerous proteins. These proteins play an important role in blood clotting and bone formation. Prothrombin, for example, is a vitamin K-dependent protein that plays a direct role in blood clotting.

Q. Which of the following diseases is caused by a shortage of vitamin K?

A. Vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB) is a condition that affects persons who have insufficient amounts of Vitamin K. Unfortunately, a lack of it can also result in poor bone formation and osteoporosis. It also raises the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Q. How can I improve my absorption of vitamin K?

A. Dietary bioavailability of vitamin K is only about 20%. It is, however, a fat-soluble vitamin. As a result, mixing it with dietary lipids can aid in its absorption.

Q. Does vitamin K make the blood thicker or thinner?

A. Vitamin K thickens the blood, allowing it to clot and halt bleeding. Furthermore, warfarin is a medication that inhibits the effect of vitamin K. As a result, depending on your situation, they work against each other.

Q. Do you need vitamin K in addition to vitamin D?

A. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids in the transfer of calcium into the bloodstream. Vitamin K collaborates with Vitamin D to regulate calcium metabolism and to activate osteocalcin.

This protein ensures that calcium enters your bones rather than ending up in your arteries, where it might cause plaque build-up or arterial calcification.