Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamins present in both foods and dietary supplements. Newborns have very little vitamin K. They usually get a shot of vitamin K soon after they are born.
It is a group of a compound divided into two; vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Often Vitamin K1 is found in plant food sources while Vitamin K2 is found in animal-sourced foods or fermented plants.
Vitamin K Sources
Most people acquire the vitamin from foods and the rest from supplementary. Some of the food sources include mustard greens, kales, swiss chards, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and green beans. Foods containing vitamin K2 include beef liver, chicken, goose liver paste, bacon, ground beef, duck breast, beef kidneys, and chicken liver.
Vitamin K Health Benefits
According to several studies, the vitamin has been suggested to improve bones. Although research has not confirmed these, many say that it supports the maintenance of strong bones. Additionally, it is known to improve bone density and to decrease the risk of fractures.
It appears to be a correlation between low intake of vitamin K and osteoporosis. However, it is still not proven.
In older adults, vitamin K is recommended to improve memory. As the blood levels of the vitamin increase so do the episodic memory improves. One of the studies proves with healthy individuals over the age of 70 years. The individuals with the highest blood levels of vitamin K1 had the highest verbal episodic memory performance.
Vitamin K helps in maintaining blood pressure. It does this by preventing mineralization, where minerals build up in the arteries. Mineralization occurs with age naturally and it is a risk factor for heart disease. Also, studies prove it that adequate its intakes lower the risk of stroke.
Prevent Blood Clots
The body requires the vitamin for the complete synthesis of certain proteins. Proteins are required for blood coagulation or for controlling the binding of calcium in bones. In children, it is required to prevent blood bleeding.
Warfarin overdose and coumarin poisoning
It is used as a treatment for bleeding events caused by an overdose of Warfarin(anticoagulant drug). Also, it is a suggested treatment for poisoning by rodenticide e.g Coumarin poisoning. Patients are given vitamin orally to prevent negative effects of rodenticide poisoning.
Cancer/ Brain Tumor
The vitamin has been promoted in supplement form with claims it can slow tumor growth. However, no good medical evidence supports such claims.
Vitamin K Side Effects
Specifically, vitamin K1 has been associated with severe adverse reactions such as bronchospasm and cardiac arrest when given as an injection as opposed to orally. In the United States, over-the-counter sale for the vitamin was banned. This is because large doses have been shown to cause allergic reactions, hemolytic anemia, and cytotoxicity in liver cells.
The vitamin can not be used by other people with cancer, high cholesterol, and clotting disorders patients. Additionally, a blood thinner patient should only take vitamin K after doctors’ advisory. If taken in excessive amounts, one may develop clots in the arteries.
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