Vitamin K is stored in the liver and fat tissue of the body and is a fat-soluble vitamin. The ‘K’ stands for ‘Koagulationsvitamin’ that is German and refers to the role vitamin K plays in proper coagulation of the blood or clotting . Its role in clotting cascade is critical since it is required to make 4 / 13 proteins necessary for clotting of blood.
Health Benefits of Vitamin K
Apart from its important role in clotting of blood, health benefits of vitamin K include promoting bone health, as an anti-aging vitamin and more. The following are some of the conditions that are helped by a proper intake of vitamin K.
Excessive Bleeding : The greatest health benefits of vitamin K are for people who suffer from liver disease and have
excessive bleeding. This is a result of taking long term antibiotics and the inability of the body to absorb vitamin K. Babies born in the US, Great Britain and Canada are given vitamin K injections to prevent bleeding in the brain. Since babies are born with no intestinal bacteria, they cannot get enough vitamin K from mother’s milk to protect them until they can make this nutrient on their own.
Premature babies and babies of pregnant women on seizure medication are susceptible to vitamin K deficiency and the danger of hemorrhages. In fact mothers on seizer medicines are given an oral Vitamin K supplements two weeks prior to their delivery date . Asthmatic children are given oral doses of vitamin K .
Osteoporosis : Post menopausal women from the age of 50 are susceptible to osteoporosis. Vitamin K is needed by calcium to build bones. Those who have higher bone density have greater levels of vitamin K and those with lower levels of vitamin K suffer from osteoporosis. Vitamin K maintains healthy bones and prevents fractures. A study of athletes of both sexes has found that vitamin K intake improves bone health although another study found that it did not help bone density .
Recommended Dosage of Vitamin K
Post menopausal women are more at risk since estrogen levels decline after menopause. Bone building will begin to wane and signs of osteoporosis like pain, spinal deformity and fractures will occur .
Benefits in Bone health : Apart from osteoporosis, vitamin K is essential for overall bone health. The ‘Framingham Heart Study’ shows that vitamin K intake is directly related to women enjoying enhanced bone mineral density and lowered risk of hip fracture in women and men. The overall biochemical measure of bone health improved with the right dietary intake of vitamin K. Those who regularly eat green leafy vegetables get adequate quantities of vitamin K.
Anti-aging properties : Some people are susceptible to dark circles under their eyes. This can be heredity or due to hormones or allergies. Dark circles are commonly caused due to leaking capillaries that are around the eyes. This results in pooling of blood and blood clotting. Vitamin K helps to constrict these capillaries and prevent clots from occurring.
Blood Clotting : Critical health benefits of vitamin K comprise the ability to regulate blood clotting for it helps in prothrombium amalgamation. When a person gets injured, a blood vessel can tear. At this time, blood clotting takes place and this process is regulated by vitamin K. A group of molecules that circulate in the bloodstream clot blood and vitamin K aids this since it helps to transports calcium. Vitamin K2 or menaquinones helps improve myelodyplastic – a blood disorder.
Prevents Calcification : Those who suffer from cardiovascular disease have calcified heart valve and blood vessels that is caused by building up of calcium inside the soft tissues. This can prevent the heart from functioning properly and results in hardening of arteries. This calcification can be prevented with adequate supply of MGP a special protein that helps block formation of calcium crystals. MGP must be present in a carboxylated form to carry out this function. Vitamin K is essential for the carboxylation process and hence is responsible for prevention of calcification of heart valve and blood vessels.
Other Health Benefits of Vitamin K
Internal Bleeding is caused by Crohn’s disease, sprue, jaundice, mal-absorption and colitis as a result of decrease in vitamin K content in the body. It can be controlled by vitamin K intake.
Menstrual Pain symptoms are relieved with vitamin K for it helps women get regular periods.
Pregnant women who have symptoms of nausea and vomiting suffer from vitamin K deficiency. This vitamin provides relieve within 72 hours.
Biliary obstruction caused by prolonged intake of oral antibiotics, regional enteritis, celiac disease and ulcerative colitis can be prevented by proper intake of vitamin K.
Blood sugar levels can be regulated with proper quantities of vitamin K in the body. This is because pancreas, that manufacture insulin have the 2nd highest vitamin K content in the body.
Immune system can be boosted by taking vitamin K found in raw cultured vegetables, liquid Spirulina, Milk Kefir, Young Coconut Kefir and Coco-Biotic.
Foods rich in Vitamin K
Health benefits of vitamin K is got from green leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale, parsley, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and commonly used cooking oils . Beef liver, turnip, green tea, asparagus, cabbage and dark green lettuce also contain significant quantities of vitamin K. Chlorophyll that gives the green color to plants contains vitamin K . Another rich source of vitamin K is cow’s milk
Precautions when taking Vitamin K
There can be adverse effects of vitamin K when taken with other medications. Hence, dietary supplements must be taken only after consulting a doctor. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a doctor when taking vitamin K supplements for this vitamin is found in breast milk. Those with Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency – a rare metabolic condition – and those who take warfarin should avoid vitamin K.
Health benefits of vitamin K especially for protection against uncontrolled bleeding are critical. Babies are more at risk of vitamin K deficiency than adults. Those who are alcoholics, malnourished, suffer from colitis or Crohn’s disease can suffer from vitamin K deficiency. Since vitamin K is critical for blood clotting, bone health, heart health and has anti-aging properties, everyone must ensure they take adequate quantities of this essential vitamin.