Vitamin K referred to a group of fat-soluble vitamins present in foods and sold as dietary supplements. The human body requires vitamin K for the post-synthesis alteration of specific proteins necessary for blood coagulation or calcium-binding in bones and other tissues. The last alteration of these so-called “Gla proteins” by the enzyme gamma-glutamyl carboxylase, which utilizes vitamin K as a cofactor, accomplishes the production. The presence of uncarboxylated proteins indicates vitamin K insufficiency. Carboxylation enables them to bind calcium ions, which they would otherwise be unable to perform. Blood coagulation is severely hampered without vitamin K, resulting in uncontrollable bleeding. According to research, vitamin K shortage may also weaken bones, perhaps leading to osteoporosis and causing calcification of arteries and other soft tissues.
Henrik Dam, a Danish chemist, discovered vitamin K while investigating the reason for bleeding in chicks given low-fat diets in 1929. After several experiments and a scurvy misdiagnosis, he found that a novel fat-soluble component found in plant and animal tissues was the missing vitamin needed to clot the blood. He appropriately dubbed this new finding “Koagulations vitamin,” thus, the K. Vitamin K is divided into two kinds, each with a long and difficult-to-pronounce name: phylloquinone and menaquinone. If you don’t want to impress a scientist, call them vitamin K1 and K2, respectively.
Food Sources –
The form of vitamin K you’ve been instructed to consume your whole life is phylloquinone (K1). It’s one of several vitamins and minerals included in the bundles of pleasure you see every week in the produce section:
- Kale, mustard greens, and spinach are dark leafy greens.
- Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are examples of green vegetables.
- Prunes, kiwi, avocado, and blackberries are examples of fruits.
- Walnuts, chickpeas, pistachios, raw sugar peas, and kidney beans are examples of nuts and legumes.
K1 is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in fats and must be consumed with fatty meals to be adequately absorbed. It also allows you to splurge on the oil-based dressing or a generous sprinkling of nuts.
The kind of vitamin K you’ve been instructed to limit or perhaps eliminate is menaquinone (K2). Because K2 is a bacteria-based vitamin found mainly in fermented meals and fatty animal products like egg yolks and cheese, it’s challenging to get enough of it.
Vitamin K aids in blood coagulation, as well as many other physiological functions. When administered to wounds, vitamin K activates a protein that aids in the formation of clots. It is considered to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis and improve bone metabolism and heart health. Keeping calcium out of arteries and body tissues is one-way Vitamin K2 protects the heart. The majority of people have adequate vitamin K levels. Vitamin K insufficiency is uncommon, given how abundant it is in diet and how gut bacteria produce it. Digestive issues and supplements are both beneficial to those who suffer from digestive problems. Intestinal problems may hamper vitamin K absorption and production. Antibiotics used for an extended period of time can lead to an infection; the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system may be depleted, resulting in lower vitamin K levels. Take vitamin K alongside healthy fats to receive the maximum benefit from it. Absorption may be aided by consuming vitamin K and fat-rich foods. Vitamin K1 is found in foods like kale and spinach. Vitamin K2 is found in abundance in yogurt and cheese. Olive and avocado oils can be combined with other healthy fats for a more balanced diet. Vitamin K is quickly degraded and excreted from the body. It is critical to have a consistent amount of vitamin K in one’s diet.
Vitamin K shortage can cause decreased blood clotting, increased bleeding, and increased prothrombin time since it supports blood clotting processes. Vitamin K insufficiency is uncommon in healthy children and adults, showing that regular diets are seldom insufficient. Infants may be an exception since they are at an elevated risk of insufficiency regardless of the mother’s vitamin status throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding owing to inadequate vitamin transfer to the placenta and low vitamin levels in breast milk. Secondary deficiencies can arise in persons who eat enough but have malabsorption issues such as cystic fibrosis or chronic pancreatitis and those with liver injury or illness. Secondary vitamin K deficiency can also arise in patients who regularly use a vitamin K antagonist medication like warfarin. Cefamandole is a medication linked to an increased risk of vitamin K insufficiency. However, the cause is unclear.
Henrik Dam discovered vitamin K in 1929 while researching the function of cholesterol in the diet of hens. He then found a vitamin extract from these hens that were linked to blood coagulation. In 1943, Henrik Dam and Edward Doisy were awarded the Nobel Prize for their contributions to discovering Vitamin K and its structure. Since then, numerous experts worldwide have published over 15,000 study publications on Vitamin C’s excellent health advantages and essential functions. It wasn’t until 1974 that the specific part of vitamin K was determined when prothrombin, a blood coagulation protein, was found to be vitamin K dependent. When the vitamin is present, prothrombin includes amino acids at the amino terminus of the protein, carboxyglutamate rather than glutamate. It may bind calcium, which is an essential element of the clotting process.
Prevents Cancer –
Vitamin K foods, such as leafy greens, are high in cancer-fighting antioxidants, which help reduce free radical damage and lower cancer risk, making them among the most excellent cancer-fighting diets.
Helps in building strong bones –
It’s critical to have enough vitamin K1 in your diet to keep your bones strong. It has a role in bone metabolism by increasing the quantity of a particular protein needed to keep calcium in your bones stable. Most women at risk for osteoporosis take supplements to ensure that their nutritional needs are met. Weight exercises a few times a week, frequent sun exposure, and a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids are other natural remedies for osteoporosis.
Blood Clotting –
Blood clotting is a vital mechanism that helps to prevent excessive bleeding after an injury. Bleeding from the gums or nose and easy bruising are two of the earliest indications of a vitamin K deficit. As a result, people using blood thinners like coumadin should limit their consumption of this vital vitamin. Coumadin inhibits blood coagulation by working against vitamin K. Increases or decreases in your daily consumption that are drastic might cause these drugs to become ineffective.
Keeps brain healthy –
Vitamin K is vital for nervous system health and is also thought to help with the function of the brain. This enzyme plays a role in sphingolipid metabolism, a kind of lipid present in brain cells membranes that regulate motor and cognitive behavior. Additionally, it helps to prevent oxidative stress brought on by free radical damage in the brain by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. Oxidative stress can harm your cells and possibly contribute to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Improves Heart Health –
Other benefits of eating foods strong in vitamin K include improved heart function. It is thought that coronary artery calcification is a strong predictor of coronary heart disease. Increasing your vitamin K consumption will help you maintain your heart healthy and robust by preventing it from progressing.
In the post we discussed about vitamin k deficiency symptoms, vitamin k2 side effects, vitamin k2 foods, and vitamin k benefits.