Vitamin k is an essential vitamin you may know nothing about or never even thought about, to be honest. Most of us get enough in our nutritional lifestyle. It falls through the cracks. Yet, small amounts of it circulate the bloodstream at any given time. It is important for blood clotting, bone metabolism and building protein.
Types of vitamin K
There are two types of vitamin k. K1 comes from leafy greens as well as cauliflower. Our gut bacteria produce K2, as do animals.
K2 can come from soy foods, beef, liver, curdled cheese, egg yolks and a few other sources. Most people can convert k1 to k2 when necessary.
Benefits of Vitamin k
As the first paragraph says, vitamin k is essential for blood clotting, which is importing in keeping people from bleeding out when cut. A notion that occurs because the vitamin is in charge of active proteins during the clotting process.
That said, it is essential for strong teeth and bones. K1 and K2 aid in calcium regulation. A vital notion for skeletal strength. People with low vitamin K are at higher risk for osteoporosis that causes bones to become weak and easily fractured. Individuals suffering from the disease already need to keep their daily intake high to slow or even stop further degeneration.
K2 aids in brain health by protecting it from rapid ageing. It plays a role in the production of the compound sphingolipids. A compound that is important to overall brain health and functionality, but changes in metabolism can lead to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
There are various recommendations for daily intake to receive these benefits. The first one is common and widely used amongst professionals, 90 micrograms for women and 120 for men. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 55 micrograms for women and 65 for men. While other research suggests using a mathematical formula similar to daily protein intake, one microgram per kilogram of bodyweight.
That said, as a nutritionist and coach, I recommend consuming at least the minimum amount, 55 micrograms for women and 65 for men. A goal that is easily achievable no matter your dietary restrictions.
Now I know some of you are vegans like me and concerned about getting enough dietary vitamin k2. Fear not since our Body can convert k1 to k2 in our diet provides us with sufficient amounts of the nutrient.
For others worried about intake, it’s unnecessary to supplement vitamin K unless you show signs of deficiency. These signs include a reduction in blood clotting, bruises that last longer than normal, weakening of bones and infections.
Bear in mind that being deficient is rare and happens when someone has severe liver or digestive diseases. Sometimes it occurs when someone takes overloads on antibiotics as they kill healthy gut bacteria where vitamin k2 production occurs.
Supplementing vitamin K can be harmful if too much is ingested. It is recommended to stay under 1000 micrograms to avoid any adverse effects. Since we only absorb 30 – 40% from supplements.
However, if you are someone on blood-thinning medication, consult your doctor before supplementing vitamin K as it could render your medication almost useless.