Nutrition is vital in our diet. The adequate intake of minerals and vitamins is essential for our body. While we often talk about most vitamins. It is rare to hear about Vitamin K. Recent studies show that regular intake of Vitamin K-rich food leads to better heart health. The good news is that there are plenty of food sources rich in Vitamin K and readily available.
What Is Vitamin K and Its Different Types?
Vitamin K is not a single vitamin; it is a group of fat-soluble vitamins with similar chemical structures. Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting, a process that prevents excessive bleeding. It also supports good bone and heart health.
Types of Vitamin K
- Vitamin K1 or Phylloquinone
- It makes up for up to 90% of Vitamin K consumed by the human body.
- Plant foods like green leafy vegetables are the primary sources of Vitamin K1
- Vitamin K2 or Menaquinone
- There are several subtypes of menaquinone ranging from MK-1 to MK-13.
- Fermented foods and animal products are good sources of Vitamin K2.
- Gut bacteria also produce vitamin K2 in our intestinal tract.
- Vitamin K3 or Menadione
- Artificially prepared vitamin K, not for human consumption.
- Typically used in livestock and commercial dogs and cat’s food.
How Much Vitamin K Do You Need?
As per the world health organization (WHO), women need an average of 55 micrograms per day compared to 65 micrograms for men. An excellent way to determine the required amount is your body weight. We need one microgram of vitamin k per kilogram of our body weight every day. So if you weigh 65 KG, you need 65 mcg of Vitamin K every day.
Although deficiency of Vitamin K is rare in adults, it can happen due to-
- Fat malabsorption, this medical condition limits the body from absorbing fat.
- Excessive intake of antibiotics
- The diet that doesn’t contain vitamin k rich foods.
Look out for the symptoms
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots underneath nails
- Gets bruises easily
If you observe any signs, you must consult your physician and switch to a diet containing vitamin k rich foods.
How to Add More Vitamin K to Your Diet?
You can add more vitamin K to your diet by choosing foods rich in Vitamin K1 and K2. For example, while green leafy vegetables contain Vitamin K1, dairy products, and fermented foods are good sources of Vitamin K2.
Food Sources Rich in Vitamin K1
- Brussel Sprouts
- Turnip greens
Food Sources Rich in Vitamin K2
- Fermented soybeans like natto and sauerkraut
- Egg Yolk
How to Safely Use Vitamin K2?
Vitamin K2 regulates the use of calcium, especially in the bones, arteries, and teeth; hence, doctors may ask you to take supplements in case of deficiency. Don’t take Vitamin K2 and D3 supplements at the same time. There should be a minimum 8-12 hours gap.
Why Is Vitamin K Essential for Heart Health?
If Vitamin A is for the eyes, Vitamin K is “Vitamin for the heart.” A recent study shows that a Vitamin K-rich diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The researchers observed the cardiovascular health of 50,372 danish citizens for 21 years. They concluded that the risk of heart-related hospitalization was far less for people who consumed Vitamin K1 and K2.
Other clinical trials suggest that Vitamin K intake may be beneficial for patients who are on blood-thinning medication. The findings are path breaking as it dismisses the popular notion of anti-blood-thinning properties of Vitamin K against specific drugs like warfarin.
Your well-being should be your topmost priority. Vitamin is essential for blood coagulation, bone health, and a healthy heart. Never take vitamin supplements without a doctor’s prescription; instead, eat green leafy vegetables and fermented foods that are a rich source of Vitamin K.