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Nutrition Vitamin K


Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin which is identified as an essential factor for blood clotting. There are 3 main notable forms of vitamin K that is vitamin K1 or phytonadione, phylloquinone, and phytonactone, vitamin K2 or menaquinones and vitamin K3 or menadione. Plants synthesize vitamin K1 and phylloquinone is also the principle dietary source of vitamin K. The primary function of vitamin K known is to assist in blood clotting, but vitamin K is also essential for other functions in the body. It plays an important role in normal bone calcification; the carboxylation does not occur without vitamin K and the proteins which are synthesized in the body remains inactive without vitamin K.

Low serum concentrations of vitamin K and high serum concentrations of uncarboxylated osteocalcin are associated with lower bone mineral density and high risk of hip fractures. Increased bone mass in post menopausal women have been seen on vitamin K administration. The insulin factory that is the pancreas has the second highest amount of vitamin K in the body, thus vitamin K may play a role in regulation of blood sugar.

Vitamin K and blood clotting - The primary function of vitamin K is its role in blood clotting. Vitamin K is required in the synthesis of prothrombin and thus is necessary to regulate normal blood clotting. When an injury produces a tear in a blood vessel, clotting begins automatically (it involves collection of molecules which circulate through the blood stream continuously).

Vitamin K and bone health - Vitamin K may also help to improve bone health by reducing the incidence of bone fractures especially in post menopausal women at risk for osteoporosis. Low levels of vitamin K have been found in those with osteoporosis and high vitamin K levels correspond to greater bone density.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin K is 65 mg for an adult women and 80 mg for an adult male. Vitamin K rich sources include cooked dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. These foods can provide more than one RDA in a single serving. Other good sources of vitamin K include cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, soybeans and cow’s milk. The major dietary form of vitamin K is vitamin K1. Hydrogenation of vegetable oils may decrease the biological effect and absorption of vitamin K. Bacteria which help colonize the large intestine often synthesize vitamin K2, which are the active forms of vitamin K; however the amount of vitamin K produced in the gut is not sufficient to suffice its needs completely. Impaired gall bladder function, chronic diarrhea, and long term antibiotic therapy can cause a deficiency of this vitamin.

Submitted on January 16, 2014