Vitamin K supplement guide explains in easy-to-understand terms how vitamin K helps the blood clot and prevents excessive bleeding, including detailed information about the human body’s need for vitamin K, knowledge about recommended daily amounts of the vitamin, and warnings concerning possible allergic reactions to the vitamin.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in leafy greens, some other vegetables, meats, cheeses, and eggs. It plays an important role in blood clotting and bone health. Leafy greens are the best source of K1, but it has a shorter lifespan in your system than K2. While there are some forms of Vitamin K2 supplements, meat products offer the most bioavailable version of the vitamin. Some bacteria may synthesize vitamin K2 as well.
You may have heard that vitamin K2 is being used to treat osteoporosis. There’s a lot of research on this topic and it’s not yet clear whether it works. Keep reading to learn more about Vitamin K2, including the benefits and risks.
Vitamin K is essential to human health and necessary for clotting blood. Many people get enough Vitamin K through the food they eat, but some diets don’t contain good amounts of this vitamin. If you’re not meeting your daily requirements, then it might be time to supplement your diet with a Vitamin K supplement.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in two forms: phyllo Quinone (PK) and menaquinones (MK). The MK form is made by the human body but can also be found in some animal products and fermented foods.
Every day, vitamin K helps to make substances that are necessary for blood clotting (prothrombin), bone health (osteocalcin), and bone maintenance. This comprehensive guide will answer questions about the main types of vitamin K supplements and how to take them, including what dosage is recommended.
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for normal blood clotting. Blood clotting is essential because it prevents excessive bleeding from injured blood vessels. Without it, you would constantly bleed when your skin was cut, or the inside of your mouth was scraped. Vitamin K controls the activation of certain proteins in blood coagulation, which is needed to stop bleeding since it converts these proteins into their active form.
Why should you take vitamin K?
Vitamin K is an essential component of the blood clotting mechanism, and deficiencies of this vitamin can cause uncontrolled bleeding. The vitamin could be found in green leafy vegetables, liver, and some fermented foods. However, as most people consume sufficient levels of vitamin K through their regular diet, supplementation of this vitamin only becomes necessary for those who have low levels or experienced bleeding problems. While vitamin K deficiencies are rare in adults, they are very common in newborn infants. Vitamin K is also used to counteract an overdose of the blood thinner coumadin.
While most people get enough vitamin K from their diets, it’s important to have enough. Find out if you might be at risk for a deficiency, and make sure to read the label of any supplements or medications you take.
- Drink alcohol heavily
- Are severely malnourished
- Take drugs that interfere with vitamin K absorption
- Have a disease that affects absorption in the digestive tract, such as Crohn’s disease or active celiac disease
Are you concerned about getting enough vitamin K in your diet? Some people may need to take vitamin K supplements to prevent serious problems with blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis. Learn more about vitamins k2 and d3 as well as which foods pack the highest amount.
How much vitamin K should you take?
The charts below indicate the recommended adequate intake of vitamin K for each age group.
|Children 0-6 months||2 micrograms/day|
|Children 7-12 months||2.5 micrograms/day|
|Children 1-3||30 micrograms/day|
|Children 4-8||55 micrograms/day|
|Children 9-13||60 micrograms/day|
|Girls 14-18||75 micrograms/day|
|Women 19 and up||90 micrograms/day|
|Women, pregnant or breastfeeding (19-50)||90 micrograms/day|
|Women, pregnant or breastfeeding (under 19)||75 micrograms/day|
|Boys 14-18||75 micrograms/day|
|Men 19 and up||120 micrograms/day|
Vitamin K has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. There is no set recommended dose for vitamin K and no known toxic side effects.
Vitamin K naturally from foods
A nutrient responsible for healthy bone growth, vitamin K is one of the most vital nutrients that you need. Did you know spinach, asparagus, broccoli, and soybeans are excellent sources of vitamin K?
You can also get vitamin K from your daily diet. Foods with little amounts of vitamins include eggs, strawberries, and meat-like liver. If you have any vitamin K-containing foods leftover at mealtime, don’t be afraid to save them for breakfast for a second time.
Signs of Deficiency
Vitamin K deficiency in adults is rare because vitamin K is found in some vegetables and other foods. However, this deficiency may occur in people taking medications that block vitamin K metabolism such as antibiotics, or in those with conditions that cause malabsorption of food and nutrients.
Absorption of vitamin K is decreased in the following people:
1. People taking warfarin or medications that block vitamin K absorption.
2. People with obstructive jaundice that is caused by a liver, bile duct or bowels problem.
3. People with conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, that cause poor absorption of some nutrients.
4. Women taking birth control pills.
5. New-born infants whose mothers are not breastfeeding.
6. Elderly people and those with anorexia nervosa Vitamin K deficiency can lead to a life-threatening condition (or may be associated with) the development of severe bleeding inside the head, called intracranial hemorrhage.
7. A longer time for blood to clot or a prolonged prothrombin time (as measured in a physician’s office).
What are the risks of taking vitamin K?
Side effects: Hair loss, headache, nausea, nightmares, diarrhea, and vomiting are all possible side effects while taking Vitamin K. Drinking alcohol may affect the blood levels of Vitamin K in your body which may increase the side effects or decrease their effectiveness.
Interactions: Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that produces multiple benefits to help support the health of your heart, brain, bones, and liver. However, some drugs can interfere with their effects.
Risks: Avoid excessive amounts, taking vitamin K over the upper limit may pose a health risk. You should be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking a vitamin K supplement. He or she will be able to tell you how much is safe for you and whether one of the other blood thinners is a better choice for you.
Did You Know?
- Antibiotic medicines may destroy vitamin-K-producing bacteria in the gut. Vitamin K is needed to help blood clots, and an inactive form of vitamin K is taken daily as a preventative measure against blood clots.
- Vitamin K is generally safe and well-tolerated. While some people experience side effects at the start of vitamin K therapy these usually resolve within a few days. Because of potential risks, people with severe bleeding should use vitamin K only if other therapies do not work. People who are allergic to vitamin K should avoid taking it.
- Vitamin K in leafy greens is important for blood clotting. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, so it’s better absorbed with a little fat. Add a little olive oil or diced avocado to your salad for the best absorption.
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