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Vitamin K

Keeping things together

iStock_000005491796_LargeDid you know that Vitamin K helps blood clot? Severe deficiencies can cause serious bleeding problems.

Aptly named after the German word koagulation, vitamin K is key in helping blood to clot. It exists in several forms. The two main ones are K1, found abundantly in leafy greens, and K2, which is made by bacteria (including those in our intestines!).iStock_000011925309_Large


Functions of Vitamin K

Helps blood to clot. Blood clotting is important because it prevents excessive bleeding when our vessels are punctured, such as when a finger gets cut. Vitamin K helps make four of the 13 proteins needed for blood clotting. In turn, vitamin K also helps improve healing and prevent scars from injuries.

Maintains strong bones. The classic Framingham Health Study showed an association between high vitamin K intake and reduced risk of hip fracture in men and women, and increased bone mineral density in women. Vitamin K has also been shown to help prevent fractures in postmenopausal women who are at risk of osteoporosis.

Isolated grapesLeafy Green Vegetables IsolatedWhile vitamin K deficiency is rare among adults, you may be susceptible if you take drugs that interfere with vitamin K absorption, are severely malnourished or drink alcohol frequently. Deficiency is common among newborn infants, who thus receive vitamin K injections.

Adult men should get 120mcg of vitamin K every day, while women should get 90mcg.[1] The best way to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamin K is by loading up on leafy vegetables and fruits. Vitamin K is fat-soluble – it needs dietary fat to be dissolved – so drizzle on some olive oil or add greens to a meat-based dish.

Food Sources of Vitamin KScreen shot 2014-08-27 at PM 05.42.42

If you take the blood-thinning medication warfarin (Coumadin), do keep your vitamin K intake about the same every day. This drug interferes with the way vitamin K helps produce clotting proteins, lengthening the time taken for a clot to form. If you suddenly take in a lot of vitamin K, your warfarin dose is likely to become ineffective. If you take warfarin and a multivitamin that includes vitamin K, talk to your doctor to see if this amount, in addition to your dietary intake, warrants a change in your dose.


[1]Figures provided by the USDA National Nutrient Database. The Health Promotion Board has not stipulated a recommended dose of vitamin K.

Posted by ezyhealth on Sep 3 2014. Filed under Nutrition, Wellness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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