Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin known as “antihaemorrhagic”.
In fact, the “K” comes from the German word “koagulation”.
Why Do You Need Vitamin K?
- Coagulation (Blood clot formation)
- Healthy Bone Formation
- Aids in Calcium Transportation
Vitamin K is so vital, that without it we would not be able to stop bleeding. Vitamin K synthesizes coenzymes that stimulate the proteins that are associated with helping our blood to clot. People who don’t have enough Vitamin K in their systems may suffer from frequent nose bleeds and/or excessive bruising.
There are 2 types of Vitamin K that occur naturally from plants and bacteria. Plants synthesize phylloquinone (Vitamin K1) whereas bacteria synthesize a wide range of Vitamin K referred to as menaquinone-n (MK-n or Vitamin K2).
Interestingly, there is another form of Vitamin K that is not made from bacteria but is instead produced by animals and humans. This is known as MK-4. As with some “B” vitamins, such as vitamin B11 and 14, this form of Vitamin K appears to be important, but science has yet to determine its function.
Infants with a Vitamin K deficiency can progress to internal hemorrhaging of the skull.
Since Vitamin K is synthesized in our intestines (much like most B-vitamins), it is believed that a Vitamin K deficiency is uncommon. (This assumes that you have a healthy digestive system.) However, with the numerous over-the-counter products for constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, stomach upset, bloating, and flatulence, just how healthy are most people’s digestive systems?
Conditions Related to Vitamin K Deficiency
- Connective tissue disorders
- Chronic epitasis (nose bleeds)
- Chronic hematomas (bruising)
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Prolonged clotting times
- Arterial calcification
Vitamin K dosage is best in lower amounts. Higher amounts (up to 200 mg.) may be necessary in some cases, but should only be taken under the supervision of a knowledgeable health professional.
Dosages ranging from 100 mcg.– 25 mg. can be used safely. However, 70–80 mg. per day of Vitamin K can be achieved by eating foods such as spinach, broccoli, asparagus, watercress, cabbage, cauliflower, green peas, and beans.
There is no known toxicity associated with high doses of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) or vitamin K2 (menaquinone).
Vitamin K3 (menadione) is toxic and has been banned for use.
For those taking Coumadin (Warfarin) or other such blood-thinning medications, care should be taken when supplementing with Vitamin K because of its clotting properties. For this reason, many medical doctors warn those who are taking blood-thinning medications against eating dark greens, which are high in vitamin K.
Of course, the nutrients found in dark greens are extremely beneficial to people who are sick.
As a side note, Vitamin E can be used as a “blood thinner,” does not come with massive restrictions, and helps bring balance to the body as a whole; unlike a drug that produces unnatural side effects. (see Vitamin E vs. Coumadin)