Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods.
What are the symptoms of vitamin K deficiency?
Vitamin K deficiency in adults is rare; however, vitamin K deficiency can be seen in people taking drugs that block vitamin K metabolism, such as antibiotics, or in conditions that cause malabsorption of nutrients. Newborn babies can also suffer from vitamin K deficiency because vitamin K cannot cross the placenta, and breast milk contains small amounts of vitamin K. Infants with vitamin K deficiency are at risk for hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, with bruising and/or bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, road, or umbilical cord in the first week of birth.
The most common symptoms of vitamin K deficiency are:
- A longer or longer prothrombin time for blood to clot
- osteopenia or osteoporosis
Note: Antibiotics can destroy vitamin K-producing bacteria in the gut. Taking antibiotics for longer than a few weeks can lower vitamin K levels. Among long-term antibiotic users, people with a poor appetite are at greater risk for vitamin K deficiency. In this case, these people can benefit from vitamin K supplementation with the advice of a doctor.
What is the daily requirement for vitamin K?
Adults need about 1 microgram of vitamin K per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, a person weighing 45 kg would need 45 micrograms of vitamin K per day, while a person weighing 85 kg would need 85 micrograms per day. Vitamin K taken in more than your body needs is stored in the liver for future use.
What are the benefits of vitamin K? What does vitamin K do?
Vitamin K has many benefits. Some studies have found an association between insufficient vitamin K intake and osteoporosis. Several studies have also found that vitamin K supports the protection of bones, improves bone density, and reduces the risk of fractures. A study by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay found that vitamin K has a positive effect on bone mineral density and reduces the risk of bone fractures. A report by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School found that women with adequate vitamin K in their diets had a lower risk of hip fracture.
Another study found that healthy individuals over the age of 70 with high vitamin K1 levels had the highest verbal episodic memory performance. Another benefit of vitamin K is that it helps lower blood pressure by preventing mineralization, where minerals accumulate in the veins. This allows the heart to freely pump blood throughout the body.
On the other hand, mineralization naturally occurs with age and is an important risk factor for heart disease. Adequate vitamin K intake is also known to reduce the risk of stroke.
Where is vitamin K found? What foods can vitamin K be found in?
- Plants such as spinach, chard, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, asparagus, turnips, beet leaves, parsley, and chicory.
- Peas, green beans, soy, and Mexican beans
- Offal such as red and white meat, liver, and kidney
- Milk and milk products