What Is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a vitamin that is often overlooked in our daily dietary needs. This fat soluble vitamin plays a major role in our body’s processing of calcium and Vitamin D; both of which are primary contributors in overall bone and heart function as well as health. A lack of vitamin K in our system can lead to serious issues that could manifest in diseases such as osteoporosis and coronary heart problems. Other health problems that may arise from a lack of Vitamin K are poor wound healing, abnormal bone formation, and abdominal pain.
What’s Vitamin K For?
Vitamin K is a crucial factor in our body’s processing Vitamin D and calcium. Research has shown that without Vitamin K, the body cannot move these vitamins into the cells that need these nutrients. However, not just any kind of Vitamin K will do. This complex nutrient is broken down into two major types; Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Our bodies benefit highly from both types, as each play different roles.
Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is essential in blood clotting and wound healing. Without it, our bodies won’t be able to heal as efficiently. Cuts and bruises take a significantly longer time to heal without Vitamin K, not to mention the damage done to our internal organs which also need blood clotting. In addition, research has also shown that an abundance of Vitamin K1 can decrease the incidence of developing non-hodgkins lymphoma; the most common type of blood cancer in the United States.
Vitamin K2 plays a role in our body’s usage of vitamin D and calcium. The discovery of this type of Vitamin K is relatively new, but studies have shown that Vitamin K2, also known as melaquinone, is essential in moving vitamin D and calcium in the right places in our bodies.
Vitamin K2 research has also shown that it clears calcium deposits that are in the wrong places, which lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and other abnormal calcium deposits in the bones and blood vessels. Abnormal calcium deposits can be found in the blood stream as well, which may impede proper blood circulation. Vitamin K2 can help clear these formations.
How do I know if I need more Vitamin K?
As of late, there is no laboratory test that can show the levels of Vitamin K in the system. However, if you have osteoporosis, type 1 or 2 diabetes, or heart disease, then you’re likely not getting enough of this nutrient. A family history of these diseases may also indicate that you need more Vitamin K in your diet. It’s also important to note that wounds, cuts, and bruises take a longer time to heal without Vitamin K.
Pregnant women, or women who are expecting a baby, also need a lot of Vitamin K for the baby to develop proper skeletal structure. Growing children can also benefit greatly from a diet rich in Vitamin K for dental health and proper bone formation.
Best sources of Vitamin K:
Vitamin K1 can be found in mostly dark green, leafy vegetables. Plants use Vitamin K1 to process the food they need to grow, and the darker the leaves, the more phylloquinone it’s likely to have. Kale, collard greens, cabbage, swiss chard and broccoli have high levels of Vitamin K per serving.
Vitamin K2 is made in blood vessel walls, bones and tissues. This type of Vitamin K can be found in
abundance in organic, grass-fed beef and poultry as well as cheese, eggs, and butter.
A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease. http://www.scicompdf.se/osteolis/gast_2008.pdf
Best Sources of Vitamin-k2. http://www.foodinfo.us/SourcesUnabridged.aspx?Nutr_No=428
Vitamin K Dependent Proteins and the Role of Vitamin K2 in the Modulation of Vascular Calcification: A Review. http://www.omjournal.org/images/517_M_Deatials_Pdf_.pdf
What You Need to Know About Vitamin K2, D, and Calcium. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx