Vitamin K is a group of fat-soluble vitamin abundant in leafy greens. Two types of vitamin K—K1 and K2—are important assets to several health functions.
K1 is the type you find in spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Your body can covert K1 to K2. Most of the conversion happens in the intestines. K2 is also available in foods like butter, egg yolk, liver, and some cheeses. You might hear about K3—it is a synthetic vitamin not used in humans.
1. Blood Clots
Some cosmetic companies claim that Vitamin K can help reduce redness and repair broken blood vessels visible on the skin. Others promote it as a sunburn and scar treatment. The real importance of Vitamin K is from a nutritional standpoint. It’s an essential part of the body’s blood clotting process. Without appropriate levels, the factors that allow your blood to clot when you get cut no longer work.
2. Protect Your Heart and Arteries
Proteins dependent on Vitamin K help reduce calcification in your veins and arteries. This means that you can use Vitamin K to reduce your cholesterol and chance of getting heart disease. A 2009 study determined that “a high intake of menoquinones”—which are a type of Vitamin K2—could possibly “protect against coronary heart disease.” The study was designed to encourage more research into the recommended dietary levels of Vitamin K1 and K2.
3. Promotes High Bone Mineral Density in Women
For women, Vitamin K is an important part of maintaining high bone mineral density (BMD) and avoiding hip fracture and osteoporosis. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that low dietary vitamin K intake is one of the leading risk factors for low BMD. Increasing vitamin K intake increases BMD for women. Interestingly, the study found that vitamin K did not do the same for men. Still, it is important for men to get vitamin K as it is important for maintaining the cardiovascular system.
4. Signs of Vitamin K Deficiency
Deficiency changes the vitamin-K depended coagulation blood factors. Because Vitamin K plays an important role in clotting, the first sign of deficiency is usually bleeding. Unexplained bruising can also signal that you aren’t getting enough vitamin K. In extreme cases, internal hemorrhages can occur. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals provides more information on the specifics of deficiency. Even if you don’t check it out, understand that there are potentially deadly results from not having enough vitamin K.
Currently, scientists are researching the potential benefits of Vitamin K3—the type that isn’t normally used in humans—as a cancer treatment. An article in Anticancer Research showed positive signs that K3 can effectively slow the growth of pancreatic cancer. Further research is still needed.
Overall, there are still many things we don’t know about vitamin K. Most of the studies we surveyed indicated that it’s hard to place a figure on the ideal dietary intake of the vitamin. Currently, the RDA is 90mcg per day for adults over age 19. The National Library of Medicine includes more information on recommended daily intake.
- 6 Specific Nutrients You Need to Build Strong, Healthy Bones
When it comes to building strong and healthy bones, focusing only on calcium alone can be a dangerous mistake. Although …
- 5 Energy-Draining Foods to Avoid
We all know that some foods are higher in caloric content than others. Often times, we seek out these higher …
- 5 Reasons Why Eating This Large Berry Makes You More Resistant to Heart Disease
Often deemed a “perfect food,” the avocado is considered one of the healthiest foods available. Even a study published in Nutrition …
- Got Sweetened Milk? Harvard Scientist Doesn’t Recommend It
Vegans may have had it right all along; while raw, organic milk offers numerous health benefits, a Harvard researcher and …
- Nature’s Top 10 Sources of Phytochemicals That Selectively Trigger Cancer Cells To Self-Destruct
With almost a million estimated new cases of cancer each year in the United States alone(1), it’s small wonder that …
- The Health Benefits of the Humble Cranberry
Cranberry juice is a popular beverage and as the holiday season approaches, more people will be considering adding cranberries to …
- Beware of Emulsifiers Like ‘Soy Lecithin’ Used In Processed Foods…It’s Hurting Your Gut Health!
According to a study from Georgia State University(1), there is a common ingredient in most supermarket food that may be …
- 5 Amazing Reasons Why Flexible Dieting is the Last Diet You’ll Ever Need
Ever heard of flexible dieting? Every year or so, a fabulous new diet plan comes out that promises to …
- Garlic Cures 100% of Warts in Clinical Study
Warts and corns are the most common afflictions of the skin. Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and …
- 5 Interesting Uses of Green Tea
Green tea is well known for its antioxidant properties that aid in a myriad of health benefits, including the classic …
- Top 10 Unhealthiest New Fast Food Meals
Summer brings all sorts of seasonal joys: great weather, summer fruits, blockbuster movies, vacations, and new offerings by our nation’s most …
- This Fructose Liquid Is Actually Good For You
What kinds of things do you think about when trying to decide whether a food is healthy or not? Do …
- Adding Poached Eggs To Your Salad Increases Nutrient Absorption by Four to Five-Fold, Study Says
If you’re looking for a light but nutritious meal, a salad can be just the ticket – but be cautious: …
- The 4 Best Sources of Carbs EVER for a Flatter Belly
They are everywhere—simple sugars that your body can process easily—the “BAD” carbs. If you are looking for a flat belly …
- How to Use Turmeric Paste to Get Rid of Acne & Acne Scars Fast
Acne affects nearly all of us at some point, from puberty into our 50’s. Acne occurs due to clogged pores …