What Can Vitamin K Do?

They are among the most important building blocks of our health: vitamins regulate metabolism, strengthen the immune system, and are good for the nerves. Many of us are familiar with vitamins A, B, C, or D. But what can vitamin K do?

What is vitamin K?

Many compounds are hidden under the collective term “K”, with vitamins K1 and K2 being the most effective.

Vitamin K is essential for the formation of coagulation factors, certain proteins without which blood clotting would not be possible. The vitamin activates the precursor of coagulation factors in the liver, which are needed to stop bleeding.

In addition, vitamin K dissolves deposits in the blood vessels. A study from the Netherlands with more than 4800 participants shows that people who ate foods high in natural vitamin K2 had fewer deposits in the arteries than others, thus protecting their hearts and preventing a heart attack.

In addition, vitamin K regulates and optimizes calcium levels. And the body needs calcium for healthy teeth and bones as well as numerous metabolic processes.

It has long been underestimated that vitamin K is just as important for building bones as vitamin D. The sunshine vitamin D, which supports the effects of calcium, also depends on the help of vitamin K2. Only this transports the calcium into the bones.

What is the daily requirement for vitamin K?

According to the DGE (German Society for Nutrition), the daily requirement of an adult over the age of 15 is around 60 to 80 micrograms (about 25 g of spinach).

Where is vitamin K found?

Natural vitamin K1 is formed by plants and is found in green vegetables such as broccoli or Brussels sprouts, and herbs such as chives and avocados. The top suppliers also include kale, chard, and spinach.

K2, on the other hand, is obtained from K1 both by bacteria in the human gut and from food sources such as meat, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. Spinach with scrambled eggs and Parmesan would be an ideal dish to get both K vitamins.

How does a vitamin K deficiency occur?

In addition to insufficient intake due to malnutrition, other causes are far more common triggers for vitamin K deficiency. These include, for example, metabolic disorders, alcohol abuse, or various intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease. In addition, the deficit can be caused by drugs such as antibiotics, which hurt the intestinal flora.

Infants have a vitamin K deficiency, which can lead to an increased tendency to bleed. To prevent this, they are given the important vitamin orally immediately after birth.

How do I recognize a vitamin K deficit?

Since vitamin K regulates blood clotting, a deficiency can lead to bleeding, which can manifest itself, for example, in susceptibility to bruising and in more bleeding from minor injuries. Frequent nosebleeds and bleeding gums when brushing your teeth can also be signs of a vitamin K deficiency. But you shouldn’t worry too much, because every healthy adult who does not eat an unbalanced diet usually has no problems with his vitamin K level.

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Written by Elizabeth Bailey

As a seasoned recipe developer and nutritionist, I offer creative and healthy recipe development. My recipes and photographs have been published in best selling cookbooks, blogs, and more. I specialize in creating, testing, and editing recipes until they perfectly provide a seamless, user-friendly experience for a variety of skill levels. I draw inspiration from all types of cuisines with a focus on healthy, well-rounded meals, baked goods and snacks. I have experience in all types of diets, with a specialty in restricted diets like paleo, keto, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. There is nothing I enjoy more than conceptualizing, preparing, and photographing beautiful, delicious, and healthy food.

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