Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found within food sources and supplements. Two chemical compounds that are associated with vitamin K is phylloquinone also known as vitamin K1 and a series of menaquinones also known as vitamin K2. Vitamin k1 is the main form of vitamin k used by our body. Vitamin K1 can be found primarily in green leafy vegetables. On the other hand, vitamin k2 is made within our microbiome from natural bacteria. Foods that contain vitamin k2 includes animal-based products and fermented foods.
Functions of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is important for metabolic procsses such as protein synthesis because of coenzyme functions. Protein synthesis is involved with blood clotting and metabolism. An additional function vitamin K is involved in is, osteocalcin which is vitamin K protein found in bone. This protein is used in bone mineralization.1 Ensuring your body has enough Vitamin K to carry out bone function can increase a person’s bone health. As people age naturally, bone density decreases and cases of osteoporosis begin to occur. It is imperative to be incorporating sufficient amounts vitamins and minerals to maintain bone healthy. The last additional component that vitamin K is imperative for is wound healing. This vitamin increases the formation of fibroblasts, collagen fibers, and blood vessels which are needed help heal each wound.
Recommended Intake of Vitamin K
The intake levels of vitamin k are contingent upon gender, age, and pregnancy. The normal U.S. diet is generally adequate in vitamin k. The National Institutes of Health have developed a chart (listed below) of adequate intake levels of vitamin k for individuals amongst different ages and genders.1 Most fat-soluble vitamins are found abundantly in the body. However, vitamin K is found only in small amounts within the blood stream. It is important to note that Vitamin K is metabolized and excreted quickly throughout your body. In newborn babies a vitamin k shot is injected after birth due to the feats being limited to vitamin k transport within the placenta.
Food Sources of Vitamin K
As there is two different forms of Vitamin k, the sources of were this vitamin can be found in is abundant. The phylloquinone (vitamin 1) includes vegetables, vegetable oils, and some fruits. Foods that contains menaquinone (vitamin k2) are meats, dairy, and eggs. One of the foods that contain a high level of vitamin K is a Japanese fermented soybean by the name of natto. Only 3oz of natto contains 850mcg or 708% of you daily value in vitamin K. Other food sources that include vitamin k are collards, turnips, spinach, kale, broccoli, soybeans, carrot juice, edamame, pumpkin, pomegranate juice, pine nuts, chicken, and iceberg lettuce.
Other Facts on Vitamin K
Groups that are at risk for vitamin k deficiency include newborns not treated with vitamin k injection at birth and people that suffer from malabsorption disorders. If you are concerned with your vitamin k intake levels it is always important to talk to your doctor or local registered dietitian. Vitamin k has been linked to health components such are osteoporosis and coronary heart disease. The consumption of vitamin k can help reduce our levels of developing these conditions.
1. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin K. Updated June 3, 2020. Retrieved on March 22, 2021. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminK-HealthProfessional/#en1