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Vitamin K Deficiency, Foods & Health Benefits

Vitamin K Deficiency, Foods & Health Benefits

In comparison with different nutrient deficiencies— reminiscent of low magnesium, vitamin D or vitamin B12— is vitamin K deficiency widespread and one thing you need to fear about?

In principally wholesome adults, vitamin K deficiency is taken into account to be considerably uncommon. Whereas it’s not recognized to be one of the widespread deficiencies, when somebody is poor in vitamin K it may be very critical. For instance, some analysis has proven that vitamin K deficiency in adults might improve their danger for creating coronary heart illness or having a stroke.

What are a number of the signs of low vitamin K standing? Some individuals won’t have many noticeable signs in any respect. Once they do happen, signs of vitamin K deficiency can embrace elevated bleeding, bruising simply, very heavy durations, and signs of inflammatory bowel illness like bloody stool, indigestion and diarrhea.

Who’s in danger for a vitamin K deficiency? You’re extra more likely to expertise vitamin K deficiency in case you are unwell or have a persistent well being drawback that impacts nutrient absorption. (1) Different causes can embrace: consuming a poor eating regimen, having liver illness, or taking antibiotics long-term, cholesterol-lowering drugs, or blood thinners (corresponding to Warfarin).

Under we’ll speak about the perfect methods to stop or overcome vitamin K deficiency— resembling enhancing the focus of vitamin K in your food regimen by consuming extra vitamin K-rich meals , treating underlying well being issues and adjusting your medicine use if wanted.

What Is Vitamin K?

Vitamin K is an important fat-soluble vitamin that performs an essential position in bone and coronary heart well being. It is likely one of the principal nutritional vitamins concerned in bone mineralization and blood clotting, plus it additionally helps to take care of mind perform, a wholesome metabolism and shield towards most cancers. (2)

  • In line with researchers from the Mid America Coronary heart Institute at Saint Luke’s Hospital, analysis has proven that vitamin K is an “anticalcification, anticancer, bone-forming and insulin-sensitising molecule.”(Three) It’s many protecting results make it one of many greatest nutritional vitamins for grownup males and ladies.
  • Vitamin K is most well-known for being chargeable for bone constructing and blood clotting. Blood wouldn’t clot with out vitamin K as a result of the vitamin prompts the protein that’s chargeable for forming clots inside the blood.
  • We hear lots about the advantages of omega-Three fatty acids and antioxidants like vitamin C or vitamin E for stopping coronary heart illness — however current research recommend that vitamin K can also be some of the essential nutritional vitamins for stopping cardiovascular illnesses. Research have proven that people who improve their consumption of dietary vitamin K have a decrease danger of heart problems and stroke mortality. That is one cause why stopping vitamin K deficiency by consuming a nutritious diet may be so protecting.

Vitamin K Varieties:

Many individuals don’t understand that there’s multiple sort of vitamin K. There are literally two essential types of vitamin K that we purchase from our diets: vitamin K1 and vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 can also be referred to as phytonadione, whereas vitamin K2 is known as menaquinone.

  • Vitamin K1 is usually present in greens, whereas vitamin K2 is present in fermented dairy merchandise and can also be produced by the micro organism in our guts.
  • Whereas vitamin K1 is present in plant meals which are very wholesome for a lot of causes, corresponding to inexperienced leafy greens like spinach or kale, broccoli and cabbage, it’s vitamin K2 that appears to be most useful for shielding the guts. The menaquinone type of vitamin K (vitamin K2) appears to be simpler than vitamin K1 at stopping and reversing arterial calcifications that result in heart-related issues.
  • The easiest way to get the every day requirement of each forms of vitamin K is by consuming meals quite a lot of entire meals, together with inexperienced plant meals but in addition uncooked, fermented dairy merchandise (like yogurt or uncooked cheese), fish and eggs that present vitamin K2.
  • Moreover, there’s a artificial model of vitamin K which is known as vitamin K3, however I don’t advocate getting your required vitamin K this manner. As an alternative, eat loads of entire meals which might be excessive in vitamin K and different necessary vitamins too.

What Is Vitamin K Deficiency?

Vitamin K deficiency happens if you both eat much less vitamin K than you want, or you’ll be able to’t take up sufficient out of your weight-reduction plan. The quantity of vitamin K that you’ll be able to take up out of your eating regimen is said to the intestinal micro organism that you’ve, so your degree of vitamin K can drop drastically relying in your general well being, particularly your intestine/digestive well being.

How a lot vitamin K do you might want to forestall a deficiency?

The Advisable Day by day Allowance (RDA) for vitamin K depends upon your gender and age; different elements, reminiscent of breastfeeding, being pregnant and sickness, may also alter your RDA. The Meals and Vitamin Board on the Institute of Drugs recommends the next as satisfactory intakes of vitamin K: (four)


  • zero – 6 months: micrograms per day (mcg/day)
  • 7 – 12 months: 2.5 mcg/day


  • 1 – Three years: 30 mcg/day
  • four – eight years: 55 mcg/day
  • 9 – 13 years: 60 mcg/day

Adolescents and Adults:

  • Men and women age 14 – 18: 75 mcg/day
  • Men and women age 19 and older: 90 mcg/day

Vitamin K Deficiency Signs + Danger Elements/Causes

What occurs to the physique if there’s a deficiency of vitamin K? Vitamin okay deficiency signs can impression the pores and skin, coronary heart, bones, very important organs and intestine. Right here’s what it’s essential find out about the most typical vitamin K deficiency signs: (5)

  • A warning signal of a vitamin K deficiency is extreme bleeding and bruising simply, as a result of abnormalities of coagulation elements that assist with blood clotting. This bleeding can typically start as an oozing from the gums or nostril. Heavy bleeding also can happen from wounds, punctures, and injections or surgical websites.
  • Heavy and typically painful menstrual durations (referred to as menorrhagia, which may have an effect on as much as 10-20 % of reproductive-age ladies). (6)
  • Bleeding and hemorrhaging inside the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This will trigger blood within the urine and/or stool.
  • Bone density loss.

What’s the commonest explanation for vitamin K deficiency?

Based on the American Affiliation of Medical Chemistry, vitamin K deficiency happens often happens whenever you both don’t eat sufficient out of your eating regimen, your physique can’t correctly take up vitamin K from the intestinal tract, or you could have decreased storage of the vitamin as a result of liver illness. One other contributing issue might be decreased manufacturing within the intestines. (7) A deficiency may also be a results of taking sure drugs long run due to these how have an effect on levels of cholesterol wanted for nutrient absorption and the micro organism in your intestines.

What varieties of circumstances might result in vitamin K deficiency? Danger elements for creating vitamin K deficiency embrace:

  • Poor Intestine Health — When the physique lacks sufficient vitamin K, it goes into emergency mode, maintaining solely the essential features wanted for quick survival. The result’s that the opposite very important processes break down and depart the physique weak to weak bones, most cancers improvement and coronary heart. As a result of vitamin K is produced by wholesome micro organism within the intestine, any disruption within the intestines — like leaky intestine syndrome, for instance — may end up in a decreased capacity of the physique to soak up or produce sufficient vitamin K.
  • Affected by Intestinal Issues — This will embrace persistent irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel illness. These well being issues might forestall your physique from absorbing sufficient vitamin K.
  • Poor Weight loss plan — Poor eating regimen that gives low ranges of vitamin K1 and K2 is among the elements that significantly performs right into a vitamin K deficiency.
  • Different Present Health Issues — Having gallbladder or biliary illness, liver illness, cystic fibrosis, gluten sensitivity or celiac illness may also improve your probabilities of creating vitamin K deficiency.
  • Taking Antibiotics Lengthy-Time period.
  • Taking Ldl cholesterol-Decreasing Drugs.
  • Taking Blood Thinners — Blood thinners, coping with long run hemodialysis, and affected by a critical burn might result in a vitamin K deficiency.

7 Vitamin K Benefits

1. Helps Coronary heart Health 

Vitamin K has been proven to assist forestall calcification of arteries, one of many main causes of coronary heart assaults. It really works by carrying calcium out of the arteries and never permitting it to type into exhausting, harmful plaque deposits.

A research revealed in Integrative Drugs: A Clinician’s Journal factors out that vitamin K helps to stop hardening of the arteries as a result of it may possibly hold calcium out of your artery linings and different physique tissues, the place it may possibly trigger injury. (eight)

That is very true for vitamin K2, which is the vitamin that’s made naturally within the micro organism of your intestines. Vitamin K2 might help optimize use of calcium, stopping any potential damaging well being impacts related to elevated calcium consumption, which is widespread in industrialized nations( together with the U.S.).

Some research present that vitamin K is a important nutrient for decreasing irritation and defending cells that line blood vessels, together with each veins and arteries. Consuming correct ranges of vitamin K is essential for sustaining wholesome blood strain and reducing the probabilities of cardiac arrest.

2. Improves Bone Density

Vitamin K will increase the quantity of a selected protein required to take care of bone calcium, decreasing the danger of osteoporosis. Some research on vitamin K have even discovered that prime intakes of vitamin K can cease bone loss in individuals with osteoporosis.

Your physique wants vitamin K to make use of calcium to construct bones. Osteocalcin assist take calcium from the blood circulation and bind it to the bone matrix, which makes the skeleton stronger and fewer vulnerable to fracture. Nevertheless, osteocalcin want vitamin K2 to turn into absolutely activated andto  correctly bind calcium. (eight)

There’s growing proof that vitamin K can enhance bone well being and scale back the danger of bone fractures, particularly in postmenopausal ladies who’re in danger for osteoporosis. (9) Based on current analysis, women and men with the very best consumption of vitamin K2 (which is present in dairy merchandise and is produced naturally in your intestines) are 65 % much less more likely to endure a debilitating hip fracture as in comparison with these with the bottom consumption of vitamin K2.

These research have demonstrated that vitamin K cannot solely improve bone mineral density in osteoporotic individuals, however it will possibly scale back fracture charges as nicely. (10)

There’s additionally robust proof that nutritional vitamins K and Vitamin D, a basic in bone metabolism, work collectively to enhance bone density. There’s growing proof that vitamin K positively impacts calcium stability within the physique, and calcium is a key mineral in bone metabolism. Research of female and male athletes have additionally discovered that vitamin K helps with bone well being. (eight) For people who find themselves already injured, consuming sufficient Vitamin K meals may help forestall sprained ankles and to assist heal damaged bones.

Three. Helps with Menstrual Ache and Bleeding

Vitamin K may help to scale back PMS cramps and different menstrual pains by regulating the perform of your hormones. As a result of vitamin K is a blood clotting vitamin, it could additionally assist with extreme bleeding through the menstrual cycle and supply ache aid for PMS signs.

Extreme bleeding results in extra cramps and ache throughout your menstrual cycle. Many research present that since vitamin K will help with the signs of PMS, the other can also be true: A vitamin K deficiency will solely make these signs worse.

Vitamin K Benefitsfour. Fights Most cancers

Vitamin K has been proven to be a pure most cancers fighter and  efficient in decreasing the danger of prostate, colon, abdomen, nasal and oral cancers. One research even discovered that prime doses of vitamin K helped sufferers with liver most cancers stabilize and even enhance their liver perform.

One research confirmed that a rise in dietary consumption of vitamin K is related to a lowered danger of cardiovascular, most cancers or all-cause mortality in a Mediterranean inhabitants at excessive heart problems danger. (11)

5. Helps Blood Clotting

Vitamin K clots blood and stops your physique from bleeding or bruising simply. The blood clotting course of could be very complicated, because it requires at the very least 12 proteins to perform earlier than the method could be accomplished. 4 of those protein clotting elements require vitamin K for his or her exercise; subsequently, vitamin K is important. As a result of vitamin K helps to facilitate in blood clotting, it performs an necessary position in serving to to heal bruises quick and in addition heal cuts.

Haemorrhagic illness of newborns (often known as HDN) is a illness the place blood clotting doesn’t correctly happen. That is developed by a new child infants due to a vitamin K deficiency. One research discovered that it’s crucial to offer newborns a vitamin K injection at start as a way to safely eradicate HDN; this follow has been confirmed to be innocent for newborns. (12)

6. Improves Mind Perform

A research discovered that vitamin K dependent proteins are notably essential for the mind. Vitamin K participates within the nervous system via its involvement in sphingolipid metabolism, which is a category of naturally occurring molecules which are extensively current in mind cell membranes.

Sphingolipids are biologically potent molecules concerned in a variety of mobile actions, and they’re recognized for his or her structural position in constructing and supporting the mind.

There’s additionally rising proof that vitamin K has anti-inflammatory exercise and may shield your mind towards oxidative stress brought on by free radical injury. Oxidative stress can injury your cells and is considered concerned within the improvement of most cancers, Alzheimer’s illness, Parkinson’s illness and coronary heart failure (13).

7. Helps Keep Health of Gums and Tooth

A weight loss plan low in fats soluble nutritional vitamins together with vitamin A, C, D and vitamin K has been linked to having extra cavities and signs associated to gum illness. Beating tooth decay and gum illness requires you to extend your fats soluble nutritional vitamins that play a task in bone and tooth mineralization.

A nutritious diet wealthy in nutritional vitamins and minerals helps to kill dangerous micro organism that reside within the mouth and produce tooth damaging acids. Vitamin K is one nutrient that works with different minerals and nutritional vitamins to kill micro organism that destroy tooth enamel leading to tooth decay, and in addition offers tooth with the right minerals they should stay robust.

Risks of Vitamin K Deficiency

As defined above, some proof exhibits that a vitamin K deficiency in adults can improve the danger for: coronary heart illness, weakened bones, tooth decay and most cancers.

Vitamin K deficiency alters the formation of vitamin K-dependent clotting elements. Because of this clotting elements can’t carry out coagulant motion and hemorrhages usually tend to happen. (14) In some sufferers, extreme bleeding impacts menstrual durations, whereas in others hemorrhages might type within the intestinal tract, resulting in inflammatory bowel illness akin to Crohn’s illness.

Vitamin K Deficiency in Newborns and Infants:

Researchers have recognized for years that new child infants are born with a vitamin K deficiency, having decrease ranges of vitamin K current of their our bodies than adults do. This deficiency, whether it is extreme sufficient, may cause sure illnesses in new child infants, similar to a hemorrhagic illness, generally known as HDN (15). Extreme vitamin K deficiency is extra widespread in infants which might be born pre-term.

Research have proven that as a result of infants are born with decrease ranges of micro organism of their intestines, typically they don’t convert sufficient vitamin K from meals or break milk. The decrease degree of vitamin K in newborns is attributed to each decrease ranges of micro organism inside their intestines and in addition to the poor capacity of the placenta to move the vitamin from the mom to the child. Apart from this, vitamin K is understood to exist in decrease concentrations in breast milk (maybe because of the drugs typically given to moms that inhibit vitamin K uptake). That is why infants who’re breastfed could also be extra inclined to have a vitamin K deficiency (16).

It’s often protocol to offer newborns a vitamin K injection upon start to stop bleeding and HDN improvement. Whereas Vitamin K injections are extensively accepted, there are numerous chemical elements within the photographs that may have an effect on an toddler’s improvement, so not each healthcare supplier recommends utilizing them. I might advocate as an alternative utilizing naturally sourced oral vitamin K drops with out the synthesized vitamin K or added chemical compounds.

The way to Get Vitamin K in Your Food regimen

The primary vitamin okay deficiency remedy is enhancing your food plan so that you simply get extra pure vitamin K (each varieties 1 and a couple of). The easiest solution to forestall vitamin K deficiency is to eat plant and animal meals that present excessive ranges of vitamin K1 and k2, together with engaged on enhancing absorption and intestine well being.

The every day worth (DV) for vitamin K is about 90 mcg for adults; I like to recommend you goal to get no less than 40 mcg of vitamin K2 every day, particularly from uncooked, fermented dairy merchandise like uncooked cheese, yogurt, kefir and amasi. Different sources of vitamin K2 embrace grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, egg yolks, and organ meats like liver. (17)

Apart from consuming animal-derived meals to get vitamin K2, that are the perfect sources of vitamin K1 to eat day by day? Listed here are a few of the prime vitamin K1 meals:

1) Dandelion Greens

1 cup uncooked: 428 (535%)

2) Mustard Greens

1 cup uncooked: 278 mcg (348%)

Three) Swiss Chard

1 cup uncooked: 298 mcg (over 100% DV)

four) Spring Onions (Scallions)

1 cup: 207 mcg (249% DV)

5) Brussel Sprouts

1 cup uncooked: 156 mcg (195%)

6) Turnip Greens

1 cup: 138 mcg (173% DV)

7) Spinach

1 cup: 145 mcg (181% DV)

eight) Kale
1 cup uncooked: 112 mcg (over 100% DV)

9) Broccoli
1 cup: 92 mcg (116% DV)

10) Asparagus

1 cup raw: 55 mcg (70%)

11) Sea Greens (kelp)
1 cup: 52 mcg (64% DV)

12) Cabbage
1 cup uncooked: 31 mcg (40% DV)

13) Cucumbers
1 cup: 17 mcg (22% DV)

14) Cauliflower
1 cup uncooked: 16 mcg (20% DV)


Best sources of vitamin K

Vitamin K Supplementation Dosage

For those who’re going to take vitamin K in complement type, I like to recommend consuming a type that’s fermented and offers about 40–70 mcg of vitamin K per day. Supplementing with vitamin K could also be useful in some situations, however the objective ought to be to get a lot out of your eating regimen. Surveys have discovered that the majority adults can sufficient from a wholesome, various eating regimen. In adults aged 20 and older, the typical every day vitamin K consumption from meals is 122 mcg for ladies and 138 mcg for males (this will increase to 164 mcg for ladies and 182 mcg for males when meals and complement consumption is mixed). (18)

I don’t advocate taking excessive doses of vitamin K for a number of causes. The primary cause is as a result of it doesn’t appear to have the identical advantages as actual vitamin K from meals. Secondly, excessive doses might intrude with absorption of different vitamins.

Vitamin K works with the opposite vitamins which are necessary to your bone well being, comparable to calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium. These vitamins be sure that your bones keep robust. In case you are consuming an excessive amount of vitamin K (you’ve gotten extra vitamin K), then nutritional vitamins A and E might compete for absorption with vitamin K. However that is solely in case you are taking excessive doses of supplemental vitamin K, not in case you are getting your vitamin K from meals.

For those who’re pregnant, nursing, otherwise you take drugs to deal with an present well being situation, right here’s what that you must find out about vitamin K dietary supplements:

  • In case you are pregnant or nursing, you need to keep away from vitamin K dietary supplements which have a better dose than the really helpful every day allowance. This may increasingly pose dangers and isn’t really helpful.
  • If in case you have skilled stroke, cardiac arrest, or are vulnerable to blood clotting, you shouldn’t take vitamin K with out first consulting your doctor.
  • Should you take blood thinning medicine, you could have to restrict vitamin K meals. You must know that vitamin K, or meals containing vitamin K, can have an effect on how these medicine work. That is notably true for natto, which incorporates lots of one particular sort of vitamin K2 often known as MK-7 — that’s one meals you must in all probability by no means eat whereas taking blood thinners. (19)
  • Should you take antibiotics for greater than ten days, you might want to extend your consumption of vitamin K as a result of antibiotics can kill the micro organism in your intestines, which is what permits your physique to soak up vitamin K.
  • Orlistat, a medicine that used for weight reduction, and Olestra, a substance that’s added to some meals, can decrease the quantity of fats that your physique can take in; as a result of vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, this will reduce your vitamin K ranges. Docs who prescribe Orlistat will sometimes recommend that you simply take a multivitamin as nicely, and The Meals and Drug Administration now requires that each one meals containing olestra should add in fat-soluble nutritional vitamins like A, D, and E.
  • Drugs which might be used to scale back ldl cholesterol will scale back how a lot fats your physique absorbs, and may scale back absorption of fat-soluble nutritional vitamins. Converse to your physician with a purpose to guarantee that you’re getting sufficient vitamin K when you take these sorts of treatment.
  • Watch out when you take vitamin E dietary supplements as a result of vitamin E can intrude with how vitamin K works in your physique.

Vitamin K Recipes

In an effort to naturally add extra vitamin K1 and K2 to your food regimen, attempt consuming entire meals sources together with uncooked fermented dairy merchandise (like cheese or yogurt), loads of leafy greens, cruciferous greens and sea greens. Attempt making a few of these recipes wealthy in vitamin K:

Last Ideas on Vitamin K Deficiency 

  • Vitamin K is useful for bone constructing, blood clotting, controlling calcium absorption, defending the guts and help mind well being.
  • There are two kinds of vitamin K: K1 and K2. K2 appears to be most essential for bone and coronary heart well being.
  • Indicators of vitamin K deficiency embrace extreme bleeding, bruising, heavy durations, hemorrhaging and bloody stools.
  • Causes of vitamin K deficiency can embrace low dietary consumption, poor intestine well being, having any well being circumstances that have an effect on absorption, and taking sure drugs.
  • Foods that present vitamin K1 embrace principally inexperienced or cruciferous veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts and swiss chard. One of the best sources of vitamin K2 embrace uncooked fermented dairy merchandise like yogurt, cheese or kefir, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, egg yolks, and organ meats like liver.
[via Dr. Axe]

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