Vitamin K is one of the most underrated vitamins, but it is so important for our body function! Though vitamin K supplements are not recommended for the general public, vitamin k is important to have in diet– and it’s readily available in many foods! Vitamin K is actually a group of fat soluble molecules also known as naphthoquinones. Vitamin K groups include K1, K2, and K3, though vitamin K1 (phytonadione) is the most prevalent and well known. Though vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin it is also able to be excreted from the body in urine.
What does it do?
- Plays a role in blood clotting
- Assists in calcium transport.
- Reduces bone loss
- Helps protect bone from potential bone fractures
- Prevents soft tissue calcification.
What are deficiency symptoms?
- Osteopenia (low bone density)
- Excessive bruising,
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Blood in the urine.
When should I worry?
- Newborn infants: a single injection of vitamin K for newborns is standard practice in most hospitals.
- Blood thinners: if you’re taking blood thinners a vitamin k supplement may be prescribed in order to counteract over use.
- Crohn’s disease: affects absorption of nutrients in digestive system.
- Celiac disease: affects absorption of nutrients in digestive tract.
- If you are taking drugs that interfere with vitamin K absorption.
- Nutritionally malnourished.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol.
Where can I find it?
- Vitamin K1 is obtained from leafy greens and some other vegetables.
- Vitamin K2 is a group of compounds largely obtained from meats, cheeses, and eggs, and synthesized by bacteria.
How much do I need?
Toxicity and other Considerations?
- No known toxicity is associated with vitamin K, but high doses may lead to peripheral nephropathy (tingling/numbness in extremities).
- Excessive vitamin K supplementation during pregnancy may increase the risk of jaundice in newborn babies.