Benefits of Vitamin K

Benefits of Vitamin K range from bone health to blood coagulation and a few things in between yet rarely have we ever heard the importance of this incredibly important fat soluble vitamin.

Because most of the body's supply of this important nutrient actually comes from our beneficial intestinal bacteria, deficiencies quite often exist due to a lack of this beneficial bacteria.  With our intake of antibiotics and lack of lacto-fermented foods which provide us probiotic value, deficiency is widespread. 

There are actually two types of Vitamin K.  I'll help take the mystery out of the subject for you.  New discoveries are being made each and every day as science provides us some very intelligent researchers.  Fortunately, some of these researchers are studying for the love of the science and their hard work is reflected when people like me share it freely with the world.

Vitamin K1-Phylloquinone

Vitamin K1 plays a key role in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding. Unlike many other vitamins, vitamin K is not typically used as a dietary supplement.

Low levels of vitamin K1 can raise the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. While vitamin K deficiencies are rare in adults, they are very common in newborn infants. A single injection of vitamin K for newborns is standard practice because babies do not develop this particular nutrient until the age of 3-7 weeks. If you're on the blood thinner coumadin, likely your Dr. has suggested you reduce to eliminate your intake of green vegetables.  Think critically about this one....if you must reduce your intake of greens to accommodate the coumadin, isn't it possible that food can help us achieve the very thing this potentially dangerous drug is supposed to do?  This drug was introduced as a pesticide in 1948. 

While vitamin K deficiencies are uncommon, you may be at higher risk if you:

  • Have a disease that affects absorption in the digestive tract, such as Crohn's disease or colitis
  • Take drugs that interfere with vitamin K absorption
  • Are severely malnourished
  • Drink alcohol heavily

In these cases, a doctor might suggest vitamin K1 supplements.

How Much Vitamin K1 Do You Need?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the total amount of vitamin K you take in, both from food and other sources. Most people get enough vitamin K from their diets and an average adult requirement is 90-120 micrograms daily.  With the incorporation of foods such as kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, spinach, etc., at approximately 2 servings daily, one is generally fulfilling their daily need of Vitamin K intake.

Vitamin K is well-tolerated even at high doses.   Researchers have not set a maximum safe dose.

Foods High in Vitamin K1

Good natural food sources of vitamin K1 include:

  • Green Vegetables such as spinach,kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Strawberries
  • Meat

Many who are on blood thinning drugs are under the misconception that Vitamin K containing foods should be avoided. This is simply not true rather, these foods should be monitored by you and your Dr. for consistency so that your doses of said drug can be accurately prescribed and you are therefore receiving all of the benefits of Vitamin K.  A natural practitioner can make some great recommendations for a balanced level without compromising the ultimate goal of preventing coagulation.

Something important for the person on coumadin to understand regarding benefits of vitamin k is the body's constant need to coagulate the blood while on these medications. It is wise to consult with your Dr. on alternative options to work with the body rather than against it.  Many use natural supplementation to thin the blood.

Vitamin K2-Menaquinone

Though Vitamin K1 deficiencies are rare, Vitamin K2 deficiencies are not. Previous to our current animal feeding standards, we obtained K2 from grass fed dairy sources such as cheese and butter. Currently, this is rare in most diets. K2 was also obtained from bacterias of which, we are desperately afraid.  We can synthesize Vitamin K2 but this conversion seems to be inefficient in humans, much like that of ALA to the long chain fatty acid DHA.

Vitamin K2 is an important co-factor to calcium for bone building and is over looked to the detriment of your good bone AND heart health. It literally keeps the calcium in the bone and out of the arteries where calcification occurs.

When I lecture, I refer to Vitamin K as the designated driver to keep that drunken driver calcium off the road or, out of the arteries

Food Sources of VItamin K2 (menaquinone)generally come from bacteria sources:

  • Natto (fermented soybean paste)
  • Aged Cheeses (Gouda is your best choice)
  • Lacto Fermented Vegetables

When shopping for a K2 supplement, be sure to look for MK-7 in the ingredient list as you will find in New Chapter Bone Strength Take Care . Studies have shown that with the incorporation of Mk7, osteoperosis can halt and in many cases, begin to reverse. Some supplements will have MK4 but this is an inferior synthetic addition. Your best source for Vitamin K2 is know as X-Factor and has recently been discovered by Dr. Chris Masterjohn in what we know as the superfood Green Pasture's Blue Ice Fermented COD Liver Oil . Something that Dr. Weston A Price was privy to during his travels exploring the healthier diets of traditional, primitive people yet no one had previously identified this elusive X Factor as Vitamin K2 including Dr. Price himself. This was a 62 year mystery!

Vitamin K3 (menadione) is a synthetic form that is man made and not recommended for use as a nutritional supplement.

Your choices are important when working to obtain benefits of vitamin k. Choose wisely, choose whole food for superior bone and arterial health.

Get the most from your benefits of vitamin k!  You're worth it!

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