For some reason, Vitamin K is the least talked about vitamin. That doesn’t mean it is less vital! From promoting bone and heart health to improving cognitive function, Vitamin K offers a wide range of benefits.
It is also necessary for the clotting of blood. Without Vitamin K, we would have to endure excessive bleeding (and no clotting); that if left unchecked could even lead to a state of internal haemorrhaging!
The vitamin is synthesized in the body (inside the gut), by the friendly gut bacteria. And, it is required only in trace amounts. This is why a deficiency is highly uncommon, but a few conditions may interfere with its production. For example, people who suffer from diabetes or those who consume alcohol may find themselves lacking the required levels of Vitamin K.
Overall, it is crucial to not dismiss its role in our body. It plays an essential and significant role, even though it is required in very minute quantities. In this week’s blog, we cover the basics of Vitamin K – what are the symptoms of a deficiency, who should take supplements and what is the required dosage! Let’s begin!
What are the sources?
Vitamin K is a group of compounds – K1 and K2 – that can be obtained from plant or animal-based foods. K1 is largely available through leafy greens and other vegetables, such as – salad greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, parsley and cabbage. Avocado, strawberries, beans, kiwifruit are also good sources. While K2 is available through meats, eggs, cheeses and a few fermented products such as – yogurt and kefir.
Vitamin K is also available as a dietary supplement. It is recommended that you talk to a trusted health coach before taking these supplements. Vitamin K is fat soluble. That means that the body stores away excess doses of the vitamin as liver fat. The stored vitamins in the fat can cause toxicity.
What are the symptoms of a deficiency?
Not having enough Vitamin K in your body can have some adverse effects. Here are some symptoms you can look out for:
- Brittle bones that fracture easily after a minor fall or injury.
- You bruise more easily and more often than others.
- You bleed excessively and it takes longer for your blood to clot.
- For women, your periods are prolonged with heavier bleeding.
If you are experiencing trouble in some or all of the areas mentioned above, I recommend that you talk to a health coach. There are specialized tests available today that can determine the Vitamin K levels in your body.
Who should take supplements?
A few people may be advised to take Vitamin K supplements without a need for testing. For example, people who use blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin or Coumadin, should take Vitamin K supplements to counter the effect of the drugs.
Similarly, people who suffer from digestive tract dysfunctions such as Crohn’s disease or Celiac Disease, diabetics and people with liver-related ailments – often require Vitamin K supplements to remedy their lack. Also, people who consume alcohol may require vitamin supplements.
In these cases, the body’s ability to produce the vitamin is impaired. And so, altering a diet may not be an effective pathway at all.
What is the required dosage?
This is the recommended dosage for Vitamin K. The chart is meant to only serve as a guideline. It is important that you follow the advice of your health coach and not exceed the dosage prescribed by them in any case.
- Girls (Ages: 14-18) – 75 mcg/day
- Women (Ages: 19 & 19+) – 90 mcg/day
- Boys (Ages: 14-18) – 75 mcg/day
- Men (Ages: 19 & 19+) – 120 mcg/day