What is Vitamin K and what are Vitamin K Functions?
Vitamin K a fat soluble vitamin of which Vitamin K1 and K2 are the naturally occurring forms. Vitamin K is usually stored in the liver. It has the following known functions to human health:
Bone Density and Repair. Vitamin K is essential for bone formation and repair. It improves bone density and facilitates the absorption of calcium. See Natural Sources of Calcium.Vitamin D also plays a key role in bone health. See also Vitamin D Synthesis from the Sun and Food Sources.
Blood Coagulation. Vitamin K is required mainly for blood coagulation. In its name, the 'K' has actually come from the German word Koagulation.
Healthy Arteries. Vitamin K reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases by preventing the hardening of arteries.
Soft Tissue Calcification and Cell Growth. Vitamin K is critical to soft tissue calcification and cell growth.
Natural Food Sources of Vitamin K
Vitamin K1 is found chiefly in leafy green vegetables and some fruits including avocado and kiwi.
Kale, turnip greens, collards, broccoli, lettuce, beef liver, cabbage, swiss chard, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, brussel sprouts, green peas, avocado, kiwi, alfalfa, wheat, oats, yogurt, milk and cheese are a good natural source of Vitamin K1. Also, the following spices have very high concentrations of Vitamin K: basel, sage, thyme, parsley, oregano and marjoram.
Vitamin K2 is synthesized in the large intestines by bacteria naturally found in the large intestine. As some antibiotic use can interfere with the natural Vitamin K synthesis in the large intestines, it is for that purpose recommended to consume yogurt when also taking antibiotics. Vitamin K2 defeciency can be a clue to damage to the large intestines.
Vitamin K Deficiency
A deficiency in Vitamin K can cause serious health problems, including:
Excessive Bleeding and hemorrhaging. Deficiency of vitamin K can cause disorders like nose bleeding, gum bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding in women, hematuria, inter cranial hemorrhage and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Weak Bones. As Vitamin K is essential to the process of bone formation and repair, bone density and the absorption of calcium by the bone, Vitamin K deficiency can cause weak bones and osteoporosis.
Vitamin K is emerging as a potential protector against osteoporosis, artherosclerosis, insulin sensitivity and cancer.
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Vitamin K and Bone Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Vitamin K Function and Functional Markers, Metametrix Clinical Laboratory