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Vitamin K: 5 Benefits, classification, and daily requirements

Vitamin K in food concept. Plate in the shape of the letter K with different fresh leafy green vegetables, lettuce, herbs on wooden background. Flat lay or top view.

Vitamin K in food concept. Plate in the shape of the letter K with different fresh leafy green vegetables, lettuce, herbs on wooden background. Flat lay or top view.

Vitamin K: 5 Benefits, classification, and daily requirements

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for the proper functioning of the body, and although it does not provide energy, this vitamin is important because it is involved in numerous metabolic processes.

Classification of Vitamin K

  • Filoquinone or Vitamin K1: It is the most common form of vitamin K, this presents in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and carrots.
  • Menaquinone or Vitamin K2: This type of vitamin K is synthesized by bacterial microorganisms at the intestinal level. The human microbiota is able to synthesize small amounts of vitamin K2; it can also be found in fermented products such as yogurt, and other foods such as meat and eggs.
  • Menadione or Vitamin K3: It is considered a provitamin because it is of synthetic origin; however, once ingested, it acts as a substrate for the synthesis of vitamin K1. (1)

 

5 Benefits of Vitamin K

  1. Control the coagulation system

Vitamin K is an important cofactor for the coagulation system, because it promotes the synthesis of coagulation factors, especially after any tissue injury, helping to avoid bleeding.  The presence of this vitamin is important in the first hours of life, and that is why doses of vitamin K are given in newborn babies because they do not produce it immediately.

  1. A must have for Bone Health

The process of bone synthesis is dependent on vitamin D, and K. Vitamin K is the precursor of osteocalcin, a protein responsible for bone formation.  After menopause, women should pay attention to their vitamin D and K levels to preserve bone health.

  1. Control blood glucose levels

Adequate consumption of vitamin K helps stimulate insulin secretion, controlling blood glucose levels. Low levels of vitamin K have been associated with imbalances in glucose levels, especially during fasting, so if you plan to follow diets such as intermittent fasting or ketogenic diet, you will need to get adequate amounts of vitamin K from food or supplements. (2)

  1. Protects cardiovascular health

Vitamin K favors the elasticity of the coronary arteries and the aorta, preventing its calcification; this allows better blood flow to the entire body organ. Vitamin K is essential to optimal cardiovascular health.

  1. Stimulates the growth of nervous system cells

Vitamin K provides the necessary conditions for the growth of cells of the nervous system. Vitamin K is necessary for the synthesis of sphingolipids, an essential component for the formation of neuronal structures and for the conduction of nerve impulses. Consuming the required daily amounts of vitamin K could help improve neurological performance. (4)

 

What is the daily requirement of vitamin K?

In adults, it is necessary to ingest 75mcg / day of vitamin K from the foods you consume daily. In newborns, the requirements are 2mcg / day.

Are vitamin K supplements necessary?

Requirements in adults may vary depending on the condition, Consult with your health care professional and find out if you should be taking vitamin K today.

References

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002407.htm
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0899900716000411
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5585988/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648721/