What's Vitamin K?

Since it's discovery in 1929, Vitamin K has been recognized as being crucial to the process of blood coagulation, and bone density.

In fact, the "k" stands for koagulation, the German form of the word coagulation. Vitamin K is not a single nutrient, but the name given to a group of vitamins of similar composition. The two main groups of vitamin K that occur naturally are vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone). K1 is found in many vegetables and K2 is produced by bacteria. Vitamin K provides a total balance of 80 nutrients that are essential for a human body. This includes minerals, antioxidants, neuronutrients, enzymes, vitamins, amino acids, herbal extracts, carotenoids, race elements, bioflavonoids and other co-factor complimentary ingredients.

Vitamin K is considered to be a fat-soluble vitamin, which is present in the intestines of human body. The most vital role vitamin K plays is to control blood clotting, prevention of blood loss during injury. Vitamin K helps in assisting the absorption of calcium content from food, which helps in formation and maintenance of healthy bones. The symptom of osteoporosis is a reduction of bone density. It starts to occur around the age of fifty and is most prominent in post-menopausal women. It causes many complications it progresses silently, when unobserved for years.  Left to progress after years, the symptoms and signs of osteoporosis start to appear as spinal deformity, fractures and pain. Between the ages of twenty and thirty, is the time, when bones start reaching their maximum strength and density. After this peak time, unfortunately for most bone building and mass starts drop off. Especially for women, the maximum bone loss starts occurring after menopause, when the estrogen level is at decline. Eating leafy vegetables, like broccoli, spinach, sprouts and lettuce rich in Vitamin K, is essential for body. Even cow's milk is rich in Vitamin K. Dark green leafy vegetables and fermented foods are high in Vitamin K. While you probably have enough vitamin K to provide for normal blood clotting, you most likely do not consume enough vitamin K to allow for optimum bone health. For example, studies document that for optimization of the bone protein osteocalcin adults would do well with a daily K1 intake of 1000 mcg. Currently the average K1 intake in this country is only 75 to 125 mcg. It is worth noting that the absorption of vitamin K from vegetables is likely enhanced by the presence of dietary fat in the same meal. Unless you are a greens lover, you might find it difficult to consume 1000 mcg of vitamin K in foods. Take heart and do the best you can. The prestigious Framingham Heart Study found that those with the highest vitamin K1 intake (250 mcg/day in this study, compared to the recommended intake of about 75 mcg/day) had a three-fold reduction in hip fracture risk.

 Foods containing vitamin K are nutritious and increasing their intake can provide many health benefits. If you suspect your vitamin K intake is low, you can also use vitamin supplements. Some studies, suggest that the absorption of K1 from a tablet can be considerably higher than the absorption from vegetables. A note of caution though to those taking medications to thin the blood, such as Coumadin. You should avoid use of supplemental vitamin K as it can reverse the effects of this medication. Also, those on any blood thinning medication should consult with their physician before increasing consumption of foods high in vitamin K. Should you decide to increase your veggie intake make sure you always buy organic now more than ever. Unless you enjoy your produce with a side of brain damaging herbicides and insecticides, that you can NEVER entirely wash off.

This vitamin also plays an important role in blood sugar regulation. Pancreas makes insulin and contains second highest content of Vitamin K of body. Vitamin K can increase the flow of urine, relieves menstrual pain, cramps, excessive flow. It also enhances functioning of your liver, increases longevity and vitality, helps in maintaining strong bones in elders. It reduces fractures, helps in the maintenance of cardiac muscles, capillaries and blood circulation in tissues and peripheral bodies. Vitamin K also acts as a protein, which is seen to be one of the strongest inhibitors of arterial calcification. So it sounds to me like we should all monitor our intake and get enough of this valuable, life and vitality enhancing vitamin. Good Luck...

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