What is vitamin K and where is it found?

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Robert Maurer
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It is worth spending a few minutes of attention to learn more about vitamin K and where it is found.


It is undoubtedly the least known of the vitamins, essential for the body and unknown to most but sadly famous for those with blood clotting problems.

 

Vitamin K: what it is

These are a group of fat-soluble substances called naphthoquinones.

Vitamin K1 is the natural form of vitamin K. It is found in plants and provides humans with the main source of vitamin K through food consumption. Compounds of vitamin K2 are instead produced by bacteria that reside permanently in the human intestine and provide a lower quantity than the total requirement. Vitamin K1 is also produced by the pharmaceutical industry.


Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting, as it supplies the liver with the substances (prothrombin, factor VII, factor IX, factor X and other proteins) necessary to produce the factors in the blood to clot and close wounds properly.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin K is 1 µg per kg of body weight per day and is provided by a normal balanced and varied diet.

 

Vitamin K and pathologies

Vitamin K deficiencies can occur in cases of chronic malnutrition (including alcohol dependence) and conditions that limit intestinal absorption of fat.


Some medications can reduce vitamin K levels: drugs that alter liver function or destroy intestinal flora (for example antibiotics) as well as those that limit intestinal absorption. Vitamin K appears to prevent bone resorption (osteoporosis), therefore an adequate daily intake seems necessary to prevent bone loss.

Warfarin (Coumadin®) is an anticoagulant that deactivates vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. It is prescribed by doctors for people at risk of thrombosis or conditions such as atrial fibrillation, implantation of artificial heart valves, a history of severe blood clots , bleeding disorders (hypercoagulability) or placement of catheters. Vitamin K can reduce the anticoagulant effects of warfarin, so those undergoing treatment with this drug need to know where vitamin K is in foods and be very careful.


 

Vitamin K: where it is found in foods

We have seen that Vitamin K can have positive and negative effects on the body, according to the physiological conditions of the body and drug therapies. Therefore, to avoid both deficiencies and, above all, dangerous interactions with drugs, it is essential to know where vitamin K is and to regulate our diet accordingly.


Foods rich in vitamin K include:

  • green leafy vegetables (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, cress, cabbage, cauliflower, peas),

  • legumes: beans, soy

  • olives,

  • meat,

  • cereals,

  • milk and milk derivatives.

In these foods, vitamin K does not undergo particular changes from cooking.


 

Here are the 5 foods rich in vitamin K and their properties

 

To learn more:
> Symptoms, causes and remedies for excess vitamin K

 

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