Vitamins are essential nutrients because they perform various roles in our bodies. Each vitamin performs a special role in our body to build it stronger. Vitamin K is one of them. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin known for its blood clotting property.
What vitamin K does?
Vitamin K is a nutrient that helps in the synthesis of various proteins. Prothrombin is one of the proteins which is prepared by vitamin K. Prothrombin helps in blood clotting and healthy bone metabolism. This vitamin activates another protein named – osteocalcin which is responsible for bone strengthening and regulates the blood calcium levels.
Daily requirement –
According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), 122 mcg of vitamin K is required for women and 138 mcg for men per day.
Types of vitamin K
There are a total of three types of vitamin K but only two are essential for the human body.
- Vitamin K1 – It is also known as phylloquinone. It is primarily found in plants. It aids the blood clotting process in the liver.
- Vitamin K2 – It is also known as menaquinone which is generally found in animal and fermented products. It is found in fewer food sources. It is also produced by gut bacteria and it goes in blood vessels, bones.
- Vitamin K3 – It is also known as menadione. It is a synthetic vitamin and not recommended.
Food rich in vitamin K
Vitamin K is available in many foods which we regularly add in our diet. Various green, leafy vegetables are the best source of this vitamin while it is also found in other vegetables, fruits, meat, and fermented food. Here is the list of best sources of vitamin K –
Dark, green spinach is considered as the healthiest source of vitamins, minerals, and iron. Spinach is rich in vitamin K. 100 grams of raw spinach gives you 483 mcg of vitamin K1. Try to eat spinach in raw form or you can boil them strictly for 1 minute to prevent the loss of nutrients.
2: Cooked kale
Cooked kale is the best source of plant-based vitamins. A cup of cooked kale can give you 817 mcg of vitamin K. For better flavor and nutrition, cook the kale for 5 minutes before consumption.
Broccoli is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. It strengthens your immunity and destroys dangerous free radicles. The vitamin K content in one cup of cooked broccoli is 110 mcg. Be sure that it shouldn’t be overcooked otherwise it will lose its flavor and nutrition.
4: Collard greens
Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, fiber, iron, calcium, and magnesium. It has an anti-inflammatory property and also helps to reduce cholesterol levels. One cup of steamed collard green contains around 836 mcg.
5: Mustard greens
It is one of the best sources of vitamin K. For best results sauté this vegetable rather than steaming or boiling to prevent the leaves and stems from getting watery and soft. One cup of cooked mustard greens containing 419 mcg vitamin K.
6: Turnip greens
Turnip greens are loaded with vitamin K. it contains disease-fighting phytonutrients that lower the inflammation and reduce your risk for cancer. Also, vitamin K in this vegetable helps to reduce anemia, skin problems and lowers the blood sugar level. 426 mcg is present in a cup of cooked turnip greens.
It is a sticky, fermented breakfast food contains 1000 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100 grams. This Japanese food is made from fermented soybeans. As it is fermented it is full of probiotics that help to produce vitamin K2 in your gut. Natto is also a good source of fibers and proteins which keeps your digestion as well as bones healthy.
Lamb contains high-quality proteins, essential oils, and vitamin K2. A 100 of lamb contains 5.3 mcg of vitamin K2. It strengthens your bones and improves bone metabolism.
Egg-white based mayonnaise contains 197 mcg of vitamin K2. This is a healthy, cholesterol-free source that also contains vitamin E that is good for your hair and skin.
Another Japanese food which is made from fermented beans. It enhances the probiotic growth in the gut which boosts the nutrient absorption.
Deficiency of vitamin K
Despite several natural sources, vitamin K deficiency may occur in some cases. When it is not corrected it may lead to some serious issues such as –
- Excessive bleeding
- Bruising on skin
- Dark blood in stool or urine
Sometimes it may present in the newborn which can be fatal if not corrected immediately.
Toxicity of vitamin K
Supplements when taken in excess can lead to toxicity. Vitamin K interacts with many medications so beware while using vitamin K. It particularly affects blood thinners (e.g. Warfarin) and cholesterol-lowering medications activity.