Vitamin K refers to a group of similar fat soluble vitamins that are required for blood coagulation and posttranslational modifications of some proteins in the body system. They are necessary for the development of bones and other tissues of the human body.
Two Major Forms
Vitamin K showcases in two major forms namely Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Actually, Vitamin K1 is usually synthesized by plants. It’s normally found in green leafy vegetables and soybean oil. On the other hand, Vitamin K2 showcases in form of homologs which are characterized by the number of isoprene residue in the side chain. It’s usually produced by certain bacteria in the small intestines.
There are also other synthetic types of Vitamin K which showcase in the forms of Vitamin K3 K4, and K2. In most cases, these synthetic forms have some toxicity while the natural K1 and K2 forms are non-toxic.
Functions of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is known for several unique functions in the human body. Let’s take a look at the following points.
• It helps in the clotting of blood in the body system. That’s why, it’s known sometimes as Clotting Vitamin. Blood clotting is actually the primary function of the vitamin. It’s a process that usually begins whenever an injury produces a tear in a blood vessel. This usually involves the collection of molecules which circulate profusely throughout the bloodstream. Vitamin K helps a lot in regulating the blood clotting process by assisting the transportation of calcium in the body.
• It also helps in the maintenance of strong bones. Elderly persons who take enough dosage of Vitamin K usually have strong bones. The same scenario applies to infants and adult who take the vitamin accordingly.
• The vitamin plays a major role in bone formation. In the lives of women undergoing menopause, the vitamins help them to maintain strong bone formation.
• Vitamin K helps a lot in the calcification of arteries and a number of other soft tissues in the human body.
• It plays a major role in the regulation of blood sugar.
• The vitamin also reduces the risk of liver diseases. It reduces bleeding in the liver.
• It also minimizes jaundice whenever it occurs.
Major Sources of Vitamin K
Vitamin K is usually found in various food items. Among them include:
• Green leafy vegetables like kale, turnip greens, spinach, Swiss Chard, parsley, collards, green leaf lettuce , mustard green, romaine and others.
• Vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and so on.
• Animal sources such as meat, liver and eggs.
• The bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract also produce Vitamin K.
Vitamin K Deficiency
Vitamin K deficiency is usually rare but it still occurs when your body fails to absorb it from the intestine tract or when you fail to eat enough food items that produce the vitamin. The deficiency can also occur when you go through a long-term treatment with several antibiotics.
Oftentimes, people with Vitamin K deficiency are prone to have bleeding and bruising from time to time. The deficiency can also be as result of impaired absorption of the vitamin.
Newborn babies are usually prone to have Vitamin K deficiency. This is mainly because their digestive tracks don’t contain the bacteria that produce Vitamin K. However, as they begin to grow, the deficiency begins to subside. In most adults, Vitamin K deficiency is very rare since their digestive tracts are still capable of harboring the bacteria that produce the vitamin. When the deficiency actually occurs in adults, it may be as a result of several cases of diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Cholestasis, Celiac disease and others. In any case, the general symptoms of Vitamin K deficiency include gastrointestinal bleeding, bruises, hermaturia, and epistaxis and so on.
Vitamin K Overdose
The overdose of Vitamin K is known for having no toxicity in individuals. However, it’s not recommended for individuals who are going through medications. If for instance, you’re taking blood thinning drugs like anticoagulants, you need to limit your intake of foods rich in Vitamin K. this is because, the vitamin can limit the potency of the medication.
Dosage Recommendations for Vitamin K
The actual dosage of Vitamin K required for individuals depends on age and gender. Other factors such as breastfeeding, pregnancy, illness may also determine the amount of dosage required. There are specific Recommended Dietary Allowance for the intake of Vitamin K according to age and gender. These stand as follows:
• Infants within 0 – 6 months are required to take 2.0 mcg per day
• Infants within 7 -12 months are required to take 2.5 mcg per day
• Children within 1-3 years are required to take 30 mcg per day
• Children within 4-8 years are required to take 55 mcg per day
• Children within 9-13 years are required to take 60 mcg per day
• Adolescents and Adults within 14 – 18 years are required to take 75 mcg per day.
• Males and females within 14 – 18 years are required to take 75 mcg per day
• Males and females within 19 years and older are required to take 90 mcg per day
The above dosage recommendations are to be followed by anyone who really wants to benefit more from Vitamin K. To be on a safer side, it’s important you consult a dietician when looking for quality sources of the vitamin as well as the right dosage. It’s also very important you go for regular checkup in a good medical center in order to know the current status of all the vitamins required in your body. This helps you to maintain steady health on daily basis.
In all, Vitamin K remains very vital for sound health. It’s important you eat the recommended food items as stated above when looking for the right dosage for the vitamin. You’re sure to enjoy sound health all through life when the vitamin is at work in your system.