Vitamin K is an important Vitamin for the body that is often overlooked when deciding on dietary supplements. However, Vitamin K supplements can be an important part of a nutrition plan.
Vitamin K helps the body by assisting with blood clotting. It also makes a protein called osteocalcin that binds with calcium to help make bones stronger and healthier. Researchers are using this knowledge to perform tests to see if Vitamin K can help with osteoporosis.
Most people get enough Vitamin K from the foods they eat and if necessary they can purchase Vitamin K supplements. Foods that contain Vitamin K are plentiful and should be easy to include in a healthy diet.
Green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, turnip greens, broccoli, lettuce and spinach are some of the best sources of Vitamin K. Green tea is an excellent source as well, with one cup providing an entire day’s worth of the vitamin.
Other food sources include beef liver, chicken liver, milk and eggs. Liver, although rich in Vitamin K, may also contain environmental toxins and unless the source is known to be organic should be avoided.
Blood Clotting and Vitamin K
In 1929 a Danish scientist discovered the importance of Vitamin K and blood clotting. Often, when a person is known to have a slow blood clotting time, they will be given Vitamin K before surgery to help avoid excess bleeding.
Vitamin K supplements may be necessary for individuals who have trouble absorbing fat. This disorder also makes it difficult for the body to absorb Vitamin K and a deficiency can occur.
Vitamin K Deficiency
Vitamin K deficiency can be caused by more than just a poor diet. Often, other diseases can cause a deficiency, such as liver or gall bladder disease or any other disease that stops the absorption of fats.
Bacteria in the intestines can be killed off by the long term use of antibiotics; this too can result in a Vitamin K deficiency. Certain cholesterol medications can cause deficiencies.
Babies are born with a Vitamin K deficiency which is why they are given Vitamin K supplements within the first few days of birth. Their intestinal tract hasn’t got the necessary bacteria to make the vitamin and their mother’s milk is not a good source of Vitamin K. The supplement is necessary to insure they don’t have bleeding problems.
Other Uses of Vitamin K
In addition to helping with bone strength and blood clotting, Vitamin K supplements have been shown to be beneficial for women who have unusually heavy menstrual flows.
Pregnant women have noted that during the first trimester small doses of Vitamin K supplements helped to relive their nausea.
Vitamin K supplements are beneficial in many ways, from preventing excess bleeding to strengthening bones. When the body is not getting enough from food sources and is deficient in producing its own Vitamin K supplements can fill the gap and help improve health.