Facts about Vitamin K and Its Amazing Benefits for Health

Facts about Vitamin K and Its Amazing Benefits for Health

Vitamin K is an important vitamin in human body. The flat-soluble vitamin is integral to several important functions. According to a recent study, vitamin K is a significant adjunct to vitamin D. Deficiency of one of them is a stumbling block for proper functioning of another. The major health benefits of vitamin K are often ignored and that is why, it is often called “The Forgotten Vitamin”.

Types of Vitamin K

Vitamin K is of three types – K1, K2 and K3. The first type, also known as phylloquinone, is abundant in plants. Green vegetables are rich in vitamin K1. This kind directly goes to liver.

Vitamin K2 is also referred to as menaquinone and goes directly to bones, blood vessels and tissues instead of liver.

The third kind or menadione represents synthetic form of the vitamin.

Vitamin K Sources

You can get vitamin K through intake of some common vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts etc. Foods high in vitamin K include parsley, mustard greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce, dried basils, spring onions, collards etc. Chili powder is also considered a good source of vitamin K.

Regular intake of vitamin K in adequate amount is important as it plays a vital role in blood modification, blood clotting, bone building etc. The research also indicates that it also functions as a cancer-preventive agent.

Asparagus, fennel, okra, leeks and olive oil have a high concentration of vitamin K. Dried fruits like prunes and cooked soya beans are also among the foods rich in vitamin K.

Deficiency of vitamin K causes several health related problems. In order to know the immediate and long-term effects of deficiency of vitamin K, you should be aware of what it does in our body. Let us take a quick glance over some significant functions of vitamin K.

Protection to Your Heart

Vitamin K2 prevents the arteries from getting hardened, which is one of the most common reasons for coronary artery disease and cardiac arrest. According to research, vitamin K2 helps in eliminating calcium from the artery lining as well as other tissues, thereby preventing the risk of heart failure. The latest studies reveal that vitamin K in conjunction with vitamin D prevents calcification in arteries.

Prevention of Osteoporosis

Vitamin K deficiency can cause osteoporosis. Intake of diet rich in raw, fresh whole foods and vitamin K helps in strengthening your bones. Vitamin K is so important for bones that the recent studies have proved it beyond doubt that even the nutritional supplement of the vitamin improves bone density. Vitamin K, especially its K2 type, reverses the process of bone loss and also adds to bone masses in those suffering from osteoporosis.

Fighting Against Cancer

Several studies have made it clear that vitamin K1 and K1 are most effective in fighting against cancer. A study published by the International Journal of Oncology in September of 2003 reveals that K2 vitamin slows the growth of malignant cells and produces significantly positive impact on the leukemia patients.

A German research group came up with a claim in 2008 that vitamin K is a good agent to rage war against prostate cancer. It is one of the common cancers in men. The study revealed that men having higher intake of vitamin K have 50% less risk of suffering from prostate cancer. Researches on cancers have shed light on other important facts about vitamin K. It is also very effective in preventing stomach, oral, colon and nasopharynx cancers.

Preventing Haemorrhage in Babies:

Vitamin K is injected into the babies to prevent haemorrhage. It is very much effective for the children suffering from asthma. The problem can be cured by administering oral drops of vitamin K to the asthmatic children.

Reliving Menstrual Pain

Vitamin K helps other hormones to function properly during regular periods, thereby reducing menstrual pain. Vitamin K deficiency causes excessive flow during regular menstrual cycle.

Additional Benefits of Vitamin K

  • Deficiency of vitamin K could cause Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin K supplement is considered a good solution for the problem.
  • This vitamin makes a significant improvement on insulin sensitivity. Individuals taking the vitamin from foods rich in vitamin K are at lower risk to have type 2 diabetes.
  • Vitamin K helps in mitigating or eliminating bruising.
  • This vitamin is believed to have anti-oxidant property.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad