The Benefits of Vitamin K

vitkIf you are having a problem with bruising or nose bleeds or gum bleeding or heavy menstrual bleeding you may have a vitamin K deficiency.  If you show blood in your urine this too may be a sign of deficiency in vitamin K.  In addition to bleeding problems deficiency in vitamin K can impact your bone health.  Osteopenia which is a loss of bone and osteoporosis which is a decrease in bone mineral density may both be improved with vitamin K thus helping to prevent bone fractures.  Vitamin K also plays an important role in lowering your risk of prostate cancer and may reverse bone loss.  It may also be beneficial to your heart health.  Vitamin K deficiency may lead to Alzheimer’s disease and may increase your risk for hardening of the arteries.  Vitamin K is also important to the development of the fetus in pregnant women.

There are basically two types of vitamin K.  Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is found in green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, parsley, lettuce, sauerkraut and turnip greens.  It helps your bones retain calcium.  Vitamin K1 goes to your liver and helps with healthy blood clotting.

Vitamin K2 is produced by bacteria.  It can be found in fermented foods such as ripe cheese, yogurt or the Japanese food natto.  Natto is the richest form of vitamin K2 but it has a strong odor and many people do not like to eat it.  Vitamin K2 is needed for bone health and may lower your risk of cancer.

Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin and is best absorbed when fat is included when consuming vitamin K.  In addition to foods high in vitamin K it is also available in supplement form.

Vitamin K may reverse the effects of medication prescribed to thin blood such as Coumadin.  Be sure to talk with your health care professional before increasing your intake of vitamin K rich foods if you are taking medication .  You should always consult with your health care professional before adding a supplement to your health program.