Vitamins ABC : Vitamin K

vitamin k

Vitamin K is a group of fat soluble vitamins. We can distinguish three types – K1 and K2  which are natural and a synthetic form K3. The vitamin is mostly known for helping us absorb calcium for strong bones and ensuring proper blood coagulation. Synthetic K3 also known as menadione can be toxic for humans and damage cells (especially in kidneys and liver) in larger doses. K1 is found in plants (especially leafy greens)  and can be converted to K2 by bacterias that reside in our gut. So it’s best to get our vitamins from natural sources.

vitamin k

Benefits of vitamin K:

  • Ensures healthy bones
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis
  • Supports health of our hearts
  • Help slow tumor growth (there is little medical evidence to back this up though)
  • Aids proper blood clotting

Sources of vitamin K1 (per 100g):

  • Dried herbs – thyme and basil – 1715µg
  • Parsley – 1640µg
  • Kale – 817µg
  • Collard greens – 511µg
  • Spinach – 494µg
  • swiss chard – 327µg
  • Cilantro – 310µg
  • Scallions – 207µg
  • Brussels Sprouts – 140.3μg
  • Broccoli – 141µg
  • Chili powder – 106µg
  • Lettuce – 103µg
  • Soybeans – 70.6μg
  • Asparagus – 50.6μg

Suggested daily intake of vitamin K is 90 μg for women and 120 μg for men.

Overdose of vitamin K generally doesn’t occur, except from supplements with synthetic K3 vitamin. Its overdose can cause anemia, liver or even brain damage.

Deficiency of vitamin K is also rather rare given an average diet. Its symptoms include bleeding disorder, anemia, problems with wound healing, weak bones, osteoporosis,  nosebleeds and bleeding from the gums.

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