What are the health benefits of vitamin K?

Vitamin K is a crucial nutrient that carries an array of health benefits. It plays an essential role in healthy blood clotting, and it’s also important for maintaining strong, healthy bones. Without vitamin K2, calcium can’t adequately be processed in our body to help maintain strong, healthy bones. Vitamin K2 activates certain proteins, including osteocalcin and Matrix GLA Protein (MGP), which play a role in binding calcium to the bone matrix. Vitamin K2 also supports cardiovascular system health and directs calcium to the areas of our body where it’s needed most.

What are the types of vitamin K?

There are three types of vitamin K, each with its own unique properties and benefits. The primary forms include vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, which is predominantly found in leafy green vegetables and plant-based sources. And there is vitamin K2, which can be categorized into two subtypes: MK-4 (menaquinone-4) and MK-7 (menaquinone-7). MK-4 or menaquinone-4 is typically derived from animal-based foods like meat and dairy products. MK-7 or menaquinone-7 is primarily sourced from fermented foods such as natto, a traditional Japanese dish made from soybeans. Each type serves different functions within the body, contributing to overall health and wellness.

What is the recommended dose of vitamin K?

The recommended dose of vitamin K varies depending on an individual's age, health status, and dietary intake. For adults aged 19 years and older, the adequate intake is approximately 90 mcg for women and 120 mcg for men per day. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

What is the history of vitamin K?

Vitamin K was first discovered in 1929 by Danish scientist Henrik Dam during his research on cholesterol metabolism in chickens. He noticed that chickens fed a diet deficient in certain fats developed hemorrhages and started bleeding excessively. This led him to discover vitamin K, named after the German word "Koagulation," signifying its critical role in coagulation or blood clotting.

What are the signs of vitamin K deficiency?

Vitamin K deficiency is not common, but when it occurs, there are several signs we should be aware of. These include excessive bleeding from wounds or punctures, easy bruising, blood in the urine or stool, and heavy menstrual periods for women. Additionally, individuals with a Vitamin K deficiency may experience prolonged clotting times, which can lead to spontaneous nosebleeds or gum bleeding. If we notice these symptoms, it's important to seek medical advice immediately.

Which foods contain vitamin K?

Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is predominantly found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin K2 as MK-4 is primarily sourced from animal-based foods like meat, dairy products, and eggs. Vitamin K2 as MK-7, has its highest concentration in fermented foods like natto — a traditional Japanese dish made from soybeans.

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