Vitamin K supplements have been trending on the internet for the past couple of days, raising many questions about this less-known yet important nutrient. People are looking for ways to enhance their muscle growth,heal bruises faster and maintain better heart health with vitamin K.
There is no denying that vitamin K is an essential nutrient that impacts every organ in the human body. Despite its significance, vitamin K is one such nutrient that often does not get in the limelight. Thus, let’s change that by better understanding vitamin K and its role in the body.
What Is Vitamin K?
There are certain vitamins known as fat-soluble vitamins that do not dissolve in water, and vitamin K also falls in that category. In addition, any unused or excess amounts of vitamin K are stored in fatty tissues and the liver. Consuming vitamin K with other dietary fats can enhance its absorption to a great extent.
Conventionally, vitamin K is primarily associated with bone metabolism, blood clotting, and even building proteins within the body. Its functions can be traced to the liver, certain tissues, pancreas, brain, skeletal system, and heart.
Unlike most other fat-soluble vitamins in the body, a very negligible amount of vitamin K actually circulates in the blood at any given point in time. With respect to the amount of vitamin K foods and supplements you consume, your body will use and store only 30-40% of it while getting rid of the rest.
This shows the human body has a limited capacity for storing vitamin K. Thus, most of the vitamin K in your body is reused and recycled many times.
Different Types Of Vitamin K
To most people, vitamin K would sound like a single compound. However, in reality, there are two different kinds of vitamin K in the body which includes:
● Vitamin K1:
Also known as phylloquinone, vitamin K1 can be easily found in different green leafy vegetables such as cauliflower, kale, spinach, and cabbage. In addition, this is the primary type of vitamin K one can get from their diet. Despite this, studies suggest the human body absorbs only 10% of vitamin K1 ingested by them.
● Vitamin K2:
The other is vitamin K2 or menaquinone, predominantly made by gut bacteria in animals and humans. You can even find little amounts of vitamin K2 in different fermented soy food or other animal products such as beef liver, butter, curdled cheese, and egg yolks. The gut bacteria in your body can convert vitamin K1 into vitamin K2, but different variable factors can influence the efficiency of the process.
What Role Does Vitamin K Play In Your Body?
The primary function of vitamin K in your body is to create three different proteins needed for the body’s optimal functioning. These proteins further help your body:
- Inhibits the calcification of plaque to protect blood vessels.
- Regulates osteocalcin to strengthen your bones
- Promotes the production of prothrombin to hasten the formation of blood clots after an injury.
Thus, as you can see, vitamin K benefits can help you prevent conditions such as osteoporosis, enhance heart health, and hasten recovery from injuries.
How To Get Vitamin K From Your Diet?
As you already know by now, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin. Thus, consuming it with other meals or snacks rich in fats can aid absorption. For instance, you can mix some green leafy veggies with oil-based dressings to help your body absorb vitamin K much more effectively. Other than that, you can take some carrot or broccoli and add some seeds and nuts to the mix for adequate absorption of vitamin K.
However, if you are looking for an easier way, you can have a protein smoothie or oatmeal with dark green leafy vegetable powder. You also have the option to munch on some kale chips or edamame in case you are in a hurry. Lastly, stirring some green leafy veggies with some meat can give you a highly nutritious meal rich in vitamin K.
Vitamin K Supplementation
Vitamin K deficiencies are conventionally rare among people as long as they have a healthy diet. However, people with health conditions such as celiac disease, malabsorptive disorder, cystic fibrosis, IBD, or any vitamin K deficiency symptoms can use vitamin K supplements.
These supplements are available in varied shapes, sizes, and forms, so finding the one to match your preference should not be much of a challenge. However, before you consider vitamin K supplementation, you should seek consultation from a trusted physician. This is more important if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Even though your body requires relatively less amount of vitamin K, its significance still remains the same as most other nutrients. Given the aforementioned information, the significance of what vitamin K for your health and body is apparent. Therefore, use this information to your advantage and maintain the optimum vitamin K levels in your body.