What is vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin and it comes from the German word koaguluation or else known as coagulation and it refers to the blood clotting. This vitamin plays an essential part in the functioning of many proteins that are directly involved in the blood clotting process, bone mineralization and also, cell growth.
Vitamin K is extremely important when trying to prevent heart disease and investing in the bone building process. This vitamin is also a very important adjunct to vitamin D. That means, if one of them is in lack, neither of them can work properly in your body. The potential health problems vitamin K deficiency may cause are many, but, before mentioning them, let’s have a look at vitamin K main types and their particular roles into our body.
Three types of vitamin K
Vitamin K1 – this form of vitamin K is known by the name phylloquinone and it is naturally found in plants and plant-based products. Especially green plants. The role of K1 vitamin is to go directly to our liver and work with it in order to keep the blood clotting healthy.
Vitamin K2 – this vitamin is known by the name menaquinone and it is created by the bacteria that are commonly found in our gastrointestinal track. This vitamin, goes directly to our blood vessel walls, tissues and bones. It is created into our body or it might be found in fermented foods. It is considered to be a superior form of vitamin K and it’s the most natural form of this vitamin.
Vitamin K3 – this vitamin is known as menadione. It is a synthetic form of K vitamin that it is not usually recommended.
The main benefits of vitamin K
Blood clotting – many people are at a big risk of forming blood clots. Clots block the blood flow in our arteries, heart, brain and lungs. This process can potentially result in heart attack, pulmonary embolism and stroke.
Bone mineralization process – more than three main proteins are directly depending on vitamin K for bone mineralization. They are: S protein, Matrix Gla protein and Osteocalcin. These three proteins are the ones responsible to facilitate normal bone development.
Cell growth – another protein that is directly depending on vitamin K is the Gas6. This protein is found in our heart, nervous system, lungs, stomach, kidneys and cartilage. This protein is a cellular growth regulator with its main duty to signalize our cells for many essential processes.
What puts you in a risk of vitamin K deficiency?
There are many factors that may put you in a high risk of vitamin K deficiency. If you have a family history or your own of heart disease or osteoporosis, adding vitamin K to your diet is a must! Adding leafy green vegetables is the first thing to do. Especially if you have one of the following conditions that have the ability to increase the risk of this vitamin deficiency:
– Crohn’s disease
– Ulcerative colitis
– Celiac disease
– A poor diet
– Liver disease
– Taking antibiotics
– Taking cholesterol drugs