Vitamin K is important for healthy blood clotting, and helps ensure normal blood flow. It also aids in problems with bone density, and has been shown to help decrease the risk of types of liver and prostate cancer.
Types of Vitamin K
There are five main types of the Vitamin K: K1, K2, K3, K4, and K5. The most popular forms of Vitamin K are the K1 and K2. K1 is better known as phylloquinone or phytomenadione and is formed naturally in plants, a yellow oil that is found on the outside of any leafy green vegetables.
K2 is better known as menaquinone and menatetrenone, usually made inside of the large intestine by a variety of different bacteria. The other three types of Vitamin K are artificially synthesized.
Benefits of Vitamin K
1. Healing of cuts, bruises, rashes and other types of skin irritations. Sometimes it can even help with dark circles under the eyes. This is why Vitamin K can be found in cream form.
2. Helps with bone density, and therefore helps prevent breaks. Important for more elderly people. It activates a compound in the body called osteocalcin, which aids in proper formation of calcium in the bone structure.
3. In large doses, aids in fighting cancer.
4. It can positively affect the brain, and can lead to improvements Alzheimers patients.
5. An antidote for poisons that cause death by anticoagulation. (Cool!)
6. Lowers risk of heart disease by inhibiting tissue calcification and aiding in elasticity of arteries.
Chemical Details of What Vitamin K Does
All of the benefits are due to the underlying chemical structure and reactions of Vitamin K. Once in the body, it forms something called gamma-carboxyglutamate residues (Gla residues for short) that situate themselves inside certain proteins. These are key in binding calcium, hence the link with bone density. Proper calcium usage is important for heart health as well, because otherwise a form of it will remain in the bloodstream and can be deposited in the arteries.
These same proteins are also involved in blood coagulation (blood clotting) and general vein and artery health.
It is a fat soluble vitamin, so eating at least 1 oz of fat when taking supplement or eating certain foods will help with absorption.
Vitamin K should be a very essential part of a person’s daily health plan. But really, you only need to worry about it if you do not get enough green, leafy vegetables. And by enough, I mean a lot more than you’re currently eating.