Vitamin K is an aggregation of structurally identical vitamins that are fat-soluble and are required for the post translational alteration of particular proteins needed for blood coagulation and for metabolic gateways both in tissue and bone. This collection of vitamins incorporates two natural components – K1 and K2.
Each vitamin component is responsible for a certain function. K1 is needed for blood coagulation while K2 is used for the process of bone absorption. At present, there are three forms of vitamin K synthetically developed, namely K3, K4, and K5. While the pure K1 and K2 vitamins do not possess harmful attributes or effects, the synthetic type K3 has displayed signs of toxicity.
Discovery of Vitamin K
So where did vitamin K start? This particular vitamin was first discovered by Henrik Dam, a Danish scientist, during 1929. The discovery was made when Henrik Dam was investigating the function of cholesterol by giving the chicken a cholesterol starved diet regimen. If you’ve taken up any form of medical course, such as nursing, then you know the importance of Vitamin K for our body’s system. Despite the rarity of vitamin K deficiency, one should still ensure that you are getting substantial vitamin K within your regular diet. As well as avoiding the deficiency of vitamin K in your body, you should also avoid the abundance of the vitamin as it can lead to severe effects.
Vitamin K components are digested along with the fat from the foods you consume. The vitamin is, as pointed out earlier, a fat-soluble liquid at average temperatures and the component is constant when exposed to hot temperatures or the atmosphere, yet it turns quite unstable when it is subjected to alkaline or light. Along with Vitamin K, other vitamins classified as fat soluble are vitamin A, E and D.
Benefits of Vitamin K
There are tremendous benefits that vitamin K brings, both for the health and nutrition of humans. Vitamin K is extremely useful when it comes to digestion of vital calcium minerals. Another vital responsibility of vitamin K is the production and storage of glycogen derived from the liver’s glucose. It is also strongly believed that vitamin K has an important function in bypassing the thickening of arterial walls and protecting you from viable coronary heart conditions. For women, vitamin K is also prescribed by medical practitioners for the curing of menstrual bleeding ailments.
Vitamin K is also given to people suffering from varicose veins and nosebleeds, and given to pregnant women to avoid miscarriages and birth defects. It also renders a vital function involving bone formation as well as lowering the severity levels of osteoporosis or lack of bone density. The substance is also given as a prevention and treatment option for cancer patients.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin K
There are a lot of signs and symptoms you can find in people with deficiency in this particular vitamin. Several reasons may be accounted for this deficiency. It may be caused by physiologic ailments that avoid either the production or metabolism of vitamins. Another reason may be due to previous exposure and participation from anti-coagulant therapeutic treatment or under the prescription of high dosages of antibiotic medications that may have killed the good bacteria in your intestine.
Lack of vitamin K in substantial amounts can cause a plethora of health conditions, including osteoporosis and associated bone conditions. Loss of blood coagulation that, in turn, can lead to excess blood loss due to inability of wounds and cuts to heal faster. For pregnant women, lack of vitamin K can entail birth defects or physiologic deformations thus administration of vitamin K is usually prioritized by doctors.
Foods Rich in Vitamin K
So what are best sources of vitamin K? Taking supplements can indeed ensure substantial supply of vitamin K in your body. However, if you are looking for a more natural means of acquiring the vitamin, then you should be working on your diet. Food rich in vitamin K include dark greens and fruits. Dark leafy green veggies are rich in this particular vitamin. This includes spinach, kale, collard greens and Swiss chard. Meanwhile, fruits like avocado and kiwi fruit are also composed of high levels of vitamin K, not to mention they are a great tasting snack and can be packed and eaten almost anywhere you are. See an overview of foods.
Overall, make sure to consult your physician prior doing any major changes to your lifestyle and health regimen. A physician will be able to tell you where you stand in terms of your daily dose of vitamin K. He/she may be able to help you in devising the appropriate eating plan or the foods to add to your regular diet.