Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins that play a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels.
The body needs Vitamin K to produce prothrombin, a protein and clotting factor that is important in blood clotting and bone metabolism. Deficiency is rare, but, in severe cases, it can increase clotting time, leading to haemorrhage and excessive bleeding.
Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) is obtained from leafy greens and some other vegetables and Vitamin K2 (menaquinone) is largely obtained from meats, cheeses, and eggs, fermented foods and synthesized by bacteria.
Benefits of taking a Vitamin K supplement
- Bone health
Increased blood levels of Vitamin K have been linked with improved memory in older adults. In one study, healthy individuals over the age of 70 years with the highest blood levels of Vitamin K1 had the highest verbal episodic memory performance.
- Cardiovascular health
Vitamin K may help keep blood pressure lower by preventing the build-up of minerals in the arteries. This enables the heart to pump blood freely through the body. Adequate intake of Vitamin K has also been shown to lower the risk of stroke.
People who use blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, or Coumadin, should not start consuming additional Vitamin K without first asking a doctor.
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