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The Mysterious Vitamin K: What is it, and, what does it do?

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that has been linked to bone health, lets demystify this quite yet powerful little vitamin.

Vitamin K

I've always found Vitamin K the most mysterious of the vitamin family. I don't know why. Maybe it's because it doesn't get as high profile as other vitamins like your Vitamin Ds and alike.

Vitamin K is an essential vitamin that plays a critical role in blood clotting. It also helps to strengthen bones and protect the heart, brain, and other organs from damage.

That all sounds pretty important! So let's take a little more of a look at the mystery Vitamin K. 

Vitamin K Starts at Birth

I remember most about Vitamin K because when you have a baby, they receive a Vitamin K injection almost immediately. This practice has been going on for over 40 years now. 

Vitamin K plays a vital role in blood clotting. The injection protects against the risk of bleeding in the brain because babies don't get enough Vitamin K during Pregnancy or while breastfeeding. 


Food Sources of Vitamin K

The most common way to get more Vitamin K in your diet is by eating green, leafy vegetables. Foods high in Vitamin K include broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, fresh and dried herbs, brussels sprouts and more. Other foods with Vitamin K include some dairy products like cheese.

It's suggested that adults need about 60 micrograms of Vitamin K daily. There's plenty of Vitamin K in these foods to get your adequate daily intake across the day. For example, 

1 cup of cooked broccoli has about 70 micrograms of Vitamin K. 

1 leaf of raw spinach (yep we're talking 1 leaf) 48 micrograms. 

So as you can see, supplementation is not usually necessary.

When might Vitamin K supplements be needed?   

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, a higher intake of Vitamin K is beneficial in preventing bone fractures. In this situation, a Vitamin K supplement might be suggested. This is because Vitamin K in supplements is more readily absorbed by the body than in food sources. 

A good chat to have with your doctor or dietitian if you think this is needed for your individual circumstances.

Well, Vitamin K, you may not get much limelight, but you're no longer a mystery! 


Image Credit: Good Studio




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